Tanya: Thanks for hanging out today, I’d love to ask you both some questions. First off, how did you first hear about WHI?
Heather: Well, I served as a missionary with Global Partners in Albania for a few years and our team worked on a couple projects with World Hope International.
Deborah: My church started partnering with WHI when I was a young child. At that time, World Hope was just starting as a new organization… so I guess I grew up with WHI!
Tanya: What is it like to work for WHI? What are the best parts of your job?
Heather: Every day looks different. I love interacting with our donors because they are so inspirational! Behind every donation there is an amazing story. I love the moments where a donor will call and explain their connection to WHI or why they feel drawn to a specific project. WHI has a variety of projects and it’s so cool seeing how donors can align their passions with a specific project.
Also, I love being able to send reports out to our donors. It’s so easy to give $20, but never know the impact those dollars made. Receiving a detailed report is a tangible way to see the difference they are making. People literally are changing lives through their generosity and they deserve to be celebrated!
Deborah: Working for WHI is incredible! Working with others who are as passionate about bringing hope to the vulnerable makes this job extra amazing. So far, the best part of my job has been seeing others catch the excitement, either through experiences they have had with WHI while visiting our projects, or by hearing the stories of impact. It is always exciting when someone new joins us on our journey.
Tanya: How does your role help bring opportunity, dignity and hope to the most vulnerable around the world?
Heather: It’s easy to think I am not making an impact in the world since I work from the office, but my job allows the ones on the ground to keep doing their work! Our donors are incredibly important to bringing opportunity, dignity and hope and I get to interact with them daily. It’s a joy making the giving process easier for them.
Deborah: My role is to help churches and people find their passion for helping the most vulnerable. I have the great privilege of bringing more people into our organization which allows us to help bring opportunity, dignity, and hope to the most vulnerable.
Tanya: What in the world is it like working with me? I’ve heard that I’m kinda crazy!
Heather: It’s hard not to catch your passion for the world! By the end of one conversation with you, people are asking, “How can I help change the world?” You’re 100% committed to your role here at WHI and when you work for a leader like that it pushes you to do your very best!
Deborah: Oh, it is super fun! It is so nice to have someone who not only loves their job and life, but also to work with someone who pushes you and believes in you.
…the best part of my job has been seeing others catch the excitement.
Tanya: What is one thing that people wouldn’t typically know about you?
Heather: I was born and raised in Chicago! Yes, I have an accent, love deep dish pizza, have been to the bean, and love da bears.
Deborah: When I was 16, I was feeding a dolphin at Sea World and it bit my hand. Like, the dolphin had my whole hand past my wrist in his mouth. It hurt, and the dolphin trainer gave me a super dirty look…like I was the one biting the dolphin.
The world has so much to teach us. We need each other. The world is a magical place full of colours, smells, tastes, and sounds.
Tanya: Tell me a bit more about your international experience?
Heather: Since I can remember, I’ve always had this bent towards other cultures. From a young age, I’ve had a deep desire to interact with people that do life differently from my worldview. I lived in Durres, Albania for 3 ½ years and served on a church planting team. I took the time to immerse myself in their culture and studied the Albanian language to reach a level of fluency.
I found myself in situations I never could have imagined –sitting on the ground in the corner of a house with a group of women while the men drank coffee, living with an Albanian family for 2 months that didn’t speak English, holding my friends hand in the emergency room while she received stitches because of domestic violence, making bread in a tiny village in the mountains, dancing tradition Albanian dance till 4am celebrating newlyweds and more.
The world has so much to teach us. We need each other. The world is a magical place full of colours, smells, tastes, and sounds. I remember coming back to North America and having a hard time falling asleep because it was so silent. I missed the evening noises of dogs barking, cars driving on the gravel road, Albanian wedding music, and neighbors chatting on their balconies.
Deborah: Almost all of my international trips have been with WHI. I have been to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, and Bahamas. I have also been to Haiti with my church. I love being able to travel abroad, and especially to see the difference in people’s lives because they are connected with WHI. My favourite and also most terrifying part of traveling overseas is eating local food. I love trying it, but I am always nervous about new flavours.
Tanya: Do you have a favourite quote or words of wisdom?
Heather: “Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.” Frederick Buechner
“The place to which God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner
Deborah: Don’t be afraid to step outside of your familiar box. It is when we move beyond what is comfortable that we start to experience incredible opportunities. Being uncomfortable allows us to help others, open our homes, our lives, and our hearts to bigger things
You can support WHI’s efforts to empower, protect, and build resiliency around the world by giving to The Hope Fund.