World Vision
Podcast #67 — Aired August 24, 2015

What does it take to make a better world for children? For decades World Vision, one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, has been answering that question with programs like child sponsorship, clean water, and disaster relief. Our guest this week on BetterWorldians Radio is World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns. Stearns will discuss the progress being made to tackle extreme poverty and how our listeners can help make a difference.

 

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Richard Stearns
President, World Vision

Richard Stearns is the President of World Vision U.S., one of the world’s largest nonprofit humanitarian organizations. Rich has brought strong leadership and oversight to World Vision U.S. since 1998, when he left his position as CEO of Lenox to follow what he felt as a distinct call from God on his life. Prior to his tenure at Lenox, Stearns was CEO of Parker Brothers Games. He holds a B.A. in neurobiology from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009, Stearns was appointed to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the White House. As president of World Vision U.S., Stearns has built a strong leadership team focused on bringing corporate best practices to the nonprofit sector. Stearns is the author of several books, including the award-winning The Hole in Our Gospel and Unfinished. With his wife, Reneé, he has also published a children’s Bible storybook and a 90-day devotional.

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Hi welcome to Better Worldians radio. Better Worldians radio is a weekly broadcast whose mission is to uplift and inspire you to make the world a better place. Every week we are speaking with bestselling authors, film producers, TED speakers, happiness experts and also everyday folks just like you whose small acts are making a big difference. That's why we call them BetterWorldians. I'm Ray Hansell and this is BetterWorldians spotlight. Today our spotlight focuses on World Vision U.S. One of the world's largest nonprofit humanitarian organizations. Our guest today is Richard Stearns president of World Vision. Richard has brought strong leadership and oversight to World Vision U.S. since 1998 when he left his position as C.E.O. of Linux to follow what he felt as a distinct call from God on his life. Prior to his tenure at Lenox, Stearns was C.E.O. of Parker Brothers games, he holds a B.A. in neurobiology from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2009 Stearns was appointed to the president of Pfizer Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the White House. As president of World Vision U.S. Stearns says, build a strong leadership team focused on bringing corporate best practices to the nonprofit sector. Stearns is the author of several books including the award winning, The Hole in our Gospel and Unfinished. With his wife Renee he has also published a children's bible story book with a ninety day devotional. Richard thank you so much for joining us today on BetterWorldians radio.

Richard
Well thanks Ray, great to be with you today.

Raymond Hansell
Youre very very welcome. Let me begin by having you share with our listeners a little bit about World Vision, what it does and who it serves.

Richard
World Vision is really an amazing ministry founded in 1950, so when I was sixty five years old and we can apply for Medicare finally at World Vision. We are in a hundred countries around the world with about forty five thousand full time staff believe it or not. And in simple words World Vision is about helping the poor in the name of Jesus, and that was our founding vision but we've learned a lot about poverty over sixty five years and we have a very unique approach to working with poor communities, and our whole model is focused on helping people and communities realize their God given potential, whats the potential thats locked within them that they've been unable to realize because of their circumstances and so we recognize that being in poverty in a developing nation is very complicated. You know poverty traps us in multiple dimensions and so World Vision is very unique in that we work across all of these different dimensions of poverty, food and hunger, clean water sanitation and hygiene, community based health, safe childbirth, health practices, disease prevention, education, economic opportunity with things like micro loans and savings groups. We do a lot of work with women and girls on gender because often in developing nations women and girls don't have an opportunity to go to school and they're often exploited in different ways, and again we're trying to help them realize their full God given potential. So at the end of the day World Vision is about working with communities with a focus on children to help lift those communities out of poverty and to help them be able to better provide for their own children. Many people have heard of our child sponsorship programs and by sponsoring a child with World Vision, you provide the funds that allow us to do that work in that child's Community. It's an amazing ministry and I'm amazed every day when I hear stories about what we're accomplishing.

Raymond Hansell
That's terrific. You had a very successful career as a C.E.O. of Lenox before you decided to make that big leap and come on board this nonprofit at World Vision, what prompted that change?

