Tag: mission awareness trip

Mar 23 2012

Dominican Republic trip shows positive, sustainable change

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

We really had an “early-morning CFCA flight” out of Kansas City.

Twenty-eight students and faculty from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., boarded our same flight for Atlanta.

From Atlanta, Cristina and I went to a mission awareness trip to the Dominican Republic, and they are en route to a CFCA mission awareness trip to El Salvador.

Godspeed, dear friends. Thanks for keeping CFCA on the move!

At CFCA, we favor a culture of learning and listening.

Here are a few things I have heard this week in the Dominican Republic.

Sponsored youth Monica to her Puerto Rican sponsors, Beridiana and Rafael: “It has been many years. You are much more than sponsors. You are like my parents, and I love you.” (These sponsors have been with CFCA for 23 years.)

Sponsor: “Something I learned on the mission awareness trip (MAT) to Chile. Please keep in mind the elderly. Chile was my first MAT, but I’ll be going on many more trips with CFCA.” Read more

Mar 9 2012

Inspiring stories from sponsored children, youth in Kenya

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

What a joy to be back in Africa!

It’s so very encouraging to see the spirit of CFCA growing in this area. In particular, I would like to express my gratitude for the support and solidarity of our African sisters and brothers before, during and after Walk2gether.

(Please note: All photo credits in this report go to Regina Mburu, CFCA’s communications center liaison in Nairobi, Kenya.)

CFCA scholars

CFCA scholars in Kenya are dynamic, generous and very creative.

Listen to this poetic testimony of CFCA scholar Stephanie, this dynamic young woman from “up country.”

Stephanie has finished her secondary studies and is registered to continue her education, studying psychology at the University of Nairobi. Read more

Mar 8 2012

Con recuerdos: A U.S. mother and her Guatemalan peer

Paula Kiger is a CFCA sponsor and blogger at www.biggreenpen.com. For International Women’s Day, she sent us this blog post about her mission awareness trip to Guatemala last year.

CFCA sponsor Paula Kiger and ribbon embroidery gift

CFCA sponsor Paula Kiger and her ribbon embroidery gift from a Guatemalan mother.

Thirty-eight people and I participated in a mission awareness trip to Guatemala in July 2011.

On our first full day in Guatemala, we traveled to the CFCA center in San Lucas (about a two-hour drive).

On the way, we stopped in Ciudad Vieja to get acquainted with the people who are served by the CFCA office there.

The people at that office went out of their way to give us a big welcome. There were songs, dances, presentations by project participants, and lunch.

At each of the places we visited, we were given mementoes of the visit.

At Ciudad Vieja, we were given samples of the candy that many of the mothers of sponsored children have learned to make and sell to tourists. This project allows them to provide for their families and to learn a marketable skill.

We also heard from the mothers who do “ribbon embroidery,” also to be sold in Antigua, one of the main tourist destinations in Guatemala. Read more

Feb 28 2012

CFCA staff member’s life-changing trip to India

By Veronica Lay, CFCA sponsor outreach specialist

Veronica Lay on a CFCA mission awareness trip to India

Veronica receives a warm welcome on her mission awareness trip to South India.

I arrived at the Kansas City airport Jan. 21 to embark on a CFCA awareness trip to South India, unaware that I would soon be forever changed.

I work in Sponsor Services at the CFCA headquarters in Kansas City, which means if you call our toll-free number, there is a good chance I’ll be on the other end of the line.

Most of my work involves helping sponsors with any questions and helping make the sponsorship experience a positive, rewarding one.

I enjoy speaking with our sponsors and was looking forward to meeting many of them face to face. Although I was looking forward to this trip, I was also experiencing a surge of anxiety and panic.

I, like many Americans, have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and experience panic attacks on a regular basis. Read more of Veronica’s story

Jan 26 2012

Sponsor meets Kenyan child – ‘what being human is all about’

By Laura Seyfang, CFCA sponsor

As a longtime CFCA sponsor, I had often read the invitations to join a trip to visit my sponsored child.

CFCA sponsor Laura Seyfang and her sponsored friend, Sophia, in Kenya

CFCA sponsor Laura Seyfang and her sponsored friend, Sophia.

While I felt committed to the CFCA mission and loved sharing letters with my two sponsored children, one in the Philippines and one in Kenya, I never felt able to justify the time and expense of such a trip.

This past December I was able to make it happen when I combined a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Trip with a visit to my CFCA sponsored child in Kenya.

I wasn’t sure CFCA would embrace my visit since it wasn’t one of their trips, but was very happy to receive overwhelming support to make this personal connection happen.

Habitat for Humanity is a non-denominational Christian organization whose goal is to provide decent affordable housing for all. This organization provides opportunities for volunteers to help build houses in nearly 50 countries around the globe.

During my trip to Kenya with 20 other volunteers, we were able to work on constructing four houses for families in an internal displaced persons camp, where they had been living in tents for almost four years.

