Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Tragic Flood…And Stolen Hearts

As I write this, I’m looking at a little red rock I keep on my desk. There’s nothing really outstanding about the rock – but what it represents will stay with me forever.

I picked the rock up from the bed of the Rio Madre Vieja, in Patulul, Guatemala. What’s unusual about a river rock? Nothing…except just three months before, where I was standing was not a riverbed at all.

The place where I was standing used to be 18 feet higher. In fact, it was the site of Don Pedro Zunun’s home – a home he had worked for close to 20 years to build. His face filled with shock and pain, Don Pedro told us that he had not even bought a new pair of pants in all those years, just so he could provide a home for his family.

Everything changed when heavy rains caused a mudslide on a nearby mountainside. The raging torrent that resulted was so powerful that it completely altered the course of the river, taking with it homes – including Don Pedro’s – as well as lives, livelihoods…and dreams.

The little girl in the photo below was not aware that our photographer Javier was capturing her picture. She was not sponsored, and her home had suffered heavy damages from the flood. Javier snapped her picture as she watched wistfully while a neighboring family with sponsored children received a load of building materials to repair their own flood-damaged house.

Days later I shared Jessica’s photo with my wife and her gentle innocence captured our hearts. We couldn’t help but want to sponsor her. That’s one of the greatest satisfactions of working for Children International: being able to help children as a professional – and as a sponsor.

Thanks for letting me share the joy sponsorship has brought to my family. If you have any special stories you’d like to share about your own experiences as a sponsor, why not add them as a comment on this post?

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