It was Enriqueís interest in electrical workóhe likes to fix electrical fans as a hobbyóthat spurred Annette and Roger Mackenroth of Maplewood, Minn., to sponsor him in 2003. Roger is a retired electrician for the railroad.
ìI have three sons and intended to sponsor a younger girl,î said Roger. ìBut Enrique just jumped out at me.î
Enrique, 16, lives with his mother and brother in eastern Venezuela. His father is gone for long periods of time working on a boat.
Roger and Annette learned through Enriqueís letters that he was having trouble in school and had to repeat classes.
The couple met Enrique on a mission awareness trip to Venezuela in 2007. Enrique and his mother rode a bus for 15 hours to reach Barquisimeto in order to see the Mackenroths.
ìWe told Enrique he had to learn English for business and computers,î said Roger. ìAfter the trip, we didnít hear from him for months. Eventually, we learned he was busy studying and ended up third in his class. Now, heís at the top.î
The couple is convinced their encouragement helped motivate Enrique to improve in school.
ìHis mother said she would pray for us every day of her life,î Annette said. ìI have no doubt that she does.î
The Mackenroths recently began sponsoring 18-year-old Germarys, also from Venezuela. She graduated from high school in 2007 and then lost her sponsorship. Annette hopes by sponsoring her, Germarys will be able to attain her dream of becoming a lawyer.