“What an amazing calling and opportunity to be used by God,” said Margo Day to over 330 men and women at the recent Women of Vision Orange County “Faces of Courage” luncheon at the Balboa Bay Resort. “We can be his expression of love, a reminder to people that God has heard their prayers. God can do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine.”
Day was one of two powerful keynote speakers at the annual fundraising luncheon and spring boutique. Mary Hendricks, Co-Chair of the Orange County Chapter of Women of Vision, along with Jean Winder, welcomed the guests.
“We are a group that exists to raise funds for projects of World Vision,” Hendricks said. “We are the first chapter of Women of Vision, which started more than 20 years ago. Now there are many chapters around the country, and around the world.”
Women of Vision is a volunteer partnership of World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization that has served the poor throughout the world since 1950 through emergency relief and long-term commitment to community-based outreach and development.
Betsy Tarbell, one of the original founders of Women of Vision, introduced Day.
“Margo has a heart for giving, she’s dynamic, and she’s one of those women who understand computers!” Tarbell said.
Day is the West Regional Vice President of Microsoft and Co-chair of World Vision’s National Leadership Council for Child Protection. She took a sabbatical from Microsoft in 2009, when she went to Africa and traveled with a World Vision team to a recue center for girls in Kenya, an experience that changed her life.
“I went during a bad drought,” she said. “People were starving and out of water. The girls there had disobeyed their parents to avoid female genital mutilation or early marriage. I wondered, at 8, 9 or 10, would I have had the guts to run away from home? I knew this was the area Jesus called me to.”
Day was inspired by the girls’ determination to seek a better life through education, and that began the vision for St. Elizabeth Secondary Boarding School. Today 250 girls attend, with more coming.
“Whether it’s in Kenya or south central LA, it just takes one strong woman to effect change,” said DeAnn Carroll, Young Women of Vision Chair, as she introduced Susan Burton, the second speaker.
Burton shared her inspirational story of overcoming overwhelming odds, and now lives dedicated to helping other women do the same.
“Every time I’m introduced, I thank God for grace, for mercy, for protection and guidance in my life,” Burton said. “It hasn’t always been like this. In 1982, my 5-year old son was accidentally killed and my grief took me down a terrible dark hole of alcoholism and addiction. I was imprisoned six times over the next 17 years for drug use.”
“There were so many women like me, traveling in and out of prison, with no place to go when getting out, and not too many resources,” she continued. “God opened doors and guided me on a path.”
Burton gained freedom and sobriety, and founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project in 1998. She was recently nominated as a CNN Top 10 Hero in the category of “community crusader.”
“It’s not about me, it’s about what can happen through me,” she said. “It’s about multiplying the vision. Thank you for saving me and pulling me back from the gates of hell and helping me be part of helping make the world a better place.”
World Vision’s “Strong Women, Strong World” initiative supports sustainable change in some of the most difficult places in the world to be a girl or a woman. For further information, go to womenofvisionorangecounty.org or strongwomenstrongworld.org.
Cindy can be reached at [email protected]