Val has been a Tearfund supporter for 33 years. Here, she tells us about how she wants to pass on her blessings to future generations.
There's a song that we used to sing in church. It has the line, ‘I want to give my life for something that will last forever.’
I first became aware of Tearfund when I was at a church in London. This church was supporting a couple who were working for Tearfund in the slums of Cairo, Egypt. They used to come back and visit the church regularly. I heard what they were doing and I thought, ‘Oh, this sounds like really good, practical work.’ It was rooted in the gospel of Jesus and there seemed to be such love.
When I moved to Ipswich, I was asked to become a volunteer for Tearfund. Through this, I started to learn more about the different places where Tearfund works.
I liked the way that they worked with local partners, training local people to help their communities. I liked the ‘helping people to help themselves’ aspect of it. That encouraged me to keep giving, keep supporting and get more involved through leading a prayer group.
I went to India to see the work Tearfund did there. We visited a town called Nagercoil, where they have a tremendous outreach work with people suffering from HIV and AIDS. We met some of the women who've been affected by HIV and AIDS, and a man called Mr Benny.
One of the women set fire to herself when she found out she was HIV positive. She was brought to the hospital and told us that, ‘Mr Benny sat by my bedside, he held my hand and spoke to me like a brother.’ I was so impressed by Mr Benny – the love of Jesus just shone out of him.
Handing over the baton
People overseas are created by God just as I am, just as my family are. So it seems natural to pray for them just as I would pray for people close to me.
I've been blessed in so many different ways, and I'm fortunate to be in the position to be able to pass on those blessings. I look at it in a way as handing over the baton – I can hand over something to someone else so that they can continue blessing other people.
Tearfund has been a hugely important part of my life for a long time. By giving a financial gift to Tearfund in my will, I'm giving a gift that will last forever. That gift will help someone to change their life. The change in their life will affect other people around them: their family, their community, their children. So that gift will go on beyond my time on this earth.
Thank you for this day, and for all the love and hope it contains.
Thank you for people like Mr Benny, working selflessly to bring your love to people living in need.
Please take into your care everyone who has been ostracised by their community because of diseases like HIV. May there be healing, reconciliation and greater understanding.
Thank you for all the ways you have blessed me; help me to see how I might pass on those blessings to others.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Val was speaking to us as part of Legacy Week. To find out more about leaving a Legacy to Tearfund, please visit tearfund.org/legacy.