It takes a truly remarkable person to spend a lifetime doing good, and to keep helping others – even afterward. A remarkable person like Joan Murphy. Joan was a long-standing supporter who sponsored a young girl in Ethiopia and who donated to urgent appeals whenever she could. She had a favourite: ‘Be a sign of hope and share your heart. Your love and every dollar shared will bring life and love, not just to a child but to their families and their communities.’ Over 15 years, Joan helped hundreds of children and their families thrive.
We must acknowledge both Joan and her late husband, Bob. A few months ago, ChildFund's CEO met with two of Joan’s sons. They reminisced about their parents’ good example and the values they’d instilled in their children. They marveled at their mother’s commitment to families in need, and her passion for helping young parents who needed support. They laughed as they recalled the image of their father: his eyebrows raised in silence as he circulated a collection box for each of the Murphy children to donate their pocket money, during Sunday dinners.
Joan sadly passed away in June 2018, but her example lives on forever. The Murphy family celebrated Joan’s legacy with a generous bequest to help children and families in Betio, Kiribati. Joan’s gift is being used to provide clean water and water-testing kits, practical support for young parents, and a youth learning centre that will lead to better job opportunities and brighter futures in Betio.
Now more than ever, legacy gifts like Joan’s are essential. Each of these gifts means that we can keep helping the people who need us most – not just now, but decades into the future.
Mark Dronjak, Child Sponsor since 1997
It didn’t seem right not to leave a bequest. We live such fortunate lives here in New Zealand. We have the chance to do good and to know that every bit – whether it seems small or great – makes a difference.
Think of a bequest as a lifetime’s investment in doing good. I’ve sponsored a child for many years – first in Brazil and now in Vietnam. These are lifelong bonds and they come from our ability to make change. They don’t just end when the sponsorship ends and they shouldn’t just end when we’re not here anymore.
My wife and I visited the child we sponsor in Vietnam, last year, and we saw that nothing is wasted: everything that is needed to improve the community is being used sustainably. People work hard to make these improvements and they do everything they can with the funding they get. We saw it for ourselves and it confirmed the decision we’d made.
We know that our funds will be invested responsibly by ChildFund and we know that we’ll continue to make a difference, many years into the future. At the end of the day, it was an easy decision to make.
Shona Jennings, former Director of Impact
‘I love New Zealand a million times!!’
Every time I think about the old man who said this to me, I can’t help but smile. We were dancing actually – in the middle of the day, in the middle of the wilderness, in a place far, far away (Kenya!). His whole village had gathered to express their gratitude for the clean water facility ChildFund donors had built. I’m still inspired by the integrity of that moment!
As ChildFund's former Director of Impact, this memory comes to mind (along with the smile) with every new ChildFund project achievement I’m privileged to witness.
I joined ChildFund in 2011 and had the honour of visiting all of the communities in which we work. That memory – the man whose children and community were provided safe drinking water – is special. Being able to deliver lasting change for children is why I have chosen to leave a bequest to ChildFund in my will. I know and trust that my donation will be used to deliver positive change for children. I know and trust that our partners - in countries like Kenya - will oversee projects that help children grow into confident and competent inquirers. This is the legacy I wish to leave: a world in which all children are given the chance to thrive.
To those considering the legacy that you will leave, I encourage you too to make a bequest for children, for good.
Reverend Warner, ChildFund supporter since 2009
Mine is a romantic story. In 2009, I was one of a small group of teachers who flew to Zambia from New Zealand. We were part of a teaching-exchange programme that had been organised by ChildFund. This was unlike anything I had experienced before: three weeks teaching in rural Zambia.
On checking into my lodge, I discovered that the room had no running water. I strolled over to the reception, and there she was – this beautiful woman. As these things do, the conversation turned to talk of ourselves and learning that I was a Chaplain, Mervis invited me to attend Church with her. We arrived early the next morning and sat in the front pews before the first hymn commenced. You should have heard her sing. Mervis’ voice filled the Church. A voice so wonderful it didn’t need to be accompanied by instruments. I knew then that God had brought us together. I think we both knew.
The time passed all too quickly and although it wasn’t easy for me to return to New Zealand without Mervis, we had faith. It was three months before she was able to join me here. We were married within weeks in a moving ceremony and the years since have been simply joyful. My Mervis and I are now the parents of four beautiful children.
I often think of my time in Zambia. I think of the students I taught and I reflect on their diligence. When you walk for hours to get to school, you want to learn. I think of the people I met in Zambia. I also think of how lucky we are to live here in New Zealand: my wife, my children and I.
We have some incredible opportunities here. Not just to live good lives but to do real good. In recent weeks, I’ve been thinking about the future and the legacy I will leave. Leaving a bequest is one way in which I can make a difference. It’s a way for me to be sure that those who need my help the most will receive it. Not just today, but years into the future. It’s a way for my story to continue forevermore.