The tiny grave that broke my heart

A few weeks ago I made an urgent trip to South Sudan.

As much as you can prepare to visit a country that’s been ravaged by war, and now has over two million of its people displaced … I simply wasn’t ready for the scale of this crisis.

The statistics alone are overwhelming—thousands of people killed, more than two million displaced, 700% inflation—but when you realize there are real stories behind these numbers, it takes your breath away.

I was hiking back out to the road after visiting a remote World Concern project when I saw her.

She was standing alone beside a simple mud hut, so I slowly began walking towards her. As I came closer, I noticed she was standing next to two mounds of dirt … graves. One was dry and sunbaked. The other was smaller, and piled with fresh dirt.

I looked up at her, searching her face for signs of what had happened. Her name was Uduru.

In whispers she told me that her husband had died a year ago. But then, her eyes shifted to the tiny, fresh grave. She said that just a week ago she buried her sweet 2-year-old boy. He had died hungry, the victim of a combination of malnutrition and a water-borne disease. On top of his grave were two tiny plastic shoes, this grieving mother’s only physical memory of her baby boy.

Buried next to his father who died one year ago, Uduru buried her precious 2-year-old son just two weeks ago.

Uduru has three other children, each one is fighting to survive. I couldn’t speak. And just held this poor woman in my arms as she wept.

South Sudan is in the midst of a catastrophic food shortage, where thousands of people are on the brink of starvation.

It’s in places like South Sudan where World Concern is working to meet the urgent needs of people like Uduru and her children.

But we can’t do it alone.

We’re working through local churches to reach families displaced by the crisis with emergency aid—tents and tarps for shelter from the rain, mosquito nets to protect them from malaria and other deadly diseases, hygiene kits, and life-saving food. But sometimes there is just not enough, and that’s why your help is needed.

Decades of fighting in South Sudan will have a major impact on future generations.

The crisis in South Sudan is very real. During our emergency distribution I held a small child in my arms. He was probably only 3 years old. His pencil thin arm told me that he is already severely malnourished.

His mother had been standing in line all day but sadly by the time she got to the front of the line, our supplies had run out. We simply didn’t have enough to meet the need. She came to me pleading if we had more. She had been left out. I looked at her and the others behind her that had the same question. In faith I told her, we will be back.

Haiti, One Week Later

Myriam in her destroyed home
Shocked at the storm’s impact on her life, Myriam lost her home and her husband to Hurricane Matthew last week.

One week after Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti and visions of the past are coming to mind as aid is once again flooding the fragile nation. While the storm has come and gone and the immediate damage has been done, the long-term effects are daunting.

And for survivors like Myriam, the future looks bleak.

Myriam was at home with her three children in Les Anglaise, the western-most part of the island-nation, when the eye of the hurricane made landfall.

“I prayed and thought to myself, ‘this could be the end!’,” Myriam thought as the roof of her small pink home was literally being torn from above their heads.

Myriam's home is barely standing
Some 1.4 million people in Haiti are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“My house is not livable, but I have nowhere else to go,” Myriam explains.

Unfortunately, Myriam’s husband, like many in their area, did not survive the storm. Today, a week later, Myriam is left without a husband, without a home and without any idea of what to do next.

“I don’t know what to do right now,” Myriam explains, “…I am drinking any water I can.” Without access to clean water, waterborne diseases such as cholera are a major threat to survivors like Myriam. So far, 510 new cases of the disease have already been reported in Haiti this week. Deadly in its impact, the situation is only expected to get worse.

Estimates suggest that 750,000 people, including 315,000 children will be in need of urgent humanitarian aid over the next three months.

Myriam and her damaged home
“My house is not livable…but I have nowhere else to go.”

“The long-term impact of this is worse [than the 2010 earthquake],” World Concern’s Director of Disaster Response Chris Sheach explained in an interview recently. In 2010, “the earthquake largely affected the city…the concern here is that this has affected the rural area which is the bread basket of this country…the crops are gone and the country is going to remain dependent on outside help for a long time.”

While certain areas have remained inaccessible because of the severe flooding and the washing away of roads and bridges, food distributions have already been underway.

It’s absolutely vital that over the next two weeks some of the most vulnerable families, like Myriam’s, receive essential items such as water filters, sleeping mats, tarps and hygiene supplies to ensure their safety and health in what is considered the be the most crucial time period after a disaster.

