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World Help president makes global outreach her lifelong passion

By Christian Shields, March 15, 2023

Noel Yeatts (’93) participated in mission trips with Liberty University even before she became a Liberty student. She went on her first trip when she was 12, joining her father who was working in missions with Liberty at the time. She quickly discovered a passion for helping the impoverished around the world, and the fire that God lit in her heart for missions has continued to burn her whole life.

Yeatts earned a Bachelor of Science in Government from Liberty, but her connection to the university runs much deeper than her degree. Her father, Vernon Brewer, was the university’s first graduate in 1973. In 1991, he founded World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization based in nearby Forest, Va.

Now, Yeatts has followed in his footsteps — and most importantly in God’s will for her life — as the president of World Help.

It was because of her father’s involvement with Liberty’s missions program that she got to experience firsthand the destitution prevalent in many parts of the world and see the impact of mission work. As a teenager, she even went on several short-term trips with Liberty.

She recalls one particular trip being the catalyst for her career in global outreach. She traveled with a large group of Liberty students to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they encountered a young street child named Nildo who had no clothing except a ragged pair of underwear. Through the help of a local missionary, Yeatts and her sister purchased food and clothing for the child. However, their father felt called to do more. He found a children’s home that could care for Nildo for $400 a year.

Brewer gathered the Liberty students together and passed a hat around, and they gave $800 to provide for Nildo to live two years at the home. When they returned to the city to tell Nildo about his new home, they found him beaten. His new clothes had been stolen by other children. He accepted their offer to live in the children’s home and was removed from his wretched situation.

Noel Yeatts (‘93) and her father, Vernon Brewer (‘73), founder of World Help.

Yeatts said that she remembers a Brazilian pastor who was traveling with them asking why Brewer and the group put so much effort into caring for only one child when the city was filled with needy children like him. By wrestling with that question herself, Yeatts gained a perspective that she said continues to impact her work today.
“There was no way I could help all the street children in Brazil, but looking back I realize that that’s not what God was asking me to do, that’s not what God was asking our group to do,” she said. “He had put one little boy in our path, and we could make a difference for him.”

She said in order to make a difference in the world, people must be willing to focus on helping individuals instead of being bogged down by the constant issues plaguing the world overall.

“The easy thing to do is to get overwhelmed and assume that there’s nothing you can do to make a difference, that whatever you did would be a drop in the bucket,” Yeatts said. “But I can go back to that Nildo story and realize that we just have to see the one. We have to look through the masses of people and see the one.”

“When you give people what they need to survive another day, deeper hungers emerge, a hunger for belonging, a hunger for community, and then eventually a hunger for God’s Word and His ways. I believe that both hungers matter to God, and both hungers should matter to us.”

— Noel Yeatts (’93)


Yeatts worked for World Help while a Liberty student and continued to do so after graduation. In 2019, she took over presidential responsibilities from her father after previously serving as vice president. In this role, her duties include maintaining daily operations, “vision casting” ideas for how the organization can serve, speaking at churches and concerts, and traveling to other countries to aid in the organization’s relief efforts.

Yeatts, Brewer, and World Help have remained heavily connected with the university. Yeatts and her father have spoken in Liberty’s Convocation. Last fall, Yeatts spoke at Liberty’s CEO Summit. Many of World Help’s staff members are Liberty alumni.

“When you look back at my dad starting at Liberty with those mission trips and leading the missions, there would be no World Help if he hadn’t done that first,” Yeatts said. “And I even look at my history with Liberty. If I hadn’t been part of those Liberty trips, if my eyes hadn’t been opened to those needs, I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. When I look back at my time at Liberty, I’m very grateful for that and for what my dad and I experienced. That’s the impact Liberty has had on us and the impact it has had on what World Help is doing.”

Noel Yeatts and Vernon Brewer have served at World Help since Brewer founded it in 1991.

While World Help seeks to serve the physical needs of the impoverished around the world, it does so by simultaneously serving their spiritual needs.

“Without food, clothing, and medicines that our body needs, well then faith means very little. But without faith that feeds our souls, then everything else is just a short-term fix,” Yeatts said. “When you focus on body and soul, that’s when true transformation happens, and we’ve seen that over the past 30 years over and over again.”

She said that providing for someone’s physical needs opens the door for spiritual conversations.

“When you give people what they need to survive another day, deeper hungers emerge,” she said, “a hunger for belonging, a hunger for community, and then eventually a hunger for God’s Word and His ways. I believe that both hungers matter to God, and both hungers should matter to us.”

World Help addresses many different needs throughout the world, from providing supplies and clean water to impoverished or disaster-stricken areas, to distributing Bibles and planting churches in spiritually bankrupt areas, and rescuing individuals from the horrors of human trafficking.

Last year, as part of World Help’s response to render aid to the residents of Ukraine and those who have fled the country during the war with Russia, Yeatts traveled to Eastern Europe three times and to Ukraine twice.

She described her first trip to the country as a “surreal experience.” During the trip, she visited a former high school that has been repurposed as housing for 230 individuals as well as a center for making bulletproof vests. At the time of her visit, the children there were given three meals a day, but the adults were restricted to only one due to limited resources. On every trip there, Yeatts has interacted with Ukrainian refugees and heard their troubling life stories.

She met Marina, who fled Bucha — a city where Russian Armed Forces carried out a mass murder during the invasion — with her granddaughters. She also met a young girl who was forced to separate from her father and brother at a train station while fleeing the city with her mother and sister.

World Help has been aiding refugees by raising money to provide food and clothing for the winter months.

In an interview with fellow Liberty alumna Shannon Bream on Fox News, Yeatts said during her trips to Ukraine, she has spoken with many individuals who have lost homes and family members from the destruction.

“We may not be able to keep those bombs from dropping on their doorstep, but we can be a part of helping them. We can help them survive,” she told Fox News.

From her office in February, Yeatts said when she shares about Ukraine now, “What I really want people to know is something one of our partners shared with us: ‘We’re expecting a miracle, we’re praying for a miracle, but until that miracle comes, we can do small miracles for refugees every day.’”

“I believe history is going to judge us on how we respond to this, on our action or our inaction,” she added. “I want to be on the right side of history. I want to be on the right side of humanity. But more than anything, I want to be on the right side of my faith. I believe that if we claim to love God, then we have to love people too. We have to love our neighbor. Our faith should compel us to take action and help as many people as we can.”

Learn more at WorldHelp.net.

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