Change Makers

Visionaries surrender something great to receive something greater

Visionaries are all around you. They dream of a world in which every child has clean water to drink and nutritious food to eat, and whose family has escaped the throes of extreme poverty.

Visionaries answer God’s call to take care of the orphan and the widow — “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.” They courageously show the love of Jesus to a hurting world and invite their family and friends to walk alongside them in the journey, because Jesus said his followers would be known for their love.

And they are stronger together.

“Finding people with shared common interests and vision, and when you’re on mission together, and shoulder to shoulder, those relationships are valuable,” says Duane Duim, a wealth management firm partner.

Duane and his wife, Julie, are Visionaries — part of a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed. Visionaries are dedicated to making a significant impact to help save every last one from extreme poverty within our lifetime.

In the last 20 years, the number of children dying from preventable causes — from hunger, poverty, and disease — has nearly halved, going from almost 29,000 a day to under 15,000. The number of people living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day, has dropped by nearly 1 billion.

World Vision is making important strides in helping the world end extreme poverty. In just five years, together we impacted the lives of over 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. Every 60 seconds, a family gets water, a hungry child is fed, and a family gets the tools to overcome poverty.

Learn the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries:

Becoming a Visionary offers you opportunities to connect with a like-minded community to deepen your understanding of challenges facing children around the world and World Vision’s strategic impact.

Ending extreme poverty within our lifetime is a bold vision. Are you ready to put your faith into action to help turn it into a reality?

Become a Visionary today!

The Howard family: “Make a greater impact together.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Photo courtesy of Courtney and Jason Howard

World Vision became an integral part of the Howard family because of the many opportunities parents Courtney and Jason found to model generosity to their two children, ages 7 years and 16 months.

“For kids to get involved in philanthropy and generosity, it has to be modeled,” says 42-year-old Jason, a private equity investor. “World Vision is one of the outlets we use to model that to our children.”

The opportunity for their children to see their parents’ generosity and get involved sparked this southern California family’s interest in sponsoring a child in 2017. It’s why they specifically chose to sponsor Reuben, who not only looks like their 7-year-old son but also is similar in age.

“My son knows who Reuben is. He’s written to him several times, sent him gifts, and talks about him as if he’s part of our family, which is one of our goals,” says 42-year-old Courtney, a real estate investor. “He’s able to grow alongside Reuben, even though it’s from a distance, and start to understand what his life is like and how it’s different from his own, and be appreciative of both. That’s been a great experience for us.”

Reuben lives in Zambia, and as the Howards came to know Reuben, they were interested in learning more about where he lives and World Vision’s holistic development work. Courtney found herself particularly interested in mother and child health. She thought back to giving birth to her children and contrasted that experience with mothers in developing countries who give birth in non-sterile conditions, often without trained nurses and doctors. Women also must collect the (likely contaminated) water for not only their birth, but also any household use in the days following.

“It’s difficult for me to imagine carrying children and delivering them in the environment that many mothers in other parts of the world do,” Courtney says.

A baby waits to be examined by a nurse at the Katunda Health Center in Luampa district, Zambia. World Vision pharmaceutical gifts-in-kind provide needed medicines for rural clinics like this one. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)

Every day, 830 women die from preventable causes associated with pregnancy and childbirth; 99% of these deaths are in developing countries. World Vision believes that having a baby should be a joyful experience — not a death sentence. So we’ve recruited, trained, equipped, and deployed more than 220,000 community health workers who reach millions of people in 48 countries.

“I’m very analytical in nature,” Courtney says. “So, I’m driven by data and results. World Vision can readily show me data and results and present it in a way that is easy to understand. That’s been very impactful.”

She adds that meeting World Vision field staff and beneficiaries who have traveled to the U.S. further validated the information and data World Vision provided. As a result, the Howards expanded their giving to help end female genital mutilation in Kenya, protect children in India from sex trafficking, and provide emergency relief in Puerto Rico and East Africa.

