If there is one thing I’m not good at it is goodbyes. When I form a relationship, I’m in it for the long haul.
About five years ago my eyes first locked on Andrea’s. Her big brown eyes seemed to beckon me through the computer screen and I could not look away.
She was adorable.
The weekend before I’d been at a Women of Faith conference. While there, they spoke about their partnership with World Vision. Although I’d been to WOF before and heard of their ministry, this year I came home feeling called to form a relationship with a child. Maybe it was the message from my sweet one year old saying “mama” into my phone. Maybe it was the thought that my baby girl was comfortable in a heated home full of hope with her amazing father while a baby girl elsewhere lived in a hut the size of my closet while her parents prayed for hope.
Two children born into two very different situations resulting in two very different lives.
Andrea shared Grace’s birthday and as my husband looked over World Vision’s materials he simply said, “Let’s do it.” A sponsorship was born. I have to admit, I didn’t expect our $30 per month to be life changing but, in my mind, that I was okay. If World Vision could use our dollars as a vehicle to help put food on their table, provide access to medical care, and give hope, that was sufficient.
Cecilia (Andrea’s mother) and I began to communicate. We’d write letters to one another and share about our families. As our girls grew, they entered into the conversations, growing excited about the lives of their friend afar. My girls drew pictures, told her about snow, and imagined living in a place so warm it never fell. Each time a World Vision envelope found its way to our mailbox opportunity seemed to multiply in Equador while joy swelled here in South Dakota.
Right before the girls’ sixth birthday another World Vision letter arrived. Quickly and excitedly, I opened the letter to read the grace filled note from a woman who had found her way into my heart.
But it wasn’t from her. It was from World Vision. The project goals were met. Andrea’s family was self sufficient.
Overwhelmed, I began to cry. I cried because I hadn’t written more. I cried because a relationship that had taken root was no longer going to grow. I cried because I didn’t want to tell the girls they couldn’t draw any more pictures for Andrea. AND, I cried because World Vision was so much more than I’d ever believed they could be. Using what couldn’t even buy us one dinner out, World Vision had walked alongside the community and taught the people to garden and breed animals. They transformed a destitute community into a more educated, self-sufficient community. Andrea and her family had grasped the hope they once dreamed of.
After we told the girls, they drew last pictures and we wrote a note sharing our heart. Shortly thereafter, we heard from Cecilia and she happily signed off “Goodbye forever!”
I couldn’t help but smile.
This month as we count our blessings, we graciously include World Vision because they made believers out of us. With the right people and the proper teaching, dire poverty can be broken. This is a goodbye worth celebrating.
Goodbye forever, Andrea and family. Hello, sweet Nayely. Your first letter with child artwork will be arriving soon. :)