“Passang, we never thought we’d get to meet you.”
The Zoom call connection wasn’t perfect, but the connection between sponsors and their sponsored child was crystal clear.
Passang smiled shyly at her sponsors, Andy and Jeneen. This is the second time she’s gotten to see them and talk with them. The first was at a Children of the World concert this past year.
Andy and Jeneen started sponsoring Passang, a little girl who lived on the other side of the world in Nepal, four years earlier.
“We thought we’d get your letters and your pictures,” Jeneen explained. “That’s what we prepared our kids for. But when we found out you were coming to the United States, I literally ran outside to tell Andy. I was so excited we were going to get to meet you.”
Andy and Jeneen had the opportunity to hear the Children of the World choir sing at their church in Ohio four years ago. At the time, the couple’s oldest daughter was 4 years old, and their son was only a baby. Even though the couple already had two children of their own, they wanted to share their love and their blessings with another child, even if it was a child they never got to meet.
So, Andy and Jeneen decided to sponsor a little girl the same age as their daughter Natalie. And that little girl ended up being Passang.
“We had struggled with infertility,” Jeneen said, “so [sponsorship] was a way to expand our family.” They knew that they wouldn’t be able to have more children, but they still wanted to help children grow, learn, and become who God designed them to be. Sponsorship seemed like the most logical next step.
Sponsorship would also be an enriching experience for their own children, especially their oldest, Natalie. They wanted to show their children how blessed they are and that other kids around the world don’t have the luxuries many children in the United States have.
“We are so fortunate to have what we have,” Jeneen said, “so we can use this to help share God’s love with people all across the world.”
For the first couple of years that they sponsored Passang, Natalie would draw her new friend pictures while Jeneen and Andy wrote letters and sent little gifts all the way to Nepal. But they never expected to ever meet Passang in person. When the Children of the World showed up for a concert near them and they learned Passang was part of the 2019-2020 choir, they weren’t going to miss meeting her for the world.
Jeneen explained that meeting Passang was “very emotional” for her and her husband. “I had a hard time holding back the tears,” she said.
Knowing that Passang was not only happy, healthy, but also spending a year in America praising God filled Andy and Jeneen’s hearts with joy.
“It’s hard to put into words … We have so much, and we take so much for granted,” Jeneen said. “And to see the little piece of what we can do and put into action … to see this beautiful girl smile, singing, and praising God, it was an experience like no other.”
Their gifts of love aren’t lost on Passang. She said she was so happy and surprised how God had worked it out for her to meet her sponsors. As she smiled, you could tell her joy was almost beyond words.
“I thank God that I have sponsors,” Passang said. “When I heard I had sponsors, I was happy!”
When Passang met Natalie at the concert, the two girls seemed inseparable, holding hands and hugging. Even though their time together in person was extremely brief, Passang is bonded with this family forever through sponsorship.
A few months later, while Passang and the rest of the choir were waiting to return home, she caught up again with her sponsors over Zoom.
“Passang, when we get your letters, we all go around and read them,” Jeneen told her over the video chat. “We hang them up on our refrigerator, and that’s where your picture is. And we have the picture of you with all of us hanging with all of our family pictures in our dining room. We consider you a part of our family in an extended way.”
Sponsorship held a special place in Andy and Jeneen’s hearts long before they knew they’d be able to meet Passang in person. And, even though their communication now is mostly through emailed letters, what means the most to them is that they get to help a child who was in need.
“I don’t think anyone would ever regret [sponsoring],” Jeneen said. “It has become something that has been so great for our family and for our children and for them to experience helping someone in a different way than we can help others. It’s been a very enlightening experience for them, as well.”
The family said they would love to see more people getting involved and helping other children like Passang who need essentials like food, education, clothing, and medical care.
“Times are hard right now. I’m not downplaying that,” Jeneen said. “They are hard for a lot of people. Times are tough, things are tight. But the $35 a month boils down to not even a full meal of eating out for our family. … When you look at what we even spend on Netflix or Disney+ or a subscription like that, your $35 a month can go a long way when it comes to providing for these children.”
As their Zoom call came to an end that day, Jeneen and Andy told Passang goodbye and that they’d write to her soon. In a sweet, shy voice, Passang said: “Thank you for being my sponsors!”
You can help rescue another child like Passang.
Right now, new sponsorships have dropped off 94 percent since the Children of the World choir is no longer touring because of the coronavirus.
When a child living in poverty doesn’t have a sponsor, it often means he doesn’t receive the basic essentials he needs. Without a sponsor, healthy food, basic medical care, educational opportunities, durable clothing, and even a safe place to live can be out of reach.
Child sponsorship has always been an overwhelming need. But now, the need is even greater as families living in poverty navigate how the coronavirus has affected them.
For a one-time gift of just $105, you can cover three months of basic needs for a child who is waiting for a sponsor. And as a special thank you, we’ll even text you a photo of the child you are helping.
Andy and Jeneen’s decision to sponsor Passang transformed her life forever. Will you make your own decision today to help rescue another child from poverty?
Recent stories on our blog
One mother’s determination to give her children a promising future
“Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t . . .
4 ways to make your letters to your sponsored child extra special
When I worked at the post office in college, I loved sorting . . .
War and trauma stole Linda’s childhood — but her future is bright
As adults, many of us look back fondly on the memories we made . . .