Caleb Chung: Little Tsunami

Caleb ChungAUG 31, 2016 UPDATE: Caleb is our newest Team World Vision Legend! He has now raised over $50,000 for clean water in Africa. Welcome to the Legends Club, Caleb!

Here’s a brief overview of Caleb Chung’s Team World Vision history:

  • 2013: Ran a 1-mile race; raised $900
  • 2014: Ran a 5K; raised $3,500
  • 2015: Recruited a team of 5 friends; ran his first half marathon; raised over $45,000
  • 2016: Running another half marathon this September; $10,000 goal

Did we mention Caleb is 11 years old?

“When I was about 8, my parents started telling me about kids my age in Africa who had to walk miles to get water that wasn’t even safe to drink,” Caleb told us, “And I wanted to do something to help because it wasn’t their fault.”

At first, Caleb set up lemonade stands to raise money. But he wanted to do more. His parents were running with Team World Vision in Colorado, so Caleb asked if he could run too. He started with a 1 Mile race, but by his third year on the team, a TWV staff member proposed the idea of Caleb running the half marathon. “It seemed like a long shot,” Caleb said, “But then I started thinking about it. Kids had to walk distances as long as this for water that wasn’t even clean. So after looking at the training plan, I decided to sign up.”  

Little TsunamisBut Caleb didn’t just sign up. He also got five of his friends to run with him. “I told them the same thing that I had learned about kids that had to walk for water and they were moved too,” Caleb said. They called themselves the Little Tsunamis, and together provided clean water to over 1,100 people in Africa.

No one can say it better than Caleb himself:

On training: “I usually run after school. I just think about the kids and I imagine them at the same time that I am running, I imagine them walking for water. Even though what I am doing is hard, it’s not as hard as what they have to go through.”

On fundraising: “Most of it was just being consistent. I sent an email to everyone I knew asking for donations. I also asked in person. Once someone gave me a donation I made sure to say thank you. And every once and while I would send out a mass email with how many kids had been saved, thank everyone, and say that there were still more [kids] to be saved. My original goal was $10,000 which I thought I wouldn’t achieve. But as the donations started coming in, I kept raising my goal. I was surprised because I didn’t expect people to be this generous.”

So what’s next for Caleb? He’s currently signed up for the American Discovery Trail Half Marathon in September. “This year I’m starting at $10,000 again. My goal is to save as many kids as I can.”

Caleb, we are so honored to have you on Team World Vision, and so inspired by your incredible passion and tenacity to help kids around the world. Thank you for giving so much of yourself on behalf of kids in need. You are a world-changer. Never forget it.   

What Caleb might not tell you is that he’s less than $500 away from becoming a Team World Vision Legend! If you want to help Caleb hit an epic milestone of $50,000 raised, you can donate to his effort here.

Also, he gave an incredible speech at the 2016 World Vision Conference. You can watch it here!

Amber Walker: 56 miles for 56 lives

Amber WalkerAmber Walker has been dreaming about running the Comrades Marathon (a 56-mile ultra marathon through the hills of South Africa) for four years. After reading about the epic race in a magazine, she knew she wanted to try it even though it seemed out of reach.

But next week, Amber’s dream will come true.“When I found out that Team World Vision had a team, I pretty much jumped up and down,” she said. She’s trained for months, fought through injury, and imagined what it will be like to finally be there. Now it’s time. 

Amber has been running with Team World Vision for seven years in Seattle. “It feels like what I’m supposed to do. God just places things on your heart. I don’t really know why, but I know I’m supposed to keep running.”

But the race is just part of Amber’s story.

Amber has a World Vision sponsored child named Matolase. “She’s close to my own daughter’s age so I always wonder what she’s learning or how she’s doing. I know all of the dangers that she is exposed to and I just can’t help thinking, what if it was my own daughter? I would want someone to help.

And that’s why Amber is looking for sponsors for 56 kids – one for each mile of the 56-mile race. “When I started this I didn’t even think I knew 56 people,” Amber said, who is admittedly quiet and happy to spend time in smaller social circles. 

But Amber is not one to give up on a challenge, especially one so close to her heart. After countless bold asks, Amber has found sponsors for 54 children! That’s 54 children who will now have access to things like clean water, food, education and a future. She’s looking for 2 more sponsors* to reach her goal before she boards her flight, but of course more would be even better, she said.

Amber, you are a force to be reckoned with! Let the children who you serve give you hope and courage as you face those South African hills. Thank you for so boldly advocating on behalf of these kids. We’ll be cheering for you out there!