It was a lot of hard work, but the results were extremely rewarding.

At the conclusion of the Habitat Build, I hired a driver who took me to Meru in northeastern Kenya, where my sponsored child, Sophia, lived. Read more

Jan 16 2012

8 games played by sponsored children in Chile

Games CFCA sponsored children play in ChileBy Shanxi Omoniyi, Unbound web editor and writer

If you sponsor a child, have you ever wondered what kinds of games sponsored children play?

Despite the challenges of poverty, kids in developing countries often find joy in playing with whatever they have available. Many of these games don’t require a lot of items, but they keep children entertained for hours!

On a recent awareness trip to Chile, sponsors got to observe and participate in games popular among sponsored children. I was honored to be part of the trip.

We hope you enjoy learning and watching these games as much as we enjoyed playing them! Watch the games in action

Jan 14 2012

Guatemala trip displays ‘harmony amidst challenges’ of poverty

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bobís full update on his Facebook page.

What a joy for Cristina and me to share this sacred time with 36 sponsors, their sponsored friends and families, and a great group of CFCA co-workers.

This New Year’s group of sponsors includes a good number of children and young people. They found a Guatemala in great need, but in the happy time of coffee harvest.

Students in Guatemala will be out of school until mid-January; coffee harvest involves the entire family.

[Related link: Read our story about families harvesting coffee in Guatemala.]

A new president, new congressional representatives and new mayors will take office on Jan. 15.

This is also the time of the “safra” ñ the burning, cutting and hauling of sugar cane. The air is filled with the distinct odor and falling ash of the cane. It is impressive to think that every stalk must be hand-cut by campesinos, darkened by the coastal sun and carbon, and cut and stacked. They are paid for by the ton. Read more

Dec 26 2011

Opening up to sponsorship: One sponsor’s story

CFCA sponsors Ed and Becci Bartolomeo have sponsored Marisela in El Salvador for 14 years.

Their sponsorship started out like most. They sponsored Marisela after a CFCA preacher visited their parish.

“Things weren’t financially great at that time,” Ed Bartolomeo said. “It was tough paying our bills. We were getting by. But we thought if we don’t go to dinner once a month, we could easily support this little girl.”

They sent their monthly contribution, wrote occasionally and sometimes sent small gifts to Marisela.

Their sponsorship experience was transformed, however, when they met Marisela and her family in 2011 on their first CFCA mission awareness trip.

Read all about it on our website: Sponsors meet friend after 14 years of sponsorship

Dec 9 2011

Bob’s notes: ‘Invited into Archana’s family’ in India

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“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trip participants. You can see Bobís full update on his Facebook page.

This account was split into two parts. Read the first part with Annamary’s testimony here.

Inspiring testimonies from sponsored Indian youth:

Minu: “Tears come into my eyes today when I recall how my parents left me with relatives as they searched for work in the northern part of India. It is no less than a divine intervention that sponsorship came. I fear my father may have abandoned us. However, my sponsorship continues, and this has been my greatest consoler and mentor. If I say sponsorship has been my rock, my parent, it won’t be an exaggeration. I am filled with gratitude and awe. I wish to give back to my society as a mark of appreciation for this CFCA program.”

Pinky: “We live in a remote area where there is no good education facility. Before sponsorship, I was like a frog in a well, knowing nothing of the outside world. The CFCA help became a light which removed the darkness of ignorance within me and filled my life with the brightness of knowledge. I have been studying in a well-developed educational institution of the Bhagalpur Diocese for 12 years. On behalf of all sponsored children, I promise you we will fulfill our dreams to be successful and help other children.” Read more

Dec 2 2011

Bob’s notes: How sponsorship gave Annamary an education

“Bob’s notes” are reports from CFCA President Bob Hentzen, who regularly accompanies mission awareness trips. You can see Bob’s full update on his Facebook page.

This report from the November 2011 mission awareness trip to India will come in two parts: Annamary’s story and the rest of the trip.

Annamary, CFCA sponsored child in India


Bob: Let me start with the inspiring story of Annamary, 11, a sponsored girl from a remote village in CFCA’s project in Bhalgalpur. What a joy for our sponsors to meet this young woman. What follows are Annamary’s own words.

Annamary: In the village where I live, there are about 100 families.

No electricity, no running water, no cooking gas and no toilets.

When the villagers have no work, women go to the forest to collect firewood.

Men get drunk and fight, and the children are always in their natural dress playing in the village lanes. I know this, because I was born in this village.

Like the other villagers, we live in a mud hut. There is my Papa, Sushil. He is always out looking for a job.

Every morning, my Mummy left us in her best dress. I did not know where she went. When I was 4, I had the job of babysitting my younger sister, Dolly, 6 months.

One day, I asked Mummy, “Where do you go every morning?” Read more of Annamary’s story