Cheryl Schow from Paxton, Nebraska
Photo 1: Cheryl, Kyle, Bailee & Ben with sponsored students Berline, WilSmith and their families; Photo 2: Cheryl’s family with their team in Haiti
How did you first get involved with WWV? Best described as “divine intervention”! We missed an opportunity to go on a mission trip to Kenya in 2011 and my kids had expressed an interest in a short-term mission trip. The spring of 2012 we began searching various venues for Christian-based short-term missions abroad. Due to my husband’s and my work schedule, as well as the kids’ busy school and extra-curricular activities, a 2-3 week trip was not feasible or practical. We were looking for a shorter 7-10 day itinerary.
I ran across WWV through my internet searches by happenstance and it grabbed my attention… it was a Christian based, mission oriented non-profit organization… they offered shorter-term mission trips that met our timeframe…. they offered several different activities that were focused on family participation, as well as individual interests… they provided assistance to the Haitians only as a means of empowering their development and facilitating their education… AND, from my education in Community and Regional Planning, the fact that WWV focused on ALL aspects of growing & empowering a community to develop solutions & become more self-sufficient, was a bonus – spiritual, medical, educational, agricultural – all foundational components to a thriving, sustainable people.
We sponsored 2 children attending the Williamson School in the fall of 2012 and attended our first WWV mission trip that December.
When did you know you were passionate about Haiti? Sometime during the week we were in Haiti – during the nightly debriefing sessions, I was keenly aware of my desire to be committed to WWV in fulfilling their mission in some capacity – but I wasn’t sure how. After we returned home, we were given several opportunities to talk to others about our experience. We were accused of participating in a simple “humanitarian aide” trip. That brief statement lit a fire in me & I found myself supporting, promoting & even arguing for the vision of WWV, their community based philosophy & why empowering and developing people is so much more than 1-dimensional.
Which Ambassador activities are you most excited about? “Be an Encourager” during the months of July/August. WWV’s Haitian staff were such an inspiration and blessing to our team! They are the best of the best – generous, caring, self-less givers, encouraging, thankful, happy, trustworthy and hard-working! We learned so much from their positive attitudes & simple lifestyles. I’m excited to have the opportunity to provide a small token of my gratitude and appreciation for who they are and what they do to make WWV a success.
Dawn Stovall from Plainfield, Indiana
Photo 1: Dawn with her sponsored student (Stephania Salvain); Photo 2: Dawn on her most recent trip to Haiti with World Wide Village
How did you first get involved with WWV? I first heard about WWV through my father’s church in Muscatine, Iowa. They had been planning a mission’s trip with WWV and I wanted to be a part of it after hearing about Haiti from my father years previously. A few months later I was on my way to Haiti for my first trip and fell in love with the people. Even though there were a few hiccups that first trip, I definitely see how God prepared me for not only having a plan A, but making sure you also have a plan Z. As a planner that was a challenge for me, but now going back I have learned that God always has a better way of doing things when the devil tries to throw a wrench in the system. Seven months after my first trip, I was a part of the summer internship program and was blessed to spend a month in Haiti. Four trips later, I am planning another visit to a beautiful country!
When did you know you were passionate about Haiti? After the first trip to Haiti I knew that I would be there again and again as much as God would allow me to be. After meeting the amazing people of the country as well as the WWV staff, I knew that I had just become hooked. As soon as I landed back in the US after my first trip I was itching to go back which is why I am glad I was able to be involved in a month long summer internship. This showed me so many ways that the Haitian people are so grateful, eager to learn, and welcoming as they remembered my name from seven months previous. Each hug I have received from kids and adults makes me even more passionate about Haiti.
Which Ambassador activities are you most excited about? I am the most excited about student sponsorship! I have been on several photo trips and every time I look into the faces of the children I see how excited they are to learn when they are able to attend school. I believe that there are so many other children in the communities that would benefit from education and a caring environment at the schools. I encourage everyone to sponsor a child; I know it has been a great journey for me to be able to meet my sponsor child Stephania and her family!