For $48, you will provide a family like Myriam’s with these essential emergency items to keep them safe and healthy during the coming months. Although the storm has come and gone, there’s a long road ahead of our friends in Haiti, so please, let’s not forget about them.

Piles of rubble sits where homes once stood in Haiti
510 new cases of cholera have already been reported since the storm hit last week.


Please Don’t Forget About Haiti

“We are in a desperate situation,” Pierre pleads.

“The population here is really in need. But I cannot send you any pictures due to communication issues. This is all I can send …”

The view of Hurricane Matthew from the International Space Station was like something out of a horror movie. For a brief moment we saw a swirling mass, its eye menacingly clear, devouring the land underneath.

Torrential rains and gale force winds tore through Haiti's weak, and flimsy infrastructure.
Torrential rains and gale force winds tore through Haiti’s weak, and flimsy infrastructure.
Some of the first images of Hurricane Haiti show the devastation on the ground.
Some of the first images of Hurricane Haiti show the devastation on the ground.

The above images were taken less than a day after the aerial shots from the space station and while they are some of the first images to come from Haiti, they clearly show what happened under that gruesome storm cloud.

That’s where Pierre is.

Haiti is once again under attack. Six years after a massive earthquake tore apart the flimsy infrastructure and killed more than a quarter million people, Haiti is back on her knees.

Friends, we must not forget Haiti … our neighbors … our friends … people like Pierre.

The true devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew is still unknown. And that’s a frightening thought. Because when a disaster strikes within our own shores we have the capability, and the resources needed to respond. We spend money. We rally together. We pray. We stay strong.

But when a disaster like Matthew hits a country as impoverished as Haiti, everything is wiped out—communication, electricity, utilities—it’s near impossible to send for help.

“Almost everything has been destroyed by the strong winds,” Pierre says. “All the trees have fallen. The winds tore off all our roofs.”

That’s why we must respond, and respond quickly and generously. Not because we’re asked, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Moms and dads frantically scoop up their children and search for shelter during the storm.
Moms and dads frantically scoop up their children and search for shelter during the storm.

Because as humans, we have a responsibility to help our brothers and sisters in need. Alexis is one of the few people that we’ve been able to speak with. She was sharing an evening meal with her family when her roof lifted off and disappeared into the stormy sky. Scooping up her daughter Alexis ran to the nearest shelter, a church, and waited for the hurricane to stop.

“I was very afraid to go outside because the wind was so strong. I saw a lot of damage on the road. I saw metal sheets from houses carried by the wind.” Alexis whispers.

There is not a lot a media coverage about Haiti.

The death toll stands at 842 but will almost certainly climb.

The number of homes, buildings, businesses, and farms lost is unknown.

There are only a few photos that show the devastation.

But that’s not because the damage isn’t there—

We must not forget our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
We must not forget our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

The reality is that there are people in need. There are families mourning the loss of loved ones. And countless people are scared, and in desperate need.

So as Hurricane Matthew gathers strength and barrels its way towards more developed regions, we have but a short window to focus our attention on Haiti. On people like Pierre. And Alexis.

These people are there. They just can’t ask for help …

So please don’t forget about Haiti.

How School Saves Her

Last year I found myself in a rural village in Bangladesh—a country where most girls are married off by the time they are 11 or 12 years old. You can imagine then how surprised I was last year to be in an all-girls school surrounded by dozens of girls who had escaped child marriage all because they were given the opportunity to attend school.


Receiving an education is one of the many things I am guilty of taking for granted having grown up in a middle-to-upper-class town in America. Despite the obvious differences between my life and these girls’ lives in Bangladesh, I was surprised at how easy it was to connect with them.

From the two giggling best friends who sat behind me, to the trio of dancers who stole the spotlight, I could see so many similarities between these girls and my younger self.

It wasn’t until later that afternoon when we sat down to talk with some of these girls and tears began to fall from their once joyous faces that I was reminded of just how different our worlds truly are.

Never will I understand the pain of watching my older sister or best friend be married off to a much older man and taken away to live with a new family. And never will I fear that the same thing will happen to me.


For these girls, getting the chance to go to school through World Concern’s scholarship program means that they are far less likely to become a child bride. In countries as poor as Bangladesh, parents have a difficult time providing enough money to support their entire families and often decide to marry their young daughters off, instead of sending them to school because they cannot afford to support her anymore. Education is literally saving young girls, girls like Prishna and Rima and Happy and Sonny who I met in Bangladesh, from becoming child-brides. Education is saving Her.

