After hearing Amy Grant speak about Compassion International, we decided to sponsor a child. We knew if we made a commitment to a child, we would take care of that first, and budget for our necessities with what was left. We went on Compassion’s web site, and selected another child, named Yonalda. After sponsoring Yonalda for a year, we decided we could afford to sponsor a second child. That’s when we found Yefredy.
One of the great things about Compassion is that they not only allow you to write the child you sponsor, they encourage it. They even offer sponsor tours for you to visit the child you sponsor.
We wrote letters to the children we sponsor, and sent the check once a month. For a long time, the letters we received from Yefredy were the simple letters you’d expect from a child. She told us what she was doing in school, and what games she liked to play. As time went on, the letters became more personal. She told she was living with her grandparents, and that her mom and dad worked a long distance away. They visited when they could.
As Yefredy grew she faced a lot of hard times. Then one day we got a letter telling us that she was very sad because her dad had died. Within a year we got another letter from her asking that we pray for her grandfather who was having surgery. By this time, she was asking us in every letter when she would meet us in person.
My wife and I always thought it would be fun to meet her, but always said, ”We can’t afford to go this year. Maybe some day.” We had three daughters of our own, and were very busy. We got a bit lazy about writing letters. Then everything changed.
In February 2005 we got a letter from Yefredy thanking us for the Christmas gift she had received from us. She also wanted us to know that she was sad because she missed her father. She was also sad because her grandfather had died. Lastly, she was sad because she hadn’t gotten a letter from us in a long time. She told us that she thinks of us as her family, and wants us to never forget her.
That letter hit me like a ton of bricks. Child sponsorship had been little more than sending a check, and writing an occasional letter. This child viewed it differently. We were people who loved her, and cared about her. She had shared her deepest pain with us, and she wanted to know that we were getting the message.
That day we made reservations on the next Compassion sponsor tour to the Dominican Republic. Then we wrote to Yefredy, and told her we were coming to visit her in January 2006.
Meeting Yefredy was one of the greatest days of my life. My wife and I were able to hug her, and tell her we love her. We laughed with her, and cried with her. The day we saw her in person, she became real. She became our beloved daughter.
Today, Yefredy is 15. She's overcoming poverty, and is a year away from high school graduation. Her dream is to enroll in Compassion's Leadership Development Program, and go to medical school.
My family went to visit our sponsored children again in January, 2008. It was the third time I've been able to spend time with them. We hope to be in the audience when Yefredy graduates medical school.
Thanks to Compassion International, this child born into poverty has overcome great adversity, and is already changing lives. She started with mine. I am forever changed by the experience.
Please sponsor a child today. If you already sponsor one, please consider sponsoring another.
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