The telling of a story

Rio de Janeiro, seen from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Photo by Tony Hodgson

Rio de Janeiro, seen from the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Photo by Tony Hodgson

It’s late, and I have plans to get up early tomorrow morning to pray with a friend, but I need to share this tonight.

I volunteered to blog for World Help because I wanted to use my blogging for more than promoting my own voice. I knew the founder as a professor in my college days. If I wanted to be a part of an organization that was really out there doing humanitarian work and not losing donor’s money in the shuffle of administration, and where I felt confident they were who they said they were, this was it.

As a freshman in college, I heard Vernon Brewer share amazing stories. He had a way of telling stories that mesmerized even the most sleepy collegiate, from his life-threatening health issues to mission trips to less-than-friendly countries. One such story was a little boy, Nildo, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

And 25 years later, I remember Nildo. His name was lost, but burned on my heart was the story of a street child who Brewer’s daughters took under their wing, fed and clothed, and gave the gift of very bright white tennis shoes. I remember their chagrin on discovering him the next morning with dirty bare feet again as the bright shoes served as a target and were stolen from him overnight.

Listen as Noel Yeatts, one of those daughters, retells this story:


Tonight, I read of Nildo’s death. As Noel wrestles with this ending and what it means for her and others, she writes,

My story gave people the ending they craved. It kept them coming back for more. It gave them hope. And, it neatly wrapped up an important truth. If we reach out and do our part, lives can be changed. Nildo was that shining example of a life transformed. He was inspiration to look past the masses and zero in on the one child, the one person God has put in your path. He helped us “see the one”…

I am realizing now more than ever before that Nildo’s story was never my story to begin with. I was just a small part of his story. A big beautiful story but one that I cannot write all the chapters in. There is no alternate ending to choose from, just one tragic end to a life beautifully lived.

And here’s the question I have started asking myself: How much are we willing to risk to let God write our stories? Am I really brave enough to let God write my story … my whole story – with no alternate endings to choose from?

And there is the heart of it all. I don’t write my own story or the story of others. I share the story that God is writing. It’s scary, because that means I don’t control the ending, the Author does. It is my privilege and joy to share it with you.

To give a gift in Nildo’s memory, which will help support his family, click here.


My church currently has a team of people on the ground in Rio, continuing the work of spreading the gospel to the people there. Would you pray for them?

The Real Problem of the World Water Crisis

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!

My Dad used to quote this when I was a kid. I later learned it’s taken from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It refers to a story of sailors at sea with no drinking water on board, unable to drink the salt water all around them.

But, what if you weren’t at sea? What if you looked out and saw water, but it still wasn’t drinkable?

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As much as I might complain about having to drink water, it’s required for life and health, and there are millions (estimated 750 million people) who don’t have safe water readily available to them. This is a real problem – and a serious one.

March 22 is World Water Day, a day set aside to bring awareness to the World Water Crisis. Every year, water-related illnesses, poor sanitation, and lack of hygiene claim the lives of 840,000 people . . . and tragically, 90 percent of them are children. (Want to talk about things getting real? That’s around 756,000 children!)

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It’s not just about drinking contaminated water, there are also the real dangers of women and children walking for miles to wait in line for water, possibly becoming prey for sexual predators, and then walking the same miles back carrying jerry cans with up to 40 lbs of water for their family.

The World Help staff did their best to carry these jerry cans in this humorous video:

Lifting Kirinda’s Burden | World Help from World Help on Vimeo.

As a World Help blogger, I want to help shine the light on this real problem. For World Water Day, World Help is focusing our efforts on the Ugandan community of Kirinda. Its children have been victims of the effects of contaminated drinking water for generations. World Help hopes to provide clean water to all 2,000 people in the region through a variety of clean-water projects.

Would you be able to help, even in a small way, to help provide water for Kirinda? Learn more or give here.

While this post did take longer than 5 minutes to write, I was inspired to go through with it because of the #fmfparty prompt of “Real” this week, so I’m linking up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday bloggers.

3 ways you can change the world

WHG_Community-Development_3Isn’t that a wish deep inside of most of us? The chance to affect huge change in the world around us?

The easiest excuse is that I’m just one person. There’s not much that I, personally, can do that will change the world.

However, there are small things that have huge impacts on others. There are ways you can give that will change the future of others who, in their turn, may be able to change a family, a community, and even the world.

One Christmas several years ago, my nieces excitedly showed me a catalog, through which they were searching for the perfect gift. They were shopping, not for gifts for themselves, but for something bigger. It was a catalog, much like the World Help Gift Catalog, and they were trying to decide if they would buy a chicken, or mosquito nets, or books for children in another country. I was surprised, but I loved the idea.

So, this year, here are three ways you could change the world:

WHG_Sustainability_41. Supply a food source to feed a family, not just for one meal, but with years of food.

  • pair of chickens could supply a family with potentially up to 600 eggs in just one year ($22).
  • A goat will provide a family with nutrient-rich milk as well as a source of income from selling milk products ($100).

2. Help a community find clean water or have access to health care, which leads to longer, healthier lives and a stronger community.

  • Participate in a clean-water project to help people access clean water or build new wells ($45 and up).
  • Help with the costs of providing a health clinic to a community ($300 and up).

3. Save someone’s future, by saving a life.

Watch a baby rescue in action in Guatemala:

Wow, that is powerful.

I recommend World Help, because Tom and I have known the founder, Vernon Brewer, since our college days. This isn’t a huge corporation, where things get lost in the shuffle. That’s Brewer’s daughter in the video. World Help works with local groups in the areas where they help, to have a greater impact in the communities.

Today, if you did not know, is #GivingTuesday. I encourage you, if you are part of a local church, give there first. But, after that, would you add a line on your Christmas giving list this year to feed a family, restore a community, or rescue a child? Together, we can change the world.


There are many other opportunities through the gift catalog that you may want to browse through. Also, today, as part of #GivingTuesday, a financial gift made to World Help will be matched at 100%.

A Whisper is Better than Silence

Sometimes you can only speak in a whisper. I recently overheard two college girls where one was explaining that she had laryngitis and could only speak in a whisper at that time.

I haven’t had laryngitis, but my blog has been little more than a whisper this summer. Life has been so full with family, major projects at  church, additional responsibilities, illness, camp, etc., etc., that I had to set blogging aside for a while.

Sponsorship_Rwanda_Photo-PackAnd then inertia sets in. And as any introvert knows, the longer you stay silent, the harder it is to speak.

Using our voice, changing our world.

This is the blogger motto for World Help bloggers. I’ve technically been a #WHblogger for almost a year now, but my whisper has not been heard. I haven’t spoken up, in part, because I’ve been afraid that my little voice in my little corner of the internet wouldn’t have much impact. I know, it makes little sense, since not saying anything has zero impact.

So, I’m starting with a whisper today:

A – I’m back and blogging (yay!).

B – World Help is a solid non-profit that has been on my radar for years. Founded by one of my college professors, Vernon Brewer, World Help is a faith-based organization that meets the spiritual and physical needs of millions of people around the world through child advocacy, humanitarian aid, education & sustainability, and community development. This video gives a window into some of the work that World Help has been involved with recently:


Thanks for listening to my whisper today. I look forward to sharing more soon.

This post is also linked up with Five Minute Friday – prompt is whisper.


  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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