Dr Bob (Robert) Pierce
(1914-1978) was the founder of World Vision
and The Samaritan's Purse
In 1947, a young American Protestant minister named Robert (Bob) Pierce travelled to China to make a movie about the Christian missions there.
He was devastated by the poverty he saw.
One child especially upset him - a battered and hungry young girl named White Jade.
Her father had beaten her and kicked her out of the house because she had visited the local mission school.
The school could not afford to take her in.
Dr. Pierce gave the school principal his last five dollars, and promised to send more each month to help support the young girl.
Pierce then travelled to Korea, where a war was leaving thousands of children and adults without homes, food, water and medical care.
Many children had lost their parents.
Pierce felt called by God to help them.
He returned to the United States, and on September 22, 1950, established a new organization called World Vision, to help meet the needs of children and their families in Southeast Asia.
Back in Korea, he began to film the orphaned and homeless children who had so touched his heart - one at a time.
He showed the film to church groups across America, and invited their members to help the Korean orphans the way he had helped White Jade, by making monthly donations for a single child.
This was the beginning of the World Vision child sponsorship program, which each year helps thousands of children in poor countries around the world.
Pierce had a vision of a world where all children and their families are free from hunger, disease and homelessness.
His life was devoted to making that dream come true.
It was not an easy life.
He would often leave his wife and children for up to 10 months at a time while he traveled around the world.
His marriage ended in separation, and he died alone.
But the organization he founded grew, until today it is the largest Christian relief and development organization in the world.
Each year, World Vision helps hundreds of thousands of needy children and families in more than 100 countries.
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