With your $50 gift, another young girl will be spared from becoming a child-bride when she receives a scholarship and an opportunity to go to school. An education will allow her to grow into the young woman that God has created her to be and thrive in an environment that values her, in a society that for so long has denied these truths.


The Promise of Clean Water

As a native Californian, where a long-lasting drought has drastically restricted water use lately, the abundance of water in countries like Myanmar, where I lived for the past year, surprised me. As opposed to California’s measly 25 inches of rain last year, Myanmar averages around 105 inches of rainfall each year!

More surprising, however, is the fact that even with the present lack of water in my home state, never once did I worry about the safety of my water, never once have I suffered from severe water-borne illnesses like typhoid and worms because of bad water. Sadly, this is simply not the case for many of the people World Concern serves around the world in places like Africa and South East Asia, where more than 660 million people do not have access to clean drinking water.

“I know the water is not safe to drink,” 42-year-old mother of four, Sen Sen Maw from Myanmar explains about the water she collects for her family, “…but we drink it anyways.”

Sen Sen Maw and her baby

In villages deep in the remote jungles of southern Myanmar, men and women trek up to two miles a day through oftentimes dangerous terrain to gather river water that is often contaminated with illness-inducing parasites and other contaminants.

“My family is sick with diarrhea at least ten times a year,” one concerned villager explains. Apart from the general discomfort of being sick, the regular occurrence of these water-related illnesses are a major disruption to daily life for men who are unable to work and provide for their families and for mothers who must look after their sick children.

I hope I’m not alone when I say that having clean water readily available is something that I take for granted on a daily basis. It wasn’t until I found myself in some of these villages in Myanmar and realized that not only is accessing water an ordeal for many villagers, but accessing clean water is an entirely different concern.

One amazingly simple solution to help families around the world gain access to clean drinking water is to provide them with water filters. Although they may look different from one country to the next, the idea is the same. Much like the  water filter I have in my own refrigerator at home, these filters are both easy to use and extremely effective.

1 - Gwe, Set Tan, flood repsonse (123)
These life-saving filters were distributed to flood victims in Myanmar so families had safe water to drink.

This same simple concept is utilized in villages around the world where we work – from the arid regions in Kenya to the jungles of Myanmar – families are able collect even the dirtiest of water from streams and rivers and watch as it turns into safe drinkable water before their eyes.

Last year I had the opportunity to help distribute some of these water filters to victims of a severe flood in Myanmar. I was amazed at the simplicity, ease and results of the filters.

1 - Gwe, Set Tan, flood repsonse (221)-2
A woman excitedly unwraps her new filter

After the distribution, families eagerly put their filters to the test. Shocked at the visible results and improvement in color and taste of the water, villagers were thrilled to have clean, safe water and to no longer have to worry about getting sick.

Right now, your gift of $39 will be tripled and provide three families with a water filter and more importantly, with the promise of a healthier future for their families. Triple your donation here and help a family stay healthy with a brand new water filter!

woman and filter home


The Forgotten Faces of the Nepal Earthquake

When Nepal shook more than a year ago, the world quickly responded with an outpouring of aid and support. In the aftermath of the disaster, a dark and sinister threat has been lurking beneath the rubble, just waiting to pounce.

As thousands of livelihoods lay in ruins, and humanitarian organizations scrambled to save lives and rebuild flattened communities, opportunity knocked for evil men. Fueled by a growing demand for child labor in nearby countries and fed by the perverse desires of a growing sex industry, these men had one goal—to exploit the desperation of local Nepali families.

Hoping to build a better life for their children, unsuspecting moms and dads are lured with false promises and quickly fall into the debt of evil men. With no way to repay, women and young girls are being trafficked across poorly patrolled borders. And without anyone to police, or prevent this horrific injustice they are being abused, exploited, and completely forgotten.

In the most remote Nepali villages, young women and girls are at great risk of being trafficked across open borders.

World Concern has been active in Nepal ever since the earthquake hit, working tirelessly with the local church to rebuild communities and reach the most vulnerable with livelihood support, and income generation opportunities.

Recognizing that trafficking is a threat in the poorest Nepali villages, World Concern is actively leveraging its Child Protection experts to provide in-country training. The aim is to raise awareness of the problem, and begin mobilizing a network of local partners to seek out and stop the threat of trafficking in high risk communities.

