Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meeting Our Sponsor Child

I had never been to the Mandarina school before (one of the two schools in La Limonada that Lemonade International partners with and supports).  I was excited to see this place that I had heard has a different feel than the Limon school, where our family's sponsor child attended school.  I had no idea that the next day during our first meeting I would learn that because of horrific tragedy, our sponsor child would be moving to another part of Guatemala and the sweet boy we had loved and prayed for from afar would no longer be our sponsor child.  I did not know, but the Lord did.  I wonder if that is why after walking around exploring the Mandarina school on my own I walked back into the room where the rest of the Lemonade team was and out of all the children in that room my eyes landed on a quiet boy on the other side.  I was drawn to him instantly.

He was working hard at a table with three other boys.  They were making Christmas gifts for their sponsors and all were having a good time.  I walked across the room excited to see what he was creating and feeling almost giddy for his sponsor(s) because I knew there was something so special about this child and THEY were blessed to be his sponsor(s).  But then I saw the dreaded mark in the corner of the page beside his name and my heart sank.

The night before we sat around preparing for the day.  We wrote each child's name on their project, but beside the names of those that do not have a sponsor we put an asterisk.  The children know when they have a sponsor and they know when they do not.  When it is time to prepare things for their sponsors, the ones without sponsors also do the same thing so that they aren't left out, but also just in case they get a sponsor.  I hated making that mark.  I hated seeing their faces create things for the sponsors they do not have even more.  It would not be hard for every one of these children to be sponsored...if only more knew, if only more acted on what they already know, if only more would give and maybe those that already do give just a little more. 

So I stood next to Julio, this nine year old boy with a demeanor much like mine...quiet in the beginning and very shy...and the rest of the children in the room disappeared as I prayed, "Lord, send someone just for him." 

That still, small voice wasn't so still and small when He said, "I already have.  It's you."

I didn't argue.  I didn't go to Guatemala to add a new sponsor child to the one we already sponsor though I was convinced we would begin sponsoring a girl.  I went so I would be better educated on all that is going on so I could recruit more churches to partner with us and more people to sponsor children.  But then there was Julio and an instant connection so strong there is no way I would consider saying "no".   So plans were made to bring him on the outing with us a few days later.  Him and the child we already sponsored.  The one that I didn't know would no longer be our sponsor child after that day so he wouldn't even be on the outing with us.

My heart broke a little more the next day as I met our first sponsor child for the first time and said good-bye probably forever on the same day, but I'm thankful that He kept reminding me throughout the day of a boy at the other school that already had a hold of my heart.  With so many other children I have met in La Limonada that are in need of sponsors, there is no way we can sponsor them all alone (though I wish we could), but there was no doubt that this child was the one that we had been called to sponsor, to love, to cover in prayer, to watch grow.

We arrived to pick the kids up for the zoo.  The Lemonade staff each picked a child from the program to take with them.  There with Julio stood another, much younger child.  Marvin.  Julio's brother.  He appeared shy, too, so he didn't have much to say as I tried to make small talk.  He had come with his mother to see his big brother off for his day of fun.  I couldn't not take him.  I didn't even have to think before deciding that I would just have to split my sponsorship between the two because I learned that Marvin did not have a sponsor either.  How could I fully sponsor his older brother and leave him without a sponsor at all?  I would just do a partial sponsor for each.  Their mother was so happy when we told her we wanted to take him to the zoo, too, and quickly ran home with him to change him into something she thought more presentable. 

Still shy and quiet until close to the end of the day, it was obvious that Julio and I were the perfect match and cute Marvin would have been, too, but when he broke out of his shell soon after arriving at the zoo and started doing ninja moves I saw my friend's face light up.  She had come with me to Guatemala, just to see and learn.  I love her words from that day.  "I see a need and I can meet it." But I don't think even she realized that a need would get as close to her heart as this little four year old bundle of energy named Marvin that has her personality made over.    She decided she would fully sponsor Marvin which meant I could fully sponsor Julio instead of splitting sponsorship between them.

Now we talk about "our boys" and I get to listen to her tell others about Marvin and show off his sweet face through photos to anyone that will look and hear her plan for when she will see him again next year and I think, "If only more people knew...if only more acted on what they already know...if only more would meet the needs they see..."

Now I know what my Christmas gift from our sponsor child will be and I cannot wait for it to arrive.  It will be what I watched him create the first day I met him.  The asterisk will still be by his name.  I am the one that put it there, but even though it is still visible, the Lord removed it.  Two less children need sponsors now, but there are still so many left that do.  Will you consider child sponsorship through Lemonade International and make a difference in the life of a child in La Limonada?  You can sponsor a child for $35 or $70 per month.  Or if you are interested in sponsoring a teacher, that is also an option.  Please prayerfully consider partnering with us.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Why oh why didn't I grab a tissue. I love the way God weaves our hearts and lives. Thanks so much for sharing.