Actress Melissa Joan Hart recently took a mission trip to Zambia with her family as a part of the child sponsorship organization World Vision.
The mother of three has been a popular TV star for decades and she is looking to give back to those in need. Hart and her family recently partnered with World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization that helps children, families, and their communities “reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice,” as said on its website.
Hart, her husband, Mark Wilkerson, and eldest son, Mason, traveled to Zambia in August with World Vision and "Entertainment Tonight" captured the trip on camera. The actress sponsors three sisters in Zambia, all matching the ages of her three sons, 13, 11, and six, so during their visit they brought much-needed supplies for their entire village.
"We brought them toys and necessities, socks and food," Hart shared with ET, and said that giving the people goats made a "big change." "They can then learn to farm and teach others and share the goats."
Hart took to Instagram to share of her experience and revealed that her favorite part of her trip was praying with the people of the village.
“My absolute favorite moment in Zambia this month was our first prayer with the families in Moyo AP. Sitting on a hillside with our new friends, feeling the hot breeze across my cheek with my eyes closed listening to the Tonga translation of the words the family prayed over everyone there,” the “God's Not Dead 2” star admitted.
“Everywhere we went we were met with dancing first and prayer next. The prayers consisted mainly of ‘thank you God for bringing our visitors from so far away just to see us and know us. And bless our time together. And bless @worldvisionusa for the work they do in our village,’” she continued. “We would usually end the visit with a prayer Mark or I would say blessing the people with health, crops of plenty and strong livestock. It was a magical time all around. And the dancing to the drums was incredible everywhere we went.”
The ‘90s superstar told ET that the hardest part for her was meeting a 3-year-old girl named Maria.
"She had gone maybe the first year of her life with really bad nutrition, and now she's three years old and still the size of a 1-year-old," Hart noted. "It was painful to watch her mother hold her and the nurse to sit there and tell us that they've tried different things with her. She's starting to put on weight... but she's just not absorbing the nutrition. And they're really worried about her and concerned about her."
The New York native hopes her trip with World Vision will encourage others to sponsor children in need and visit their villages.
"How can you help one child when there's so many?" Hart confessed was something she worried about. "What's been great about this trip is with World Vision, we've been able to go out and help so many. Just by sponsoring the children that we sponsor, that helps the whole village that they live in. ... And just by being here and witnessing and advocating and going back home and telling our stories -- I know, like, three of my friends have already sponsored children -- that's our hope, that we get more people involved with World Vision, to sponsor, to gift, and to really make a difference in these people's lives."
"You can sponsor a child or you can just send the family a goat. You can send a family a bicycle, so those girls can get to school, or the mom can bring the crops into the market," she urged in the video footage of her trip. "In our world, it's not that much to make a huge difference in their lives."