World Vision staff share faith while helping family

Story and photos by Meghan Eldridge, Summer Intern

Rosetta McDaniel keeps her pantry stocked with peanut butter and pancake mix because of all of the friends of her teenage son, Randy, who spend time at her home, typically bringing their appetites with them.

Three World Vision Appalachia staffers (from left, Customer Service Representative Jimmy Shoemaker, Site Manager Dave Leach, and Warehouse Specialist Kelly Norris) repair the McDaniel's roof.

She and her husband, Randy—known as "Big Randy" by family and friends—moved to Philippi, West Virginia, in April 2012. Their sons Randy and Hunter, 12, have made many friends through school.

Their home has become what Rosetta calls a "sanctuary." Teenage boys drop in almost daily to spend time and fill their stomachs with her cooking, she says.

After moving to Philippi, Rosetta and her husband have worked a little at a time to repair worn out parts of the house. The family relies on Big Randy's income and repairs are slow.

In early 2013, Rosetta "shopped" at the World Vision warehouse in Philippi. She described some of her home renovation projects to Ben Payne, customer service representative.

Ben passed along Rosetta's name to Kris Wamsley, program manager for World Vision's U.S. mission trip program in Appalachia, to see if a mission team could assist the family.

"When Ben took down my name that day, I never dreamed we would receive any help," Rosetta says.

Mike Marion, an Internet developer at World Vision's U.S. headquarters in Federal Way, Washington, traveled to West Virginia to help paint inside the McDaniel's house.

In early August, a team of volunteers from World Vision—staff members and family members—spent two days working in the McDaniel's home. They finished drywall that had been hung by a previous World Vision mission team in the spring. They also installed a rubber roof and painted two interior rooms.

"That room would probably still be in the shape it was in before the mission team came in April," McDaniel says. "The money we didn't have to spend on that could possibly go into having the electrical work done. With all that done…we can focus on something else."

More than freshly painted walls or a roof that no longer leaks, the mission team was able to build a relationship with Rosetta and her family that may have a lasting impact.

Rosetta was raised attending church with her grandmother, but her family has not attended church since her sons were young.

After being dealt a set of tough cards throughout her life, Rosetta says she grew angry with God in recent years. However, the work by the two mission teams from World Vision helped her grow closer to God, she says.

"I have never in my life experienced what I experienced with World Vision," Rosetta says. "They took my name, Kris called, and I was shocked. Next thing I knew, they were helping me. I've never seen Christianity like this—the people and the willingness to help."

World Vision employees joined the McDaniels in repairing their home. Front row from left: Hunter McDaniel; Meghan Eldridge, summer intern; Carol Malcolm-Parsons, senior program associate; Kathie Staten, office manager, and Shelley Marion. Middle row: Rosetta McDaniel (behind Hunter) and Kris Wamsley, site program manager. Back row: Randy McDaniel; Kelly Norris, warehouse specialist; Ben Payne, customer service representative, and Mike Marion, Internet developer.

Ben was among the World Vision staff members who worked at the McDaniel's home. He enjoyed his time with Rosetta and felt God directing him to use the opportunity to talk with her about her faith and church experiences, he says.

"I don't know if she'll get into church and all that, or what will happen next, but I was so happy to have that opportunity," Ben says. "It was really cool to get to talk to her because that's the reason I started working here: to reach out to people."

Another World Vision staff member and his wife drove four days across the country from Federal Way, Washington, to volunteer in the staff mission week.

Mike Marion, an Internet developer at World Vision's U.S. headquarters, and his wife, Shelley, helped with projects at the McDaniel's home. It was Mike's second mission trip and Shelley's first.

The Marions also spent a day volunteering in World Vision's Philippi warehouse, sorting pallets of donated medical supplies.

The relationship the couple built with the family and Rosetta's hospitality was surprising, Mike says. Even more so, he says, was Rosetta's speechless reaction when the mission team left.

The volunteers finished drywall that had been hung by a previous World Vision mission team in the spring.

"She was very gracious, friendly and appreciative," Shelley says. Those are the moments, Mike adds, when you realize it's more precious to give than to receive.


How you can get involved

Learn more about World Vision's mission trips in Appalachia and other parts of the U.S.