Tag: faith

An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.
Jul 8 2017

Cast your net

A sponsor reflects on his trip to Colombia

An image of a sponsor and his sponsored friend in Colombia.

Sponsor Joseph Rivard (right) visits with his sponsored friend, 17-year-old Jan Sebastian, at Jan’s home in Colombia.


Unbound sponsor Joseph Rivard of Gulfport, Mississippi traveled to Colombia in May on an Unbound Awareness Trip. He joined Unbound as a sponsor less than a year before the trip, and sponsors three young men in Latin America. Joseph is a retired professor of psychology at Central Michigan University. He reflects on how the trip impacted his faith.

Like most Americans and others living in a “first-world” country, life is never perfect. Every Christian I know has a story to tell; stories that speak of the death of a loved one, sickness, stress in a career, family trouble, etc. Each of us, armed with faith, endeavor to overcome our own struggles. We journey through our lives doing the best we can to work through our own deficiencies while trying to understand and serve God in the midst of our confusing and sometimes tumultuous life journey.

When I left for Colombia in May, I knew this trip would be different from other mission-style trips I have made in the past. I knew it would be different, simply because God is always about things “now” and “new.” There were a lot of things in my life journey that could have justified not going on this trip, because life is that way — always filled with challenges and obstacles. Yet, whenever I quieted my worries, I was convinced in my heart that this trip was something God was calling me to do. He didn’t command me to go; God has never arbitrarily demanded things of me in that way. It was more of a gentle stirring and a pull on my heart that communicated invitation and opportunity.
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Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.
Mar 27 2017

Old insights from a new place

Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.

Sponsored elder Bernard (center) joins Unbound Kenya communications liaison Regina Mburu (left), and Larry Livingston (right). Bernard, who is blind, was featured in a previous blog post.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer

I recently traveled to Kenya. My main reason for going was to meet people sponsored through Unbound and listen to their stories. I also wanted to meet members of our staff in Kenya and learn how they work with the families.

Since I’ve returned, several people have asked me what I learned from the trip. I have a hard time answering that question at this point, mostly because I need time to sort out my memories, feelings and insights. Like last year’s Christmas tree lights, they’re going to take a while to untangle before they can be illuminated.

Besides, as I get older I find that the most meaningful insights I take away from travel experiences aren’t new. Rather, they’re reminders of universal truths that I had either forgotten or, perhaps, taken for granted. Those insights are always more about people than things. They’re also, in a way, about God.

Here are some ‘old’ insights I took from my trip to Kenya.

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A young woman in traditional Guatemalan attire holds a necklace made with a historic coin.
Mar 6 2017

Celebrating arts and culture in Unbound — part 2

Sponsored members celebrate history and faith

Individual creativity in the Unbound community is rich, as we saw in last week’s story. The community traditions and celebrations also run deep, telling the stories of ancestors and faith through dance, parades and other ceremonies. Keep reading

Julia, a sponsored elder from Bolivia.
Feb 15 2017

For the love of God

Bolivian elder living out compassion and forgiveness

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

Julia and her husband, Dionicio, in their home in Bolivia.

The experience of having been hurt by others is, sadly, not an uncommon part of the story of many elderly people who live in poverty. Being poor carries with it great vulnerability and it only increases with age.

Many endure their hurts with grace and even learn to forgive. Those who find it within themselves to not only forgive, but actually reach out in compassion to the people who’ve wronged them, inspire us.

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Gabriela, a sponsored youth and scholarship holder from Honduras.
Feb 26 2016

Learning to lead

Gabriela, a sponsored youth and scholarship holder from Honduras.

Gabriela, a sponsored youth and scholarship holder from Honduras.

Gabriela is the quintessential leader.

She excels in her studies. She coordinates a church group. And she’s a service scholar and mentor for other sponsored friends in Unbound.

But Gabriela hasn’t always been an all-around leader. She’s come a long way since she was first sponsored at 4 years old.

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Jan 1 2016

Childhood friends stay close by sponsoring a child

Briana, left, and Megan, right, hold photos of Ana, the child they’ve sponsored together for more than four years.

Briana, left, and Megan, right, hold photos of Ana, the child they’ve sponsored together for more than four years.

Best friends Briana Murphy and Megan McLaughlin wanted a way to stay connected when they graduated from high school and went away to different colleges.

They also felt motivated by their faith to contribute for the good of others, so they decided to sponsor a child through Unbound as a way to do both.

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Sep 25 2015

Mom overcomes hardship, tragedy to stay focused on kids

Ivannia (center) holds Maria and her grandson Aaron, with Jose and Kimberly at her side.

Ivannia (center) holds Maria and her grandson, with Jose and Kimberly at her side.

As a mother raising her children on her own, Ivannia knows she has a long road ahead. She’s already overcome a lot in her life. With support from her parents, her children’s sponsors and a group of mothers from her community in Costa Rica, Ivannia keeps her family moving forward.


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Fatuma and her daughter Fosia, an Unbound sponsored youth.
Jun 17 2015

Fasting for Ramadan

Fatuma and her daughter Fosia, an Unbound sponsored youth.

Fatuma and her daughter Fosia, an Unbound sponsored youth.


Most of the major religious traditions of the world have an appreciation for fasting. While they vary in specific practices, the religions share a recognition of fasting as a sacred discipline that teaches self-control and respect for the gift of sustenance.

Muslims are about to enter into Ramadan (June 17-July 17), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which they fast daily from dawn to sunset. Ramadan commemorates the presentation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad and is considered one of the most important observances of Islam.

Fatuma is a single mother of nine children, two of whom are sponsored through Unbound. She and her family live in Kenya and are devout Muslims. Recently Fatuma shared with us what Ramadan means to them.

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