“Not a lot of organizations have the scale as well as the diversity of reach that World Vision has,” Courtney says. “At this stage in our lives, we want to go deeper in our giving, and we want it to be more impactful than just our current surroundings. We’re excited about being able to help in areas where it’s not feasible for us to physically be.”

Jason adds that it’s a great benefit to invest in so many areas through a single organization, since he and Courtney “honestly don’t have the time or capability to search out all of these great opportunities. So, with one investment, we can multiply the impact.”

And they have not only witnessed the return on their investment in the lives of people worldwide but also through their son.

“God has moved in his heart and also in our hearts now that we have a better understanding of issues people are facing in other parts of the world,” Courtney says.

They are particularly grateful that their son has become more concerned about the needs of others because of their growing relationship with World Vision.

I don’t know of many organizations that have that diversity of resources that can make such an orchestrated impact on a family.—Courtney Howard

“I don’t know of many organizations that have that diversity of resources that can make such an orchestrated impact on a family,” Courtney says. “World Vision is not only giving us the opportunity to get our son involved in our giving but it also enables us to expand resources into his school, so that he, as well as his peers, can gain an even broader understanding and perspective.”

As both of their children get older, they plan to incorporate them more in their family’s giving, since “what we give is so small compared to what we get back,” Courtney says. They also have a desire to travel as a family to see the transformative impact of World Vision’s work worldwide.

Their partnership with World Vision is continuing to evolve as they have decided to become Visionaries.

“There are so many organizations that you can give to, and sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options,” Courtney says. “But if you can interact with people who share your goals, you can learn from each other and make a greater impact together.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Julie and Duane Duim with their daughters, 18-year-old Emma and 16-year-old Holly. (Photo courtesy of the Duims)

The Duim family: “You can’t help but want to be part of it.”

World Vision is a vital part of the legacy of the Duim family, who has partnered with World Vision for generations. Julie Duim, 46, refers to the years as an impactful journey for not only the family but also the children and families they’ve helped.

“God calls us to do the work that World Vision is doing,” says Julie’s husband, Duane, 46. “It’s not gray. It’s black and white. When we hear about caring for the orphans and the widows, it’s foundational to what we’re called to do. And when we’re looking to figure out who we partner with to have an impact, World Vision is top of the list for us.”

Julie and Duane live in Snoqualmie, Washington, and first heard about World Vision in the mid-’90s. Then in 1999, Duane’s parents, Gary and Linda, started a family foundation that includes their children and grandchildren — and named World Vision a beneficiary.

Duane and Julie then became child sponsors in the early 2000s. They also found more ways to engage and volunteer — empowering women and girls through Strong Women Strong World, helping provide clean water by running with Team World Vision, and providing financial inclusion solutions through VisionFund, World Vision’s microfinance subsidiary. Julie also became the chair of a Women of Vision chapter. Through the years, they also remember World Vision introducing them to topics no one else was talking about — child trafficking, Syrian refugees, and refugees in general.

“If I look at what investments are going to have the greatest return that I’ll probably ever make, it’s going to be these gifts,” says Duane, a wealth management firm partner. “We may not always see it firsthand. We may not meet the people we’re going to impact. But there’s a confidence in knowing that when you make a gift like this, you’re going to change someone’s life forever.”

If I look at what investments are going to have the greatest return that I’ll probably ever make, it’s going to be these gifts.—Duane Duim

Part of their confidence in World Vision comes from witnessing the character of the staff they’ve met over the years as their involvement has grown and as they have traveled to see World Vision’s work both in the U.S. and internationally to Zambia, Uganda, and Mexico.

“These are people who love Jesus so much and are pouring their whole lives into serving him,” Duane says. “When you see that authentically lived out, it develops an incredible level of trust.”

Just as they were impressed by World Vision’s staff, they were also personally touched by what they saw. “You see the impact. You see these awesome transformations. You see lives change,” Julie says. “You can’t help but want to be part of it.”

In Mexico, Hugo and Guadalupe and their daughters, Anayeli, 17, and Janetsi, 9, have grown a thriving farm, raising sheep and pigs thanks to VisionFund loans. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Snyder)

They found themselves forever changed after a 2006 trip to Zambia to witness the impact of their family foundation’s donations and meet their sponsored child, Queen.

