A History of World Vision

By Minister Gail Thompson


I’m attempting in this blog, not just to write a history of World Vision, but to get behind the heartbeat of the organisation. As a charity motivated by Christian faith, World Vision aims to make a positive difference to the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children as an expression of God’s love.

I’m moved by the grace, compassion and generous affection shown to the imperfect, poor and broken by evangelist and war correspondent Dr. Bob Pierce. In 1947, while travelling China and Korea, Bob Pierce saw an opportunity to fulfil what he saw as his social responsibility as a child of God. An encounter with a teacher, Tena Hoelkedoer, was the turning point for what became a worldwide organisation dedicated to well-being of all people: particularly vulnerable children.

Tena introduced Bob Pierce to the abandoned child White Jade. Bob Pierce gave Tena his last five dollars and agreed to send the same amount each month to help her care for her. White Jade was the first recipient of Pierce's generosity: three years later, out of the heart of that single evangelist, World Vision was born.

It must have been a profound experience for Bob Pierce to communicate the simple outworking of faith to the people he was amongst, and particularly White Jade. There was tremendous simplicity, yet power, in that relationship. Since then, World Vision has brought hope to many millions of children.


World Vision prides itself on a community development model. It encourages self-reliance and small-scale enterprise among rural communities, the internally displaced and refugees. The charity also works with governments and local businesses alike to strengthen advocacy efforts on issues related to child marriage, trafficking, labour, and the sexual exploitation of women and children.

Supporters and staff are viewed as mediators of love and grace by those on the receiving end. Providing inspiration for lives that have seen and experienced far too much fear. Ronald Reagan once said: "The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave." I have been an ambassador for World Vision UK for approximately nine months and have in that time found only bravery, generosity and universal goodwill.

As individuals, we need to follow in these footsteps: finding and helping to fix the problems that break our heart. We do not need to be wealthy, but merely to act with honour and love.

For their tireless work and dedication, I wish to give true thanks to World Vision UK’s staff, ambassadors, sponsors, donors, and last but not least Dr. Bob Pierce – for leading the way.

May God bless you all.