People often ask me what my favorite part of my job is. For me, the answer is easy: the people I get to meet and know around the world. There are people working for Compassion with such heart and passion and such incredible stories of their own. Henry Guarin is one of those people.
Henry’s fun and funny, he sings in a rock band, he has a passion for his job. And he used to be a sponsored child.
Here’s a little more about Henry, in his own words.
It’s 7:15 a.m. in Bogotá, Colombia, it’s cold, as usual, and I am waiting for the school bus to pick up Juan Felipe, my 5-year-old son.
As we stand at the door of the apartment building we live in we are talking about his favorite TV shows, dinner, games with his friends at school, and other things, just like every day.
The school bus finally arrives, so I give him a big hug and a big kiss and I tell him,
“The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him; and he delivers them.”
I come back to my apartment and Xiomara, my wife, is finishing feeding our little son Lucas. He is only 5 months old and he is happily kicking in his cradle, and he smiles at me as he sees me coming in.
Xiomara and I sit and start talking about how different things were for us when we were children.
To start, none of us had a home like the one our children have. In my case, my father abandoned us when I was only 2 years old so my mother, who never studied, had to work in many things to provide food, study, clothes and a home for me.
At Xiomara’s home, her mother also worked hard to give her the things she needed while her father wasted the money he earned buying alcohol. He also used to batter her mother really badly.
We didn’t have a school bus waiting for us at our front door. I had to walk almost 10 blocks to get to school, and Xiomara had to take the regular bus to get to school, which was very dangerous for a little child in a big city like Bogotá.
Xiomara was a Compassion-sponsored child since she was 5 years old until she turned 17, and thanks to that sponsorship, she was able to study through elementary school and high school, even though her mother didn’t have enough money to pay for her school and buy the books and school uniforms.
My mother worked very hard and she was able to pay the elementary school fees for me. However, she couldn’t do that when I started high school, so a brother of our Church told her about a school where a Compassion-program sponsored poor children and helped them to pay for school and buy uniforms.
Besides, it was a Christian school where they teach children about God’s Word.
I was able to finish high school in that way, thanks to the support of a sponsor. I didn’t know him since I never received a letter from him during the time he supported me economically.
However, no matter who he was or where he is now, I thank God for his life and for caring about helping this Colombian child to go to high school.
My wife and I met at that school where we were both sponsored. We were friends at the beginning, and then we started a relationship.
Thanks to our effort and hard work, we were both able to go to college. Xiomara became a dentist, and she is working as a missionary taking God’s Word to Colombian native tribes.
I was able to study journalism, and after some years working at very big press agencies, I came back to Compassion seven years ago and began serving the children of my country as the Field Communications Specialist in the Compassion Colombia office.
Right now, I am part of the Learning and Support team, which works in the South America area.
Now, as we look back, we realize that what started many years ago as a sad story for two poor children in Colombia, thank God is now ending as a very different story for two more Colombian children who have good parents who love them and teach them according to God’s will: our children.
They have a lovely family, a lot of opportunities in their beginning life, they live in a healthy environment, in a safe place. Their grandmothers have left behind so much suffering, and today they enjoy their grandsons and spoil them the most they can. The future of my sons is shiny and promising.
Two loving sponsors had a very important role in this happy story because they decided to do something. However, maybe they never thought that they were not only releasing those two children, but also their generations; they really broke the evil cycle of poverty.
Thank God for every sponsor in the world that decides to support Compassion International. You are changing the whole world, and your work is having a profound impact on many generations.