One day at lunch in the Lipscomb University cafeteria 3 years ago, my best friend approached me about the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa through the Lipscomb Mission program. We had been on multiple mission trips together and if we were going to travel across the ocean, we wanted to do so with each other. At first, I had no idea where Malawi was or what this mission trip would look like. We were both in our junior year of school studying Education at Lipscomb and this was a trip primarily for future teachers. I love working with children and traveling, so I was immediately interested in this trip. After several weeks of researching Malawi and praying, I decided to apply. At this time, I had no idea the impact Malawi, specifically, Mtendere Children’s Village would have on my life.
Q: What inspired you to become a sponsor?
A: I have always been passionate about children. I grew up working in a pre-school and babysitting. Being around children, is where I feel completely whole and where I see God work the most. While in Jamaica several years earlier, I enjoyed getting to know the children and being able to return each year to see them. Whenever possible, I would send Hope for Haiti boxes through my church. For years, I have felt called to love and care for children around the globe. It was the beginning of my second week in Malawi and I had already fallen in love with the people and the culture. I was immediately drawn to the children of Mtendere and knew I wanted to have a connection with them for years to come. I asked about what being a sponsor would look like and began the search for a child who needed one. It was then that I came across a young boy in 4th grade who was needing sponsorship. He was the same age as the kids I worked with back home and he was in primary school where I was training to become a teacher. It was at that moment that I knew I needed to sponsor him and continue to be a part of the Mtendere community.
Q: What does child sponsorship mean to you?
A: Being a child sponsor means that you are vowing to pray for your child daily. It means that you get to be a part of this child’s life, even in such a small way. To me, being a child sponsor means being a way for that child to receive a great education through the school on campus, to ensure that child gets their 3 meals a day and medical attention, and to encourage them to continue being kind, respectful children. Being a child sponsor means making a commitment to love that child from across the ocean.
Q: What is your favorite thing about the volunteer work you do in Malawi?
A: I am extremely lucky to be able to return to Malawi year after year. I have been able to watch my child grow both academically and spiritually for the past 3 years. Each year that I go to Mtendere, I get to strengthen the relationships I have made both with my sponsor child, as well as, the other children in the village. My favorite thing about working in Malawi, is being able to experience academics in the Mtendere Primary School. I love working with and learning from the teachers at Mtendere. Through our partnership with Mtendere Primary, we share teaching strategies, stories, and ideas on how to be a more successful teacher. Both American and Malawian teachers grow in their professionalism during these two weeks. I also enjoy being able to teach in the classes and see my sponsor child grow as a student.
Q: How have you involved your family and friends in this experience?
A: My family and friends have been my biggest supporters. They encourage me to return to Malawi every year and they help make financial donations to get me there. Many of my friends go on this trip with me and together we learn and grow from the people of Mtendere. My family and friends know about my sponsor child and pray for him along with me. I also enjoy teaching my students in America about Malawi. They love to hear stories, watch videos, and see pictures of the classroom, children, and especially, the child I get to sponsor. This past year, students in America wrote to the students in Malawi. It was an amazing experience to learn more about my students, as well as, the students in Malawi.
Q: If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be?
A: Take the leap of faith. You will not regret taking the chance to sponsor a child. They will change your life even from miles away. Being a part of my sponsor child’s life has been a great blessing. He has taught me about the love and the grace of our God. Your monthly donation goes to an incredible organization who cares deeply for these children. They are passionate about making sure all children are cared for. The children are grateful for you and they will make sure they show that to you through letters, pictures, and hugs. Being a child sponsor, is one of the best ways to connect with others around the globe and show the love of our Father,