Richard
Well it was a big change it was now seventeen years ago but I was kind of at the top of my game, I had risen to corporate C.E.O. and a prestigious company that makes the Fine China for the White House. So it basically, the simple answer is I felt called. I think we all need to be listening to God's call in our lives whatever that might be and it's different for every person, but I really had a profound sense that God was calling me to this. I did not go out looking for this job, I did not apply for the job. Literally my phone rang and it was a recruiter saying World Vision is looking for a new president and we think you might be a good candidate. That was a first step, and then the second step involved obedience, because I was not looking to do this, I was pretty successful and I'd worked really hard to get to where I was in my career, and I had five little kids and a mortgage, and college expenses to pay and ultimately I had to be obedient in putting Christ first in my life, and if this really was God's calling, it was not about success, it was not about money. It was about service and obedience and so it was not an easy decision. I quit my job at Lenox, I turned in my corporate Jaguar, we sold our ten bedroom home on five acres in Pennsylvania and we moved to Seattle Washington, and thirty days later I was in the middle of Uganda, in the middle of the AIDS pandemic looking to see what World Vision could do to help. It was a huge culture shock as you know go from luxury goods to the jungles of Uganda in the middle of the AIDS pandemic but it's been a real blessing and the Lord has reaffirmed that call many times since I came here back in 1998.

Raymond Hansell
How's your life changed as a result of that?

Richard
I often say I would not trade my experiences at World Vision and with the Lord for the life of a billionaire. A billionaire could not purchase the experience I've had traveling the world, meeting people, going into their homes, and hearing their stories and then being able to help them in really tangible ways, and to know that I'm doing it in obedience to Christ as a way of expressing my faith in the Lord. It's just been a very high privilege to be invited into what I think is very sacred work that we do as followers of Christ here at World Vision. When I came here couple of years after I got here, somebody offered me a million dollars a year to leave and I just laughed at them and I said, you don't understand it's not about money, it's about doing what God called me to do and finding the joy in that calling and so I'm still here fifteen years later.

Raymond Hansell
That's terrific. You recently were also connected with Joel Osteen Ministry, another person called obviously in ministry, could you tell us about your involvement with the Osteen organization?

Richard
Yes. Well I had never met Joel obviously I had seen him on television and knew of him but we got a call from someone at Joel Osteen ministries that said that they were looking for a partner for their stadium events, they do arena and stadium events around the country, I think he does about one a month. And he travels around mostly the U.S. although he does some international travel as well and it's a night of hope with Joel Osteen and there's music and worship and preaching and Joel wanted to see if, could we work together to get some kids sponsored through his events and so we became a partner of Joel Osteen ministries I think about three years ago and Joel's brother, most people don't know Dr. Paul Osteen is Joel's brother and he's a medical doctor. Dr. Paul spends about six months of his year living in Africa working in clinics in poor communities there. Hell relieve missionary doctors so they can take a month of furlough to go home and he'll stand in for them. Hes got about six months a year and hes just passionate about the poor, and actually Dr. Paul read my book The Hole in Our Gospel and he told his brother Joel about it and that's why they called to begin with. It's been a great partnership, they're passionate about helping the poor and we are as well.

Raymond Hansell
They did a great job introducing the World Vision at the conference in Philadelphia recently, so my hats off to the work that you guys are doing with them. Their Christianity in general it seems to be very important part of the work, it's at the core of the work that World Vision does, can you explain and describe the connection as you see it?

