“And other seeds fell into good soil, and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.” — Mark 4:8, ESV
Paul and Margaret Hoesterey know a little something about planting seeds. Paul has spent years working at a produce farm, managing crops that are the result of years of carefully planting, tilling, and harvesting. Meanwhile, Margaret planted seeds of a different kind, pouring herself into the lives of her children and others by teaching at home and in Sunday School.
The couple has always been dedicated to investing in the lives of those in their community. But when they attended a program by the Children of the World International Children’s Choir at their church, they saw an opportunity to plant seeds of hope and faith around the world. They decided that night to become child sponsors.
In the years since, Paul and Margaret have sponsored several children — mostly from Uganda. Margaret had spent some time in Uganda assisting at a medical clinic, so she was passionate about helping children like the ones she had met there.
As Paul and Margaret were choosing which child to sponsor, a little girl named Persy was recovering from a life-altering tragedy. After losing both her parents at a young age, Persy had gone to live with her grandmother in one of Uganda’s poorest communities. Though her grandmother loved Persy deeply, she was old and struggled to provide for the little girl’s needs.
And that’s where Paul and Margaret came in. They began sponsoring Persy when she was just 5 years old, and their investment began to immediately plant a seed of hope in the little girl.
“I think it’s important to invest in the next generation, both here and around the world,” Margaret said. “Child sponsorship is about giving families that live in extreme poverty a helping hand with school and medical expenses. Many children are left on the sidelines, watching other children get an education — one that would allow them to overcome the many barriers of poverty.”
When you become a child sponsor, you help a child get off the sidelines. Sponsorship gives kids essentials like medical care, nutritious food, clean water, and educational opportunities. These resources give children like Persy the chance to grow up healthy and strong, with all the tools they need to chase their dreams.
Paul and Margaret knew they were making a difference by sponsoring Persy, but they were able to see the impact firsthand when they traveled to Uganda.
When they arrived at the school on the outskirts of Kampala, the Hoestereys met some of the people responsible for Persy’s care. Then, they made their way to the office where Persy was waiting. For the couple, finally meeting this little girl after a couple of years of exchanging letters was surreal.
“We brought Persy a backpack that I filled with some school supplies, a dress, and a doll,” Margaret said. “The huge smile she got when she saw the doll is something I will never forget. It melted my heart.”
Because of the Hoesterey family, Persy has been able to attend school — something her grandmother could not afford. In fact, the bubbly 7-year-old has developed a love of reading and now dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up. Because of sponsorship, Persy is already imagining the ways that she can impact the lives of other children … just like her.
But sponsorship has done so much more for Persy. It has also shown her the love of Jesus.
As they sat in the office that day, Margaret and Paul listened as Persy and a local pastor shared about her relationship with Christ. It was one of the couple’s favorite moments of the entire trip.
“Beyond school successes or breaking the cycle of poverty, World Help reaches children and their families with living hope,” Margaret said. “Jesus is the hope of the world, and as we encourage children through our prayers and letters, we offer them friendship and encouragement in the name of Jesus. We are storing up our treasures in heaven and not here on earth.”
Through child sponsorship, Paul and Margaret are changing Persy’s life, but they are also making a much bigger impact.
“I believe child sponsorship is a way to touch the future,” Margaret explained. “Whether it’s keeping girls from becoming child-brides or helping with school expenses or providing access to healthcare, you are helping people overcome barriers.”
And when you help a child overcome the barriers of poverty, you plant a seed that will continue to grow and flourish for generations.