🙏How Hanover couple’s ‘vacations with a purpose’ are changing lives

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- A Hanover County husband and wife are sending love halfway around the globe to help others in dire need.

Bob and Debby Sjogren, two self-proclaimed empty-nesters who love traveling, are racking up the frequent flyer miles.

“We’ve traveled to Indonesia, Peru, Ethiopia, India, China, Thailand, Japan, Singapore Europe, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt,” Bob explained. “If I am sitting at home for three weeks I am getting itchy.”

The Hanover County couple has seen the four corners of the world and then some.

But the globetrotting Sjogrens aren’t traveling for just fun, they are on a mission.

“I live to make God look good," Bob said. "That is the DNA of who I am.”

Debby and Bob Sjogren in Kenya

Debby and Bob Sjogren in Kenya

Through their ministry Unveiling Glory, Debby and Bob visit places where the people need sustenance both physically and spiritually.

“It changes the way you view life,” Debby explained.

One country where they have seen suffering on an unimaginable scale is in the interiors of northern Kenya.

“They go into the middle of nowhere,” says Bob. “You go in the middle of nowhere. Just sand.”

In this desolate place, hundreds of thousands of Kenyans are in dire need.

“It just becomes a part of you when you have gone to see it,” Debby said. “It hits you in the gut, the gut of your heart.”

The Sjogrens knew they had to act, so the couple raised $30,000, which is enough to fund three relief trips through a partner non-profit organization, Spear Africa.

“They may not have food, but they have faith,” Bob said.

The Sjogrens wanted to do more for their friends in Kenya, so the couple launched Project Nine Seven this month.

“That is $9 a month for seven months,” Bob said.

In fact, $9 can feed an entire family for a month and there are 142,000 families in need.

Bob and Debby said that small amount can have a huge impact keeping their friends alive.

“If they get the rains, they can get their seeds and then the crops can come in December, and they should have food,” Bob added.

Project Nine Seven will end in December, but its impact will last much longer.

“On the one hand it breaks my heart, but on the other, it brings me joy that we can help them,” Debby said.

For the couple, world traveling has never been more satisfying.

“We have a family motto based on Genesis 2:3 ‘We have been blessed to be a blessing,'” Bob said.

Bob and Debby are travelers on a quest with passports filled with love.

“We plan on doing it till we’re not needed anymore,” Debby said. “I am getting so much joy bringing others with us on these vacations with a purpose.”

Click here to learn more about Project 97.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" reports. If you know of someone CBS 6 should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com

Watch CBS 6 News at 6 p.m. Thursdays for Greg McQuade's "Heroes Among Us" features. If you know of someone CBS 6 should feature, email heroes@wtvr.com. Click here to view more "Heroes Among Us" reports.

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