“You can’t go and come back and not feel a sense of responsibility,” Duane says. “At least for us, life’s different.” Julie adds, “It should be different.”

What meant the most to them was meeting people face-to-face, shaking their hands, and entering their homes to hear their stories of transformation. It put faces to statistics — statistics that have made an impression on them.

“When we talk about 1,000 children every day under the age of 5 dying because of a lack of access to clean water, that is a crisis,” Duane says. “That’s a no-kidding, you-better-pay-attention statistic.”

Seeing the work also made the stories they’ve heard more personal. Now, they think of their donations as helping their neighbors.

“They’re moms and dads with the same hopes and dreams for their kids that we have,” Julie says. “There’s nothing different about that. What they work for, long for, and dream for their kids is the same thing.”

After being modeled generosity by their parents, Duane and Julie, in turn, are passing on that value to their daughters, 18-year-old Emma and 16-year-old Holly.

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Photo courtesy of the Duims

“We want to have kids that can see beyond their own needs and have a sense that there’s a bigger world out there that’s certainly beyond them,” Duane says.

“Like us, they’ve also won the lottery in regard to their situation and opportunities. They have opportunities for education, food to eat, clothing, housing, and all those things that have been given to them. We’re hoping to give them a greater exposure to the needs of the world. Our prayer is that some of that will rub off on them and that they will, then, live generous lives as well.”

Julie, a stay-at-home mom, says they’ve also been as intentional with how their family spends time together as with their financial investments. From sponsoring children through World Vision to becoming a foster family for children locally, they have made the conscious choice to continually invest in God’s kingdom with the resources at their disposal.

“Things are always relative in regard to your ability to give, but that basic concept — to much has been given, much is required — that’s foundational for everyone regardless of your situation,” Duane says.

Now, they’re excited to start a new chapter as Visionaries and build community with other World Vision partners to make a greater impact together.

“There is something about the ability to get together in a room with people,” Duane says. “It’s convicting, right? You get stretched. It makes you think about your priorities — how you’re thinking about your finances and being thoughtful.”

Part of that thoughtfulness for the Duims is remaining conscious of their legacy.

“What do you want to be remembered for?” Duane says. “I want to be remembered as somebody who is going to leave the world in a better place than they found it.”

The Hing family: “Iron sharpens iron.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Photo courtesy of Liza and Byron Hing

Liza and Byron Hing met as interns in the State Department, and they fell in love partly because of their passion for international development and their shared desire to empower people around the world to break free from poverty.

“Jesus tells us to care for the least of these,” says Byron, now a 38-year-old corporate lawyer. “We believe greatly in living that out and doing what’s right by other people.”

Over the years, the San Francisco couple has invested in a variety of causes, including World Vision, to not only answer Jesus’ call but also model generosity for their three children.

“I want them to seek to love Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. That’s my prayer for them,” Byron says. “What that means is to be generous with the poor and with others, to love others and meet them where they are.”

Also important in upholding their family values is being good stewards with what God has entrusted them, so investing in World Vision didn’t come without its due diligence.

“A friend invited us; that was our entree. And we trust him,” says Liza, a 38-year-old investment banker. “Then we did our own deep dive and found that World Vision is technically excellent. We’ve even heard from people in the field, like our missionary friends, that World Vision is well respected overseas. That has taken time to digest, but it all reinforces the same thing — that it’s a great organization to partner with.”

Sobita, 34 (second from left), gives a tour of her organic, climate-smart farm to other women farmers, teaching them the successful growing techniques she learned through Nobo Jatra, a World Vision food security program in Bangladesh. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Liza and Byron didn’t come to this decision lightly. Before making an investment, their deep dive included learning more about World Vision’s scope of work, digging into financial documents, and examining World Vision’s Christian identity.

