A Surprise from My Sponsored Child

10/17/13

I had probably looked at those brown eyes more than a hundred times as I opened and closed my refrigerator door where his photo was clipped. Every single time, I thought about meeting Mphatso, the little boy I began sponsoring earlier this year. 

 
Mphatso in his last sponsorship profile photo
                                        I see Mphatso's sponsorship photo every time I pass my refrigerator.
 
That’s why I was so excited to visit Malawi this past August. I’d get to meet Mphatso (pronounced POT-soh), give him the soccer ball I’d bought for him, and maybe spend some time with him and his family. And, little did I know, Mphatso would have a few surprises for me as well. 
 
The time leading up to my Venture Trip was filled with excitement. Nothing was more thrilling than going through my mail the day before we left and discovering a letter from Mphatso. He is only five and still learning to write in English, so the words had been dictated, but the small drawing was one hundred percent Mphatso. Even though I was nervous about leaving the next day, I was very encouraged by his correspondence.
 
When we finally arrived in Malawi and walked into COTN’s Mgwayi Children’s Center, I hoped I would meet Mphatso. I asked our translator, and suddenly those big brown eyes were looking up at me—a thousand times more beautiful, brown, and real than they were in the photo on my refrigerator. Our first meeting was quick, but as I took photos of Mphatso and his classmates, I noticed he never took his eyes off of me.
 
It was so exciting to meet Mphatso and his friends
        It was so exciting to meet Mphatso and his friends. He's grown so much since I started sponsoring him!
 
Later in the week, I was able to spend an afternoon having lunch and playing with Mphatso. Even though his English was limited and my Chichewa was non-existent, I was able to connect with him through the international language of soccer. After our time was through, I kept asking my other team members, “Was it just me, or is Mphatso a soccer prodigy?” 
 
Mphatso might just be a sports star when he grows up
             I might be a little biased, but I'm pretty sure Mphatso is going to be a sports star when he grows up.
 
It was amazing to play with Mphatso, but I still wanted to learn more about his life. So I asked Davie, COTN’s sponsorship coordinator, about his mother and siblings. I was so excited to find out that Mphatso had a twin sister! 
 
On our final day in Malawi, Mphatso and his twin, Chimwemwe, came to visit me. When I met Chimwemwe and she looked up at me with the same big brown eyes as Mphatso, I couldn’t imagine leaving Malawi without sponsoring her as well. 
 
I couldn't imagine leaving Malawi without sponsoring Chimwemwe
                                 I couldn't imagine leaving Malawi without sponsoring Chimwemwe as well.
 
Chimwemwe was very quiet at first but warmed up to me quickly. During devotions both of them sat on my lap, sang, and danced with me. After devotions we had some playtime with the kids. I felt confident in my prediction about Mphatso’s future sports star status as I watched him play catch with my boyfriend. 
 
Chimwemwe was more content to hold my hand than to toss the ball. It was amazing how comfortable she instantly was with me. It warmed my heart so much to be around these two amazing children. They followed me around as I finished packing, and I felt like they knew we had a connection.
 
Just hanging around at the COTN dining hall in Malawi
 
Now that I am home, I look at pictures of both of them on my refrigerator and think about the next time I get to see them and how much they will have grown and changed. 
 
Sponsor a child today! Or join a Venture Team and meet the children whose lives you’re changing.