Hope is infectious, even healing. But in a world that’s often dark, what is there to be hopeful for? Here are 20 reasons to have hope in 2020 — and how to pray them into reality.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’—Jeremiah 29:11
1. Extreme poverty is giving up ground.
In the last 20 years, the number of children dying around the world from things they shouldn’t — from hunger and poverty and disease — has dropped from more than 30,000 a day to less than 15,000. And the number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, dropped by more than 1 billion.
Now the world’s nations have set an ambitious goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, and we are joining them in this important work. With World Vision, every 60 seconds, a family gets water, a hungry child is fed, and a family gets the tools to overcome poverty.
Merciful Provider, we thank You for all You have done to make fullness of life possible for people in need around the world. Give us wisdom and the financial support to free more children from the effects of extreme poverty.
You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.
2. More mothers and children are surviving and thriving.
Between 2000 and 2017, the rate of women dying in childbirth or from birth complications has dropped by 38%. Why? Better nutrition and access to quality healthcare are giving moms and their babies a healthier start. Improved water and sanitation prevent many diseases and boost children’s immune systems.
World Vision helps girls stay in school longer and get a better education so they can avoid child marriage and high-risk teen pregnancies. Educated girls have fewer children and are better able to take care of them.
Great Healer, we give You thanks for every precious mother and child whose life has been saved. Give us courage and strength to extend Your love to more mothers and kids so that they may enjoy fullness of life.
3. Immunizations prevent 2–3 million deaths each year.
More than 25 dangerous and debilitating diseases — including diarrhea, tetanus, measles, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and polio — can be stopped in their tracks by timely vaccinations. Taking immunizations to children in every corner of the world has likely saved more lives than any other health activity of the past 50 years.
Almighty Deliverer, we know that every child is created in Your image and deserves our care. Renew our dedication to following Your example as a friend and healer for children in need around the world.
4. We can solve the global water crisis within our lifetimes.
World Vision is the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds and three more schools every day with clean water. We are increasing our impact and scope to reach everyone, everywhere we work by 2030. The sixth of 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the U.N. also includes achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.
World Vision U.S. President Emeritus Rich Stearns has personally committed to help bring clean water to Rwanda, which will likely be the first country in the developing world to solve its water crisis.
Faithful God, help World Vision to bring clean water to those who desperately need it, and work in hearts to reveal the living water we can receive from You.
5. Cheru walks minutes instead of miles for water that no longer makes her sick.
The last three years, we’ve walked the Global 6K for Water with 5-year-old Cheru Lotuliapus, whose daily life in Kenya was consumed with finding and collecting water. The effects of this life meant Cheru and so many other girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa were not able to live up to their potential.
With World Vision’s help, her community built a pipeline that brings clean water down from a mountain spring. A spigot now brings fresh water to 6-year-old Cheru and her family — only steps from where her mother cooks, washes clothes, and prepares tea.
Loving Father, we give thanks for water engineers who work tirelessly around the world to bring girls like Cheru clean water and a new lease on life. We ask for Your blessings on children, mothers, fathers, and communities who are thirsty. Purify, protect, and multiply their water sources. Strengthen their resolve so they may fully enjoy the benefits of clean water — essentials like education, gardens of fresh produce, and good health.
6. World Vision has partnered with the U.N. and UNICEF to launch the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.
Together, we are supporting the efforts of those seeking to prevent violence, protect childhood, and help make societies safe for children. By 2030, we hope to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children.
Loving God, reach out Your helping, healing, and loving hands to keep children safe from harm. Bless this work to protect Your children.
7. Men in India are taking a stand against a harmful tradition — child marriage — that has tarnished the worth of girls for centuries.
Instead of conforming to their society’s skewed understanding of a girl’s worth — merely as a profit-and-loss commodity — Men Care Groups in Agra, India, educate and equip men on the inherent value of women and girls. Members of this World Vision program also support one another in leading their families with empathy and encouragement, convincing other community members not to marry off their teenage daughters.
Wonderful Counselor, show Your compassion to the multitudes of girls and women who endure the damaging physical and relational effects of child marriage. Reveal alternatives to parents or change the hearts of those who consider giving up their daughters for social status or financial gain.
