With the financial pressure out of the way, my focus then moved to the trip itself. We began conference calls and preparations. World Vision provided us with guidelines and checklists and devotionals to begin preparing our heart and mind for what was coming. I envisioned Moses with his AAA guide to desert campgrounds struggling to find a suitable place to stay. Too bad he didn’t have World Visions travel office to make all of his arrangements. They made it so easy. I felt very secure in knowing that somebody with a clue had taken care of the details for me. One more major obstacle off of my plate! Yay!
I sponsor 3 children. A little girl in Bolivia who shares my daughters birthday; a little boy in India who shares my sons birthday; and a little boy in Zambia who shares my birthday. Not knowing if I might ever get the chance to go on another trip or not, I really wanted the experience of meeting a child that I sponsor. During one of our team conference calls, it was suggested that we try and find sponsors for as many children as possible in the ADP’s we would be visiting. We were going to have a party for sponsored children and it would be great if lots of kids could come. We were told to order picture folders soon. I called the next day. I’m that problem ambassador who prefers to call the help desk rather than use the web site. (sorry). I was able to get the message across that the specifics of my request were very important and that time was of the essence. It was within 24 hours of my request that I got a call back telling me that my picture folders had been shipped and thanking me for all I’m doing to help children. They seriously put the “help” in help desk. The packet arrived- and I opened it.
It’s pretty much over, once you open the envelope. Because inside are these tiny people with these adorable faces and difficult lives and you want to rescue them all- personally. I began reading and praying over these kid’s pictures. The responsibility to get them sponsored carries with it a certain amount of anxiety. How am I going to get 15 kids sponsored in a few months when it took everything I had to get 12 sponsored during all of last year? Moses, Numbers 33, to the Israeli HR rep- “How am I supposed to get millions of people out of here and on the road by sun up when all I have is this very small staff.” Well, we know how small staffs can do big work right? Because we know how he used that small staff, in the form of a stick, to part the red sea. God gave me an idea. What I needed was a staff of sorts. Turned out to be great timing as the 2011 Child Ambassador conference was coming up in San Antonio in a few weeks. God showed me clearly how it would be easier for lots of ambassadors to get one child sponsored that for one ambassador to get lots of children sponsored. It worked.
Here we are in San Antonio, Texas. January 2011. My goal: get these picture folders into the hands of people who will sponsor them or find sponsors for them, one at a time. I had my eye on 3 specific children that I could not get off of my heart for my own sponsorship. I gave out folders at meetings, I gave out folders at breaks, I explained that I needed their help, since our goal was to get as many sponsored as possible before our trip. I had 3 kids left on the last day. The same three kids that I could not get off of my heart from the beginning. Imagine that… Steisi C. was a little girl that was super cute and I loved her and felt tied because my life long sister friend is named Staci. You never know what is going to make a divine match. Sometimes, it’s the name. But then a fellow ambassador told me that she was wanting to sponsor a child and she picked Steisi. That was good, and now I’m down to two. One was a little boy who was named Edwin. His health was listed as poor. I loved him with my whole heart. He looked gentle and sweet and like he just didn’t feel good. I really was torn. The other was the cutest little girl with ginormous eyes that said “Here I am. Help me”. She was 3 years old and lived with her grandmother. I saw in her eyes the heartbreak of a child without parents. I asked my friend Barb to help me choose. We couldn’t. It’s too hard. My Area Manager and friend Monica was sitting at our table and she said she would take the little boy and find him a sponsor. Ok. Karina is mine, Edwin’s in good hands, Steisi is sponsored, the others are gone and on their way. I have 0 picture folders left. God, you did your thing, your staff, in the form of this team of Child Ambassadors just made a way for your children to come to freedom.
While we were in San Antonio I got to meet the team that would join me on this journey. We had a meeting. I didn’t know anybody except some of the staff a little. I talked with one of the other women at my table a few times and fixed her glasses. But that’s it. New relationships are always so awkward. I imagined Moses freaking out in Aarons house because he hates public speaking and is afraid of snakes. What if I’ve been wrong all this time and what I thought was God, was not? What if nobody likes me or understands my random sense of humor? Hello spiritual Egypt. I recognize your accent. For the next 6 weeks I just thought about it, and prayed.
The month of February passed and we were within weeks of leaving. I had the chance to receive basic information on Karina & I sent her an email hoping to have some more information to go on before the visit. I felt blind going into it without knowing a little more about her situation. I received good news on some of the other children whose profiles I had given out: they were sponsored. All except for Edwin. Nothing. My heart is broken. Maybe I should have sponsored them both. Why him? I always dislike intensely the feeling I get when a child doesn’t get sponsored. But this time it’s personal. This boy NEEDS help desperately and I love him. Now it’s March. We’re leaving in less than 3 weeks! I pack my bags, I gather gifts to take to the party to give to the children, my friend Lori sends a backpack for Steisi. I get Karina’s gift and the things for her grandmother together. All my things are ready. Except Edwin.
Monica had been trying desperately to find a sponsor and hadn’t. One of the other new child ambassadors in our region was having his first event. She sent him Edwin’s picture folder in the batch. The event comes and goes, no kids sponsored. Extreme sadness ensues. Dustin decides to have a follow up event a few days later. He sits next to a woman who had previously told him she couldn’t sponsor. He asks her again and she says that she can’t turn him down twice, BUT, she wants a child with special needs. He looks through all of his profiles and guess how many children with special needs he has available to choose from. One. Edwin. So a few days before our trip Dustin gets Marleena to sponsor Edwin and a divine match is made. My heart rejoices at the mighty God we serve and the way He does that time after time. It’s like He knows or something.
To be continued…