Richard
It's a very deep commitment, we were founded by an evangelist in 1950 who saw human suffering in the world, in his case it was in Korea during the war and he saw the orphans, and the widows, and the human suffering. And as an evangelist he knew that God was calling him not just to speak the words of the Gospel but to live out the Gospel and demonstrate it to the people that needed so much help. His name is Dr. Bob Pearson, he came home from Korea and founded World Vision in 1950. But that's been our heart beat ever since. Right in our mission statement we talk about witness to Jesus Christ through life, word, deed and sign that encourages people to respond to the Gospel, but we also believe in helping the whole person. That people are spiritual and material creatures and God wants us to enjoy good health, he wants us to realize our God given potential, he wants us to have enough food to eat and clean water to drink. We see our work as really demonstrating the Gospel in very tangible ways, and when you walk with somebody through crisis, when you walk with them through heartache, when you give them a helping hand when they're down and out, they very much are open to talking to you about spiritual things as well. We combine a love for people and helping them where they are with bringing the good news to the people we serve as well and doing it in the name of Christ and in obedience to Christ, that's our heart beat at World Vision.

Raymond Hansell
That's wonderful. Can you talk a little bit about the access to clean water you just mentioned, and how that changes lives and how the work that World Vision does impacts that area in that arena?

Richard
Absolutely. And just in the last five years, World Vision has become the number one provider of clean water in the world today, we provide clean water sanitation and hygiene to about two million people every year and we're trying to grow beyond that and I want your listeners to just think for a minute about what life would be like if they woke up tomorrow morning and none of the faucets worked in their house and there was absolutely no access to water to make your coffee, to wash your clothes, to take a shower, to wash or to drink? It would be an inconvenience for a day but imagine that if every day there was no water, and in order to get water you had to take an old jerry can and walk maybe three four miles to a lake or a pond and dip it in, and carry it home, and then the water you brought home was filled with bacteria and disease, but this is what you had to give your children? This is what you had to wash with, and to prepare food with and imagine that this was every day of your life? I think on average a woman in the developing world walks six or seven kilometers roundtrip to get water, that's about four miles and a jerry can full of water often weighs forty or fifty pounds and they have to carry it. So water changes everything and if you don't have water, it changes everything. Usually it's women and children that have to fetch the water, so the women have no time to do more productive work at home, the children especially girls are not able to attend school. The leading cause of death for children in the developing world is usually water borne diseases, and we find that when we can bring clean water to a community, we'll cut the child's death rate, child mortality rate by about half and half as many children will die before their fifth birthday and preventable causes. It really changes everything, I think we would all agree in our country, if there was no water here, we would just be eking out survival and a living. We wouldn't be able to build a society that brings out our full potential as human being. It's so foundational, Worldvision makes it a real high priority.

Raymond Hansell
And a high priority it should be. Child protection is also a very large part of the World Vision, can you tell our listeners a little bit about what you do in that area?

Richard
Absolutely! What we find in the world is, the world is a very dangerous place for children. It kind of makes sense that the most vulnerable people in any society are as children because they're small, and they're weak, and they're helpless, and they can't care for themselves. So in a society that is difficult, where there's poverty, there's exploitation, there's even things like the rule of law, where you know people generally obey the law and are prosecuted if they don't. That doesn't exist in many places where we work and so children become the most vulnerable victims of that and theres a lot of ways that children need to be protected. Sometimes they end up on the streets you know they become street children that run away from home, or their parents die, or they become orphans, or they're just so poor they have to beg for money, and of course once they hit the streets they're vulnerable to people that exploit them and girls in particular are vulnerable to trafficking for prostitution and it's a huge problem across the world, children and girls being stolen from their parents in their homes and forced to work as slaves in brothels. I was just in Bangladesh a year ago and theres a brothel with a hundred twenty sex workers and the girls are sometimes ten years old when they're brought to work in these brothels. In that country, it's legal, it's not against the law, and it's heartbreaking, and World Vision is working there to try to rescue those girls from their horrible fate. We're trying to do a lot of work for to prevent these things from happening and we emphasize prevention in a lot of the countries in which we work, and we educate communities and parents about the dangers for their children, we form youth groups of children that support one another, teenagers that work together to make sure that they don't become vulnerable and they stick together. Sometimes it's about educating the teachers in the schools and we have things here called Amber Alerts in the United States when a child is abducted, an amber alert goes out and anybody that sees this child or this license plate can call the police and report it. We actually create Amber Alerts in places like Cambodia, where if a girl disappears, it's immediately known and a mechanism clicks into place where the community tracks her down and calls the police. We're trying to prevent trafficking, but protecting children and helping communities protect our own children is right at the heart of what we do.

