Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thank YOU for Changing Lives for the Better

Exactly one year ago, as part of a team of World Vision bloggers, I headed to Armenia to experience cold weather poverty first-hand and see the work World Vision does to strengthen families and communities.

It was life changing for me, and a privilege to share the wonderful people I met with YOU!  

One year later, I thought I’d update you on how one family we met is doing. Why did I choose Aida and Vova’s family? Well, thanks to generous An Inch of Gray readers, ALL of their children were sponsored, setting them up for a better chance of long-term success and giving them another caring partner in their lives across the many miles. Thank you so much!

During a recent visit with a World Vision worker, Aida said: “I am so proud to have World Vision by my side. The support received from sponsors are always a good helping hand during hard times. I feel as if the sponsors were my children's godfathers, they are always on my mind,” she said with gratitude, holding her eighth new-born child, while the seven others ran around their tiny 2 room house.

World Vision sponsorship has helped Aida’s children with clothing, bedding, hygiene supplies and school supplies. It has shown the family that there are people across many miles who are pulling for their family, as well as local Armenian World Vision workers who are by their sides, doing life with them. World Vision gave the family 2 new sheep which help with wool and milk, and has provided Aida with parenting skills training in the community, knowing that supporting a mama is a good way to help her children.

As World Vision’s program becomes more established in the remote Amasia region (this was a fledging project when we visited), it is my hope that this family will become more stable financially, particularly because an individual development plan is in the works for them. I love how World Vision does not use a cookie-cutter approach to “fix” families, but looks at individuals. These kids have names, distinct personalities, differing needs, and dreams. 

But it’s not all good news.

Aida’s husband Vova (Vladimir) lost his job this winter. This is not a promising time to find a new job in an agrarian region, with snowbanks piled to the rooftops. It’s easy to imagine things growing increasingly stressful for this family of 10 as debts mount until Vova can get a new job.

It is not lost on me as I prepare for my own little surprise baby, scanning the internet reading up on the merits of $30 swaddling blankets and $70 bouncy seats, how different my little boy’s life will be than Aida’s children’s will. I fret about where we will put all of the “stuff” that accompanies such a tiny one, and wonder which car seat and baby monitor is the best. 

I think of my big, warm, remodeled house and remember having to stand away from the walls in Aida and Vova’s ramshackle rented one because the cold was coming through and the floor boards were warped and unstable for standing. My baby will have cribs and cradles, plenty of food and opportunities. 

The needs of the world’s children seem huge and overwhelming and tempt me to turn my eyes and ears away from the reality outside of our home, focusing on just my family. But if I don’t look outside, I would miss the beautiful brown eyes of Grigor, one of the sons who grabbed our hearts one year ago today. Or Mary, a tough cookie who could hold her own with her brothers.

Looking outside connects us to others, and reminds us that spring is around the corner. Winter is harsh, but there is always spring. And with spring comes hope— hope for my new baby, hope for the beautiful nation of Armenia, hope for a big family in a little ramshackle house who is not giving up. 

Will you hope and pray with me, for my little guy coming in a few weeks, and for the children whose names we know and those we don’t yet know, across our nation and the world?

And if you feel led, will you consider choosing one more child to love through World Vision Sponsorship?


Anonymous said...

It's great to see what World Vision has done, but seriously, do they help with birth control?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you...we found the girl perfect for our family to sponsor in the hills of Peru.
You are a witness. Thank you for sharing your love.

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

@Anonymous-- That was one of my first questions, too! It is a patriarchal culture and it is difficult for women to speak up about family planning. It also has a very high abortion rate. These are some of the issues World Vision is addressing.

Anonymous said...

She needs the pill. Bless her heart.