visit el salvador Recently I was able to go to El Salvador to witness the ministry’s work firsthand and to meet my sponsored child Mayra, her sister, Marina, and their mom, Veronica.

Our story began in July 2009 when I volunteered at my church’s Compassion Sunday event. I fell in love with Mayra’s smile. And when I discovered she shared my grandmother’s birthday, I knew I should sponsor her.

Since that day, I had been praying about the moment I would meet Mayra and her family.

One month before going to El Salvador, I received a letter from Mayra in which she shared,

“I would like to meet you which would be my biggest dream come true.”

God’s timing couldn’t have been better!

Now fast forward to the night before our big day. I wanted to make the most of our time together, so I wrote out pages and pages of questions and prayed God would bless our time and further knit our hearts together.

Some questions were easy and there were smiles and giggles. Others were more difficult and tears surfaced.

Mayra and Marina’s mom, Veronica, is the sole financial provider for their family. Their father left six years ago to live with another family. He is still in the area and stops by about once a week for less than an hour.

I could see the pain in Veronica’s face as tears fell. She has experienced this abandonment twice – first with her father and again with her husband. Veronica humbly shared about her work and how she supports her family, including her mother.

But despite the hurt and past experiences, Veronica has hope that her daughters’ futures will be different. Our ministry is fueling that hope through the local church and child development center where Mayra and Marina are registered.

Each child registered with our ministry has a file that shows their physical, social, economic and spiritual growth and development.

Both girls were malnourished when they entered the program. They are now healthy. Mayra dreams of being a secretary, and Marina is learning cosmetology.

Veronica is so thankful for the benefits her children are receiving, specifically how her daughters are learning from the Bible and their whole family is learning more about the love of God. She also appreciates the additional educational opportunities that are available for the girls.

During our time together, I asked how I could be a better sponsor. They quickly responded,

“Write about everything! We want to know more about your personal life, family, and how we can pray for you.”

My hope is that I will be able to bless this family as much as they continue to bless me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Suzi Martin works as a mid-level donor relations specialist at the Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

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  1. Jun 7, 2013
    at 2:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Suzi! I am looking forward to my first Compassion trip to Mexico in January! I always think it is amazing when our sponsored children ask how they can be praying for us.

  2. Garry
    Jun 7, 2013
    at 3:04 pm

    Great post Suzi. I have met four of the kids I have sponsored, and have come to the conclusion that there is no way for me to bless them as much as they bless me. The are beautiful girls.

  3. Jun 7, 2013
    at 7:25 pm

    Mayra is a beautiful little girl! She appears to be about the same age as the little girl in El Salvador that I have sponsored since September. Zuleyma is 7; she and I share a birthday (along with Tausi, in Tanzania!), so she will turn 8 in September. I hadn’t planned to sponsor any more girls, for now, because I have trouble writing to all of them as often as I want and need to, but when I saw her birthdate, I was, as we used to say, “done for.” She is precious–but aren’t they all??

  4. Sandra
    Jun 10, 2013
    at 3:39 pm

    Hi Suzi, would you mind sharing some of the questions you asked your child? I am planning my first sponsor trip next year and I am already planning what little gifts I may take my child. However, until reading your blog I had not yet thought about what I may ask or talk about. Your question about what can you do to be a better sponsor made my heart sink. How could I miss an opportunity to ask my little girl this question. Any general questions like the one you mentioned would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Jun 10, 2013
      at 6:10 pm

      Hi Sandra,
      Absolutely, I would love to share some of the questions. As you know, your sponsor child will also be excited to learn more about you. So be prepared to answer your questions and any they throw your way.

      To break the ice, I started with “tell me about your family. And, what are three words you would use to describe each family member?”

      Other questions included:
      Tell me about your home – how many rooms/beds? How do you help at home? What do you usually eat? What are your favorite foods? How far do you have to travel to school, your Compassion Child Development Center (CDC), a water source, a hospital, and work?

      I asked the girls what they liked best about school and what their favorite subjects are. We talked about how those subjects/skills will likely prepare them for their future careers.

      We discussed what they enjoy most about attending their CDC along with their hopes/dreams for the future. What are their fears? Plus, I asked Veronica, “In what ways is this ministry helping your children and family? How would your lives be different without your church partner and this program?”

      Who supports your family? What does that person do for work? Where is the girls’ father? How often do they get to see him?

      How can I pray for you? What prayers has God answered for you? What are three things each person is most thankful for?

      Sandra, I hope these questions help you generate your own list. Rereading letters from your child may also help. I am so excited for you! Praying for you and your sponsor child.

      Also, if anyone else has questions that have encouraged great responses from their sponsor children and their family, please share them.

  5. Sandra
    Jun 11, 2013
    at 10:40 am

    Great interactive questions Suzi. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  6. Nicholas
    Nov 17, 2013
    at 9:53 am

    My mom will be on a mission trip to El Salvador and I would like to send my sponsor friend Fernando some gifts. How can we do that? Can somebody from Compation meet her at the airport or where she will be? She will arrive on Dec. 1, 2013. My mom would love to see Rocio as well. She will be traveling with Living Water International group and will be staying in Acajutla til Dec 7, 2013

    • Susan Sayler
      Nov 18, 2013
      at 12:11 pm

      Hi Nicholas! Your mom is welcome to drop off a gift for your sponsor friend at the country office in San Salvador. I just emailed you some additional instructions on dropping off a gift. I’m so excited for your mom and your sponsored child! This is so great!

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