Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I wanted to share a little more about my week helping with the SI-Guate Child Sponsorship site.  As I think I mentioned earlier, I worked with a wonderful young lady named Nivia.  I was in the SI office one day one in July, and we got to chatting.  Nivia’s dad is Fernando, the Director of SI-Guate.  Her parents met doing mission work, which is how my parents met, so we had an immediate connection. 

I was taken with her love for Jesus and passion for the children she helps match to sponsors.  When she mentioned having a lot of paperwork, I volunteered to help out.  It’s not always ‘glamorous’ work, but it’s something I’m good at.

I spent the better part of two days emailing pictures of the sponsored kids receiving birthday presents SI buys on behalf of the sponsors in the U.S. and Canada.  Nivia gave me the opportunity to revise the template she’d been using, and it was fun to put my writing skills to work.  Looking at the pictures of the kids was wonderful! 

Along with editing that template, Nivia asked me to edit some of the site’s other documents.  Since I love writing, and even like editing, it was great!  Nivia sends out a ‘regular mail’ mailing to each sponsor, so I volunteered to address the envelopes.  That way, when Nivia gets the information together (including a new picture, progress report, letter written by the child, etc.) they'll be ready to go. 

First up, I needed to buy envelopes.  I wrote the name in the little notebook I carry everywhere, and headed off.  I was a little surprised to find that the Supermercado did not have enough.  So, it was time to do a bit of exploring!  It took two more stores, but after the third attempt, I walked out with my box of envelopes.  I felt kind of proud that I had been able to do it… en espanol! 

In case you ever need to buy white business sized envelopes without windows, in Spanish, they are sobres oficina blanca sin ventanas.

It took a while because I tried to write as neatly as possible (if you've seen my handwriting, you know that's a major problem!), but I got all the envelopes addressed (including a 6-line return address).  It was actually 108!  What a joy to know that so many people are helping make a difference in the lives of children here! 

On Friday I translated a sponsor’s letter into Spanish (with help from an online translation site!).  Nivia checked it, and while there were some corrections needed, she said it was good.  That felt great! 

Sponsor Bonnie with her arm around Cindy
along with other members of the family
That afternoon I went along on a visit to one of the sponsored kids.  Her name is Cindy, and her sponsor has been here working with SI for the summer.  Bonnie and her husband Sal both work in schools in the U.S. and are great.  I met Bonnie one of my first weeks in Antigua, when I went on the tour with SI.  She is wonderful!

The visit went well, although Cindy was a little shy.  I think that after reading letters and seeing pictures, it was a bit overwhelming to actually have her sponsor right there in person!

heading down a very bumpy road
in a 'chicken bus'
To get to the El Gorrion site we had to take two ‘chicken buses’.  These are old school buses that have been painted wild colors and serve as public transportation to outlying locations, often on incredibly poor roads.  I’ll bet the Blue Bird manufacturers never pictured their buses on roads like this! 

All in all, it was a great week. Along with helping out, I was able to take some time to review and digest the 1 ½ notebooks of notes I’ve taken!  It also allowed me to connect with some of the amazing SI staff here.  I feel even more blessed to be a part of this great organization!  And, it made me even more eager to learn Spanish so I can get to El Callejon!

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