A Surprise Visit

11/21/13

I made the journey to the remote village of Mokpangumba to meet my sponsored child, Alfred, about two weeks into my summer in Sierra Leone. As I wrote in a previous post, it was an adventure I’ll never forget. Still, after returning to COTN’s ministry center, I wished I could see Alfred again. But I knew my team wasn’t planning on making the trek back to Mokpangumba before we went home. Only a few days before we had to leave, though, God surprised me with one of the greatest memories of my life. 

 
Getting to my sponsored child's village required a long trek and river crossing
Getting to my sponsored child's village required a long trek through the jungle and a river crossing, so I thought I'd only get to see him once.
 
It was just a normal Wednesday in Africa. I happened to be in our room when one of my teammates, Jessica, came in frantically looking for gifts and sponsorship letters for a girl who came all the way from Mokpangumba. As she was searching through the letters, I heard her say the girl’s name, “Fatmata Margai” repeatedly until it hit me—that was Alfred’s sister! 
 
I went with Jessica to give Fatmata her gifts and letters. She and her father (also Alfred’s father) just so happened to be leaving for a trip and had stopped by the COTN office. Meeting Alfred’s father was like looking at Alfred in twenty-five years. I could definitely see the resemblance! It was great to meet Alfred’s dad for the first time. What I didn’t know was that right after he saw me, he called Alfred’s mother and told her to bring Alfred up from Mokpangumba to see me before I went back to the US. 
 
Later that day, I went down to the Children’s Homes and was helping a group of girls make some groundnut cake. I heard some of the girls talking about my sponsored child and when I looked up, I saw Mr. Wholley, COTN’s social worker, walk around the corner of the house followed by Alfred and his mother.
 
Alicia was so happy to see Alfred for a second time!
                                               Alicia was so happy to see Alfred for a second time!
 
I shouted, “Alfred!” with uncontrollable excitement and held my arms out as he ran to me with a giant grin across his face. That was a hug I will never forget. As he pulled away, I noticed he was wearing the shirt I gave him as a gift the first time we met. I could tell from the look in his eyes that he definitely knew who I was and how much I loved him. 
 
Mr. Wholley introduced me to Alfred’s mother, who didn’t speak much English, but he translated for us. She was so beautiful and I could see some of her features in Alfred as well. My heart filled with joy as I walked hand-in-hand with Alfred, his mother, and Mr. Wholley up to the guest house, where I was staying. I gave them some gifts to thank them for coming all the way from their village to mine! It was amazing to know that after I made the hour-long journey to see Alfred, he and his mother made the same journey back to see me!  
 
Alicia got to meet Alfred's mother for the first time when they came to visit
                                 Alicia got to meet Alfred's mother for the first time when they came to visit her. 
 
I was able to talk with and pray for Alfred and his mother. She told me how grateful she was that I sponsored her son and that she was very happy to meet me. I hadn’t been able to meet Alfred’s parents when I met him the first time because they were working on the farm. I asked Alfred’s mother for things I could specifically pray for, and she told me to pray for prosperity for their family and their crops. She also asked me to pray for Alfred because he gets sick often. Saying goodbye for the second and last time was bittersweet. Although I was sad he had to leave, I was still happily in shock of how God blessed me that day. 
 
From then on, I was on cloud nine. Even the Children's Home girls were laughing about how big I was smiling and the fact that I couldn’t stop. I knew that being able to see Alfred one last time before we left was no coincidence—I call it God’s odds. My Heavenly Father obviously ordained that meeting and I am so very grateful He did. 
 
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