We are so thankful for our sponsors: individuals who are really invested in the lives of the students at the school in Guatemala. There are many touching stories of connection between sponsors and their students, and below is one that just transpired this past week.
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Several years ago on my initial trip to Guatemala while visiting my daughter in her first year of teaching at Colegio Cristiano was when I first connected with one of the students, Maria Jennifer. On one of the days where my wife and I assisted Anjuli in putting on a Canada Day for the students at the school, I had the opportunity to assist Maria with a colouring assignment in her classroom. At one point, I may have given her a compliment on her work. In response, she gave me a beautiful smile that deeply touched my heart that day, and became one of those treasured moments that I took back with me to Canada. Upon subsequent visits, whenever Maria set her eyes on me, she’d give me that same smile, and would often come up to me and give me a big hug. At those times, I sensed that life hadn’t always been easy for Maria or for other students in her community, but that her experience at the Colegio provided her with encouragement, unconditional love, and affirmation. And in her own way, she was communicating her gratitude in displaying this affection to me.
This past summer, after returning home from another visit to Guatemala with my daughter and having further encounters with Maria, I was notified that my child sponsorship with another organization had come to an end. Upon further contemplation, I enquired with Katrina at Global Shore if Maria was available for sponsorship. I was informed that someone else was already supporting her and that I might consider sponsoring one of the other students. I was a little disappointed, and somehow had the sense that I needed to wait on this decision.
So when Kat emailed me this past week, that the sponsorship for Maria had become available, sending along a photo of Maria, and asking me if this was the student that I had originally enquired about and if so, whether I’d want to sponsor her, I immediately e-mailed her back with an affirmation and letting her know that this was the, “Best Christmas present ever!”
To think that I now have the privilege of supporting this girl whose smile first touched my heart in a profound way, knowing that she is being educated in such a loving environment where her gifts and passions are being furthered is certainly a gift from God!
**A photo of me with Maria Jennifer this past summer**
~Henry Zukowski, Abbotsford, BC