I’m Still that Little Girl


Marilee Pierce Dunker discovers that she reacts the same way to poverty now as she did as a child listening to her father speak.

The Spring 2014 issue of “World Vision” magazine came in the mail last week. As part of the magazine staff, I sent emails with attached articles to read in advance. But even when something I have written is included, I prefer to wait until I can hold the finished magazine in my hands—feel the paper, smell the ink, and enjoy the full impact of the creative way words and pictures are displayed on the page.

The second I saw the face of 4-year-old Lamees staring at me from the cover and read the words, “Forlorn but not forgotten,” I was hooked. I stretched out on my bed and read from cover to cover.

I am constantly amazed by the way our staff captures the heart and soul of a story in “2,000 words or less.” But there was something special about this issue. Maybe it was the fearless way Sevil Omer wrote about the reality of life for Syrian refugee families struggling to survive, or the tender way Kari Costanza spoke about babies born to young girls who are trapped in human slavery. Or maybe it was Jon Warren’s extraordinary photos that captured the human experience with an unblinking eye.

All I know is that I wept through every page, and when I was done, I smiled at myself.

When I was a little girl I sat in my daddy’s meetings, watching the same movies and hearing the same stories of starving orphans and homeless refugees and people who desperately needed to know that God loved them. And every time, my heart was moved and I would weep as though I’d never heard it before.

Since coming on staff with World Vision I have traveled to more than 30 countries, met thousands of extraordinary people, and seen more amazing, surprising, heartbreaking, frustrating, and faith-building things than any one person has a right to hope for. And more times than I can count, I have wondered why God chose me—Marilee—to experience this extraordinary journey and to be a witness to what I have seen and heard.

Perhaps it is because I am still that little girl.

By Marilee Pierce Dunker

Photo ©World Vision

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