Donald Ross and his family will be walking to help protect innocent kids from human trafficking on Saturday, May 11. But instead of trekking five kilometers alongside the 2,000+ participants expected at the Free Them 5k/10k in Seattle that morning, they’ll be supporting the cause from 130 miles away in their coastal hometown of Westport.
Donald and his wife Debbie felt compelled to join the fight against human trafficking when they heard about World Concern’s Free Them 5k/10k on Spirit 105.3, which they stream via cable out on the coast.
“I have three kids—two teenage daughters. Something resonated with me. I thought, this is something I have to do,” said Donald. “[Trafficked] kids—they’re all somebody’s kids.”
Because they weren’t going to be in Seattle in May, Donald figured they’d take part in the event next year. When he went online to make a donation for this year, he saw the “Virtual” 5k option. A light bulb went on and he realized his family could register, fundraise, and still make a difference this year by walking near their home.
In hopes of getting others in their area involved, Donald secured the high school track the morning of the event, and asked Westport’s mayor, Michael Bruce, to officially start the race at 9:30 a.m. The Ross family, and others who join them, will run or walk “in spirit” alongside participants in Seattle.
Donald encourages anyone in the Westport, Ocean Shores, Grayland, Aberdeen, Hoqiuam or Raymond area to join them on Saturday, May 11 to take a stand against human trafficking.
Register as a “virtual” participant to join the Westport team, or to walk/run any time or place you choose. In doing so, you’ll help protect innocent women and children from the danger of human trafficking.
Yesterday, a man walked into our headquarters office and said he wanted to make a donation. He ordered a few gift cards for goats from the Global Gift Guide, then proceeded to write a check—for $10,000.
A husband and father of two, he told us he had picked up a copy of the Global Gift Guide at an event and started pondering the tremendous needs of children and families living in poverty, and compared this to his own life. He was moved to tears. He and his family talked, prayed and decided to make this donation.
Over the past few weeks, we at World Concern have been in an almost constant state of awe at God’s provision for our work through the generosity of others this holiday season. As a humanitarian organization responding to some of the worst disasters in the world, and working in some of the poorest, most difficult to reach places, we have the privilege of seeing the impact your donations are making every day in the lives of suffering people. We never take this for granted.
The gifts that have come in this past year – and particularly this week – have, quite honestly, blown us away. Large or small, they are heart-felt, God-led, powerfully meaningful gifts. Each one has a story behind it. We wanted to share a few of those with you.
After one of her Christmas tour shows, Addison Road lead singer Jenny Simmons had a 13-year-old girl named Kate approach her. She wanted to use her Christmas money to buy a goat in honor of her uncle Clint, a pastor who had been murdered in his own church by robbers. “Taking care of poor people was what he loved to do. I want to do as much as I can to keep his spirit alive. He would have loved buying a goat. This is the perfect present for me,” she said.
At church this past Sunday, a friend handed me a check made out to World Concern for $350 to buy animal gifts for poor children. I looked at her a little confused because the week before she had told me she was sad that she couldn’t buy any gifts from the Global Gift Guide this year. Her husband had been laid off from his job. I hugged her and told her I’d pray for him to find work.
But God touched their hearts that week and they felt led to give, even beyond their current means. “We talked it over, and this is what we want to do,” she said, handing me the check with a smile. More hugs.
It reminded me of the widow’s offering in Luke 21:1-4, where Jesus said, “All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
The gift is even greater when it’s given sacrificially.
We received an email from a college student saying he had accidentally donated more than he intended. No problem, we told him, we can refund the difference. But he sent another message saying that after praying about it, he had decided to leave the donation as is. “It’s a leap of faith,” he said, and was excited to see what God would do with it.
Earlier this week, a family of five with two special needs children donated an entire school for a village in Kenya. Because of this gift, children in this village will be blessed for generations.
Just this morning, a donor purchased a year’s education for two children and wrote this: “This is given in honor of my mother who died earlier this year. She was an amazing mother, spouse, teacher, and advocate for women and children. She had such a tremendous spark of life and hilarious view of the world. She gave of her gifts always, whether to family or to her students.”
Wow. To say we are humbled by the outpouring of love in these gifts is an understatement. Because of these gifts and so many others, we are able to freely give to those in need, reaching the farthest corners of the planet. What a blessing to witness love like this in action.
Thank you to everyone who has given a gift this year. Have a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Over the course of several weeks, I will post journal entries from my recent trip to Kenya.
Here is day 1:
Today I packed up my video camera, digital camera and all of the rest of my gear and headed to the airport for the long couple of flights that will lead me to Kenya. I met the other travelers, the people I will get to know very well over the next couple of weeks. I already know Lisa, the guide of the group and my co-worker. She’s a devoted mother of two middle-school-aged boys who occasionally takes these around-the-world trips to show donors or potential donors World Concern’s projects.
At the airport, I met John and Linda, a couple with a background in commercial fishing. John often travels up to Alaska to check out his fishing boats, but neither he nor his wife have been to Africa. John and Linda knew of another member of the trip through businesses connections. Her name is Kari, a sharply dressed Norwegian-born woman whose late husband also was in the commercial fishing business.
I also met Cari and Todd, who have three younger children and a real estate development business. All of those on the trip obviously have some degree of interest in humanitarian aid, helping those in the developing world. We had dinner together, then we were off to our flight to London’s Heathrow airport.
Before we took off, I called my wife, who is six months pregnant with our first child.