Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Much More than Money

The widow opened the cabinet door, placing a colorful stack of letters on the table. Nine of us huddled under the eaves of her apartment, a make-shift space that she shared with her only child, 12 year old son Menua.

The letters were a source of pride for him and his mother, reminding them that even though they have been alone and marginalized since Menua's father's death, they are not forgotten. Menua explained that his sponsors in America encourage him through their letters.

I was humbled.

Having sponsored several children over the past 26 years, I've always thought that my monetary contributions were the most important part of the relationship. Sometimes I would receive 2 or 3 letters from my sponsor children for every one that I wrote. I would get busy and so focused on my own kids, I would forget to write.

But here was a real live boy (who loves math, is super-shy, wears glasses, and sings in the choir) whose life was made less lonely by a husband and wife from somewhere in the U.S. who send him Christmas cards, ask him about his studies, and tell him never to give up.

Another member of our team, Benjamin Corey, sums up these moments far better than I can in his latest post.

Something we've heard again and again from the kids on this trip, and I really needed this reminder, is that sponsorship is truly a relationship.

And speaking of relationships, right before this trip, remember how Tim, Margaret and I decided to sponsor a little girl named Anahit, 15 months old?

I got to meet her this week!

She is simply adorable and reminded me a lot of Margaret at that age. When I gave her a few little gifts, she was a very busy girl, carrying them around the restaurant where the sponsors, children, parents, and translators for lunch. She explored that place, all the while carrying the blue jay beanie baby I gave her, and a bunch of toddler spoons.

 Can you believe those cheeks?

I am more committed than ever to being here for her and our other sponsor kids as their "family from far away."

P.S. What should I write to a 15 month old???? If she's as active as I think she is, maybe my first letters should be encouragement for her mom!

If you want to learn more about child sponsorship, please visit World Vision


Jenn said...

Thank you so much for this. I was really good about writing the girls I sponsor when we first started and I have shamefully become too lax about it. I am going to sit down and write them today. A great reminder that this is a relationship. xoxo

Jamie Miles said...

So neat. What a beauty Anahit. I sponsored a child many many years ago. I was decades younger and obviously didn't realize the significance of letters. What a beautiful part of the experience of sponsorship.

claire plante said...


I love this post! Those cheeks and that little face - so adorable and beautiful.

Love reading about your trip and sending lots of love to you too.


Debby@Just Breathe said...

What an amazing trip you have had!

Andrea Mowery said...

Oh, that dear child. What a gift you've been given to meet her.

Lexilooo said...

Oh this is wonderful! So wonderful! Such a good reminder at how important it is to write. I was so good at first, writing often, and mailing packages, but I admit that in the last year, since my daughter was born, I've really slacked. Tonight, when she is asleep, I will sit down and write to each of my three children. Thanks for this post.