Christine P. traveled with us to Guatemala this past February. Here, she shares how God used her experience to transform her heart.
I am not a kid person. I never planned on having my own and since I’m only 24, people make comments that I’ll change my mind in the future. But this paragraph isn’t about me, it’s about my two beautiful “god-daughters” in Guatemala that I miss with all my heart. I won’t call them sponsor kids because, to me, that term feels too detached—not quite capturing the true relational nature of sponsorship.
I moved to Albany in October 2015 for my first job out of school. I started attending Christ’s Church Albany shortly after and was strongly persuaded to go on the VisionTrust Guatemala trip in February. I signed up, knowing that it was a working trip (but still hoping to squeeze in some vacation and fun) and completely disregarding the “child involvement” aspect of the trip. Once we got there, kids were all over the place and I was overwhelmed. Most of them spoke very little English (just in time to match my terrible Spanish). All of the conversations were super short, filled with hand gestures, and laughing. These kids melted my heart all over the floor.
Early in the week I met amazing little girls that I grew very close with, Mildred and Vicka. Whenever they showed up at the Learning Center, we gave each other humongous hugs and kisses and tried (with failure) to have conversations. All I could spit out was “how are you,” but that didn’t matter to them at all. They hopped on my back and I gave them piggy back rides before every class. I found out that neither one of them were sponsored by anyone. Mildred didn’t even have a packet secured yet. I decided to sponsor Vicka in the meantime and filled out her packet. Our last day at the Learning Center was bittersweet. I didn’t want to leave the kids! ME!!! Of all people! The girl that can’t stand kids is running around, laughing, hugging, and loving all over these kids. I was able to sponsor Mildred right before we left. I pulled both girls aside and had a teacher translate for me. I asked them if I could be their sponsor and they both beamed with the biggest smiles! We promised to write each other and I told them I would learn Spanish (I’m trying) so that we could talk.
I am so thankful I went on that trip. My two girls wrote me letters that came in the mail two weeks ago. I shed a tear because I miss them so much. I hope to visit them next year.
The children at the Learning Center are truly phenomenal. They showered all of us with love without knowing us. Vicka and Mildred loved me without knowing all of my personal mess. They loved me even though I couldn’t speak Spanish. They showed me how Jesus loves me and how I’m supposed to love other people. I learned so much from them. We all signed up for that trip to help the teachers and kids, but they ended up changing all of us.