What they discovered was that World Vision encompasses all that they value in terms of the quality of the work and staff, fiscal responsibility and economic impact, and their Christian faith. They particularly appreciate World Vision’s holistic approach to community development.

“Treating any individual cause does not really solve the problem,” Byron says. “You need a holistic view of the spiritual, physical, and emotional. And I like the fact that World Vision does all of those things.”

They both deemed the organization well-run from both a business and financial perspective and found themselves impressed with not only the strategic planning but also the impact reports.

“World Vision can measure the change that they make in people’s lives,” Liza says.

Also important to them is that World Vision is equipped to effectively utilize substantial donations.

It’s appealing to plug into an organization that already has the infrastructure in place, has shovel-ready projects they’re able to scale up, and deals with capital in a way that’s useful.—Byron Hing

“The scale that World Vision has is unparalleled,” says Byron. “It’s appealing to plug into an organization that already has the infrastructure in place, has shovel-ready projects they’re able to scale up, and deals with capital in a way that’s useful.”

The trust they developed in World Vision is further evident as their investments support the Where Most Needed Fund, which allows World Vision the flexibility to direct resources based on timing and greatest need.

“World Vision knows World Vision better than we do. They know where the ROI is,” says Byron. “The level of trust I have with World Vision is quite high. So, if World Vision thinks the money is best used in this way, then I’m sure that’s a better decision than what I could say. Why try to control something that I have less knowledge about?”

Now, they’re deepening their engagement with World Vision by becoming Visionaries. They’re particularly looking forward to the network of support, where people with similar values can learn from each other about the struggles they have encountered and discuss investment and wealth management — conversations sometimes difficult to find the right context for.

“I’d like to welcome you, whoever’s reading this, to join in on this journey because iron sharpens iron,” Byron says. “I hope that we can build this into a community of people who will sharpen each other, and grow each other, and challenge each other to live more faithfully and to care for the poor together.”

Just as Liza and Byron were invited on this journey by a friend, they are both challenging others to come alongside them.

“Come and see,” Liza says. “Come and see how you can partner with a world-class organization to make a lasting change in the lives of children and the poorest of the poor. Come and see how you can learn what God’s heart is for people everywhere.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Nate and Carly Roberts with their daughter, Abigail. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

The Roberts family: “Accomplish the greatest good.”

When presents under the Christmas tree kept resulting in too much stuff, the Roberts family chose instead to wrap up generosity and purchase gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog in each other’s honor.

That became one of their Christmas traditions. Years later, when it came time to celebrate his father’s 80th birthday, Nate Roberts, now 36, was looking for a gift with significance, and he remembered the tradition his parents started and the trust he developed for World Vision over the years.

“Step one when you’re giving any substantial amount is knowing that the funds are going to be used wisely,” says Nate, an attorney. “And then when you have that knowledge — and you combine it with knowing that the funds are going to be used for a project that is personally important to you and makes a tremendous difference for others — you can feel really good about it.”

A project with that unique connection was thankfully easy to find, as Nate’s father had grown up in the Congo with his own father, a missionary. So Nate and his wife, Carly, 32, invested in a water, sanitation, and hygiene project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in his father’s honor.

Carly’s birthday was coming up too, and Nate was again looking for a meaningful gift. He worked with his World Vision representative to identify projects that Carly might connect with, and when he showed her an opportunity to help Syrian refugees, “she fell in love with it,” Nate says.

Lebanese refugee children ride the bus home from an early childhood education center, a UNICEF-funded and World Vision-started project that reaches about 200 kids ages 3 to 6. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

“At that time I was pregnant with Abigail, so I remember thinking I really wanted to find a project that would empower women and girls, in particular, and young families,” says Carly, an assistant director of a local nonprofit.

Investing in another fragile context also appealed to both of them, as “those are the parts of the world where the need is greatest,” says Carly.

Their source of inspiration to help “the least of these brothers and sisters,” the most vulnerable, comes from Matthew 25:40. Carly and Nate consider their work with World Vision as helping them live it out.

“Every human being that is lacking in basic need deserves our help in meeting that need — if we can provide it — whether they’re our neighbor across the street, or across the continent, or across the globe,” says Nate.

