Staffwriter sponsors Kenyan: By giving $28 a month, Lauren improves a life

Vincent (third from the left in the front row) walks several miles each day to get to school. The co-ed classroom is full of students of many different ages. He is privileged to be able to go to school and enjoys it.

In a world full of hungry people, you want to help but you just don’t know where to start. There are families in need in every country and with programs like ChildFund International, you can sponsor a child and their family across the world.

I first heard of ChildFund International on my first Caravan trip to Panama City, Fla. I went in July 2010. Caravan is a church trip through Orchard Hill Church and Nazareth Church open to high school students every summer. When I was in Panama City, we attended a conference called Big Stuff. On the last day we were there, Big Stuff flew out an African children’s choir from Kenya. It was the most amazing experience to see these children. They were so thin and hadn’t come from much at home, but they were the happiest people I had ever seen. I never saw such big smiles.

This experience inspired me to sponsor a child in Africa. In September of 2010, I began sponsoring four year old Vincent Mutugi from Nairobi Kenya and his family through ChildFund International. I give $28 to them every month to help with food, school and medicines.

I have known the Mutugi family now for two years. Vincent is now six years old. Since Vincent isn’t quite old enough yet to write, his mom writes me a letter almost every month. Vincent draws me pictures every month as well. It has been such a life changing experience to know this family and hear about their life in Kenya these past two years. Vincent hopes to become a doctor some day because he wants to save lives. That, to me, is the most wonderful thing for this little boy to see the suffering around him and want to help end it.

The Mutugi family grows all of their food in a garden right outside their house. Vincent’s mom always writes in her letters to me about the climate and how many crops they grow each month. Sometimes, when the climate is too dry and hot, they don’t have much food. Also, the water in Africa is extremely dirty and unsafe to drink. About four months ago Vincent’s mom wrote to me saying some of my sponsor money went into a fund to get clean drinking water for their town.

VIncent’s mother writes Lauren a letter almost every month. She writes about how the family is doing and what they spent Lauren’s money on to help Vincent. Lauren enjoys receiving these letters.

Lauren’s sponsorship card features her child Vincent Mutugi from Kenya.

Vincent and his brothers and sisters are constantly getting sick. Vincent’s mom has written to me that they always have to get new medicines for the children. Due to malnutrition, Vincent has broken his hand twice.

What blows me away is the positive attitude the Mutugis have on life. They always write in their letters how blessed they are and that God will watch over them in times of need. Vincent’s parents work hard every day in the fields to help support their children. This family is so tough and they never complain about anything.

This family is so thankful for all they have, even though it’s not a lot. They told me once in a letter that they planted a mango tree right outside their house and named it Lauren after me. I have made Vincent bracelets in his favorite color, green, and his mother wrote to me saying he wears them every day.

I want to encourage anyone who wants to help those living in poverty to sponsor a child and family. There are many programs you can do this through, but I recommend ChildFund International. It is a very reliable and safe program. You can sponsor a child from anywhere around the world. You won’t regret it; it really is the most wonderful experience.

I feel so incredibly blessed and honored to know this amazing family and be able to help support them. They are the kindest and strongest people I have ever met. Sponsoring a child is such a great experience. It gives you a chance to get out of your Cedar Falls mindset and see what is going on in the world around you. You get to help a family who is struggling to to put food on the table and clothe their child. You truly can change someone’s life.

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