Teaching charity, hope to your children through sponsorship

 

Guest post by Shanxi Omoniyi, web editor and writer for Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA).

 

One of my sweetest childhood memories is writing letters to my family's sponsored child.

 

My parents have a long history of child sponsorship, and they encouraged us to write to their sponsored children. We were maybe 8 or 9 at the time.

 

I remember looking at the children's pictures, reading their letters and wondering what their lives were like.

 

Brenda-CFCA-sponsored-child-El-Salvador-writing-letters

Brenda, CFCA sponsored child in El Salvador.

 

Today I work as web editor and writer for Christian Foundation for Children and Aging.  CFCA is a lay Catholic sponsorship organization serving more than 300,000 children, youth and aging persons around the world.

 

CFCA's Hope for a Family sponsorship program provides personal attention and direct benefits to children, youth and elderly and their families so they may live with dignity, achieve their potential and participate fully in society.

 

From my experience, I highly recommend sponsorship for several reasons. It's a practical way to put your faith in action and answer the Gospel call to serve the poor by helping someone in need. (Mt. 25:31-46)

 

CFCA-sponsored-aging-Rosa-Victoria-Chile

From left are Rosa and Victoria, two elderly women served through CFCA's sponsorship program in Chile. CFCA is the only major U.S.-based sponsorship organization to sponsor the elderly as well as children.

 

It's also a wonderful opportunity for your whole family to meet another person across geographic, cultural and economic divides.

 

Geography lessons

 

Tanzania, Uganda, Honduras, Nicaragua – all these countries were labels on a map when I was a child.

 

When you sponsor someone in another country, though, you make an instant connection to their world. That includes the place where they live.

 

"I keep a map near my desk with the geographic locations of our family's two sponsored children in Guatemala marked," said CFCA sponsor Paula Kiger. "It has helped me be a lot more aware of how things may impact them (like weather, tropical storms, etc.) and just helps me have a more literal 'grip' on the truth of their existence."

 

Cultural immersion

 

Letters are the primary window you'll have into your sponsored friend's life.

 

Through correspondence I've learned about sponsored children's families, favorite foods, hobbies, holiday traditions and so much more.

 

We pray for each other. They become our "family" from another country.

 

CFCA-sponsor-Kim-Hope-Nayeli-Dominican-Republic

CFCA sponsor Kim Hope and her sponsored child, Nayeli, from the Dominican Republic.

 

CFCA also offers the opportunity to visit your sponsored friend through mission awareness trips.

 

These trips are in-depth immersion experiences that introduce sponsors to their friends and families, while also seeing the countries where they live.

 

"We are so grateful to have been able to go on two trips to Guatemala and to have spent time with our sponsored children, some members of their wonderful family, and dozens of other sponsored children and aged," said CFCA sponsor Elysa Koss. "We hope to go again sometime in the future. It will be like returning to family members."

 

More than a handout

 

Recently my newest sponsored child, Victor, sent me a letter from Kenya. The delight of opening and reading it has never grown old.

 

Shanxi-letter-from-Victor-and-mom-Kenya-CFCA

Recent letter from Victor, my sponsored child in Kenya! His mother wrote while he drew the pictures.

 

Victor lives in a house built of wooden walls, an iron sheet roof and cement floors. His mother is a widow and had trouble making ends meet before sponsorship. She works as a casual laborer, washing clothes for others to earn a living.

 

Through my monthly sponsorship contribution, Victor's able to go to school and have enough to eat. He even gets a birthday and Christmas present through CFCA.

 

Beyond the physical benefits, I hear through his letters about the encouragement sponsorship provides. Victor's grades have been consistently improving, and his mother belongs to a CFCA mothers group where she can meet other mothers of sponsored children for community support.

 

CFCA mothers groups and parent groups in communities around the world also offer support through livelihood initiatives that help empower parents in their efforts to earn additional income and build a path out of poverty for their families.

 

One of my favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa: "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

 

To me sponsorship is a small thing that shows great love. It provides hope not only to Victor and his family, but also to me. While I can't change the world, I can help change Victor's world. That makes all the difference.

 

Try it and see. You'll be amazed at the difference sponsorship can make – not only in the life of a child or elderly friend, but in yours and your family's as well!

 

Questions? Visit our website (www.hopeforafamily.org), call 1.800.875.6564 or email mail@cfcausa.org.

 

 

Comments

  1. Kristen E. says

    Our family sponsored a girl last year. Our children LOVE to get letters from her and they pray for her and her family every day. It really has been such a wonderful way to connect to a child across the world. And bring our children to see poverty in a personal way. I had wanted to sponsor a younger child but my oldest- 11 at the time was persistent that we pick a girl her age. I’m so glad we did. She writes so well and the letters really open my children’s eyes to her life. What a gift! She has given us so much more than our money could help her. I encourage everyone to participate in this. You won’t be sorry- I promise!

  2. says

    Our family has had a sponsored child (Silvia) in Guatemala for years (about 8); when we visited Guatemala on a MAT in July 2011 we began sponsoring Estela, who is 6. Even though when you are a sponsor, there is a focus on the child and their correspondence and pictures (which are all phenomenal), an additional “layer” was added for me during the trip – looking their parents in the eyes. Their parents are so very grateful at the partnership between CFCA, them, and us sponsors which allows them to provide more for their children, including basics like food and shelter, and education (which can’t be taken for granted in most of the countries served by CFCA). It changed my life and my 15 year old’s.

  3. shwell says

    We first sponsored a young boy nearly 8 years ago, he is now about to graduate from High School, it was a random thing, someone gave a presentation at our church.
    Then 4 years ago when my Grandmother who I was very close to died, she left me a small amount in her will, I wanted to do something with it that she would be proud of. I asked CFCA to find me an elderly lady “most in need” and I now have another Grandmother who I will probably never meet but who thinks I am an angel fallen from heaven to take care of her, she was begging on the streets in Liberia, Her letters are LOVE on paper.
    Then 3 years ago I decided to sponsor another child, in September 2001 my first child and only daughter was stillborn. 3 years ago I asked CFCA to find me a little girl who was born when my daughter should have been born amd now I have another daughter.
    If you have any doubts about the experience of sponsoring a child or elderly person through CFCA, please let go of those doubts and just DO IT. There are ways to choose or have someone be chosen for you. It will bring you so much joy to know you are helping people have hope who had none, have food who had none, have an education who had none.

  4. says

    It’s great that this post has highlighted the importance of child sponsorship and what it can do to improve a childs quality of life in some of world’s poorest countries.
    If anyone is interested in finding out more about child sponsorship they can also take a look at the work that we do at World Vision UK.
    Sponsorship is such a great way to improve the life of a child and the community overall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>