Sunday, March 30, 2014

World Vision 2 - Embarrassed to be a Christian

World Vision U.S.: We ‘Made a Mistake’ and Won’t Be Hiring Gay Married Employees Anymore

March 26, 2014 By Hemant Mehta

Just yesterday, we posted about how World Vision, an international Christian charity that ranks as one of the largest charities in the world, was reversing its hiring policy. World Vision U.S. president Richard Stearns said that Christians who are in legal same-sex marriages could still be employed with the organization.

Stearns asserts that the “very narrow policy change” should be viewed by others as “symbolic not of compromise but of [Christian] unity.” He even hopes it will inspire unity elsewhere among Christians:

So much for unity.

The board members of World Vision U.S. just announced their change of heart:
Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy. The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.
… we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

So, yesterday, World Vision U.S. said it would be perfectly fine to hire gay Christians in a committed relationship because “controversial” issues like same-sex marriage should be dealt with by individual churches. They were staying true to their mission.

“We’re not caving to some kind of pressure. We’re not on some slippery slope. There is no lawsuit threatening us. There is no employee group lobbying us,” said Stearns. “This is not us compromising. It is us deferring to the authority of churches and denominations on theological issues. We’re an operational arm of the global church, we’re not a theological arm of the church.

But suddenly, after Christians (up to 2,000 of them according to rumors online) withdrew their support from the organization — because if gay people are treated like human beings, then who gives a damn about hungry children? — the board members decided it would be a lot easier to just refuse to hire gay Christians in committed relationships. Because donations are more important than standing up for your principles.

You know, you’re only supposed to change your mind after you’ve made a bad decision.

Way to take a stand, World Vision. Way to cave in to the people who would rather let children starve than allow gay people to help feed them. Can’t have donors running around thinking you’re tolerant, can you…?

It turns out World Vision is incredibly myopic. 
Christians from both sides of the fence are already weighing in:

I have never in my life been more angry at the Church or more embarrassed to be a Christian. It feels like a betrayal from every side.
World Vision must replace Richard Stearns. He led them into this ditch. An apology is not enough to restore credibility.

Did World Vision hire the McCain's '08 PR team or something? Way to go alienating absolutely everyone.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Was World Vision's vision blurred?

World Vision President Grieves Over Children Hurt by Controversial Decision on Hiring Married Gays


March 27, 2014|8:27 am

World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns expressed grief over the child sponsorships that were canceled after the organization announced its original policy change on hiring those in same-sex marriages.

After receiving feedback from supporters and faith leaders who were opposed to World Vision's decision to employ Christians who are in same-sex marriages, Stearns said in a press conference call Wednesday that the board decided to reverse its earlier decision and reaffirm the nonprofit's commitment to core biblical principles and the belief that "marriage is an institution created by God, between a man and a woman."

"I can say from a personal standpoint, the last couple of days have been painful. We especially feel pain and a broken heart for the confusion that we caused for many of our faithful friends and partners around the country who saw the policy change as a reversal of World Vision U.S.'s strong commitment to biblical authority, which was not intended to be," Stearns commented.

Although World Vision doesn't have a precise count on the number of child sponsorships that were canceled following Monday's announcement, Stearns confirmed that many supporters had canceled their donations in protest of the board's decision.

"That certainly grieves us," he said, "because the children that we serve will suffer for that. I can't tell you what the cumulative financial impact has been or will be. But I will say that our choice is not about money or income, it's really about a sincere desire for us to do the right thing: to be consistent with our core values, and to respond to the legitimate feedback and counsel that we have received from faith leaders and friends of World Vision."

Outside of public statements from evangelist Franklin Graham, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and George Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God – all of whom denounced the policy change – Stearns said World Vision was also contacted by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and the National Religious Broadcasters association.

The organization had also received communications from Joel Osteen Ministries, among others, but he noted that he believes "it's appropriate to keep the heartfelt counsel of these friends confidential."

Openly acknowledging the board's mistake in its original policy change, Stearns said they're asking for forgiveness from partners for their "poor judgment."

"[T]he feedback we've paid special attention to has come from our many trusted partners, supporters, pastors and church leaders, many of whom came to us with sincere concern and love and conviction for not only World Vision, but for this delicate issue that this policy governs," he stated.

"We listened to their counsel, and they tried to point out in a loving way that the kind of policy change that had been made was simply not consistent with our commitment to traditional marriage, and authority of Scripture and how we apply Scripture in our lives."

Stearns asserted that although World Vision had received some affirmations of support from various people regarding Monday's announced policy change to offer employment to those in same-sex marriages, they soon realized they were creating a division among Christians and decided that they could not "defer to a small minority of denominations and churches" that affirm same-sex marriage.

"We have created a division that we did not want to create," he explained. "But in the end, the board concluded that we must really stand on our traditional beliefs – the authority of Scripture and our view of traditional marriage – and we cannot have a conduct policy that is not in alignment with those core truths, the foundational truths that we stand on."

Although World Vision's board had made the decision to ratify the employee conduct policy several months ago, Stearns said their major supporters and partners received a letter about the change on the same day media outlets were breaking the story.