Carly particularly also connects with what World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce, famously prayed, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart
of God.”

“It’s easy for people to ignore sadness in the world because it hurts to acknowledge it,” says Carly. “I would encourage you to really understand the pain and the suffering that so many of our fellow humans have to deal with on a daily basis. And if you really embrace that, it’s hard to not give.”

Beyond appreciating World Vision’s Christ-driven mission that aligns with their family values, they consider World Vision a good steward, evident in that every $1 donated to World Vision is stretched through grants, donated goods, and investments in global networks for $1.30 in impact.

It’s a good investment from a business standpoint because they invest your dollars wisely and leverage them to accomplish the greatest good.—Nate Roberts

“It’s a good investment from a business standpoint because they invest your dollars wisely and leverage them to accomplish the greatest good,” says Nate. “It’s a good investment spiritually because it allows you to play a meaningful part in lending assistance to your fellow human beings. We may not all be able to take the time to fly to Lebanon and teach a Syrian refugee, but we can all be good Samaritans to those folks through World Vision as donors.”

Overall, they’re pleased with the results of their investment and appreciative of World Vision’s forthright reporting on the impact of their investment.

“The people at World Vision have their heart behind the mission, and that’s important,” says Nate. “But it’s also important to see the non-profit being run like a business where they set targets for themselves, identify deliverables, try to meet those, and they’re accountable to their stakeholders for the work. And World Vision does that better than anybody.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Nate and Carly Roberts with their daughter, Abigail. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Their trust in World Vision has blossomed into the decision to become Visionaries.

“Think about how much you’re going to give and whether it’s going to hurt, not a lot but just a little bit,” says Nate. “If it doesn’t hurt a little bit, if you don’t notice the gift, you’re probably not giving quite enough. If you’re writing a check that doesn’t impact you or your lifestyle at all, and doesn’t make you think twice or even for a second about it, then maybe you should dig a little deeper. Because it is the act of doing something meaningful that’s the most rewarding.”

What’s also meaningful to the Roberts is continuing their Christmas tradition of generosity with their daughter, Abigail, when she’s old enough to understand.

“We are going to try to impart three core values to our children. One is the value of hard work, one is gratitude, and one is kindness,” says Nate. “And our work with World Vision hits two out of three of those. It hits gratitude and kindness because you’re opening your heart to others and extending love to them by sharing your gifts and trying to help make their world a better place.”

The Yeagle family: “Pick what’s closest to your heart.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Gary and Connie Yeagle (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Tews)

For as long as she can remember, Connie Yeagle grew up with the philosophy that you should find your passion and live it out.

“Pick what’s closest to your heart, and then you do it locally, you do it nationally, and you do it globally,” Connie says. She became passionate about taking care of people most in need.

Years later at a CeCe Winans concert, Connie and her husband, Gary, first learned about World Vision. They decided on the spot that sponsoring a child was another way the couple could live out their heart for the poor on a global scale.

“From the first time we went to the concert and decided to sponsor a child, it’s been a blessing ever since then,” says Connie, now 70.

Connie, a retired teacher, and Gary, 71, a retired attorney for State Farm, now sponsor multiple children around the world.

“Their letters are precious,” Connie says. “Their families always talk about how they’re praying for us. I find that very humbling, that I have so much, and yet these children, who have nothing basically, are praying for me. And the show of gratitude — it’s amazing that those who have so little are so thankful for what they have.”

Every Christmas, they also share the World Vision Gift Catalog with their friends, six kids, and six grandchildren.

“I have never expressed any regret when I have done anything with my time, or my talent, or my money — ever,” Connie says. “You get so much more in return than you invested to begin with.”

So when Gary turned 70 and a half and had to start taking money out of his retirement account, they knew exactly what they were going to do with it.

“That was money that we had never depended on, and we intended all along to do something to make the world a better place,” Connie says.

