The blessing of being chosen

Little boy holds photo of his new Chosen sponsors.

My wife, Leiza, and I gathered our kids in the living room, all of us excited in anticipation of what a sealed envelope would reveal. We opened it, and inside was a photo of a 6-year-old boy from Guatemala, Wuilmer Garcia Tomas, holding a picture of Leiza and me. He had chosen us to be his sponsors! 

Wuilmer’s expression immediately made us laugh and smile. Then, Leiza noticed his full name, and she began to weep. Tomas was the name of her beloved father, who passed away three years ago.

Leiza and I have sponsored many kids around the world. But this was different. We had put ourselves out there, with some vulnerability, to be chosen. And of all the kids choosing among all the sponsor photos, it was a little boy with a special name who chose us.

Chosen recognizes the dignity of children living in extreme poverty and emphasizes their God-given potential to change their lives and their communities.—Edgar Sandoval Sr., World Vision U.S. president

That’s the impact of Chosen, World Vision’s new way of connecting children with their sponsors. For the first time in our nearly 70-year history, we’re putting the power to choose in the child’s hands — and delivering the blessing of being chosen to the sponsor.

It’s a simple but profound twist on our tried-and-true child sponsorship model. Chosen recognizes the dignity of children living in extreme poverty and emphasizes their God-given potential to change their lives and their communities.

You see, we believe the Lord created children to be change-makers. Choosing a sponsor is only the first of many important choices they can make to open the door to a better future.

No matter how or for whichever reason brought you to sponsor a child through World Vision, you can be sure you’re improving kids’ lives and communities. Our programs address the root causes of children’s vulnerability and empowers them and their families to break free from poverty. We partner with communities, focusing on what they say are their greatest needs, and we work together on a plan to overcome their challenges — such as improving water and sanitation, boosting health and nutrition, unlocking education, protecting children, and providing spiritual nurture.

Sponsorship is working, and I’m excited to give you the evidence. First, children are healthier. In Zambia, where World Vision’s health and nutrition programs are present, moms are six times more likely to access healthcare that improves their newborn babies’ survival.

Education is so critical for overcoming poverty, and children are thriving in school because of sponsorship. For example, in Bangladesh, kids’ reading comprehension using World Vision’s literacy program is 68%, compared to 4% comprehension without the program.

And kids and young people are growing in their faith. In our sponsorship programs in Central America, 85% of children say they experience God’s love, and nearly 90% of children and youth take part in activities like Sunday school and youth ministry. It means so much to me that Wuilmer will have that important foundation.

World Vision isn’t changing child sponsorship. With something we believe in so much, works so well, and changes so many lives, we only want to extend the invitation in a new way so that more people can experience it. Starting with the delight of discovering the child who chose you!

Edgar Sandoval Sr. became president of World Vision U.S. on Oct. 1, 2018. Follow him at twitter.com/EdgarSandovalSr.

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