Raymond Hansell
Another thing I think listeners may be aware of is, it seems like whenever there's a natural disaster, World Vision is right there in the center of it, can you tell our listeners a little bit how you respond to natural disasters?

Richard
Absolutely, and probably the worst thing that happens to people in their lifetime is a natural disaster. And even this week out where I live in Washington State, there are these horrible wildfires that are burning people's homes, California and Washington this summer. People that lose everything and they're just absolutely devastated and they need a helping hand. It happens in our own country, it certainly happens around the world, so World Vision wants to be there as the hands and feet of Christ in the hour of need that people have. We often say that we're the first ones in and the last ones out in a disaster. The most recent one was a Nepal earthquake where within hours, World Vision, we were already in that country, we had more than two hundred full time staff working in Nepal. We were responding within hours to help in the rescue efforts and to help people whod lost their homes, to find a place to live, provide temporary shelter, start a food supply where they would not go without food, and then work at protecting their children and even doing counseling for children that have been traumatized, maybe theyd lost a parent or they'd certainly lost their homes. World Vision works very heavily in relief situations emergency relief. The biggest one right now in the world is the Syrian crisis, more than six million children have been affected by the war in Syria. Many of them have fled to Lebanon and Jordan and Turkey as refugees. Many have lost parents especially fathers fighting and we're working in those refugee camps and refugee settlements in Lebanon in Jordan, and even a little bit inside Syria to help people deal with the trauma. It's not their fault it's, war broke out bad governments, evil people, ISIS is over there in the middle of all this, and the innocent victims are the mothers, fathers and children who are fleeing from the violence. So emergency relief is very close to our heart because it really helps people at their urgent hour of need.

Raymond Hansell
You guys are doing amazing work I hope our listeners are paying really close attention, this is an amazing episode we're having right now. We're going to take a short break we'll be right back with Richard Stearns president of World Vision. Before we go I want to let our listeners know that if you're a fan of BetterWorldians radio, you should possibly check out our popular social game of Facebook called a better world, a better world is a value based game that encourages good deeds, helps develop positive mindsets and raises money and awareness for charities. To date so far we've actually had thirty five million good deeds or acts of kindness performed by over three million people in a better world, and all this is supported many causes nationally and internationally that help children and adults. Players have actually helped provide new cots for homeless children, enable surgeries that let kids walk for the first time, to feed hungry families worldwide and much more and shouldnt we partner with Dr. Phil Foundation, we challenged our players to complete three hundred thousand good deeds in the game and because they exceeded that goal, we released funds for the I am for the child campaign which recruits volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children. Great job BetterWorldians!

Intro
How can we make it a matter world? I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. Everybody needs to help their neighbor and it will spread from then on. I should do more. I could do more, I spend so much time on Facebook. How much time do I spend on Facebook? Probably more than I should be spending. I'll definitely go back if I could find to the time. Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook, It's called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams, do good deeds make a difference and have fun become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded, log in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. For more information visit Facebook.com/a better world. In 1987, inner city first graders were promised a college education. Now this promise didn't come from a wealthy corporation, it came from [inaudible 00:21:28] Lee Brown who saved a large portion of her modest income every year for this children. He promised Ryan, you cant do a thing half the noble, we need to do more. And she did more by sending nineteen kids to college, helping others pass it on from the Foundation for A Better Life at values.com.

Raymond Hansell
Welcome back to BetterWorldians radio spotlight. We're talking with Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, one of the world's largest nonprofit humanitarian organizations. Rich how does World Vision support women and children? We spoke about that a little bit earlier and you mentioned the micro-loan aspect of it, could you talk to that a little bit?

