Oh, friends. Look at this sweet little face:
Sylvain's blog post about how it all went down yesterday. You'll notice that he says, "We discussed it quickly and voiced our concerns and decided to go on with it." Well, from my point of view, it wasn't quite so easy and quick!
The lead pastor of our church, Crossroads, gave an amazing sermon about the organization called Compassion International. He shared his own experience with a sponsor child as well as his visit to Nicaragua to check out the organization and the work they're doing on the ground in third world countries. We saw a video of a girl who was thanking her sponsor family for sending a backpack full of school supplies and my heart just couldn't take it any more, so I started crying. I was so afraid to ask Sylvain if he wanted to sponsor a child, not because I thought he'd say, "No way!" but because I knew he'd have a lot of reasonable things to say to convince me why we shouldn't.
There were hundreds of packets hanging on the walls around the auditorium and after the sermon was over, the lights came up and families were encouraged to walk to the wall and accept a child. We were warned against "shopping" for the right one, and we were also warned not to take one unless we were ready for the long term commitment of sponsorship. Sylvian and I sat in our seats. I just didn't think we were going to do it, so instead I said, "What do you think about this?" We discussed the financial commitment ($38 a month), we discussed the option of checking it out online when we got home so we could think more about it....we also discussed our goal of giving 10% by the end of the year and how this would help us get closer to that goal. I mentioned that sponsorship is something we've thought about before but never got around to researching. We watched all these other families get up and take a child off the wall. We listened to the most beautiful song (I don't even remember the words) and all I know is that we were both so....moved. He looked at me and said, "You know what? We have the opportunity, let's just do it." I said, "Okay! Are you sure?" He said, "Yes!" and I was SO HAPPY! We stood up...and we were probably the last family to do it....and we walked over to the wall. I was nervous and crying. My eyes landed on a little boy who looked to be about Sylvia's age. I was drawn to his birthday, August 9th, one month later than Albert, and 2010, same year as Sylvia. I saw his name: Fernando! And then I saw his face. End of story. I was madly in love with him.
I immediately knew that we would love him forever, or as long as the organization will let us. I thought it was crazy and that people would think we were nuts. We didn't know anyone who sponsored a child before, but I vaguely remember my mom doing it when we were little. I thought it might be something we should keep quiet, because people don't like to talk about poverty and problems, especially in other countries. People will say we should spend our 10% here at home. People will say we're getting scammed or ripped off. People will say it's useless because Nicaragua is hopeless. But my heart didn't care one bit for all of that, and I wanted everyone to know that we now have a fourth child, sweet little Fernando!
Since yesterday, we've discovered that we do, in fact, know LOTS of people who sponsor kids in other countries! Why is no one talking about this?? If you come to our house, expect to see a photo album on the table behind the couch with Fernando's pictures and letters. Expect to hear all about him, not because we're bragging about our sponsorship, but because we LOVE HIM like he's our own and we want you to love him, too. We'll celebrate his birthday. We'll send him and his family gifts. And maybe someday we'll travel there to help Compassion International with the important work of loving kids. Sylvia was thrilled to learn that Fernando likes soccer, running and bicycles, just like her. She's excited to write to him and learn more about Nicaragua and how we can help from way over here.
My heart is totally full and completely into this, guys. I think I found my thing.
If you're interested in sponsoring a child, you can go through our church and help one of Fernando's friends in Nicaragua. Or you can go straight to Compassion International if you want to check out the other countries and opportunities available. If a long term sponsorship isn't for you right now, they have lots of opportunities to send one-time gifts. Get on it, friends! Love all the babies!!!