They tell us not to have favorites, but that is simply impossible! The problem is that the children choose you! The love that flows from them and fills your heart is impossible to ignore. Once the love bug has bitten, no matter how much you try not to have a favorite, you do. Most times, bonding with that favorite is life-changing as well. When you realize how much you love this child that you have never met before, you come to such an understanding of how much God loves you as well.
My favorite has always been Bili. He was here my first trip to the Malnutrition Center in January of 2011. Seeing Bili so sick, almost non-responsive with a blank expression on his face broke my heart. I never dreamed I could love so much. Over time, I saw Bili grow. I saw the intelligence in his mind. I heard him speak and laugh. Every trip, it was something new. A flash of who he was becoming. Then, in the Fall of 2013, Bili went home. I was not sure that I would ever see him again, but I knew I wanted to remain in his life.
The Orphan's Heart Sponsorship Program gave me that opportunity. Paying only $30 a month ensured not only that Bili and his family would have food each month, but also that the Center could maintain contact with him. Each month when he returns to the Center with his family for the food basket, the staff can measure his health and his progress. Bili’s mom has expressed her appreciation for the gift, which costs me so little. As Americans, we have been extremely blessed. While we might have to make a sacrifice, cut back on our fast food or Starbucks coffee, chose to make fewer purchases or in some way earn the extra money, that $30 means so much in the life of a child!
Yesterday, returning to the Center for the first time since Bili left, I was sad that his face was not among those who greeted me. I walked into the Ducks, but there was a hole in my heart at his absence. Today, while working with the Squirrels, Olivia came to find me. She had a big smile on her face and said, “Someone is here to see you.” I knew instantly who she was talking about, but could not believe that Bili was here. Though they picked up their food basket last week, his parents brought him on the bus, a forty minute journey, to see me. How humbling!
He is talking so much more. Obviously loves his momma and papa. There is such a sweet bond between them all. He has a new baby sister only eleven days old. We spent a couple of hours together, talking with the help of Olivia, Alejandra and Isabel. We played on the playground, had a snack and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a sweet, sweet gift. My heart is full.
While I cannot promise that you will have the privilege of once again seeing the child you love and favor, I can say with conviction that sponsoring a child will not only change your life, but also the life of a child and an entire family.
This morning, we plunged into our work at the Center like we had been here for weeks.
Christopher’s favorite moment of the day was playing with the Ducks and Squirrels in free time. He learned he has to keep his eyes on Sara as she is an escape artist.
Miranda’s favorite part of today was cuddling one child at a time and fixing the girls’ hair.
Nathaniel and Miranda made balloon swords for the Chicks, which they loved. Nathaniel was beaten by the balloon swords and survived. He is amazed at how well Maria Asuncion can get around even on the playground in her walker.
Bethany was able to get the bee hives checked, move them around to give the bees more room and prepare to extract honey in a week or two.
Israel got to work with the Canaries today and learned how hard it is to feed a baby!
Parnell loves seeing what people have been gifted to do, being used by God to bless the children and Nannies.
Marvin is still painting with a bright yellow paint which fortunately matches his shirt.
Taylor loved getting a chance to feed and “co-diaper” a baby. He does not think he is ready to take on that challenge by himself yet.
Anita, Camille, Cameo, Eryn and Kristen put on a spa for the Nannies, giving massages, haircuts and manicures.
Nancy’s favorite part of the day was doing the Bible Story for the Ducks and Squirrels where "David and Goliath" was acted out. Parnell got to play Goliath. Then, the children played with balloon swords and “fought” their own Goliath.
Jeanette loved getting so many hugs, even the anonymous “from behind” ones!