Richard
One of the things we've learned over many years, again remember our mission in the world is to try to help people overcome poverty so that they can realize their God given potential. And while things like food, water, and health are absolutely critically important. If you have food, water, and health and even an education, but you don't have a job, you don't have any form of livelihood or a way to earn money you're still poor. So World Vision is invested a lot over the last thirty years in trying to understand how do we help people generate an income for themselves so that they can become self-sustaining. We have a very broad micro-loan and economic development program all around the world. Our primary clients are women because we found that it's a way of empowering women, it's a way of adding income to the family. Often the men are involved as farmers you know growing food in, and they have some livelihood from that, but if we can add another income to the family as the women work, it has tremendous benefits to the whole family. To be honest with you, this is probably true everywhere in the world, women are a little bit more reliable than men when they get a lot of money in their hands, they tend to invest it in their family and in their children, and men don't always do that they sometimes go to the pub and spend some of it there, so women have turned out to be very reliable loan clients. We have probably worldwide about a six hundred million dollars micro loan portfolio and more than a million clients and basically these are small loans they can be a small as fifty dollars or a couple of hundred dollars, but a couple of hundred dollars can be the difference almost between life and death for a family in the developing world. And with a couple hundred dollars alone, a woman can buy a sewing machine so that she can start to make clothing, that she can then sell for a profit, or she could buy some chickens for breeding or maybe goats for breeding, and all kinds of businesses have been started and we find that the poor are just as creative and inventive and entrepreneurial as the rest of us. They just don't have access to capital and money and we provide some basic business training for them as well. And so we have some wonderful stories of women and men who have started businesses, they've succeeded, they've hired other people and paid them a salary to work for them and it stimulates the whole economy of the village and again the end goal, is the money is not the end but by generating enough money and income for their family they can actually care better for their own children. And when World Vision leaves the community, this is important point, we only stay ten to fifteen years in a community and then we leave and we're trying to work ourselves out of a job. I like to say we're giving people a hand up not a handout. That's what we do and micro loans are very important.

Raymond Hansell
How does World Vision help families too, in need to grow sustainable food?

Richard
Well once again you know one of the threads and in our conversation today Ray is that World Vision has learned that we have to be a jack of all trades, because poverty is complicated and it exists in multiple domains in someone's life. So food, agriculture, food security, reliable source of food is very important in poor communities, and most of the poorest of the poor in our world tend to live in places where they live off the land they have small plots of land, they grow certain crops and vegetables, they hope to have enough to feed their family and then have some left over that they can take to market and sell. We do a lot of work with farmers, we form farmers cooperatives, we introduce improved farming methods for them, the use of fertilizer, better seed strains and variety so they can get a higher yield per acre of land. In the cooperatives, we bring twenty five farmers together, theyre smallholder farmers, but if they each individually negotiate to sell their produce they get a lower price than if they bargain collectively. So you get twenty five farmers who might have a hundred bags of grain to sell or a truckload of tomatoes to sell. They can all get a higher price from the middleman, who then takes them to the markets to distribute them so it's a full kind of end to end supply chain. We help them at the growing end and also at the access to markets and selling their wares at the other end and again that creates more reserves for the family. Hopefully they grow enough food in the growing season to last them through the maybe the dry season when they don't have an opportunity to grow and they can sell money selling the crops for money to get additional income for their families.

Raymond Hansell
Thats great. World Vision got its start with child sponsorship and still runs this programs today, can you share a story about a child sponsorship success? I'm sure you've had many of them but perhaps pick one out that you could share with our listeners?