*Want to help Amber reach her goal? Email and let us know!

Joanna Krenk: Servant Leader

Joanna Krenk

“Stop thinking. We spend way too much time thinking. So stop thinking and analyzing, be quiet, listen to God, and do what he tells you to do.”

That’s Joanna Krenk. 

As a Team World Vision runner, triathlete (soon to be Ironman), fundraiser, volunteer, team leader, and Detroit 6K site host, Joanna has put her money where her mouth is, doing what God asks her to do.

What makes Joanna so awesome is not only her individual commitment to providing clean water to kids in Africa, but also her desire to serve God through serving her team. “I feel close to God when I’m out there cheering people on or putting together an event where I know other people are going to benefit,” she said. 

It’s why when you ask her about a highlight of her experience on Team World Vision that she’ll tell you stories about other runners crossing their finish lines. It’s why she’ll humbly downplay her role in recruiting 450 people for the World Vision 6K in Detroit. It’s why she has willingly managed spreadsheets and details in the background, and has sat out a marathon season herself in order to be a volunteer leader. It’s why she talks about her team as a family that can never be too big. And it’s why the declining number of people in need of clean water is what keeps her motivated most of all.

As her teammate Billy Downs said: Joanna, your steadfast commitment to serving others is incredible. You have chosen a path of prayer, obedience, and excellence in your passion to help others soar beyond their wildest dreams! Your generosity overflows as you repeatedly put your own needs behind the needs of others around you. 

That pretty much sums it up. Thank you, Joanna.

PS: Joanna recently published a weekly Triathlon training devotional book. Check it out

Evan and Debbie McBroom: Going Farther Together

McBroomsIt started with Evan. After five years of running half marathons, Evan’s friends urged him to run a full marathon. “And you have to do it with Team World Vision,” they said. So he did. 

One day to cure his boredom on a dreaded treadmill run, Evan started to visualize what it would be like finishing the Chicago Marathon; all of those people on the sidelines cheering him on to the finish line. And suddenly, out of nowhere, all of those faces in the crowd turned to faces of women and children in Africa. “That’s when I knew this was really important,” Evan said, “It’s not running plus clean water. It’s clean water plus running.

While Evan trained for his first marathon, Debbie watched. She had done many triathlons, but they had always been about her own challenge, satisfaction, or fun. She never really liked running, but when she was cheering Evan on through his marathon, something clicked. She saw the beauty of the team working together, cheering each other on, and she thought, “I think I’m going to have to do this.” She knew that it was God stirring up something in her heart. 

The McBrooms Go Farther TogetherWhat’s awesome about Evan and Debbie’s story is that they have been individually and uniquely moved to run for clean water as a couple. On the eve of an empty nest, Evan and Debbie have thought a lot about what life is going to look like for them without kids at home. “We see couples who come to the point of being empty-nesters and don’t know what to do with each other,” Evan explained. “We want to do something of importance with our lives, together.” So the McBrooms not only continue to run races and fundraise with Team World Vision, but they have helped lead and launch new teams all over the Indianapolis area. 

Evan and Debbie talk about Psalm 37:4: “Delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Neither of them had a life-long passion for running or for clean water that led them to join Team World Vision. But they say they have seen how God has placed new desires in their hearts—to live a life of importance, to serve in ministry as a couple, to care for the poor, to combine a love of fitness with clean water—and how He is making those desires come about. 

Remember the image Evan saw on the treadmill a few years ago? Well this year, Evan and Debbie traveled to Ethiopia to see some of World Vision’s work. It was there, a few years after that treadmill run, that the image became real: they saw women and children celebrating that they now have access to clean water. It was like all of the puzzle pieces of their journey, all of the desires that God had been placing on their hearts, finally came together into a beautiful picture, Debbie described. “We’re just grateful that God is letting us live this story.”

Thank you, Evan and Debbie, for your example of joyful faithfulness and service to others, together.

Have you seen Evan’s Ridiculous Clean Water Music Video? It helped him raise enough money to provide 125 people with clean water in 2014. This year, Evan and Debbie’s goals total $13,000!

Russ Funk: Reshuffling his cards

Russ FunkRuss Funk was scheduled to have knee replacement surgery in September of 2010. It was a hard reality to face having been an athlete in high school and college. But after 25 years of arthritis developing in his knees, he couldn’t escape it. His knees were in constant pain.