8. We are working toward a more open, inclusive, and fair world for people with disabilities by 2030.
Individuals with disabilities can face a lot of barriers — in their living environment, in the form of outdated laws and policies, and in the attitudes and prejudices of people in their community. But now, five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations address disability needs in sectors such as education, economic growth, employment, governance, and infrastructure. World Vision operates disability-specific programming as well as disability-inclusive programming around the world.
Compassionate Father, equip community leaders, families, and Your followers as they support children with disabilities. May we continue to focus on meeting the needs of people who are vulnerable due to physical and mental limitations.
9. Rosemary doesn’t know the hunger and hardship her family did.
This 9-year-old from Moyo, Zambia, knows of prosperity — about plenty, learning, sharing, and being free to follow her dream of being a chef. Five World Vision Gift Catalog goats, her family’s hard work, and child sponsorship helped to lift her and her family out of poverty.
Gracious Lord, we sing Your praise, giving thanks for Your blessings in the lives of people around the world like Rosemary and her family. May we carry Your hope within us.
Mobile technology and other innovations allow humanitarian organizations to work better and smarter, improving efficiencies so more resources can help people in poverty and communities in crisis. World Vision is expanding its efforts to apply new methods and technologies for development work.
From October 2018 to March 2019, World Vision tested pilot projects in 16 countries. These pilot projects provide a way to take innovative solutions developed at a grassroots level and test them for potential scale-up into vital programs like Last Mile Mobile Solutions — developed by World Vision and now being used by a dozen other organizations — which is revolutionizing how disaster survivors receive food, cash assistance, and relief supplies in their time of greatest need.
Lord of Creation, we express our gratitude for new knowledge and technology. May we continue to learn more to further help Your children.
11. Restored relationships and lives are possible — even in the worst of situations.
In April 1994, when Rwanda erupted into violence, neighbor turned on neighbor, family turned on family, and love turned to hate. The genocide turned friends, like Andrew and Callixte, into enemies.
After Callixte was part of a group that killed Andrew’s wife’s entire family, Andrew turned him in to the authorities. Callixte was imprisoned. Yet after going through World Vision training in peace and reconciliation, the two men are as close as brothers again. Now, two of their children are engaged and plan to get married when they finish school.
Merciful Redeemer, we thank You that Andrew and Callixte are no longer prisoners of their pain. Each new day reminds us of Your grace and the hope found only in You.
12. Since the Syrian refugee crisis began in 2011, World Vision has helped millions of people in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.
Internationally recognized as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis will enter its 10th year in March. Yet amid the conflict and hardship, governments are allocating funds to meet this humanitarian emergency, churches are raising a cry of prayer and support for people in desperate circumstances, and people worldwide are finding a way to engage meaningfully for the sake of Syrian children and their families.
“This is what gives me hope — seeing people from all over the world caring enough to help,” says Eyad, a mechanical engineer turned World Vision aid worker in Syria. “There is still goodness in this world.”
Good Shepherd, You see Syrians’ needs with a tender heart. Awaken us to the needs of Syrian children and their mothers and fathers. Let us not grow weary in doing what is right and good in Your eyes. Remind us to engage on their behalf as we would if it were our own families who were suffering.
13. Whether disasters reach the news or not, World Vision is responding with resilience to provide hope to the most vulnerable.
World Vision responded to 143 disasters and humanitarian emergencies in 44 countries, invested $689 million in relief, and helped about 16 million people — over half of them children — in 2018.
Our goal isn’t only to be the “first in” when responding to the most urgent humanitarian crises, but also be the last out — seeing families and communities through hardship to restoration.
Jesus, we thank You for offering hope to people suffering from disasters — the hurricane survivor, the refugee, the family facing famine. May we follow Your example in seeking out the lost, injured, and threatened, providing care and protection during their hour of greatest need.
14. Jennifer Nyirmbe is back in church.
After her baby died during a home birth that resulted in an obstetric fistula, 21-year-old Jennifer would only pray outside her church in Uganda. She felt she couldn’t step inside for fear of losing control of her bladder. World Vision brought surgeons specializing in fistula repair to Jennifer’s community. Her surgery was successful. The Sunday afterward, Jennifer was back at church — this time inside.
