We enjoy hearing from sponsors about their mission awareness trips, and this story especially moved us. Mari Wrightís mother started sponsoring Andrea in Honduras when Andrea was only 2 years old. She never visited Andrea, but wrote to her regularly. Mari decided to continue the sponsorship after her mother died in 2003. This year, Mari visited Andrea for the first time and discovered a precious letter that her mother had written back in 1999. Mari recounts her experiences in the following post.
This summer I was so fortunate to be able to go on a mission awareness trip to Honduras, my first time to visit any CFCA project. I went to meet Andrea, the child I have been sponsoring since 2003.
Andrea, second from left, and Mari, second from right, celebrate at a CFCA birthday party for sponsored friends.
The way I became a sponsor is a story worth telling. In 1998 a devastating hurricane killed many people and did horrendous damage to the small country of Honduras.
My mother, a devout Roman Catholic and resident of Kansas, heard about CFCAís work to help the people there. She wanted to contribute and decided to sponsor a child.
Andrea was then 2 years old. Every year when a photograph came, Mom would show it to me, along with letters written by Andreaís mother.
When my mother died in 2003, I decided to continue the sponsorship.
Before long Andrea learned to write letters, herself. She often would ask me if I could ever come to meet her. Finally this past summer I was able to do so.
From the moment my plane landed in Honduras I felt my motherís blessings close around me. The CFCA project leader, who met me at the airport, exclaimed, ìYou are going to be able to see your child three times, the most of anyone on this trip!î
Our first meeting was at the whole-day celebration held for visiting sponsors, the children and parents ó held at a water park not far from the airport and our hotel.
We spent a wonderful, relaxed day playing and getting to know one another.
When our group went to Andreaís home a few days later, she showed me a letter she had received in 1999 from my mother in Momís own beautiful handwriting.
They had kept the letter and treasured it all the years.
I think all of us had tears in our eyes as I read aloud the sweet message.
Stacy, a representative from the CFCA office in Kansas City, was with us that afternoon and urged me to write this story.
The next day I was in a group of sponsors attending a typical CFCA birthday party for all the children whose birthdays were in that three-month period.
Since Andreaís brother was one of them, she was invited to come too. We sat together and talked in a more easygoing manner as our friendship grew.
Then when it was time for the children to go, there wasnít room on the bus for all of them, so Andrea and her brother were allowed to stay.
One of the CFCA staff drove them home later after finishing the cleanup. That meant I got to spend even more time with her. I was so lucky! I felt I really got to know her and her family.
Andrea and her mother meet Mari.
All the activities planned for us during the trip made plain how much our small monthly contributions are valued by the recipient families.
The very hard-working staff of the CFCA project ó all residents of the area and citizens of Honduras ó are a true inspiration. They create the incredible effectiveness of the program.
Andreaís project leader, has known her family over the many years that he has worked with CFCA.
Even though he is responsible for hundreds of children and their families, he remembers the histories and details of each one. He treated her and her brother with such care. And he welcomed me warmly into their community.
I have been tremendously enriched by this experience. I truly feel that I have a goddaughter now in Honduras.