“There is a huge opportunity to prevent human trafficking in Nepal,” says Selina Prem Kumar, World Concern’s Sri Lanka Country Director who is in Nepal training church and community leaders to prevent trafficking. “Women and children are being trafficked into forced labor and as sex workers into neighboring countries with no border patrols.”

Having established a comprehensive child protection program after the bloody Sri Lankan civil war, Selina is now taking what’s she’s learned and accomplished across Southeast Asia, and is well aware of the dangers families face in the wake of an emergency.

The communities she’s visiting are within a few miles of the India border, where no visas are required to cross, making it an extremely high risk area.

DSC_0172Braving heavy rains, flooding and mountain road closures due to mudslides, Selina and her team traveled close to the Indian border, and into one of the trafficking ‘hot-zones’ to conduct the workshops. Proof that World Concern truly does go beyond the end of the road to serve those in need.

Expectant for change and eager to become more active in fighting trafficking in their communities, more than 40 volunteers from local churches, schools, and human rights groups attended.

“People walked through the jungles to get here,” Selina says. “Some traveled for over 7 hours—the landslides and floods turning what would have been a 3-hour journey into a day long trek.”

While there is much to do in Nepal, Selina is hopeful, “There is a lot of meaningful and deep possibilities in Nepal. We will continue working to train and mobilize border villages, churches, and organizations to prevent human trafficking.”

Even in the darkness, there is always an opportunity to shine light, and the work happening in Nepal is proof that there’s always hope for a brighter future.

A Girl Named Prishna

Last month, Family Life Radio hosts Stacey and Johnny Stone visited World Concern’s work in Bangladesh. The following post was written by Stacey, who was particularly touched by the life and dedication of one young girl she met.   

I’d traveled a long way to visit with young Prishna.

I had heard many amazing things about this girl and she now sat on an office chair in front of me. It was an exciting moment, and the room had filled with people all eager to hear her story.

The first thing I noticed about this precious girl was how thin she was. She was much smaller than other teenage girls, and I discovered afterwards that it was because Prishna had been severely malnourished growing up. This was my first introduction to how invasive poverty can really be.

As people mingled around her, Prishna’s head was down and her eyes fixed on the floor. But every once in a while she would look up and glance at me. Please God, make my face pleasing to this girl who needs to see your love and compassion through me.

Prishna escaped child marriage and now helps other teens do the same.
Prishna escaped child marriage and now helps other teens do the same.

That was my very quick prayer as we settled into the World Concern office in Bangladesh. To my amazement, it was within moments of my prayer that Prishna lifted her head and smiled at me. Thank you Jesus.

Some staff members began to sing, and while they were singing (albeit a little off key), I noticed Prishna start to giggle. Her smile was incredible, and it was an act of worship all of it’s own!

After the short service, Prishna continued to smile and laugh as the men served tea. Maybe it was a shared sense of humor toward awkward situations, but Prishna and I shared something special after that worship service. It was all unspoken but her smile, and determined attitude brought comfort to this weary traveler.

But when Prishna started to speak, and tell her story, I realized my life would never be the same again.

Prishna sat with another woman and started to tell us about her life, and why she was now sitting here with World Concern. Having grown up in a culture where girls as young as 10 become child-brides, Prishna had been one of the few that escaped this shocking cultural practice. Determined to now help other teenage girls, Prishna visits poverty-stricken neighborhoods with World Concern staff.

Since she was just a little girl, Prishna’s family had planned to marry her off on her 10th birthday.  It sounded unbelievable to me, but for girls in the poor villages of Bangladesh, becoming a child bride is a dark and frightening reality. Poverty forces families to do the unthinkable, but together with World Concern, Prishna was now showing them how to avoid child marriage altogether.

Prishna is now a familiar face in the villages, as she bravely shares her story of escaping child marriage with other girls at risk. Her encouragement is simple … to say “NO”.

She first rejected child marriage at the age of 10 … then 11 … and each year after that. By the time Prishna was 14, she was so determined to make something of her life that she was fully enrolled in school, safe from being married off, and helping other girls find their voice.

So, what gives girls like Prishna hope? You do.

Your support of World Concern gives girls like Prishna a chance to stay in school and avoid child marriage. Without you, families trapped in poverty have no other choice but to pull their daughters from school and marry them off to complete strangers.

Today, Prishna wants to finish her studies and become a doctor. Her dream is that she will return to this community and ensure the families here have access to good health care.

