My name is Anna Ricci from Renton, Washington. I want to share a bit about why I became an NPH sponsor. I had the privilege of traveling to the home in Honduras and becoming more involved with NPH last year. While in Honduras, I met my adorable and fantastic Goddaughter Livia. While there are many reasons that I could share about why I felt compelled to sponsor Livia, the most impactful of these occurred during my visit to Honduras. To try and give you the best image of my experience I would like to introduce you to a couple of people who I had the blessing of spending time with while I was there….
First is Kendra. Kendra is a feisty, strong-willed 10 year old who grabbed my hand one evening and insisted that I sit next to her during dinner. Kendra’s house eats in silence, so we didn’t have much time to get to know one another. Instead we broke bread together without words. Kendra held my hand, taught me the norms of her family with grace and compassion, and laid her head in my lap when she finished eating. The innocence that Kendra accepted me with was truly moving. She didn’t need to know anything about me to invite me into her home, her family, and to care for me. She accepted me without conditions and without question. I did not have to do anything to be worthy of her praise, I just was. Kendra embodied Christ’s grace in the most raw form.
Next we have Madelin and Lily. These two highschool girls walked into a space in my heart that my own students at Eastside Catholic School also occupy and made an ordinary evening truly sacred. Immediately after being welcomed into their home, Lily was braiding my hair, showing me her uniform, commenting on how long her skirt was, and telling me all about the boy she was interested in. Madelin was my dancing queen. She danced the night away with me despite my lack of coordination or rhythm, and my frequent eruption into odd American dance moves. She was willing to be silly with me, we laughed constantly and ended up sweating profusely-but that still didn’t stop us. At the end of the evening the girls gave me hugs and said that I wasn’t old enough to be a teacher, but they would believe me when I came back with my students. I still feel the vulnerability of this moment. The honesty, joy, and authenticity of our evening is what I will continue to strive to create with my own students in the U.S. They were my teachers and I their student.
And lastly for Livia. Livia was one of the first girls I met when we got to the home. I brought a coloring book over to color with her, but she was not interested in coloring. I asked her questions, and yet she didn’t seem to want to chat either. I was about to get up and leave, thinking maybe she didn’t want to play with me, when she got up and sat in my lap. She played with my bracelet and sat in silence for about 30 minutes. I continued to try to make conversation in my broken Spanish, but slowly realized that she was content in the silence. Maybe it is my own hidden introverted tendencies, but something about us clicked. Throughout the week we went on several walks together. Always me commenting on the cows, the garden, or the other kids, and her content just to accompany me along the journey. Sharing with me God’s presence in the silence and simplicity.
On one of our final evenings in Honduras, Stefan, one of the directors of the home told us “We might not change the world, but we may change their world and that is something.” I became a sponsor because Kendra, Madelin, Lily, and Livia changed my world. Now I am looking forward to getting more involved with the Associate Board for young professionals here in Seattle, and I am excited to lead a trip with my students from Eastside Catholic to visit NPH Nicaragua this summer.
I hope you too will consider and experience the incredible blessing that it is to be invited into the NPH family with these children.
*Children's names changed to protect privacy.