Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton is excited for the holidays and says she’s gained clarity from God about life as she continues to put her faith into practice through her support of the Christian humanitarian charity World Vision.
Unlike some of her Hollywood peers, Heaton does not shy away from talking publicly about Jesus. Raised an Irish Catholic, the “Everybody Loves Raymond” star told The Christian Post she is so bold about Christ because of a statement she once heard.
“There’s a saying, ‘Jesus died for us publicly. So don’t live for Him privately,’” she shared in a video interview that can be viewed below. “But I also think you have to talk about why you can love in difficult circumstances. Now, it’s because He first loved us. While we were still in our sin, He died for us.”
Heaton is a longtime ambassador of World Vision, which works in almost 100 countries and is considered the largest Christian international non-governmental organization. The actress has continued her commitment to humanitarian work throughout the global pandemic though she hasn't been able to travel as much.
She’s designed the “Wrapped in Hope” silk scarf to be included in the World Vision Gift Catalog’s Celebrity-Designed Artisan Collection. Proceeds from the sale will go to helping World Vision assist people in need.
“It’s kind of our job here as Christians to certainly extend the love of Christ, the love that He extended to us, to extend it to others through our actions,” she explained.
Now 63 years old, Heaton recently released a book titled Your Second Act, where she encourages readers to live life to the fullest regardless of their age.
In the second act of her own life, in this season, "The Middle" star has plenty of time to meditate on her walk with God. Heaton revealed that having downtime away from work has helped her reflect on her “mortality and the meaning of life.”
“There’s a season of real busyness when you’re raising children and having a family and working. And often, we don’t make enough space to allow God to really talk to us. So I have more space now, and I’m hearing loud and clear,” she testified.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions that began in 2020, the actress shared that she has not been able to travel for World Vision as she has in the past. She said she loves adventure and meeting new people and her past travels have given her something to be “hopeful” about despite such trying times.
“It’s wonderful to travel around the world and see all the great work that’s being done. And there’s a lot to be hopeful about. I think, right now, in our country, if you [spend] much time on social media, you can become very despondent, and maybe a little depressed about the state of mankind,” she noted. “But if you get out into the world, you see there’s millions of people doing wonderful things, and their lives are changing for the better.”
Heaton credited World Vision for trying to combat all the difficulties in the world, such as poverty, lack of clean water and even early child marriage.
“We are successfully combating a lot of those things, and World Vision is a big part of all of that,” she told CP. “I really did my research with World Vision. They are such a transparent organization where 86 cents of every dollar goes directly to [the] program so that when you’re giving money, you know it’s really being used for programs that are lifting people out of poverty, not necessarily some big salaries. People who work for World Vision are living very sacrificial lives.”
World Vision programs are sustainable, she maintained. She praised the organization for building lasting water wells around the world. World Vision is the largest provider of clean water in the world.
“Those wells last years and years and years beyond other wells because they train people in communities to be able to maintain the wells. They train people to be well engineers,” Heaton commented. “Those wells last for a long time. Their schools last for a long time. They’re savings clubs, where women come and put their money together and start making microloans to each other, that has transformed communities.”
The mother of four said World Vision creates systemic fixes for impoverished communities because the communities are very involved in the development process. She noted that 12 to 15 years after the organization leaves the country, these communities thrive because they have learned to do the work themselves.
Heaton’s “Wrapped in Hope” scarf is available for a $100 donation. World Vision also has many other gifts that can be purchased for the holidays. And in turn, the money will be used to help fund programs, cattle or water wells.
“You can get all your Christmas shopping done for yourself, for your family, and for anybody in an hour with the World Vision catalog,” Heaton said. “And every gift and every donation that you make is going to save somebody’s life.”
With Thanksgiving and then the Christmas season fast approaching, Heaton said that the most important thing is for people to be together with the ones they love.
“I’ve come to realize over the years, the most important thing is just being together,” she said. “No matter where you are, if you can be together with some family members, that’s what I’m really the most excited about.”