This time, they felt led to help provide clean water to children and families in Rwanda. World Vision has committed to bring access to clean water to all program areas in Rwanda by the end of 2022, and to every person in every program area worldwide by 2030 — a total of 50 million people.

In Rwanda, siblings (left to right) Isabelle, 16, Beatrice, 14, Emmanuel, 5, and Kizito, 9, walk to a World Vision tap near their home to get clean water before school. Isabelle and Beatrice are both sponsored. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“There’s no such thing as a problem being so big that you can’t be part of the solution,” Connie says.

They were also drawn to invest further in World Vision because the staff manifest the good news of Christ, but don’t make any assistance conditional on hearing or accepting it. As Jesus’ call led him to help the poor, World Vision follows his example.

One way to show people that you love them is to help provide them with their basic needs.—Connie Yeagle

“World Vision is faithful in spreading the love of Jesus,” Connie says. “You don’t bring others to Christ except through love. And one way to show people that you love them is to help provide them with their basic needs.”

Through their research and witnessing the transformation of lives through their investments, the Yeagles developed tremendous confidence in World Vision over the years.

“World Vision doesn’t go in and put a Band-Aid on something,” Connie says. “They get to know the community to help assess what they need. They then let community leaders decide what they need rather than going in and saying, ‘Oh, you need this, and you need that.’ World Vision empowers the local people. I like that.”

This trust, combined with their faith, has resulted in their decision to become Visionaries to continue their aspiration to love their neighbors — both local and worldwide.

“I don’t think it’s enough to say, ‘Well, I’m going to pray for you,’” Connie says. “You need to go out and do what Jesus told us to do. He said to love thy neighbor as ourselves. He said to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the imprisoned.”

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Adele and Kevin Lacombe (©2019 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

The LaCombe family: “We came to World Vision to give, and we leave here changed.”

For the LaCombe family, World Vision offers the opportunity to change lives for the better together, in a way that impacts each individual and speaks to their heart.

“It’s not about the funds themselves,” says Adele LaCombe, 48, CEO of Debbie Macomber Inc. “It’s about impact. It’s about being changed. It’s about understanding the needs and being a part of the solution.”

One fundamental need worldwide — clean water. Globally, 844 million people lack access. Women and girls often bear the burden of carrying water for their families for an estimated 200 million hours each day.

At school in Rwanda, Tuyishimire, 9, gulps clean water while classmate Ishimwe, 7, watches. Students here have access to safe drinking water, thanks to a 6.8-kilometer pipeline installed by World Vision. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“No parent wants their child to have to carry water,” says Adele, a mother of three. “We want our children to have a better life than we had. That’s given to us by God.”

Adele and her husband, Kevin, 50, envision for their children a life that includes a spirit of giving. In their day-to-day life, they model this through investing their time, talent, and treasure into multiple local, national, and international organizations, including World Vision.

Because of Adele’s work with her mother, Debbie Macomber, their relationship with World Vision started out as part of their family legacy, but it flowed into their personal lives.

“We came to World Vision to give, and we leave changed,” says Adele.

Over the years, Adele and Kevin have observed that even though you don’t necessarily expect or factor in mutual transformation with an investment, it’s often a byproduct.

So they encourage their children to embrace opportunities to give, whether it’s corresponding with their sponsored children — with whom they share birthdays — or choosing a gift from the World Vision Gift Catalog.

“As a family, you create opportunities to get your kids excited by giving, by empowering them to make decisions in that space — letting them go and learn,” Adele says.

Read the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners who have answered the call and made the financial commitment to become Visionaries — a group of World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ, recognizing that in doing so their own lives are also transformed.
Isaiah LaCombe (©2019 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Their youngest, 15-year-old Isaiah, surprised them in 2018 when he explained how he felt a call from God to provide clean water. He wanted to respond by raising $25,000 to build a well in Rwanda.

“I heard his overwhelming desire to be part of something way bigger than himself,” says Kevin, an engineer for the Department of Defense.

Isaiah’s passion for clean water began when his grandmother, Debbie, gave him $50 for Easter, asking him to donate it where he felt led.

