Crystal O’Rourke, full-time student, and stay-at-home mom got involved with World Vision in 2009 at a Women of Faith Conference where she learned about the child sponsorship program.
For the past 65 years, World Vision has been empowering people out of poverty. As a Christian Humanitarian organization, they partner with children, their families, and communities all over the world.
“I was immediately wrecked as I held my own four-month-old daughter and watched the struggles these kids and moms go through. I went out to the concourse and found my first sponsor child, Tumelo, a little boy from Lesotho, a small country in Africa,” Crystal said.
After Crystal began sponsoring Tumelo she received a copy of World Vision President, Richard Stearns’ book The Hole in Our Gospel. The book changed her way of thinking and lifestyle as she researched ways to become more involved with the organization.
“World Vision is the longest standing and largest humanitarian and aid organization,” Crystal said. “It utilizes the most per dollar straight to those in need. It is number one in areas of disaster relief, clean water, and famine, etc. But more than that World Vision is made up of people—people who work and people who volunteer, people who spend their lives loving and serving others in hopes of building God’s kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven. When we receive support, we don’t see dollars and financial agendas, we see the faces of the children who will live to see another day because of people like you who believe what God can do through us, all to His own glory.”
In 2012 Crystal became a member of Team World Vision to raise money for clean water in Africa by setting up a fundraiser. Shortly after, Crystal and her husband of ten years, Patrick, became ambassadors for World Vision, which means they assist in finding sponsors for children in poverty.
The O’Rourke’s became host site leaders for the World Vision Global 6K run/walk for clean water in 2015. Participants pay a registration fee that provides a child with clean water for life and in return receive a race bib with the picture of the child they help. Six Kilometers is the average distance a person in Africa walks to get to water.
Crystal and Patrick have continued to be host site leaders, with each year topping the last in participants. Crystal is now a captain of Team World Vision for the Long Beach Half Marathon.
“Every year we have more than doubled our participation and have given water to hundreds of children.”
Out of 707 host sites with thousands of participants worldwide, Team Oasis, hosted by the O’Rourke’s raised almost $7,000, putting their site in the top 20. The top Host Site coordinators were invited to go to World Vision Headquarters in Washington and celebrate the lives that were changed through the Global 6K. Each site host gave a debrief to World Vision staff about their 6K and what they found successful and what was not.
“This was one of my greatest dreams come true,” Crystal said. “I’d been hoping for this for 8 years since God put this organization in my heart and dragged me hard after its cause.”
Once at World Vision Headquarters, Crystal was waiting for a chapel service to begin when another one of her dreams came true. She met Richard Stearns, World Vision President whose book changed her life.
“After chapel, I waited for him to finish talking to some of the other people that were there and introduced myself. I told him about how I loved his books and how I had the opportunity to see him speak at Women of Faith. He replied those were some of his scarier speaking days and we both laughed. He was so warm and kind and thanked me for volunteering.”
Besides the ministry of World Vision, Crystal is a worship leader at her local church. She is a busy wife and mom of three young girls as well as a full-time student at Liberty University and Rawlings School of Divinity. She is studying for her degree in Christian Leadership and Management with a minor in International Studies. She hopes to use her education to further her ministries and eventually work professionally for World Vision.
Crystal says, “The trip to World Vision Headquarters, again confirmed in me that I am most satisfied and feel that God is most satisfied with me when I am serving with World Vision and fighting for the least of these. And I say that with all humility—not that they are less than us but that I will keep fighting for every one of them. I learned that there are people out there that care as much as I do—people that have given up the American Dream to serve the God they love by loving their neighbor as themselves.”
Crystal and Patrick, a Hospice Chaplain, have decided it is time to go see first-hand the work they have dedicated so much of their lives to. In October, they plan to go with a World Vision Team to Ethiopia where they will be able to participate in hands-on training.
“We will be able to meet the sponsor children and get to connect with them on a personal level about the impact their sponsors make. This trip is going to be life changing,” said Crystal. “I’m asking for prayers and donations.”
Perhaps you’ve wondered if God can use one person to make a difference.
The answer is yes!
World Vision makes it easy to get involved and start making a difference today. Check out their many facets of ministry opportunities. For more information go to https://www.worldvision.org/about-us
To donate to the O’Rourke’s trip to Ethiopia
Richard Stearns’ book, The Hole in Our Gospel