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Millie Vanderpool loves seeing churches grow as a result of caring for children who live in poverty. “It’s the church’s mandate to be the hands and feet of Christ,” she says. “When the church reaches out to help others, it also strengthens the church by changing the hearts of people in the church.”
Millie has worked for World Vision since 1998. Before that, she served in the military and then taught English as a second language for six years.
“It’s a blessing to help children and families in different ways now,” she says. Part of her job involves leading teams on trips to various parts of the world.
From vision trips and pastors’ trips to Africa, to border trips to Mexico, the experience has a huge impact on the people who go. “It’s wonderful to watch a church change and be transformed as well as the community in which they are supporting,” Millie explains. But the journeys have blessed Millie every bit as much as they’ve blessed each church that has taken part.
“My first trip to Zambia made everything we do a reality,” she recalls. “I met women there who were holding babies that were only alive because of World Vision. You go there, see the need, and it breaks your heart. But it also gives you hope at the same time because you know we are making a big difference.”
Working with people who desire to serve and helping them get involved is one of the aspects of Millie’s job that she enjoys most. She continues to be inspired by the accomplishments of different congregations.
One church she works with is just outside Detroit, Michigan. In a community suffering greatly from the current economic crisis, this congregation of 2,000 members sponsors 300 children from one community in Malawi. When two of those children died recently from malaria, the church made a donation to provide 400 mosquito nets to prevent further deaths. They were able to give these nets to the families on a recent trip as well as Millie visited the families of those that recently passed away.
When Millie challenges churches to consider partnering with World Vision, she knows firsthand what she’s asking of them. She and her husband personally sponsor six children, her parents sponsor a child, and her two grown children sponsor four more.
Millie is actively involved with missions at her own church. To her, caring for God’s children in need around the world is simple: “I feel that we are here to reach out and help those in need in any way we can.”