Contributed by Paula Hemphill
Dear Aspiring World Changer,
I have a confession.
I'm an introvert. Through and through, to the depths of who I am, I am an introvert. People used to say I was shy - perhaps even painfully so - at least until I got to know you.
Five years ago that all changed. Five years ago, despite an overwhelming sense of fear and doubt, I enlisted in this small orange army of World Vision Child Ambassadors. I started hesitantly, sharing sponsorship with friends and churches I knew closely. I later learned my early success was the result of a good Father who wasn't willing to let me wash up after hearing no. We both know that if I hadn't heard yes in those first few months, I wouldn't be here today.
Later on in that year, God showered His grace upon me once again. He brought the CA conference to my city. To my home. He brought World Vision to me. And I signed up to attend because what possible excuse could I offer since it was in my backyard? I. Was. Terrified. Introverted. Shy. And I didn't know a single person. I was literally giving myself a pep talk the whole ride there-- which caused me to take a little bit of a wrong turn, but I digress. I was scared. I felt very alone. But I went anyway.
And then something extraordinary happened… Stuart Sherman sat down next to me and asked me for my story and I, the shy, introverted girl, lit up like a Christmas tree. My story about Yael, my first sponsored boy, was one of my favorite stories to tell. I loved telling Stuart about why I became a CA and in that moment, my fear about not adding up started to fall away.
Stu wasn't the only friend I made that day. There was Andrea, April and Bev. There was Tessa and Vicki and Erin. There was Jo, Deana, MaryAnn, and Mary Ellen. Each one was so kind and took such care in getting to know me.
I walked into that conference scared and alone and terrified of the work ahead of us. And I walked away seen and known and loved and belonging.
As a new CA (or a veteran) I encourage each of you to join us for National CA Day. I know I speak for each of the hosts when I say we want to be your Stuart Sherman. We want to sit down, hear your story, and love you just because of who you are.
So, confession? I'm still an introvert. And I can still be shy. But I am confident in who I am as a follower of Christ. And I've grown new confidence thanks to Stu Sherman and a bunch of other amazing World Vision volunteers who sat down beside me, met me where I was, and welcomed me into this beautiful family. We are #GreaterTogether.
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.