I recently had the privilege of participating in a two-week mission awareness trip to the Philippines with 23 sponsors.
Having never been across the ocean and away from my family for so long, I was homesick within a few days.
I especially missed my 2-year-old boy, David. He has become my best friend, and I look forward to seeing him every night when I get home.
Every small child I saw during my trip reminded me of my little guy and made me miss him even more.
Children in the Philippines welcome travelers from the CFCA mission awareness trip.
As we visited different communities, I was glad to see that despite cultural and socioeconomic differences, the children I met shared the same energy, passion and unconditional love that made me fall in love with my boy.
During a visit to a community in Manila, we were invited to the house of a little girl sponsored by a couple in our group.
On the car ride to their house, we visited the girlís mom and 2-year-old nephew.
I didnít catch his name, but I was immediately captivated by this little boy and his fascination with Jollibee (Philippines version of McDonald’s).
Every time we drove by a Jollibee, the boy screamed, “Jollibee!” and glued himself to the window.
David does the same thing when we see McDonald’s ó mostly because he knows Daddy is a sucker for this kind of reaction and will buy him a burger when Mommy is not watching.
When we arrived at the boyís house, I was shocked by the extreme poverty I saw everywhere I looked.
A small child outside a house in the Philippines.
The houses were built with someone elseís discarded materials, and the streets were covered with trash ó because no one collects the garbage like they do in the U.S.
We walked into the boyís simple but clean home. I was amazed by the hospitality from our gracious hosts.
We were immediately invited to sit in the few chairs they had available and make ourselves at home.
As I sat on the couch and listened to the mom share her familyís daily struggles, I focused on the little boy playing with his toys on the floor.
I couldn’t resist the urge to drop to the floor and play with him and two little girls who lived in the same neighborhood.
I couldn’t understand what the children were saying, but the beauty about children is that you donít have to speak their language to make them laugh.
I began balancing things on my head and making funny faces. Within minutes we were all friends.
Next to me was a small laundry basket with toys. As I began reaching into the basket, I discovered that every toy I grabbed was not a toy, but pieces of a toy that someone had thrown away at some point.
Cars without wheels, dolls without heads and books torn in half had become this little boyís childhood treasures.
Two boys meet Carlos during his trip to one of the CFCA communities.
My little boy has a room full of toys and books back home ó enough for an entire community.
I picked up what looked to be a Transformer car. Like the other toys, this one also was broken, but I got it in my head that I could fix it.
All I wanted was to give this little boy one toy that wasn’t broken, so I began twisting and pulling the toy to put it back together, until a sponsor tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I donít think it can be fixed.”
I felt like I had let my new friend down, but the little boy didn’t care. He just wanted me to keep playing with him and his friends.
As we said goodbye, I was thankful for the opportunity to bring joy to these kids, even for a few moments. Playing with them may not have changed their lives, but it definitely changed mine.
This is the same feeling I get from sponsoring a child.
Not only does it allow me to share my blessings with someone in need, but it brings me tremendous joy to think of the difference that sponsoring and writing a letter can have on a childís life.
Please sponsor a child today!