"Would you like to go to Little Rock, Arkansas?" This was music to my ears and if it was the appropriate place and time, I would have done a gratitude dance. This is one of the places on my ever-growing list of places that I would like to visit. Of course not everyone knows about my list and my desire to visit each of the children I sponsor through Children International and ChidFundInternational, two USA based organizations. Anyone who desires, can sponsor children in need so that they can stay in school and one day become self-sufficient. Your monthly donation is used to provide a nutritious meal, sometimes the only one for the day; to purchase clothing and footwear, ensure that they can see a Doctor or Dentist to help keep them well and provide an afterschool setting, where they can do their homework and other extracurricular activities. This support has made a big difference in their lives, giving them an opportunity to become healthy, educated and ready to face the world.
This year, when this National Nutrition Conference convenes in Little Rock, Arkansas, we will discuss issues around food insecurity and keeping the nation healthy. Even in the wealthiest nation, there are households that struggle to provide for their kids basic needs. My plan is to visit all six(6) of the children I sponsor, who live in different countries. I have not set a timetable, I just plan on letting this happen and when the time is ripe, I would set out on these special journeys. I have visited two (2) young girls in Zambia and promised to be back when they have graduated from High School. I was fortunate enough last year to visit a young man in Ecuador, who I sponsored for many years. He had graduated from High School and is now employed and has set his eyes on furthering his studies. I am eyeing India and Honduras where two (2) other of my sponsored children dwell and I know for sure that one day I will get a chance to take these trips.
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?" said Dr. Martin Luther King. My most humble response is "not enough, but I am trying."
So in my off time at the conference, the Children International organization is planning to give me a tour of their facility and a chance to meet my sponsored child, Lizbeth and her family. These trips are always filled with anticipation and wonder. "What will we talk about?" Yet, even the places where English is a foreign language, we have connected well, amazed that after years of letter writing, we are meeting face to face.
My purpose in this life is always to better myself and the world around us. My way to achieve this is through patience, to be as generous as life permits, not only giving money but also time to serve those in need, to be humble, to show compassion and do the simple things in life that bring joy and peace. I am planning to purchase my favorite Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the places you'll go" to take along for this child to whom I always send words of encouragement when we write to each other. I encourage all my sponsored children to stay in school, study hard, because this is their ticket out of poverty.
"What makes the river so restful to people is
that it doesn't have any doubt - it is sure to
get where it is going, and it doesn't want
to go anywhere else."
I will certainly bring you up to speed after my return.