Surprised By Sponsorship

10/04/13

One of the biggest surprises about the Dominican Republic was how much I fell in love with the people. They are always in motion, always smiling, always joyous ... oh, and pretty loud.

 
I guess that's why I ended up completely breaking my one commitment while I was there. I knew when I went that there would be the possibility of meeting and sponsoring children in the program. But I decided I wouldn't sponsor any kids. I had made up my mind that the time and money I spent to make the trip down there was sufficient.
 
Well, God did different things in my heart. I ended up deciding to sponsor three boys in the Children of the Nations I Love Baseball (ILB) program who I met. Then, when I got home, God nudged at me some more to sponsor a little girl I met in the community of Los Robles. 
 
The first boy I decided to sponsor was Andry.  
 
Kristin with Andry
 
Each of "my kids" had a moment for me. Andry's was during a baseball game. He was sitting on a motorcycle with his nephew and I said my head was on fire (in Spanish—yup, one phrase I do know in Spanish is "on fire") because I was an idiot and didn't take any hats down there with me. My scalp was the only part of my body that got burned while I was there.  
 
Without a second of hesitation, Andry took his hat off and put it on my head.  It seems like such a little gesture but to me it said a lot about who Andry is. He was willing to give me his own clothing to make me more comfortable, without thinking about his own comfort. 
 
Andry is seventeen and wants to be a lawyer if he doesn't make it in baseball—a fact I learned after I decided to sponsor him. I can't wait to support him as he continues to grow up. He is going to be a good man.
 
The second boy I decided to sponsor was Dionny. Dionny, I've come to find out, is not actually old enough for ILB, so while I still consider him one of my boys, I can't actually sponsor him yet. Once he is thirteen years old though, I'll be waiting. 
 
Dionny was always kind of hanging out on the outskirts of the ruckus. But when I told the ILB boys I wanted to take some pictures, he ran in from the side and jumped into the pictures, pushing his face against mine so hard I could hardly keep my head in the picture. I knew I would sponsor him when that happened. 
 
He also earned the unfortunate nickname “Shmooshface.”
 
Kristin with Dionny
The third boy I decided to sponsor was Carlos. One night after a game, Carlos found me and remembered my name. In English, he asked me if I remembered him. Thankfully, God put his name at the front of my mind and I was able to call him by name and tell him, of course I remembered him.  
 
Carlos is a good kid but I can tell he has insecurities. My heart beats for Carlos. I worry about him more than any of my other kiddos. I've prayed for him every day since being back, sometimes on multiple occasions. He's the one I really want to hug for a long time when I go back this month.
 
Kristin with Carlos
 
Last, but definitely not least, is Nicol. I had such a great time with her the first day we played baseball in Los Robles. From the sidelines, I taught her to yell "here, batta batta!" and she loved it. When I heard her little voice holler "here, batta batta" the second day, I realized our time together meant something to her.  
 
I don't know why it took coming home for me to hear God prompting me to sponsor her, but it did. Sponsoring Nicol was the final piece I needed in my sponsored family. I love my guys, but I needed an eight-year-old girl too. I plan to bring her some baseball equipment when I go next, because I know she wants to play with the boys. She's like me. We fit each other.
 
Kristin and Nicol
 
Those are my kids.  My Dominican Family.  My heart.
 
Sponsor a child today! Or, go on a Venture Trip and promise not to sponsor a child. See what happens!