My name is Dwi Maria, I was a World Vision sponsored child and my sponsor was from Australia.
I was born and grew up in a small village in East Java, Indonesia. My parents are the first generation of Christians in our big family. Both my parents were uneducated when they got married, and we were very poor.
My father worked in sugar factory and he earned about $20 each month. For additional income he went to a river in our village to collect stones and sell them. My parents always had big dreams for their children. My father always told me and my siblings that he wanted us to have bachelor degrees.
Becoming a sponsored child really changed my life. World Vision not only paid for my school fees but also provided other basic needs. Every first week of the month I got very excited because I got new storybooks and magazines to read. My faith really grew by reading those Christian storybooks and magazines.
In 1997, I applied for the World Vision Youth Ambassador Program, and I was selected! Through the program 50 youth from 50 different countries were chosen to promote peace and reconciliation. We went to the USA, Guatemala, Taiwan and Japan. That experience really changed my life and made me realise that God had a special calling for me to be in full-time ministry.
In 1999, I started studying theology at Bandung Theological Seminary, the school where I teach today. In 2000, I went to Germany and the Netherlands through the Youth Ambassador Program. There I not only promoted peace and reconciliation but I also did some interviews and spoke about my experience as a sponsored child. It was really amazing!
In 2003, after I graduated from my studies, my school sent me to Los Angeles for my master’s degree. It felt like a miracle – a sponsored child from a poor family going to the USA to study. I graduated in 2005.
After six years of teaching, my school sent me to study my PhD at the Asia Graduate School of Theology in Manila in the Philippines, and I got a scholarship from Langham Partnership International. Last year God sent me to Asbury Theological Seminary for my research.
During a semester studying in Kentucky, Langham Board USA invited me to share devotions at the Governor’s house in Nashville. Another amazing miracle for a former World Vision sponsored child!
Another unthinkable opportunity came when Paul Barker, our Langham scholars' coordinator, offered me a place in Melbourne earlier this year to concentrate on my research. It was a very fruitful time, beyond what I expected. I met many people who sharpened my calling and I connected with World Vision Australia. Praise God!
I would like to say thank you to God and World Vision Australia for giving me hope, love and opportunity. I remember someone once saying, “by helping one person you actually change the world”. I think that is true with me. Through World Vision’s ministry, my life has really changed and it has impacted the world around me. Thank you!
Please join us in prayer for sponsored children like Dwi Maria – that God will work through World Vision and its supporters to bring them faith, hope and love.