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Humanitarian encourages students to get involved

April 2, 2012 : By Bethany Pico/Liberty University News Service

View Monday's convocation on Liberty's YouTube channel.

Naomi Zacharias, director of Wellspring International, told Liberty University students in Monday’s convocation how the Lord gave her a passion for helping women and children with humanitarian aid.

“Each one of us has a unique calling, a mission field that is made up of people that are around us. We are a player in the larger world in the community we are a part of,” Zacharias said.

After graduating from Wheaton College, Zacharias worked for Coca-Cola in her hometown of Atlanta, Ga. She realized quickly that working in sales often left her unhappy and stressed.

As a result, she decided to work for her father in Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). Dr. Ravi Zacharias is a well-known speaker and author. During this time she took an internship at the White House in the Office of Public Liaison.

From hearing several briefings in the White House about international women and children’s rights issues, Zacharias knew she wanted to “be a voice for the women that didn’t have a voice.” With this desire, Wellspring International was born.

The organization is an extension of RZIM and is devoted to providing financial grants to international efforts working with at-risk women and children.

Naomi Zacharias signs copies of her book, "The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken," released by Zondervan in March 2011.

Zacharias shared several stories about traveling to red light districts throughout the world and learning about the difficult issues that involve the atrocities of human trafficking, prostitution, abortion and pornography.

“It was something about being around brokenness that kind of felt like home. It got me out of my comfort zone and out of my own world and look beyond, into someone else’s life.”

She said when she started working in this field she learned that because of the magnitude of the issue, it is easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged.

“You have to look at this as a human being and as a life you are able to change matters. I genuinely feel that way. If everything we did helped one girl leave this lifestyle, then it would be worth it to me,” Zacharias said. “We have to change our definition of success. None of these things are quick fixes. We are entering a journey when you get involved in this humanitarian issue.”

Zacharias encouraged students to trust their God-given ambitions, interests and gifts for “kingdom work” that God has planned for their specific, purposeful calling, whether it entails working for a ministry or in a secular environment.

“When we look back and see the threads weaved together, our career paths, our personal stories filled with setbacks and losses, I think we will see clear demonstrations of our plan and master sculptor,” Zacharias said.

Alexander Sawyer, a junior studying worship ministry, said he appreciated the insight from Zacharias.

“I enjoyed how she defined kingdom work as something all Christians are involved in regardless of job or location. We often misuse the word ‘ministry’ whether or not we have a job in the church,” Sawyer said.