So it came as a shock when Russ announced to his family that he would be running a half marathon with Team World Vision that year. (You might already know that you can’t run on knee replacements.)

Russ had rescheduled his knee surgery in order to run the race instead. He couldn’t sit without aching and moaning, he hadn’t run a step in 25 years, and the race was 12 weeks away. Never mind that just a month earlier when asked how many races he had run, he had humbly replied, “None. Running is not in the cards for me.

But when he had asked his doctor about running the half marathon, the doctor told him, “Your knees are already shot, so if you can stand the pain, you might as well completely break them.” So Russ decided to reshuffle his cards.

He indeed ran that half marathon in 2010, and since then has completed 20 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and 7 triathlons (including a Half Ironman) on behalf of kids in Africa. He’s been a team captain in Phoenix, encouraged team members across their finish lines, and traveled to Africa with his wife, Pam, to meet their sponsored child in Kenya.

And on March 19, 2016, Russ ran the World Vision Global 6K for Water in his hometown of Phoenix. After 5 years of defying the odds, Russ celebrated his last running event with 8,000 of his closest friends across the country. Just 10 days later, Russ finally had that knee replacement. 

But that won’t stop him from doing whatever he can to help provide clean water to communities in Africa. At the Global 6K, Russ talked about taking on the Legacy challenge this year and what events he could do to help him raise $10,000. He’s already signed up for a triathlon relay with his sons (he’ll do the swimming and biking portions), and is looking into cycling events for once he has recovered from surgery.  

Russ, for five years you’ve endured relentless pain for the sake of others. You’ve literally broken your knees to care for children around the world. You’ve run for water, hope, and life. You are an inspiration to all who know you and we’re so thankful to have you on the team. Here’s to many more races!

Aimee Miller Parra: Faithful Sojourner

Aimee Miller ParraAimee happened to be visiting Park Community Church with her friend on the day that Team World Vision showed up to invite people to run the Chicago Marathon. She wasn’t a church-goer and she wasn’t a runner. But she was moved to join the team and run for kids who needed clean water.

From there, her life changed pretty drastically.

We think you should just go ahead and watch her story.

Kristin Boorse: Never Done

Kristin BoorseAs of this post, Kristin has raised over $41,000 for clean water through her Team World Vision efforts. And she’s not done yet.

What’s her secret? Well, two things:

First, she says, “Every time I pray about my goal, there is a number that comes to me. And as I get close to my goal, I raise it. I never want someone to come to my fundraising page and think, ‘Oh, it’s done.’ There’s always one more child. No matter what my goal is, I’ll always continue to up it because the need is so great and the impact is so huge.”

Second, “It is definitely a lot of work. It won’t just happen. You really have to have a plan. But I believe in pouring your heart out there and being persistent. People will respond to that.” And that’s certainly what Kristin has done, both in her own fundraising and to help encourage others.

As a team captain in Phoenix, Kristin saw that fundraising is what scared people the most when they committed to joining Team World Vision. So she worked with Christine Altavilla to host an event called “Fundraising to the Finish Line.” They invited all of their teammates in the Phoenix area to equip them to be bold and successful fundraisers. They even practiced asking for a donation and getting a “no” so people could get over their fear. We think that’s pretty awesome.

Be like Kristin! Here are her 5 P’s of Fundraising:

  1. Passion: Own and know the cause.
  2. Personalize: Make asks specific and personal.
  3. Persistence: Follow-up several times.
  4. Prayer: About setting your goal. About upping your goal. 
  5. Pthanks*: For everyone who supports you. (*She knows it doesn’t actually start with P.)

Judi Tschappat: “Where can you use me?”

Judi TschappatJudi ran the Chicago Marathon with Team World Vision in 2012. And although she wanted to run again the following season, a knee injury prevented her from signing up. That’s exactly when she approached her team captain and said, “I want to help with the team. Where can you use me?”

Judi became the group run volunteer coordinator and cheer team leader extraordinaire for the group run site in Algonquin, Illinois. Even now, three years later, Judi is still at the running site every Saturday at 6 AM with her two young girls, Maggie and Emma, cheering on her teammates.

Every person at that group run has been touched by having Judi and the girls out on the trail and the race course, leading cheer squads for when the going gets the toughest.

In her words: “All I really do is show up. God created me kinda ‘over the top’ with the gift of encouragement, so He simply put Team World Vision in front of me so He could use the gift He gave me.”

Thank you, Judi, for serving your team so selflessly.