Almost 1,000 children in rural Guatemala gained sponsors this month from a megachurch in southern Indiana.
But in this case, it was the indigenous children in need who pondered photos of smiling faces and chose one they felt a connection with. And it was the adult donors in the United States who nervously waited, wondering who would pick them.
The role reversal, which World Vision is calling “Chosen,” is the first significant change to the Christian humanitarian organization’s bread-and-butter method of engaging Christians with the world’s needs and equipping children to live healthier and safer lives.
As World Vision explains its “simple yet powerful switch” to child sponsorship:
Chosen starts with people here in the US signing up to be chosen and getting their picture taken. That photo is sent to a community where World Vision works, to be displayed with the pictures of other potential sponsors. The community gathers for a celebration where the kids choose their sponsors. Soon thereafter, sponsors will receive a picture of the child holding their photo and a note letting them know about the child and what made the child choose them.
The goal is to empower children, letting them make the first of many choices during their sponsorship. “We are simply expressing what we believe in a new and fresh way,” Edgar Sandoval, president of World Vision US, told CT. “We are working to empower them to be agents of change.”
For a future report, CT witnessed a choosing ceremony in Chiantla, an ethnic minority community more than 10,000 feet up in the mountains en route to neighboring Mexico, where 819 children picked from photos of sponsors at Northside Christian Church in New Albany, Indiana.
The following Sunday, members of the megachurch near Louisville, Kentucky, discovered which Guatemalan child has chosen them via a photo and handwritten letter. Another 150 people then signed up, bringing the total number of children sponsored this month to 970.
The tally is a marked increase in participation compared to the standard pitches for sponsors that World Vision has long made at churches, concerts, and other venues. Sandoval said through the new Chosen intake method, participants have experienced “a new level of joy” and “a sense of a closer mutual partnership from the beginning.”
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Source: Christianity Today