As I listened to Prishna speak, I become even more empowered to stop this terrible practice. Through her courage, and in the face of such poverty, I could see that she was just the beginning of generations of young women who will stand up, and say, “God made a way when there seem to be no way.”

As for me, I want to now share Prishna’s story with everyone I meet, and tell them that there is a way to bring child marriage to an end.

Children of War

Photo by Christena Dowsett
Photo by Christena Dowsett

I woke up last Saturday morning in my 72 degree house, safe in my cozy bed. Birds chirping outside my window and thoughts of doing yard work today on this peaceful Saturday.

Little did I know, at that very moment, gunfire was erupting in a town in South Sudan. Bodies were strewn in the streets and families were running for their lives to the bush.

But God knew, and He redirected my thoughts. I had fallen asleep the night before reading an intense book about World War II. My pleasant early-morning meditations were interrupted by images of the horrors people suffer in war—especially children, who don’t understand what’s happening around them. All they know is that their parents are scared, chaos surrounds them, and “home” is wherever they can find a place to curl up and sleep that night.

These images haunted me as I got up to pour a cup of coffee. As a mom, I have such a strong instinct to protect my children. My heart aches for moms who are unable to keep their children safe. And it’s happening to millions of children around the world today.

Working at World Concern, I have to be mindful not to become anesthetized to the circumstances I hear about every day. A mother scooping up her child and fleeing gunfire in terror. Waking up the next day on the hard ground, enveloped in sweltering heat to hear her child crying because of hunger pains. Panic when she realizes the child is not just hungry, but sick with fever.

I can’t ever let this become “normal” to me.

14-year-old Mary waits for a hole in the ground to fill with muddy water so she can fill her water can.
14-year-old Mary waits for a hole in the ground to fill with muddy water so she can fill her water can.

I took a sip of my coffee and thought of the people in South Sudan whose tragic circumstances seem to get worse each day. A colleague who had recently returned from a visit told me he saw children picking leaves off of trees to eat to quell the hunger pains. I felt sick. He showed me a video he’d shot on his iPhone of a 14-year-old girl scooping scum-covered water from a hole in the ground, bees swirling around her head as she waited for the hole to fill up again.

“Sometimes I wait several hours for enough water to fill the hole again so I can scoop more,” she told him.

The water Mary collects each day is filthy.
The water Mary collects each day is filthy.

I pondered this as I sipped my cream-sweetened coffee, which suddenly tasted extraordinarily decadent.

And then I pick up my phone to see an email that our team was evacuated as violence erupted in Wau town, the base for several new villages in our One Village Transformed program. I prayed for the hundreds of families who lost loved ones in the fighting and for those who had fled in terror.

Earlier this month, I had barely noticed the automatic withdrawal from my checking account. $33. That’s my humble gift each month to that 14-year-old girl’s village outside of Wau.

It’s not much. I spent about that on a new shower curtain liner and cat litter at Fred Meyer yesterday.

Photo by Christena Dowsett
Photo by Christena Dowsett

But I felt a twinge of relief when I thought about that gift this morning. God reminded me I was doing something. That $33, combined with yours and someone else’s and others, is enough to do some amazing things in this one village. Not just a meal far better than leaves for today, but empowerment for the parents in her village to plant colorful, vibrant vegetable gardens that will supply many nutritious meals. It will help them dig a well where she can collect cool, fresh, disease-free water every day—without having to wait for a mud puddle to fill up. It will enable her to attend school, learn to read and write. And she’ll be introduced to a group of neighbors who meet twice a week under the shade of a giant tree to sing worship songs and study the Bible in her native language, allowing this child of war to experience peace in the midst of turmoil.

Village prayer. Photo by Christena Dowsett.
Village prayer. Photo by Christena Dowsett.

She will see her neighbors working and starting small businesses and thinking about the future, and it will all be new and different and hope-filled. She will begin to see the possibility for a better life and focus beyond waiting for the water hole to fill or picking leaves from a tree to eat.

I’ll never miss that $33 from my checking account each month. But it will mean a child of war is fed and cared for and a village in South Sudan is transformed.

What does fatherhood look like?

Muhammad proudly shows off his catch.
Muhammad proudly shows off his catch.

