Monday, April 10, 2017

NPH is a big and great family! It is where the impossible is made possible...

Below is the testimonial speech Roxana, a pequena from NPH El Salvador and current Seattle Institute participant, gave at the recent Faces of Hope in Bellevue, WA, along with the testimonial her host mom then gave.

Hello!  My name is Roxana.  I’m from El Salvador.  Thank you for coming.  Today, I would like to share about my life.

June 15, 2004. What were YOU doing?  Me?  That was the day I went from being an adult, back to being a kid again.  Being an adult?  What a bummer…I was only 10!

My mom just died from cancer, and Papa?  Well…he just fell apart. My sister and I became in charge of my other brothers and sisters. You see, I am one of 7…I have (Manuel, Joaquin, Serguio) brothers, and (Sulma, Gloria, Maritza) sisters.  I am the second oldest.


Now, you are probably thinking “Roxana must have been scared.” Or, “She was probably worried about what she would do.”  Actually, I was not thinking any of that.  I just did what I had to do for my family.  There really was no alternative.

But, if it weren’t for Rubia, my godmother who was always taking care of us, June 15 would never have been. Rubia knew that we needed help – and she introduced us to NPH.  And I feel like I was born again.  I became part of a bigger miracle with even MORE brothers and sisters.  My brothers, sisters and I were now home.  Because, NPH had taken ALL of us.


I started school again.  Ah-I was SO far behind.  I was only at a third grade level!  After being at NPH, I was so dedicated to school, that I went from grade five to grade seven.  I skipped a WHOLE grade level!

And, I had SO MANY other things I could do:  choir, dancing, riding a bike, swimming. I was SO excited.  And….the FOOOOOOOD!

I joined the dance group at fourteen.  Out of many girls, Rebeca and I were selected to travel to the US to dance and perform.  We went to Arizona, Seattle, Minnesota and Chicago! It was SUCH an experience! Maybe I even met some of you back then…?

In 2009, I did my first year of service by taking care of the two to six year-olds and working in the sponsorship office. My second year of service, I was in charge of the six to seven year-old girls.  Then, I moved on to the sixteen to eighteen year-olds.  During this ALL this time, I was working on my high school degree! I received my high school degree in two thousand eleven. I was SO proud of myself for finishing.

Currently, given my past experiences, I found my passion in psychology.  Which is what I am studying  in university. So far, thru my studies I have discovered more about myself, and I know that I have grown as a person.  Before getting an education, I didn’t think anything was possible.  Now, thru NPH and my university, I know MANY things are possible. When I finish my studies, I want to take what I learned in school to help other people discover more about themselves, so they can overcome the difficulties in their lives and a achieve their dreams.

Except for my older sister, who has a family of her own now, my other brothers and sisters still live in the home in El Salvador.  They are going to school, doing their years of service, and enjoying all the other things I did when I was there, like dancing, singing, swimming and learning.

And for me?  I am here in Seattle, studying English and leadership this year. It has been amazing so far!  And I can only imagine what the rest of the year has in store for me. This summer I will return home to El Salvador to finish my studies.  My hope is to surpass all your expectations for me, and to become the person I was meant to be.

NPH is a big and great family!  It is where the impossible is made possible. Where dreams can become real. When I talk about NPH, I say “It is MY family”.  That we always help each other. It is not just about each person; it is about ALL of us. For me, NPH is MY everything.

Before I go, I would like to thank Father Wasson for his vision of NPH. It is the best thing I have experienced.

Do you want to learn more about NPH and others like me? I want to invite all of you to please come visit us!  See for yourself what your support can do. COME! Make memories with us!

Thank you for all you do.

******** 

Good afternoon!  I’m Christina Buchholz, and our family has the honor of being Roxy’s host family this year.  There are so many reasons why it’s been such an amazing experience for all of us.  The best part is having another female in a house full of guys!


Our family’s NPH story is a short one so far.  Short but sweet. A short while ago, our youth minister at St. James, Joe Cotton, introduced our Youth Group to NPH.  Joe inspired our Youth Group to take a trip to Nicaragua.  So, off our family went with the group: my husband, our two teenaged sons and myself. We weren’t sure what to expect.  Well, in just 10 days, our family was transformed…it was both eye opening and heart opening.

When we got to Nicaragua, here’s what we discovered: We weren’t visitors.  We became part of the NPH family.  The pequeños made sure we knew this. We also got to meet and get to know the two children, a boy and a girl, that our Youth Group had been sponsoring. They braved sharing not only their haunting stories, but also how they, and their siblings, came to be at NPH. These two children had such desperate backgrounds and yet they, and the other pequeños had clearly come to know a place where they knew they could love and be loved.  Where they were part of a community, rather, a family. A place to trust, to laugh, to learn, to grow, to have hope. That place was NPH. 

With each “hola”, each hug, each memory made together, we sensed the peace and security these children experienced in this NPH home. The volunteers and faculty we met as we visited the casas, classrooms and the clinic were incredible. The dedication and care they shared as they served this community really highlighted how every donation, every sponsor, was being leveraged in the best ways possible for the pequeños.

At the end of our 10 day visit, it was really hard to leave.  It was like leaving home after a family visit. Upon our return to the States, our family couldn’t stop talking about our trip. After only a few months, and countless hugs, unbelievable memories, we decided we needed “more NPH” in our lives.  We had already decided that we needed to go back, and found other ways to stay connected. This summer we will meet another child we sponsor.  We are a home stay family for the NPH students studying in Seattle.  We plan on visiting El Salvador, because if we don’t Roxy might disown us! And we are now part of the NPH NW Regional Board, sharing with anyone who will listen the amazing accomplishments of this tremendous organization and inspiring others to participate.

I’d like to ask you to do me a favor. Today we are learning about and supporting the schools and education programs of NPH.  Now think of your own classroom experiences.  Was it learning to write your name and read in kindergarten?  Was it playing at recess with your friends?  Maybe it was the walk to get your diploma on graduation day? 

Now imagine that instead of being in the classroom every day, you wander the streets.  That instead of playing at recess, you are six, working for a small nibble to eat.  That learning to write or read is not even a remote possibility because the only thing you can hope to learn is where a safe place might be to lay your head down tonight.

I’ll end with one of those transforming moments for our family from our trip.  Our group had just finished an exercise where we were rewarded with pieces of candy.  My husband Dave had his candy in his hands, which did not go unnoticed by one of the pequeños.  He pried Dave’s hand open and boy, did his face light up! Dave handed the two pieces of candy to him.  The pequeño noticed that Dave didn’t have any candy left for himself.  That little boy gave one back to Dave so he too would have a piece. What a generous little heart!

Today, I ask that you show the same generosity as that pequeño. Give so that little boy, and all the other children in the 9 NPH homes, can have a childhood, full of days in classrooms and recesses, too. Give that they may discover that many things are possible, and that they seize those possibilities because of NPH, and because of YOU. I would like to end by saying thank you. It is inspiring to me to be in a room with so many generous hearts. My family and I are thankful that you join us in supporting the mission of NPH.

 

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