The Moment He Stole My Heart - A Sponsorship Story
by Ronne Rock Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015
When Kara and Olivia decided to join others in the Michigan area on a journey to India with WCSG Radio, they expected to be challenged and changed. But neither woman could have predicted the life-changing friendships that would be awaiting them.For Kara, the trip was about service. "I was originally going on the mission trip because I felt like God was calling me to impact the lives of the children at the House of Grace," she shares. "I expected to fill their hearts with the love of God, physically love the children, listen to each of their stories and hopefully shine His light for our duration there, no matter what we were doing."Olivia laughs as she confesses, "My original goal in going to India on a mission trip was partly selfish, if we're being honest. I've always had a love for kiddos and in the past few years have found a love for travel. I thought, 'What better way for me to use my gifts than to go and bless someone else.'But both Kara and Olivia soon discovered that they would be the ones receiving the blessings. Olivia continues, "I was expecting to experience a place that was dark and desperate with children who were so in need of the love of Jesus - boy was I wrong! While we certainly were able to use the gifts that the Lord has given us to minister to the kids and staff at House of Grace, WE were definitely the ones who were blessed and changed far more than we expected. The House of Grace is a place exactly described by its name - full of Jesus and full of grace. I was blown away by the children and staff members and the relationships that they have not only with Jesus Christ but also with each other. That place is definitely a city on a hill and a light in the darkness!"Kara and Olivia - along with the rest of the WCSG team - spent four full days with the children at House of Grace. They taught, played, prayed, danced, sang, laughed and wept. And both women met children who would become more than new friends. Kara and Olivia met their sponsor sons.Sponsorship was an invitation to lasting relationship for Olivia. "When I learned about sponsorship it made everything a little bit more real for me. I didn't have to just say 'goodbye' to the kids when I left; it was an opportunity to maintain a relationship with a precious kiddo that God had placed on my heart. I realized that it was one of the smallest ways that I could actually continue to make an impact by supporting and encouraging the dreams of one of the children."And for Kara, sponsorship changed her perspective. "When I first heard about the sponsorship and the opportunity to provide for one of the children that I actually MET, I was beyond excited. From what I've experienced thus far, when you go on a mission trip and build relationships with people of that country, a piece of your heart is left behind with those people once you return home. Whether or not it is a large or a small piece is all up to God! It's a hard thing to explain but you feel the strong desire to remember the relationships you built. My experience slowly did a 180 over the days we spent at the House of Grace and my heart was extremely overwhelmed."Kara met a young man named Ayushmaan, an outgoing boy with a great imagination. "He used the nickname of Mango since the majority of our American group couldn't pronounce his name. In turn, he also gave our group nicknames; which were usually a fruit or vegetable. In the matter of one day, we developed a bond that only built from there. He learned my last name and would call himself 'Mango Birdsall.' We went to a Bollywood movie and during the movie he picked up my hand and kissed the top of it. There were numerous times where he physically and emotionally displayed the love he had to give and it was at that moment when he stole my heart. When I decided to tell him that I was going to sponsor him, the outgoing, loud Mango became very shy and quiet. I explained to him how much he meant to me and that I wanted to be able to support him on a continuous basis. I made sure to tell him how much I had grown to care and love him over our time at their home. And I made sure he understood that love wouldn't stop when I got back on the plane. The next day several children came up to me and asked if I was now Mango's sponsor. It was clear that once we returned to our hotel that night he told many of the children what had happened that day."It was an artist with great dance moves named Rinchen who captured Olivia's heart. "I have always been drawn to the kiddos who are quiet and a little more shy than the rest. I feel like I can relate to them and always love seeing them come out of their shell. I fell in love with sweet Rinchen because of his tender heart and peaceful demeanor. From early on, we bonded in our small group over coloring, which is how I discovered he is a very talented little artist! We asked all the kids in our small group on the first day to write down a little bit about themselves and some things they hoped to do in the future. Rinchen told us how he someday wanted to be a 'footballer' and that his favorite song is 'Bless the Lord.' Bless his heart. I started to sit by him during our praise and worship times where we definitely bonded over song and dance. We became buddies and somehow always found each other during activity time where we would do crafts, play games, or start a dance party. I taught him that squeezing someone's hand three times is like saying 'I love you,' and the next time he saw me he immediately grabbed my hand for three soft squeezes. I think my heart melted. After I decided I wanted to become one of his sponsors, I was able to tell him in an emotional moment for the both of us. I got down on my knees and gave him a great big hug and when I asked if it would be okay, he nodded and wiped a tear away from his eye."Tears often christen the beginning of a relationship through child sponsorship. For the children, a sponsor is a trusted friend, a faithful supporter - someone who believes in God-sized dreams coming true. And for the sponsor, knowing there is a new member of the family to love well is transforming.'Sponsoring Ayushmaan has given me the opportunity to do more than just spend a week loving on a child, but it has and will allow me to build a strong, encouraging relationship with an energetic little boy and allow me to provide monetarily for his various needs," shares Kara. "It means I can help him to know that he is wanted, he is needed, he is loved and he is cared for by not only by our Heavenly Father, but by another human being. I know he understands the physical items he will receive due to the sponsorship, but I also know he is excited to continue to build our relationship we started."With tears in her eyes, Olivia agrees. "Sponsorship to me means that I have the opportunity and the responsibility to support and encourage Rinchen in his faith, his schooling, and for his future. It means that I have a reason to hopefully return to India one day and a precious little kiddo to pray for. For Rinchen, I think it means there is a connection and a support from me that he will be able to count on. Those kids have each other and the amazing staff at the home, but besides that they don't have very many 'constants' in their lives. I hope to become a constant for him so he knows he is loved even from so far away."Watch the video of Olivia's tear-filled moment with Rinchen by clicking the image below!Are you ready for life change for you and a child? We'd love for you to join Kara and Olivia, and sponsor an orphan or vulnerable child today!