Like Being a Parent

by Bob Gerow

Traci (left) with her daughter Lara giving a gift to Evi (right).Pat and Traci blame each other for the kids. The first little girl was Pat's fault. Pat says their second was definitely Traci's idea.

Don't worry. Both little girls are an answer to Pat and Traci's prayers. Both Pat and Traci are involved in short term mission trips with AMG International. They were able to meet both little girls in person and form a lifelong bond with two orphaned children who desperately needed help. We interviewed Traci for AMG's Mission Advance radio program.

Mission Advance (M/A): Traci, tell us what it is like to sponsor a child? Describe your experience for us.

Traci: It is pretty much like being a parent. When you start sponsoring a child, the first thing you think of are the needs that they have. When you have a child, what you want to do is to meet their needs and to love them. And that's basically what a child sponsorship is about.

(M/A): How did you get interested in sponsoring a child?

Traci: For several years my husband and I have led short-term teams to countries where AMG is working. The more we worked with pastors, school teachers and children at the childcare centers, the more we fell in love with them.

(M/A): I understand that one child you sponsor lives at Home of Hope in the Philippines.

Traci: Her name is Mia. She's my husband's fault actually. He took a short-term team there, and he just fell in love with her. She played with him, and he played with her among all the other kids. He came home and said, "Traci, I think I've found our girl." So, that's how Mia came to be.

I was really excited, because we'd been praying about it for some time, and just wanted the Lord to show us which one was ours.

Mia is an orphaned child. We look at our own kids and want them to be thankful and know there are kids out there who don't have anyone to kiss them goodnight, to tell them "good job" on their school work, or get them an ice cream now and then. An orphaned child doesn't have that, which was one of the big reasons why we wanted to sponsor Mia.

(M/A): You mentioned she lives at Home of Hope. What is an average day like for Mia?

Traci: Home of Hope is a 24-hour a day, seven-days-a-week childcare center. The children wake up in the mornings and do their chores, and have breakfast together as a family. And then they will go to school. It's run like a home; it's just lots of kids with fewer parents.

(M/A): How does Mia know that she is a sponsored child?

Traci: We write letters to Mia any time we want to. We also send gifts to her at special times of the year, her birthday, Christmas and Easter. She sends us at least two letters a year with pictures. It's amazing to see how much she's grown to become quite a beautiful woman.

(M/A): I understand that you also sponsor another child. Is that correct?

Traci: Yes, we do. She's in Guatemala and is a little younger than Mia.

(M/A): Have you met her?

Traci: We lived in Guatemala for a little while. Pat and I had been praying about sponsoring a child from Guatemala. And one day I was going through the biodata forms-as part of my job at AMG-when she just "popped out" of all those pictures and stories. I immediately took her to Pat and I said, "I think we've found her!" Her name is Evi. She's a precious little girl.

(M/A): What happens in the home office when AMG gets word that somebody wants to sponsor a child?

Traci: If the writer has not indicated a preference for the country in which the child lives, we send an information packet and brochure that lists all the countries, and asks if they prefer to sponsor a boy or a girl.

When we hear back, we pray together as a staff about it. We try to assign the children with the greatest needs first. If for some reason that is not what the writer was looking for, we will assign another child for them.

(M/A): It may be a surprise to folks to know there's prayer going on about this. It's not just "a job" for you, is it?

Traci: There is a lot of prayer, actually. Just like our sponsors are unique, all the children are as well. We believe that the Lord has those unique sponsors for those unique kids.

(M/A): Is AMG able to provide for any children that perhaps are not sponsored?

Traci: We do. There are so many needs that need to be met, and should be met, but we can't do it all. Sometimes the children will come to a center for the games and for the schooling part, and then they'll have to leave at lunchtime when they serve the meal. And that is really difficult to see, because you know these kids are getting an education, and they're being taught the Word, but yet they're still going home hungry. So that's really hard to watch. We do what we can.

Editor's Note: Not long ago, three members of a supporting church chipped in enough money to feed several hundred unsponsored children in a program for the remainder of the year. In God's scheme of things, He's going to work it all out.

Bob Gerow is development administrator for AMG International.

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