On Faith: Women of Vision’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

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Rich and Reneé Stearns with Women of Vision Founder Ann McKusick and husband Richard
Rich and Reneé Stearns with Women of Vision Founder Ann McKusick and husband Richard

“As I look around this room, I see the faces of women who have quite literally changed the world and I am genuinely humbled in your presence,” said Reneé Stearns at the recent Women of Vision 25th Anniversary Celebration. “For a quarter of a century, in partnership with World Vision, you have helped to make a difference in the lives of men, women and children in 100 countries around the world, providing those in need with clean water, food, security, health care, education, and financial support, reaching out to those needing a hand up, rather than a hand out. “

“For 25 years, Women of Vision Orange County has fearlessly, tirelessly, and sacrificially committed yourselves to obeying Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbors as yourselves and I am here tonight to say thank you,” she added.

Stearns was the keynote speaker for the inspirational event held at the Island Hotel. The theme was “Solving the Puzzle of Poverty.” Approximately 250 people attended the celebration, which included a silent and live auction, a lively performance by the Milele Kenyan Vocal Group, and special recognition of the original founders of Women of Vision.

Stearns is a lawyer, author and advocate of women and children. Her husband Rich, president of World Vision, U.S., also spoke.

“Poverty is the result of a complex set of problems, and to solve it you have to address each problem,” Rich Stearns said. “And you have to do it all at the same time. It is like solving a puzzle; you can’t solve a puzzle without every piece. That’s why World Vision works in a whole range of areas. We provide clean water, agriculture training, nutrition and health, education, and economic development. We also address issues like the protection of children and domestic violence, gender and family issues, as well as spiritual nurture by helping people experience and learn about God’s love, because a community needs healthy values to work their way out of poverty.”

Melissa Johnson, event co-chair and WOV Orange County co-chair, said it was a great success, thanks to the committee’s teamwork.

“It was a very fun celebration, and a great way to honor the founders of Women of Vision,” she said. “We’re deeply grateful to all our sponsors and guests who generously contributed to the event. Over $250,000 was raised for our chapter’s ministries.”

Women of Vision is a volunteer ministry of World Vision, mobilizing women to action to help impoverished women and children experience a tangible expression of God’s love. Women of Vision was founded in Orange County in 1990 by a group of compassionate women; many were present and honored that night for their vision and commitment.

Ann McKusick was one of those founders. She shared her reflections about the journey of Women of Vision.

“On our first vision trip to Guatemala in 1989, God gave seven women a glimpse of a vision and a name – Women of Vision,” McKusick said. “He set us on a course – not all mapped out, but with enough clarity to get started. We had a simple mission: to help women and their children like the ones we met in Guatemala and later in Kenya, women who had little in material resources but abundant desire and spiritual stamina to make a better life for their children. World Vision provided the platform to carry out this vision with its worldwide network of programs helping the least of these.”

“We believe that God works through human hands and hearts to respond to human needs,” Johnson said. “In helping others reach their full potential, we are all blessed with the gift of experiencing fullness of life.”

For further information, visit womenofvisionorangecounty.org.

Cindy can be reached at [email protected].

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