By Lori Richards, CFCA sponsor
I am a mother raising the last of my five children, Annie, age 14. I was becoming increasingly concerned about Annie’s materialistic viewpoint of life. You parents of teens know the deal: the iPods, the laptops, the cell phones … I wanted Annie to have the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of people less fortunate than she and perhaps open her heart and mind to the idea of service to others. I suggested a mission awareness trip to Guatemala to meet my sponsored child, David.
Annie was very sure she would not care to go. She would miss her hair straightener and Facebook contacts too much, not to mention the horror of having to consent to wearing a few clothes that carried the dreadful label of “appropriate dress.” But I put my parental power to use, booked the trip for the two of us and listened to her moan for the next six weeks.
As it turned out, the trip was more meaningful for her than I had dared to hope. I felt blessed each step of the wayófrom the first moment she met and “clicked” with another teenage girl taking the trip, to the culminating moment when she came to me and said, “Mom, I want to sponsor a child.” Bob Hentzen’s gentle spiritual guidance taught her more about the world than nine years of schooling had. Although she and her new mission awareness trip friends could have chosen to play basketball or use Facebook after a long day, they almost exclusively chose to sit in on Bob’s nightly talks and listen to his songs.
Annie is now in the process of putting together a picture collage of her new sponsored child, 2-year-old Shirley. She is eagerly thinking of ways to earn money to help meet the support payments.
Many things about this trip impressed me, but my daughter’s “about-face” attitude toward helping the less fortunate was an unexpected gift from God, channeled through his devout servants, Bob and his marvelous staff. Thank you, CFCA, for helping to shape the lives of young peopleónot only the lives of your sponsored children, but the lives of the teens who are inspired to serve others after participating in one of your trips.