Meet Karli, she works in the Program Resources Team at World Vision. She has also worked in our call centre where she says she had the chance to “chat with some of the most generous people in Australia, every day!”
When I first saw Bernice she was standing in her kitchen, tying a tea bag around the tap. She was explaining that she likes her tea weak, so she’ll use the tea bag a couple of times before she throws it away, being especially careful not to waste it.
What struck me the most about Bernice was the way she talked about her sponsored child and their family –she truly, truly loved them – she shed tears talking about them.
And I thought, wow, when was the last time I felt that way about someone I barely knew?
Every year at World Vision, we look back on the past year and all that’s happened; natural disasters, changes in governments around the world, economic crises, conflicts and other events that affected where we could work and how we could do it (we talk about the good stuff too, it’s not all doom and gloom!).
It’s easy to see how the people who live in the communities we work alongside have been affected by these events – lives changed, created, ended.
But it’s not always easy to see what happens in the lives of our supporters every year.
I have some friends who are child sponsors, so I get to hear them talk about the letters they receive, about how they feel about World Vision, and sometimes the heartbreaking decisions they have to make about their sponsorships when things aren’t looking too good financially for them.
Like Bernice with her tea bags, I know that so many people make small sacrifices in their own lives to make sure they can continue sponsoring their sponsored child.
A couple of years ago when we were looking back on the year that had past, the story of one of our supporters was shared.
I want to introduce you to her, because she’s had an impact on me, and I think it’s important to reflect on the sacrifice and contribution that people like her make every day.
That supporter was Bernice, and at the time of the video she was 79 years old.
She told the story of when she travelled to Lesotho, in Southern Africa, to meet her sponsored child.
“My trip to Lesotho is the most remarkable thing that I have done in my life, especially at my age, because I thought I had missed out,” she said.
“I found the people very, very friendly and warm – they don’t have very much, but what they do have to give you is love.”
If you want to feel warm and inspired, watch her story below!
Often in my team, we have to make decisions about how we spend our budgets. We always talk about getting the most out of our funds – the ‘cost-benefit’ of an activity or project.
We talk about the value of ‘stewardship’ – and that the reality is, it’s not our money. It’s not for us.
It’s a gift from one person to another. From one person or family in Australia to a community somewhere in the world, that says, “Hey, we love you, we value you, and we might not ever meet, but we think you deserve to live your best life possible, and we hope this will help”.
I think of Bernice and her tea bags often these days – especially the value of the donation she entrusts to us every month.
Her story reminds me that every one of our supporters has a story too. And that their story somehow brought them to us, and that together we can do more than we can on our own.
What’s your story? We’d love to hear from you.