Richard
Sure I'd be happy to do that, and child sponsorship is a wonderful way to help because when I talk to people about, well World Vision is fighting global poverty, you can see their eyes glaze over a bit when I say, there's a little boy named Joseph in Uganda and you could help him for about a dollar a day. It's like really, I could make a difference in a little boy's life or a little girl's life for a dollar a day, and that's the beauty of a child sponsorship. One story that I've been telling recently that stuck with me is in the 1980s, there was a little boy in Zambia name Timothy Mwate, and Timothy was born into poverty and worse yet the father abandoned the family when Timothy was an infant and so it was a single mother raising Timothy and his brothers and sisters and when he was two years old to make matters worse he contracted polio and ended up being crippled, from the polio he survived but was crippled. But what made the difference in Timothy's life, a gentleman in the United States named Gordon Cowden, I think in 1986, made the decision to sponsor Timothy and for the next fifteen or more years wrote letters to Timothy and encouraged him and encouraged him to get his education and to stay in school and to work hard at his studies, and the success story was that Timothy not only did well in school but he finished high school he was accepted at a university. He overcame his polio and learned to walk with a cane, he went to a university and when in the middle of university, he was having a bit of a financial crisis. He wrote to Gordon and Gordon helped with a few hundred dollars and got him through that crisis, and so he was able to graduate from the university and he got married and had a family of his own. The amazing thing is that today that little boy Timothy is the provincial head for child development for the government Zambia in Africa. So he grew up to become a government official whose job it is to help other children realize their full potential in his country.

Raymond Hansell
Wonderful cycle.

Richard
There's a poignant side to this story Ray, which is kind of tragic but poignant but that man Gordon Cowden was a victim in 2012 of the Aurora Colorado shooting in the theater in Colorado. In fact a trial has been going on recently of the perpetrator and he was killed that night, but what I like to say is that, that man Gordon is still changing the world even though he's passed away because Timothy is changing the world in his country in Zambia. So investing in that child was a way of paying it forward and making a difference into the future. So this is a really great story for the power of child sponsorship.

Raymond Hansell
The power of small steps and where they lead. I see this over and over again in all the stories that youve about World Vision. Now what this World Vision do in the U.S. we've talked so much about the international scope?

Richard
Absolutely. There's is tremendous poverty in the United States and its kind of embarrassing for me as an American that, the statistics today, are one out of five American children are growing up in households below the poverty line in the United States, and millions and millions of kids have to have subsidized school lunches, and they go to schools where you know they're in very very poor communities. There are many food banks across America, we know that there is poverty in America, it's a different kind of poverty, for the most part in our country people have access to clean water, they have access to schools, they have enough food to eat generally, or there's a way to get it but the poverty is very much in the environment, and in their heads. I often say poverty is as much you know up inside our heads as it is out in the environment. And so World Vision does try to work in the United States, we have a whole school supply program for at risk kids and we invite inner city teachers into our literally we have storehouses that are like retail stores where teachers in the school districts can come in and get free school supplies for their classes. We've got some mentoring programs for at risk youth in the United States, helping them make wise decisions about school helping them to avoid things like gangs, and early pregnancy, and really just trying to encourage these kids in their most vulnerable years, their teenage years in particular to make smart choices, that there is a way for them to have a better life but it depends on the choices they make, and it's hard for them to do in the environments in which they live. We do work in I think about eight locations in the United States with the poor including Appalachia, that's one of our sites and we very much believe in you know helping people here and around the world.

Raymond Hansell
How about the progress? Many people just get as you say the ice is ways over when they look at the scope of the problem. Have you seen significant progress in your tenure there and in the tenure of the World Vision over the past sixty five years?

Richard
Absolutely. And I'm really glad you asked that question because the general feeling of most Americans is that this is a bottomless pit and it never seems to get any better, and you look at the headlines on the news or in the paper in it just seems like every day the headlines are worse and worse in our world with terrorism and suffering and disasters. But the real story is quite remarkable, in the last twenty five years more people have been lifted out of extreme poverty than any time in the history of the world, it's remarkable. Just a few statistics to demonstrate this, but when I when I started it at World vision, thirty five thousand children died every day of preventable causes, simple things like diarrhea that children don't need to die from those things, today it's less than half of that. It's seventeen thousand children die every day, now that's still too many but it's been cut in half, just in about twenty years. And then women dying in childbirth, that's been cut by more than half in the last twenty five years. People with access to clean water in 1990, 2.8 billion people which at that time was more than half the world's population, did not have access to clean water in their community. Now 2 billion of those 2.8 billion have gotten clean water access and there's less than a billion left that need clean water. So I could go on and on about the retreat of malaria and H.I.V. and Aids, and other diseases right are being successfully dealt with and prevented. But the world is a much better place today than it was twenty five years ago and

Raymond Hansell
I think for our listeners, if you want to see some of the progress if you go to their Web site at worldvision.org, you'll still see the graphics displayed and show specifically how this is moved from decade to decade to decade. Progress is being made there is hope out there, we're making a difference. Rich in what ways can our listeners help support World Vision?

