A Relationship Leads to Sponsorship

04/10/12

Six-year-old Mphatso lives with his mother and two siblings in a small hut in Mgwayi village, Malawi.  Since Mphatso's father left, his mother has struggled to provide for her children. Fortunately, Mphatso and his older siblings are a part of the Children of the Nations (COTN) Village Partnership Program, and COTN partners and sponsors make it possible for them to attend school, get medical care, and eat enough each day.

Mphatso's two older siblings have sponsors, so Mphatso knows the Venture Teams that come to serve and play with the children of his village are some of the people who help make it possible for his family to survive.  But Mphatso didn't have a sponsor himself—even though he was able to start school last year, he was still waiting for a COTN partner to choose him as their child, to support him, pray for him, write him letters, and be a part of his life.

Mphatso's chance came this March. A Venture Team from Summit Church in Orlando, Florida came to Malawi, and a group of four Americans came to spend the day with Mphatso's family, as part of their cultural immersion.  Mphatso was thrilled to have guests in his home. He marched right up to Katelyn, one of the team members, and used the little English he knew to invite her to sit down right next to him.  Mphatso loved all four of them right away. He watched the Americans struggle to help his mother with chores around her house—something so normal to him, but so foreign to them.  They spent the day spreading fresh mud on Mphatso's hut floor, cleaning pumpkin leaves, and washing dishes.  They even ventured to the market and returned with a huge feast of food to cook and share with his family. Mphatso kept a close eye on his guests—for the entire week they were in Malawi, Mphatso made sure he saw them every time they visited his village.

While Mphatso was following the team of four around, and winning them over with his spirit and charm, Katelyn and her husband Ryan were making a life-changing decision.  "We had talked about being open to sponsorship on this trip," explains Ryan.  "We showed up knowing it was a possibility, and just wanted to see where God led us."  There was no doubt that Ryan and Katelyn were led straight to Mphatso.  "He had such a life and energy about him," says Ryan. "We just adored him from the very beginning."  When Katelyn and Ryan found out Mphatso didn't have a sponsor, they signed up right there to sponsor him.  Another friend on the trip stepped up to be Mphatso's second sponsor, so between the three of them, Mphatso is fully sponsored.

Katelyn sees their decision to sponsor as an act of obedience to God's call.  And she's sure that she and her husband will be just as affected by their commitment as will little Mphatso.  Katelyn reflects on their decision in a blog post from Malawi:  "It was humbling that what it would cost me and Ryan to go out to dinner would change this child's life forever," she writes.  "We are committing not only to provide financially, but to pray daily for him and his family.  I know that Mphatso's life is not the only life that will be changed by this act of obedience.  Ryan and I are excited to see how God will use this experience to change our hearts and lives as well."

Many children like Mphatso are waiting for sponsors. Change a child's life today—sponsor a child.

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