"We have made a mistake, and part of that mistake was we did inadequate consultation with our partners and supporters prior to making a decision of this significance. And if I could have a do-over on one thing, it would have been that I would have done much more consultation with Christian leaders," Stearns said, noting the board will continue consulting with key Christian leaders on this issue.

Stearns also emphasized that while "World Vision U.S. has chosen to stand firmly in the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God. They are to be loved and treated with respect; and we welcome into our employment all sincere Christians who are willing to affirm our statement of faith, and abide by our conduct policy."

He added that all World Vision employees are held to a high standard of Christian conduct that not only governs sexual activity, but other areas of conduct. In its Wednesday statement, the board reverted to World Vision's long-standing policy that requires sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.

Following the board's decision, Stearns said he's hopeful that World Vision's individual and church partners will continue to support the organization's mission to helping at-risk children and provide disaster relief.

"We estimate that our work touches 100 million people annually. These are people who are suffering in poverty. They are people who've been affected by disasters and war. We're working in Syrian refugee camps. We're rebuilding after typhoon Haiyan. And we're helping to prevent sex trafficking of children and girls in a number of countries around the world," he said.

"We would much rather be having a conversation about those things, which is core to our mission, than this issue, which has led [to] a great deal of controversy and confusion among our supporters around the country."

Thursday, March 27, 2014


SIMFEROPOL, Crimea — A power failure plunged much of the Crimean capital, Simferopol, into darkness on Monday, the second partial blackout in two days, as the Ukrainian government in Kiev appeared to retaliate against Russia’s occupation and annexation of the peninsula by sharply cutting electricity supplied from the mainland.

Homes and businesses went dark across a large swath of the city, underscoring the vulnerability of the geographically isolated peninsula, which is dependent on mainland Ukraine for many vital services, including electricity and much of its water supply.

Officials here and in Moscow had anticipated such a move by the Ukrainian government. In recent days, regional officials said they had acquired 900 generators to provide electricity to vital buildings, including hospitals. It was not immediately clear if those generators were in use.


Within hours of the blackout Captains Ruslan and Marina Zuev. the Salvation Army leaders in the Crimea contacted me via Skype (internet video communications) and Glad and I spoke with them both at length – these are worrying times- their power was cut without warning two nights in a row, and they’re anticipating that this will be SOP for the indefinite future.

Dr. Igor Repyakh and the Captains Zuev

Doctors Repyakh had to vacate their apartment recently, bringing with them all their dental surgery equipment at night. They are now in temporary accommodation and need an immediate $200.00 to pay their rent or they’ll be evicted-

Drs. Igor and Elena, are dependent on the FSAOF to keep their free dentist service operating, and reported that their power too was cut, while a patient was in the dentist’s chair!

Getting out of Dodge City in a haste!!

Ruslan and Marina expressed their gratitude for the $2,930.00 dollars the FSAOF has already provided since August 2013 to assist them in providing food and provision for the elderly, a Bible and Music camp, petrol for the van provided them free by a SA soldier (a dilapidated van that would not be allowed on UK roads) and Drs. Igor’s and Elena’s car repairs, their on-going mandated training and the monthly certification costs. The donations since January 2014 includes dental equipment purchased ($895.00) waiting transport to Ukraine, and $1,410.00 cash via Western Union.

The Captains now ask that we assist in the purchase of 3 electric generators, petrol cans and petrol, in addition to our regular monthly FSAOF allocation which averages $750.00.

3 generators   $550.00 each                     1,650.00
Petrol cans – 6                                             72.00
Petrol – 25.00 pw  3 months                      300.00
Rent – dental surgery and apartment           600.00
SA provided van                                        200.00
Food provisions for the elderly  2 weeks     800.00

TOTAL: $3,602.00

A Free FSAOF Sidewalk dental consultation

These are wonderful, brave and committed comrades and whose families live in the Kiev area, far from their Crimea SA appointment- 

The FSAOF are grateful to those who contribute through their monthly pledges: Tony Hussey, Major Marianne Ljungholm (retired), Alice Rawlins, Remi Wright, FSAOF Mission Team member, Dentist L. Wall, and the Liverpool Ljungholms, covering any and all deficits. Please pray for the SA in the Crimea and the FSAOF’s ability to respond effectively.

If you are able to assist please let us know and the amount you intend to contribute – we’ll make the donation on your behalf and in your name (anticipating its imminent arrival)

The FSAOF wires money the first week of every month- usually in the $500-1,000 range- Most donations received are from former Salvation Army officers, however, active and retired officers and all others are encouraged to join with us. The FSAOF forwards all moneys received, plus some, to the SA Crimea. An open spreadsheet detailing all donations and distributions are available each month.

To make a donation via Paypal, please use (FSAOF will be in the identity box)
Or mail a check to:
Sven Ljungholm (adding FSAOF in the memo box)

202S1100 Ponce de Leon BlvdClearwater, Fl 33756USA


21 Bonchurch Dr.Liverpool L15 4PWUK

Blessings, Sven Ljungholm
NOTE! I have some Ukrainian bank notes in hand that we had intended to hand deliver in February. The SA Crimea warned us against a visit. If you know of anyone traveling out to Ukraine please ask them to contact me in order that I can get the money to them for delivery to the SA Ukraine.

photos and invoices March, 2014