In a small village in rural Bangladesh, a team of strong fishermen wade through the neck-deep water of the village pond they share as a fish farm. Underneath the water’s calm, murky surface, calloused hands work tediously to reel in the rope that holds an increasingly heavy fishing net. One of those hands, belonging to a fisherman named Muhammad, is crimped—his fingers fused in the shape of a claw. But he is all smiles as he uses this hand to skillfully hook the net, now filled with hundreds of fish jumping out of the water.

For Muhammad, who has endured many hardships, not least of which was being robbed, beaten, and left for dead while working as a tuk tuk driver some 15 years ago, he is grateful to have a business that earns him a sustainable income.

“I cannot do anything else,” Muhammad reflects as he reveals his hand that’s been disfigured since the attack that left him permanently maimed. “So I chose this profession … my hand is like a hook for pulling in the ropes,” he says confidently.

Muhammad has been receiving business loans, support, and training from World Concern since two years after the attack. Prior to that, he was unable to work and therefore unable to provide for his family.

A gentle and adoring husband, Muhammad works alongside his wife, raising his young nephew and niece.
A gentle and adoring husband, Muhammad works alongside his wife, raising his young nephew and niece.

Muhammad’s wife, who cannot help but smile each time her husband looks at her proudly, recalls that time with tears in her eyes. “I cannot express how sad I felt. We were helpless and I could not do much. Our brother helped support us.”

It wasn’t until World Concern came to Muhammad’s village that he began to see the possibility to make a fresh start for himself. Today, Muhammad is not only a successful fish farmer, but he also raises ducks in a large pond on his property.

“Before, I was so poor,” Muhammad says, “and then World Concern came and encouraged me and helped me get started again.”

Muhammad and his loving wife work together to support themselves as well as Muhammad’s brother’s children—generously repaying the family that supported them for so long.

What does fatherhood look like? It looks like Muhammad lovingly caring for his brother's children.
What does fatherhood look like? It looks like Muhammad lovingly caring for his brother’s children.

What does fatherhood look like?

It looks like a loving, supportive uncle raising and caring for his brother’s children.

It looks like a husband who adores his wife and in a culture of arranged marriage that often results in lack of respect for spouses.

It looks like Muhammad, who works tirelessly to provide for and ensure a better future for his family.

Muhammad family

Is This What Child Trafficking Looks Like?

The strange white car pulled up beside me as I walked to school.

I was only a few hundred yards from home and remember turning to see if my parents were still out the front of the house, waving me off. But they had long since gone inside.

My heart started to race … I was all alone.

The car pulled in front of me and the passenger door immediately opened. The smell of cigarette smoke filled my nostrils as a man I’d never seen before extended his hand and offered me a ride to school. He wore a thick black sweater with faded white graphics on the shoulder, and smiled politely through yellow and crooked teeth.

I was close enough to also see that another man sat in the back seat … watching … a large black garbage bag balled up on his lap. Almost 35 years later, I can still see this second man’s face—unshaven beneath a dirty baseball cap—his eyes fixed on me, waiting expectantly for me to join him.

I was nine-years-old when this happened.

A week or so later, I was playing safely in my bedroom when my parents told me that the police had arrested a local man fitting the description I had provided. I can’t imagine how different life would be had I stepped into that car.

I’ve thought a lot about that encounter recently, and realized that my experience is the terrifying daily reality for many of the world’s poorest children. And for these kids, the stories don’t always have a happy ending. They may not have parents to run home to, a safe place to hide, or any local police keeping an eye out for them. But most of all they lack the knowledge, and are easily tricked by evil men.

Throughout the month of May, World Concern is focusing its efforts on raising awareness of child trafficking, and giving you the opportunity to protect a vulnerable child from the threat of exploitation, abuse, and slavery.

It started with an event—the 8th Annual Free Them 5k—a family fun-run that attracted more than 1,400 participants and raised more than $200,000 to help stop trafficking. And this effort now continues with a special initiative that allows you to go one step further, and help cover a child in God’s love and protection.

These children live in poverty, so when something happens you won’t see their stories featured on the evening news, or an article written about their disappearance in a local newspaper. An Amber Alert won’t interrupt your television program, and you won’t see their faces on the community notice board at the local grocery store.

These children need our help.

From an early age, I was taught about the dangers around me. I was educated and kept safe in a loving home and nurtured by a community of people that cared and looked out for my well being. But in villages across Southeast Asia, children don’t have this blessing, or the awareness that potentially saved me all those years ago.

So when I think about the men in the white car, and what could have happened that day—it makes protecting a child an easy decision.