Sovereign Lord, thank You for healing Jennifer and more than 50 other women of fistulas in Uganda.
15. Children like Constance are experiencing God’s love.
World Vision is empowering local churches, schools, and parents to create engaging, faith-filled environments that help children and youth, like 11-year-old Constance from Kenya, explore their faith and experience Jesus’ love.
“It felt so nice when the preacher said that we had been forgiven our sins,” says Constance. The sermon she heard that day made her realize she wanted to commit her life to serve Christ. She’s an active member of her Bible club, and now after participating in leadership training from World Vision, she talks to her peers about God and their faith journeys. She has grown in her own faith, as well as in her self-esteem.
Jesus, Your love changes hearts. As children learn to follow You more closely, may they find their value in Your grace. Help them love people around them in ways that point them to You.
16. The standard for a basic education has changed from simply attending school to ensuring students can read, write, and do basic math.
World Vision’s education programs prioritize equitable access for all and measurable learning outcomes, so we can ensure children have the education they deserve — and a solid start to reach their God-given potential. And with 1 in 4 children living in a country grappling with humanitarian crises, we are providing education along the continuum from disaster relief to development.
Righteous King, You created every one of Your children with great potential. May we empower every child to achieve their best and walk into Your plan for them.
17. Moms around the world are tapping into their vast potential.
With help from World Vision, moms around the world are raising, harvesting, and preparing food to make their children healthy and their communities more prosperous. We’re equipping them with the economic tools and training they need to build a solid financial future.
Wise Father, thank You for inspiring people to invest in the futures of moms so children and communities can thrive.
18. As one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world, World Vision has the infrastructure, experience, and relationships needed to bring about lasting change.
In just five years, together we impacted the lives of over 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. Our nearly 37,000 staff — 95% of them working in their home regions — apply nearly 70 years of relief, development, and advocacy work to transform lives worldwide. We work in nearly 100 countries, including the U.S. Our integrated model addresses the many causes of poverty, and our tailored approach is community-based and community-owned.
Savior, You have prepared this good work for us to do. Thank You for the people who share their resources so we can help empower the poor. Show them what amazing things their gifts are doing in the lives of children in need around the world. Bless them as they honor You by blessing the poor.
19. World Vision put the power to choose in a child’s hands.
In 2019, for the first time, children now have the opportunity to choose their sponsor. This simple switch honors the mutuality of these relationships and validates each child’s God-given worth and potential.
Chosen, a new invitation to child sponsorship, empowers children in developing countries to choose their sponsor from a wall of photos — and creates a future full of choices through child sponsorship. Sponsorship helps provide spiritual nurture, clean water, education, healthcare, and economic empowerment for not only the child but also their family and community.
Father God, you gave your son, Jesus, and chose us. Help World Vision empower children and their communities to take hold of their futures and build lasting change.
20. Because of our community-focused solutions, for every child you help, four more children benefit, too.
Seven-year-old Debby and her friends live in Moyo, Zambia, and although only Debby is sponsored, they are all benefiting from child sponsorship that began in Moyo in October 2009. Debby’s best friend, 12-year-old Brendah — like every child in the community, sponsored or not — has access to clean water. Five-year-old Adam benefits from the new health facility in Moyo, a necessity for a little boy battling stomach trouble. Debby’s neighbor, 11-year-old Lightwell, goes everywhere with a book in his hand and attends World Vision’s reading camp, held on weekends. Eleven-year-old Beatrice is as funny and feisty as her friend, Debby. She and her family benefit from World Vision’s agriculture work in Moyo.
Kind Creator, help us show Your love to children like Debby and her friends. Thank You for multiplying the effect of child sponsorship to impact many more of Your children. Empower children, families, and their communities to stand tall, free from poverty.
Sponsoring a child is a personal way to show God’s love to a child in need.
Kari Costanza, Chris Huber, Denise C. Koenig, Kathryn Reid, and Laura Reinhardt of World Vision’s staff in the U.S. and Annila Harris of World Vision’s staff in India contributed to this article.