Richard
Well there's certainly a lot of ways to help and I would encourage everyone to pray for the poorest of the poor in our world. Jesus talked in very moving and emotional terms about the least of these among us. I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink. Clearly the call on our life is to care and have a deep concern for the most vulnerable people in our world and so praying is important, pray for the aid workers that are out there, sometimes risking their lives to do this work. Sponsoring a child is a terrific way to help and if you have children of your own it's a great way to teach your kids about how other kids live around the world and you can write letters to your child, and you could even go visit them. If you sponsor a child in Guatemala and you want to go visit that child or in Kenya, you can do that. If that's something your family would like to do. That allows World Vision to do the work we do, its just a little over a dollar a day and you can sponsor a child on our website easily World Vision.org. But there's many other ways to give, I found that sometimes people are passionate about education, or they're passionate about the issue of clean water, or they want to really help prevent trafficking and the great thing about World Vision is since we're working in all of these different areas, you can designate your gift to prevent trafficking, or designated for clean water, or designated specifically to the work that helps women and girls around the world, and all of that's available on our website. It's pretty easy to give and to do something, so thanks for asking. It'd be great if some of your listeners wanted to do something really tangible to make a difference that way.

Raymond Hansell
I think another way that the listeners can see how to make a difference is in the second appendix in the book Hole in Our Gospel you really clarify paragraph after paragraph of tiny steps, big steps, medium steps, people can take to take action and make a difference, so I encourage people to read that book. You also wrote in the book that we can all use our unique skills and talents to help making the world a better world and a sense of that starts the entire enterprise that we have here is called, A Better World which by the way, coincidentally you have as your tagline, Building a Better World for Children. How do you feel that World Vision is making a better world and how do you hope it will continue to do so in the years ahead?

Richard
Well first of all I think you're absolutely right Ray that all of us are called to make a better world and no human being on the planet was an accident. You were uniquely created with God by God with a unique set of skills and abilities and opportunities and God wants every one of us to make a difference for him and to be about the father's business if I can say it that way. That he wants us to be in his hands and feet in the world, hands and feet of compassion. All of us can do this as I think about World Vision, one of the things that's really been troubling to me in the United States over the last twenty years, is how the image of Christians has seemed to go downhill. In our society, Christians are no longer valued, we're not as respected as we used to be, we're perceived as judgmental and angry, and hypocritical. I want to be all about the things that we stand for, I want to show the world the love of Christ, I want to show the world the compassion of Christ, Im going to show generosity, and kindness, and goodness, and patience, and forgiveness and the fruits of the Spirit. Paul talks about the fruits of the spirit, and he says against such things there is no law. World Vision when it's at its best, when we're at our best, we're showing the world the character of God by the way we live, and work and of course as we invite now more than a million people in America who have partnered with us as supporters, it's giving those million people an opportunity to say that's what we stand for too. We stand for a better safer world, we stand for kindness, and forgiveness, and compassion, and mercy, and that's what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was all about and we want to be about that work in the world. That's my aspiration for World Vision that we would demonstrate to the world God's great love.

Raymond Hansell
You can learn more about World Vision and Richard Stearns work by going to World Vision.org. Rich thanks for joining us today on BetterWorldians radio.

Richard
Well thank you Ray and God bless you for your ministry as well.

Raymond Hansell
Thank you. As we end our show, we'd like to share our BetterWorldians mission here, we strive to make the world a better place by encouraging the very best in everyone. We heard a lot of that today. We focus on positive thinking, positive values, and positive actions. In short our vision is to bring out the BetterWorldians in everyone so that we can all make it a better world. So until next time, be a better worldian.