“It turned out that my $50 was enough to give someone clean water that lasts,” Isaiah says. And he intentionally chose World Vision after some thorough research.

“They’re so effective at what they do. They’re transparent on how they use their money,” says Isaiah. “But I also like that they’re so involved with everyone giving, and they care about you. They cared about me when I was giving $50, and they care about me now that I’m doing this whole campaign.”

About that same time, he was reading A Long Walk to Water, which is based on a true story of two children in Sudan walking for water.

“I knew there was a problem, and sitting around saying I’m not big enough to make a change wasn’t going to help anybody,” Isaiah says.

For him, it was less of a goal and more of a duty. But on his $0 yearly salary — plus benefits, he adds — achieving this bold vision would mean stepping out of his comfort zone for the greater good. It meant trusting in God’s plan, even when he didn’t think he was the right person for the job.

“There’s so many reasons why I’m not the perfect person to have started this campaign,” says Isaiah. “Parts of it are uncomfortable for me. I’m not a great public speaker, and it’s a big part of the role.”

He’s gone far beyond public speaking. Isaiah has joined his grandmother on Home & Family on the Hallmark Channel, written articles for various publications, and visited his elementary school to inspire other children to dream big. Along the way, several World Vision staff have helped simplify it for him.

“It’s absolutely a focus of his time, but the resources, structure, and wisdom that World Vision provides are phenomenal,” says Adele.

Even though he’s found it to be a lot of work, it’s not been a sacrifice.

“These kids that are actually out there collecting water — they’re sacrificing their life,” Isaiah says.

Globally, 844 million people lack access to clean water, which means that more than 1 of every 10 people on the planet are affected by the global water crisis. Let’s break this topic down — in photos and videos.
Children make the long walk home with containers of polluted water they scooped from holes they dug in a dry riverbed. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Over the past year and a half, Isaiah’s felt the support of his family, friends, and other World Vision donors he’s met at the annual World Vision conference.

“There’s no better feeling in the world than knowing that there’s all these people I’ve looked up to that believe in me and what I want to achieve,” says Isaiah.

And the LaCombes observed that Isaiah was inspiring others as well.

“I’ve had a lot of people come up to me who have supported him and encouraged him, but have told us how he is an encouragement to them,” says Kevin. “That’s been one of the real joys, seeing his impact on people who I would consider mentors — how they’ve really dived in and wanted to be a part of what he’s doing, what his purpose is.”

Isaiah’s very close to raising $25,000, and thanks to generous partners for his campaign, all donations toward his goal are matched by three other donors — more than he could have asked or imagined. That means he’ll be helping to provide clean water to about 2,000 people.

Angelique (right) drills wells to bring clean water to her community in Rwanda — and to provide for her family’s needs. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

But the journey for the LaCombe family is far from over. They’re now joining a community of Visionaries, World Vision supporters who strive to help transform the lives of children, families, and communities in the name of Christ.

“Isaiah’s Rwanda campaign has really been a leaning-in for Kevin and me, too, about the work that we’re doing with World Vision as a family,” Adele says. “When he said, ‘I want to take on this goal, and I believe in this,’ it made Kevin and I look at what we’re doing and say, ‘Our own children are leaning into this. What are we doing?’”

Adele thinks of joining Visionaries as wading into the water a little bit deeper and living into their calling.

“Visionaries — almost anyone you know could be invited in,” Adele says. “It might be really tough for some people, and it might be a little bit easier for others. But almost all of us could tighten up our budgets and figure out a way to make that happen. A kingdom investment.”

And when you figure out a way to make an investment happen, you might leave here changed — like the LaCombes — along with the lives of the people you help.

When you look at World Vision from a business perspective, there’s nothing run better. It doesn’t matter where my dollar goes at World Vision. It’s being used well.—Adele LaCombe

“When you talk about the spiritual impact on people and the impact you’re making on people’s lives, all of those things are so profound,” Adele says. “When you look at World Vision from a business perspective, there’s nothing run better. It doesn’t matter where my dollar goes at World Vision. It’s being used well.”

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