I recently had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with a group of youth pastors to see Compassion’s ministry firsthand. I am a part of a group called LEAD 222, which is a coaching group that helps mentor and coach youth pastors from around the nation. We went to Guatemala to see what type of partnership we might have with Compassion.
Before the trip I had the opportunity to sponsor a child I could meet while in Guatemala. My family decided to sponsor one child.
With no prior relationship with this little one, I had no idea what to expect.
On the first day of the trip we visited one of the child development centers and were able to visit some of the families’ homes. I was completely wrecked to see the poverty that each of these children lives in on a daily basis. I was also comforted by the fact that each of these children receives care, learning opportunities and nutritious snacks from the Compassion program.
The next day was my day to visit Noe Abraham, the 5-year-old I had decided to sponsor only days before the trip. I was nervous as we pulled up to the center he goes to for after-school care. Nervous as to what I would say and how he would react.
Having a 2-year-old little boy of my own, I immediately knew that my heart would go out to little Noe.
When we pulled up to the center my hopes of visiting his home were shot down as the guide told us this was a drug- and gang-infested neighborhood, and we would not be safe venturing off the church’s grounds. Noe would have to meet us at the church.
I remember as we were singing songs and getting to know the other children, I saw a curly-haired little boy and his family walk in the door. I thought to myself: I have a feeling that is my Noe. My heart skipped a little in anticipation. I couldn’t wait to meet this kid I barely knew.
I had come prepared with toys and coloring books, silly bands and all the things I thought a child his age would like to play with. When it was time to meet Noe and his family, my nerves kicked into high gear.
Would he understand who I was? Did he know I already cared for him like one of my own? Would this be awkward? What would his family think?
When I walked into that room, it was most definitely that curly-haired little boy that I had seen a little while before. And when the interpreter told him who I was, he smiled with his toothless grin.
He was shy at first, but immediately came to me. He was so polite and endearing for child his age. His parents were so thankful.
As I sat down with Noe, my tears started to come. I just thought of the world around him and all the things he would have to conquer to be the man of God he was made to be. And how with maybe just a little encouragement and support from my family thousands of miles away, we could help him have the hope to accomplish his dreams and his family’s dreams.
We played ball, we hugged a lot, we took pictures, and we colored. Of all the other kids around, Noe was the most polite and humble. It almost seemed like at the ripe age of 5 he wanted to make sure I was comfortable in this new situation as well.
The greatest moment came when he asked if he could thank me by praying over me. With the help of his mother he prayed the sweetest prayer as he laid his hands on my head. I know heaven was rejoicing at this precious little one’s faith. Then the tears really started to pour. I thought what incredible faith from a little 5-year-old.
After I got my wits together I taught him some English and we made a videotape for my family at home. We hugged goodbye, and I had to pull myself away from this new family member.
My affection grew so deep for him and his family in just the short time that I was there. I plan to take my family and my sweet little boy Holden to visit him. There is not a day that goes by that my family doesn’t think and pray for Noe.
Our refrigerator has his pictures proudly displayed and the company that my family has started literally has his name written all over it.
When I got back I was inspired to do something for the “grown up” Noes because I was so touched and moved by this little boy. I knew Noe would get through his adolescence with the support of his family and us. But how much harder will it be for him to graduate high school and go to college and make a life for his own family?
I want Noe to have the same experiences that Holden will some day have – the ability to pursue his dreams and receive an education. So, I came home from this incredible trip and decided to do something about it.
I’ve started a company called wiseabe, after Noe Abraham. I’m making handbags from recycled coffee bags and have partnered with Compassion in this. Ten percent of the gross earnings from each bag purchased will help send a student to university.
Right now, wiseabe is sponsoring a student named Ana from Peru. She is a part of the Leadership Development Program. She dreams of being an accountant, and I hope to help her dreams come true.
As wiseabe grows, I intend to add more students. And I hope that when Noe grows up, wiseabe will still be around to help him go to college as well.
The dream is that these students will educate themselves so in turn they can return to educate their communities. With your help, this is something we can accomplish.
Be sure to visit the wiseabe site, take a look around, and let Kristi know what you think … about her product, wiseabe’s mission, the story, etc. She’ll randomly select two winners to receive a free burlap messenger bag.