Sarah’s first trip to Guatemala was more than just an exciting experience — it fulfilled a calling she had years ago, one she thought had been put on hold.
Growing up, Sarah had been on a number of mission trips all around the world. She had traveled to Mexico, India, Kenya, Thailand, and Haiti, and she came alive while serving people in need.
She had hoped that God would call her to full-time ministry in another country. But when she got married and had children, Sarah’s priorities shifted a bit.
“My husband travels for his job seven months out of the year, so I am very busy at home with our four young children,” Sarah said. “I felt I needed to suppress my ‘calling’ and hoped when the kids were grown, I would be able to go back on the field. When our church announced the village sponsorship, my heart sparked, and I knew that I needed to try to go, even though my kids are still little.”
Sarah’s church committed to do a Village Transformation in Guatemala, raising funds to help meet the physical and spiritual needs in Las Sidras. When Sarah heard about the chance to not only be involved but also go to Guatemala, she was thrilled. And she didn’t just want to give or go; she wanted to build relationships.
“Right before my first Guatemala trip, our church announced the child sponsorship program,” Sarah said. “I had always wanted to do something like that but never pulled the trigger. Knowing I would have the opportunity to see my child’s community and possibly meet them motivated me to sign up. There was one child left when I got to the [sign-up] table after church.”
That child was named Eber. At first, Sarah wasn’t sure about it. Eber was older than the age she had originally thought of sponsoring, and his picture wasn’t the most friendly. She had been hoping for a cute little girl or someone the same age as her kids. Sarah considered waiting until the next group of children was announced, but something wouldn’t let her.
“I thought of Jesus who loves the unlovable and the ‘least of these,’” she said. “If I didn’t choose this young man, who would? I’m so glad that I chose Eber. I have fallen in love with him and his family in a way that I never expected.”
Eber is currently 11 years old. He loves math and playing soccer with anyone he can find. And up until recently, he lived with his family in a tiny home constructed of wooden posts and a thatched roof. The floor was made of dirt, and the home had no walls and no access to clean water.
Sarah got the chance to visit Eber’s home during her first trip to Guatemala. She traveled with her church and was able to participate in medical clinics while experiencing firsthand the impact their congregation was making in Las Sidras.
“That first trip to Guatemala was so emotional for me,” Sarah said. “Being able to help out with medical clinics was icing on the cake for me. I studied nursing later in life for the purpose of medical missions. Joining with health care professionals from all over the United States to serve the villages surrounding Zacapa was such a beautiful experience. It was truly an honor to help care for others’ physical needs. I began allowing myself to dream again that God would use me to serve people internationally.”
When her team saw the state of Eber’s home, one of her fellow team members felt the Lord calling him to sponsor one of Eber’s younger sisters. Together, they decided that they would raise money to build a new home for the family.
“It was so exciting as we emailed back and forth with World Help throughout the process,” Sarah said. “It was also cool how friends and family members asked to be a part of it and wanted to donate. It felt very surreal that we were actually doing it.”
This summer, Sarah and her son Micah attended the dedication of Eber’s new home.
“We had a dedication ceremony while I was there,” Sarah shared. “Eber’s mother said that she is very grateful to have a safe place for her children to go to be protected from weather and danger. They can go inside and close the door and lock it if needed. To see what a huge difference we were able to make with very little effort and resources was humbling and empowering. I’m already trying to think of what we can do next to support either their specific family or the community as a whole.”
For Sarah, including her son in this process made the experience particularly special:
“I dreamed of bringing my kids to the mission field and was excited and scared to include him. I was nervous he would hate it because it was hot, and the food was different. I had to turn over all my expectations to God and let Him do His work in Micah and just trust that God will use it, whatever his experience is. I was so grateful that Micah loved it and thrived. Since we have been back [home], he brings up his experience almost daily to compare it to our life back here. I highly encourage other parents to bring their children and include them in their giftings and passions. I think it is so important for kids to witness us using our gifts for ministry so that they can follow in our footsteps.”
So far, Sarah’s church has completed school repairs, a security fence, and purchased land for a church building in Las Sidras. Soon they hope to begin a clean-water project and bring fresh water to the families.
Sarah said this experience has been a sweet way to reconnect with a calling she thought had been put on hold. Now, she is able to bring the hope of Jesus to people in need while also being a mother and a wife.
“You won’t regret it,” Sarah said about child sponsorship and Village Transformation. “But get ready — it will be so empowering and feel so good that you will not stop at one project. It will undoubtedly ignite something in your heart that you will not want to put out. Don’t be surprised when it grows and becomes bigger than you imagined. I sponsored one young man, but I have fallen in love with his whole family. They feel like my own family when I am there.”
Maybe, like Sarah, you’ve thought that you can’t make a difference. But the truth is, you can.
For just $35 a month, you can help completely transform the life of a child in need like Eber. You can give him the tools he needs to succeed in life—like healthy food, medical care, and educational opportunities — and show him the love of Jesus Christ. You can change a child’s life in a way he will never forget.
Will you take a chance and sponsor a child today?