From the Parsonage...
From the Parsonage...
Many people in our congregation have
made trips to our Haiti mission over the years,
and I love the stories they tell. Nothing opens
your heart to missions like actually visiting a
foreign country! Recently, I was asked by
Compassion International about my own memories of meeting some of my sponsored children, and I thought I’d share one with you this month.
My first trip out of the country was to the Dominican Republic in 2003, and I was extremely excited at the thought of visiting several missions and meeting two of our children, Darlinton and Davidania! I spent several days shopping for just the right gifts for them and tried to divide them between clothes and toys. I didn’t have much trouble deciding on what to buy for the little boy, but there were just so many cute outfits, dolls, and stuffed animals for the little girl… I finally just gave up and bought way more than I planned!
The first part of my trip went smoothly except for the difficulty of dragging three suitcases through the airports and on and off buses by myself. Luckily, another sponsor took me under his wing, and we arrived safely at our hotel destination. We spent the next couple of days traveling to various Compassion missions, meeting staff, and playing with the children. Then, the big day came when we were to meet our own children!
I was a nervous wreck that morning as I got all the gifts out and ready. I knew about what time the children were to arrive and headed for the elevator to the lobby with a few minutes to spare. Surprise! The elevator decided to take a break that morning, so I had to run down three flights of stairs! When I got to the lobby, some of the buses had started to arrive, and I was busy trying to identify which children were mine when one of my friends asked where my gifts were. Surprise! I didn’t realize the children weren’t allowed to go to our rooms, and I made a dash for the stairs to get their presents. Up and down another three flights dropping and dragging the bags!
When I arrived breathless and sweaty in the lobby, someone called, “Dona, here are your two little girls!” I didn’t have two little girls. I looked over and saw two identical 5 year olds in matching yellow dresses. Surprise! Davidania was a twin! Although her sister didn’t have a sponsor, their mother didn’t want to deny her this trip. Almost immediately, Darlinton showed up on another bus, and now I had three children instead of two. Thank goodness for the interpreter they supplied, because I could never have kept track of all three of them during the day.
To make a long story short, we had a wonderful time. It was a blessing to see their wide eyes as we went through the buffet line at lunch and to see how hard they tried to be polite and not over eat. We spent the whole afternoon at the hotel pool and game area, and, what we couldn’t understand language wise, we made up with lots of big smiles and hugs. It was a day that I’ll always remember, and the hardest part was ending it. We truly made a lasting connection in that short time and parted with tears on all sides. Happily, we still stay in touch today, years later.
Oh, and, by the way, remember the problem I had deciding what
to buy for a little girl? Surprise! It just so happened I ended up getting two of everything, including stuffed animals and swimsuits! Some people might say that was just a coincidence…
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”