Connie and Gary Yeagle
by Heather Klinger
For as long as she can remember, Connie Yeagle grew up with the philosophy that you should find your passion and live it out.
“Pick what’s closest to your heart, and then you do it locally, you do it nationally, and you do it globally,” Connie says. She became passionate about taking care of people most in need.
Years later at a CeCe Winans concert, Connie and her husband, Gary, first learned about World Vision. They decided on the spot that sponsoring a child was another way the couple could live out their heart for the poor on a global scale.“From the first time we went to the concert and decided to sponsor a child, it’s been a blessing ever since then,” says Connie, now 70.
Connie, a retired teacher, and Gary, 71, a retired attorney for State Farm, now sponsor multiple children around the world.
“Their letters are precious,” Connie says. “Their families always talk about how they’re praying for us. I find that very humbling, that I have so much, and yet these children, who have nothing basically, are praying for me. And the show of gratitude—it’s amazing that those who have so little are so thankful for what they have.”
“I have never expressed any regret when I have done anything with my time, or my talent, or my money—ever,” Connie says. “You get so much more in return than you invested to begin with.”
So when Gary turned 70 and a half and had to start taking money out of his retirement account, they knew exactly what they were going to do with it.
“That was money that we had never depended on, and we intended all along to do something to make the world a better place,” Connie says.
There’s no such thing as a problem being so big that you can’t be part of the solution.
Connie Yeagle Retired teacher
This time, they felt led to help provide clean water to children and families in Rwanda. World Vision has committed to bring access to clean water to all program areas in Rwanda by the end of 2022, and to every person in every program area worldwide by 2030—a total of 50 million people.
“There’s no such thing as a problem being so big that you can’t be part of the solution,” Connie says.
They were also drawn to invest further in World Vision because the staff manifest the good news of Christ, but don’t make any assistance conditional on hearing or accepting it. As Jesus’ call led him to help the poor, World Vision follows his example.
“World Vision is faithful in spreading the love of Jesus,” Connie says. “You don’t bring others to Christ except through love. And one way to show people that you love them is to help provide them with their basic needs.”
Through their research and witnessing the transformation of lives through their investments, the Yeagles developed tremendous confidence in World Vision over the years.
“World Vision doesn’t go in and put a Band-Aid on something,” Connie says. “They get to know the community to help assess what they need. They then let community leaders decide what they need rather than going in and saying, ‘Oh, you need this, and you need that.’ World Vision empowers the local people. I like that.”
This trust, combined with their faith, has resulted in their decision to become Visionaries to continue their aspiration to love their neighbors—both local and worldwide.
“I don’t think it’s enough to say, ‘Well, I’m going to pray for you,’” Connie says. “You need to go out and do what Jesus told us to do. He said to love thy neighbor as ourselves. He said to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the imprisoned.”
World Vision is faithful in spreading the love of Jesus. You don’t bring others to Christ except through love. And one way to show people that you love them is to help provide them with their basic needs.
Connie Yeagle Retired teacher