Child Sponsorship Releases Generations From Poverty

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.


18 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Heidi Kristine January 11, 2017

    That story is just so precious! Thank you so much for sharing it. It is so inspiring to hear a life changing story like this. God bless you!

  2. Pam December 17, 2009

    Henry, thank your for sharing your story. In the 1970’s I lived in Cali and in Bogota with my children so I understand the tremendous need in Colombia. I chose Colombia for my sponsored child and am so glad you shared your success. I pray that she will also experience such life altering changes in her life.

  3. Kelly November 3, 2009

    Henry, thank you so much for writing your story for us. It’s wonderful to see a successful family grow out of hardship. My sponsored child is in Colombia and I am pleased to hear that she is under the care of people like you, and the guiding hand of our great God.

  4. Chris September 22, 2009

    So inspiring to hear good outcomes. I just sponsored a child a few months ago and am encouraged that she will do well in her life. Your sponsor was an angel that just wanted to make a difference. Thank God for Angels. 🙂

  5. Jeanette May 21, 2009

    I love this kind of story where we are able to see the happy outcome of children sponsored by us through Compassion. It really encourages me to keep sponsoring children.

  6. Jill Foley May 20, 2009

    Thank you for these stories – they are inspiring and encouraging – especially in these hard, economic times. It’s a great reminder to all that our sacrifice reaps tremendous rewards!

  7. Tania @ Larger Family Life May 20, 2009

    What a wonderful story. I pray that one day I’ll be reading about my sponsored child’s life is a world away from what they once knew.

  8. Katy May 20, 2009

    Henry is such a good man! Thanks for bringing us his story, Amber.

  9. Becky May 20, 2009

    Henry, thanks for sharing your story!

    I’m glad you had a sponsor, but it makes me sad that you never got a letter. 🙁

  10. Sara Benson May 20, 2009

    God is so good. I pray for the same outcome for my sponsored children. That they will become loving Christian adults who will understand how much God loves them and that He has a plan for their lives. I pray that sponsorship will change their “generations” too.

  11. Stephanie G May 20, 2009

    Thanks for sharing…What an encouragement to sponsors everywhere!

  12. Brittany May 20, 2009

    That made my heart smile 🙂 God is indeed good!

  13. Cissy May 20, 2009

    This such a wonderful story. This is what we all want for our sponsored children and it is so good to see that it can really happen! God is good!

  14. Vicki Small May 20, 2009

    I’m so grateful for these success stories! And I know there are many more that we don’t hear about–just young people who had the opportunities afforded to them through their sponsors, who graduated and used their God-given abilities to truly break the cycle of poverty.

    Thanks so much for bringing these stories to us. I will link to this on my blog, and also on our Compassion pages on our church website.

  15. Mike Stephens May 20, 2009

    It’s great to see good overcoming the world in people’s lives!!!

  16. Amy May 20, 2009

    One of the most heart-warming stories so far!

    I don’t think a lot of us have actually grasped the scope of just how far our $35 a month(in Canada, anyways)goes. We really aren’t just helping our child – we’re helping everyone around them!

  17. Judith Tremblay May 20, 2009

    I love happy endings…and this is no fairy tale! Praise God!

  18. Compassion dave May 20, 2009

    A wonderful story!

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