It is with great joy that I introduce the newest member of our “family.” Zulma is a beautiful ten year old girl who lives in Guatemala. She has two brothers and two sisters and lives with her mom and her dad. Her dad is an agriculture worker, and her mom stays home to take care of the family.
Recently our family took the step of sponsoring a child — Zulma — through World Vision. Those who have been following this blog know of our trouble to have more children and our struggles with should we or shouldn’t we adopt (me wanting to, my husband not ready yet). Zulma is one answer to our prayer! We will be supporting her financially each month, but more importantly, we’ll be establishing a relationship with her through emails, letters, photos, and prayers. My daughter has always wanted a sister; now she has one. My husband and daughter are already dreaming up a time when we can go visit her.
Why World Vision? Well, for starters, our church partners with them. For another, 87% of all donations go directly to the children. One of my dear friends, Holly, told me about child sponsorship over a year ago. I never forgot her shining eyes as she described the children she and her family support — and a little voice inside my head told me to get off my hind end and do something.
But what to do? When I mentioned it to my husband, he sort-of brushed off the idea. There are stories he’s heard of sponsorship companies that use most of their money to pay their executives and very little to the children. And then there are all the needy children in America. Wouldn’t it better to support “one of our own?”
In the end, it was our daughter’s curiosity and desire to help a child her age in need that turned the tide of our indecision. She and I looked at the website together. She picked Guatemala as the country because we have a dear friend who is originally from that country, and then we searched for a girl around ten years old. It was heartbreaking to see photos of so many children in need who fit our search criteria! I wished I could have selected every last one of them. But we prayed that God would show us the one girl he wanted us to love. As soon as we saw her picture, we both knew. Zulma is in our hearts forever. Just look at her smile!
It wasn’t until this weekend, however, that any of us understood the true need behind our sponsorship. Saturday there was a welcome packet from World Vision in our mailbox. Included in the packet was a DVD that did a great job explaining what it is exactly that World Vision does to support needy children and their communities.
Seeing the conditions in which others in our world live takes my breath away. Literally.
In Zulma’s part of the world, homes are made of clay bricks and tin sheets or with bamboo cane and straw roofs. Her entire house would probably fit inside one of the bedrooms of my house. The whole village shares a water faucet. Just yesterday at church I fussed at my daughter for drinking out of the water fountain at church. (My obsession with germs, you know. There’s a bug floating around at church that just won’t leave. I’m convinced it’s the kids putting their mouths around the fountains. But that’s another story.) My face burned last night as I watched a woman in Africa dipping water from a muddy seep hole in the ground into a large bucket. She came for water like this three times a day. Somehow, that tiny three-foot in diameter puddle provided water for six families…water that often gave them diarrhea, or worse. My germophobic tendencies are stopped in their tracks when I consider the way of life so many people across the world face every day. My standard of “clean” is something they would never even imagine.
So we began today with a different outlook on our lives and a new appreciation for what we have been given…and a new appreciation for the words in 1 John 3:
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
I will post updates as I hear from Zulma. If our story is touching your heart and you’d like to learn more about how you can help, visit World Vision for yourself.