Thank you for choosing me
At dawn every day, seven-year-old Lizeth slips out of her room stealthily, trying not to wake her sister who sleeps in the same bed. She puts on her cloak and heads out of her house. She picks up her work tools in the warehouse and walks alone towards the mountain, where she cuts the grass to feed her sheep.
Lizeth with her sheep.
Despite the cold, little Lizeth knows the importance of feeding her animals, ensuring they are healthy and well-fed. Lizeth rolls up the grass with her small but experienced hands, and she cuts the wet green grass, piling it up into small piles for the sheep to eat.
Maria, Lizeth’s mum, arrives later after giving breakfast to her oldest daughter, who goes to school in the mornings. Lizeth waits for her mother to arrive with a cup of porridge and bread for her breakfast. Lizeth likes to play in the field while taking care of her sheep. She often thinks of her father, who migrated to another country looking for work and never returned.
"I miss my dad a lot. He took care of my mum and me, but I don’t know where he is or when he’s coming back, "says Lizeth wistfully.
Thinking about her father makes her sad. Lizeth often climbs the mountain to see if her father is returning to the community. But Lizeth and her mother and sister aren’t alone. Since Lizeth was registered in the child sponsorship programme, the church has been present in their lives.
Pastor Segundo focuses on giving comfort to children who frequently face problems related to their parents' alcoholism, domestic violence, or emotional challenges resulting from the migration of families.
"Children go through difficult situations, and because of that, children face emotional problems that generally depress them. Having someone tell them that they love them and think of them is something that marks their hearts for life, "says Pastor Segundo. This is one reason sponsors are so important to the children in the programme and their families. The church encourages children to pray frequently and ask God to fulfil the desires of their hearts, maintaining a constant faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
"I like to go to church because the pastor teaches me to pray and ask Jesus to take care and bring my dad back soon,” says Lizeth. While Lizeth is taking care of her sheep in the mountains, she doesn’t imagine that Pastor Segundo is on his way with very good news. Seeing him walking in the distance, Lizeth jumps for joy and goes to meet the pastor, guiding him to her house.
“I bring excellent news, "exclaims the pastor. Lizeth looks curiously at the pastor’s hands holding a yellow folder. "What is that, pastor? What did you bring for me?” Lizeth says with enthusiasm. "Do you remember that we prayed together and asked Jesus to send you someone special to be your friend and pray for you, your mum, your sister, and your dad? "says Pastor Segundo.
Lizeth shakes her head, affirming the pastor’s words. They've been praying for two years, ever since she was registered. “Lizeth! You finally have a sponsor. Jesus heard your prayers, "says the pastor. Lizeth embraces her mother with a big smile. Immediately, Lizeth wants to know everything about her sponsor—their names, where they are from, and if they have children and pets. She wants to know everything about the couple Jesus sent to be her sponsor, who children in Ecuador call godparents. Lizeth is delighted and wastes no time writing her first letter to her sponsor.
Lizeth couldn't contain her excitement when she found out she had a sponsor.
“Dear sponsors, thank you for choosing me and thinking of me. Please pray for my dad and me, and if you can come to my community, my mum will cook food for you," writes Lizeth. Maria remains silent and smiles at her daughter, who does not control her emotions. Still, at the same time, Maria is very grateful and humbly asks if it is possible to send vegetables and grains as a token of gratitude to her daughter’s sponsors. Pastor Segundo explains that Lizeth’s sponsor lives very far away, but they will meet one day and share beautiful moments if God allows.
“God is good, and I am glad to know that there are people somewhere far away who care about us,” Maria says with tears in her eyes. After reading the first letter that her sponsors sent, eight times, Lizeth goes to her room to find a safe place to keep it. “It has to be a special place where it won’t get damaged or dirty," she says. She finally finds a dusty drawer, cleans it with a rag, and turns it into her special drawer, where she keeps the folder with her first letter.
Lizeth writing a letter to her sponsor.
“A sponsor plays a crucial role in a child’s life. Feeling loved, important and accepted restores their heart and gives them confidence,” says Pastor Segundo. Hundreds of children transform their lives by entering the sponsorship programme. However, the impact is even more remarkable when they discover that someone, somewhere in this big beautiful world, chose them to become a fundamental part of their story.
Want to give another child a smile as big as Lizeth's?