Luke Carpenter, from Johnsonville Corps, had the opportunity to serve as an intern for World Vision in 2021. He writes about his experiences and how he has seen for himself that we can all make a difference.
Late in 2020, with the end of school fast approaching, all I knew was that I didn’t want to go to university and one day I wanted to work at Blue Mountain Adventure Centre. I had plans to study outdoor instructing down in Greymouth; however, God had other ideas.
At the start of my Year 13, I had the awesome opportunity to go to Auckland for a week with World Vision and learn all about that year’s World Vision 40 Hour Famine. I came back to Wellington with a spark to create long-lasting change, so, along with a team of six students, we organised the World Vision 40 Hour Famine at Wellington College. Through our Runathon event and other various hype events, we ended up raising a record-breaking $101,394.82. This fueled my spark into a flame, and I decided to apply to be a World Vision Youth Ambassador for 2021.
With plans to study down south mostly completed, I decided to take a riskier approach to my application with one goal: stand out. I’ve since been told that my rap and music video had succeeded in standing out. I ended up getting the position, so off I went to Auckland to become a World Vision Youth Ambassador.
Throughout my application process, I learnt one important lesson: God will make a way. If it is in his plan, he will make a way. So many different components lined up so I was able to get the position and live in Auckland for six months. My application was well received, I had previous experience overseas seeing how World Vision operated and some family friends were open to having me live with them, just to name a few.
At World Vision my role was to inspire and mobilise young people. I did this by touring the Upper North Island, speaking in schools, churches and youth groups. I helped them create an action plan to run the World Vision 40 Hour Famine and equipped them with the leadership skills they needed to organise events and communicate effectively with staff, students and the local community. I also had the opportunity to help run and speak at national leadership conferences for high school leaders and intermediate-aged students.
Working at World Vision was so special. It took me a while to realise just how much of a difference we can make. Whether you’re young or have built up some life experience, you can make a change. You don’t need to have a lot to change the lives of your brothers and sisters at home and across the world.
I saw this firsthand when I travelled to Cambodia and met one of my family’s sponsored children, Udon. Through our sponsorship, Udon and his family were able to buy a chicken—they could eat the eggs, sell the chicks for extra income and use the manure for their garden. Eventually Udon and his family saved up enough from selling the chicks and they bought a cow. This cow meant that they could drink the milk and sell the calves. From buying the chicken and their cow, Udon and his family started to eat better, which meant they got sick less often, so Udon could go to school more and when he was at school he could learn better. Soon they saved up enough and Udon’s father bought a motorbike. This meant he could travel to the capital city and work. Through selling the chicks and the calves, Udon was not only able to go to high school, but he finished high school.
My favourite part of the story is that right now, Udon, his family and their entire village have been lifted out of poverty. That all started with one chicken. This year, through the World Vision 40 Hour Famine, one chicken costs $26. Just $26 to change the lives of an entire community.
We can all make a difference. Any of us, at any age or stage of life, can help our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world. Whether it’s donating to a charity like World Vision or The Salvation Army, or using our purchasing power to only buy products that are ethical and organic, we are called by God to love our neighbours. I can tell you from firsthand experience that we can truly change the world.
This year, tens of thousands of young people in Aotearoa raised over $1.8 million, which provided 294 chickens, planted community gardens that supplied food for over 5542 people and provided life-saving food for 1930 children and 386 families living in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Matthew 25:35–40 it says:
‘“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”. The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”.’
How will you change the world?