This blog post is brought to you by team member John W. from Illinois.
There are several things that I underestimated on our trip to Guatemala.
First, I underestimated how much it means to a child when you sponsor them.
Our first few days in Cruz Blanca were spent with large groups of kids. I didn’t really connect a ton with any one kid other than this little guy named Fredy. He just kept hanging around. He was at the Learning Center early, and hung around after everyone was gone. I spoke with Fredy those first few days more than any other of the children. He was a really nice kid.
Early in the week our team was having a time of devotions and we were praying specifically for the children at the Learning Center who did not yet have sponsors. We passed around the child sponsor cards, silently praying for each of the children. Who winds up in our lap? None other than Fredy. For $35 a month Fredy would be able to get a bowl of fortified rice and beans each day, a vitamin, tutoring, and access to medical care. For the other kids in Cruz Blanca this is a game changer as many of the kids deal with incredible nutritional, educational and medical challenges.
And I totally underestimated that.
That night my wife Shannon and I spoke and decided we would sponsor Fredy and we told our trip leader.
The next day he was once again at the Learning Center. I saw him, but didn’t tell him that we had decided to sponsor him. Instead he left with our sports team to go to the sports camp down the road for the afternoon.
About 15 minutes later Fredy came running back into the Learning Center and asked me in Spanish, “What’s your name again?” I told him and he asked, “¿Eres mi padrino?” (Are you my sponsor?)
The first thought through my head was, “Whoah… padrino is the word for sponsor? That sounds like a family relationship! Is that a godfather?”
I told him that my wife Shannon, Logan my nine-year-old son, and I were his sponsors. When I did he jumped into my arms and gave me a giant nine-year-old bear hug. And then he did something I will never forget.
He pulled me back holding me by my shoulders and stared right into my eyes for the longest four seconds you can imagine. The look on his face expressed so much.
It was a look filled with hope.
A look filled with incredible joy that we would choose him out of all the other kids there.
A look filled with pride that someone believed in him and had his back.
It was a look filled with deep appreciation and gratitude. Then he hugged me again before he ran off to continue playing at the sports camp.
When he returned, he would not leave my side. He was so proud to be with his padrino and many of his friends were so happy for him. It was a great day. And I completely underestimated just how much that decision would mean to a little nine-year-old boy who lives in a violent restricted zone of Cruz Blanca.
Would you consider sponsoring one of Fredy’s friends? Click here for more info.