Friday, February 24, 2012

He opened his eyes wide, smiled, and took my hand and melted my heart...

Here is a blog entry from NW sponsor, Joanna Mummert, about Godparents’ Month. Thank you Joanna!

When I was asked to write a blog for Sponsorship Month I thought it was going to be so easy. But once I started to put my thoughts on paper I realized how difficult it was to try to show the impact that one little boy has had on the course of my life. I’ve always been the kind of person who has wanted to reach out to help others in various ways, and the people of Latin America have always held a special place in my heart. I guess you could say I really didn’t know what was in store for me that one evening in 2008 when I called up my mom and invited her to attend an information night and a presentation by “Friends of the Orphans" with me.

At the presentation I learned that Friends arranges annual trips to visit some of the homes, and I was most interested in the upcoming trip to Honduras. The trip was about nine months away and the Sponsorship coordinator suggested that I become a sponsor to one of the children in Honduras to make the visit that much more meaningful. From the stacks and stacks of available children I chose Christian. His personal story struck me, and I knew that he was the one I wanted to reach out to. Right away I started writing letters and sending photographs.

I chose not to tell Christian of my upcoming trip. I was just too nervous that something would come up and I would have to cancel and let him down. My excitement grew and grew until we reached the Ranch and I almost found myself commandeering the group itinerary to get over to the “Baby House” so I could meet him. The long-awaited moment finally came. I couldn’t pick him out in the crowd but kept asking every little person around who Christian was until they sent him over. I crouched down and looked into his shy face and told him in Spanish, “My name is Joanna. I’m your madrina. I came all this way just to meet you!” It was that one moment that made sponsorship truly meaningful for me. He opened his eyes wide, smiled, and took my hand and melted my heart.

The entire week we were inseparable. I wanted to spend every moment I could just being with him to play games, draw pictures, and read stories. Everywhere around me I was struck by the happy children who were so content with what I perceived to be so little. I think they knew in their own ways that they were rich with opportunity. If they didn’t know it now, they would learn it later as made evident by the older children I spoke with. I started to realize that without sponsors and donors through Friends of the Orphans their lives would be very very different.

I have continued to foster that bond I started with Christian a few years ago, and I am going back to Honduras this year to visit him. Meeting Christian inspired me to look deeper within myself to see what I could do to make more of a difference. I took a year and a half off from my life in Seattle to live and work as an English teacher in South America, and now that I am home I have pledged to myself to visit Christian every couple of years. I also try to support Friends as much as I can financially but also with my time by helping out at events and trying to spread the message. Friends of the Orphans has been a blessing in my life and I just pray that I can help at least one little boy realize how much he is loved.

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