A Sponsor’s Journey, Part One: Alicia Chooses Alfred


You might call it a bargain. Alicia, then in her junior year of high school, wanted to sponsor a child, but she had no money. So one day she told God, "If you give me a job, I will sponsor a child." The next weekend, she was hired. So it was pretty clear what she had to do next.

She found 5-year-old Alfred's child sponsorship profile at a church event shortly after. "I saw Alfred and said, 'He's the one,'" Alicia recounts. "I don't know how I knew." 
Alicia saw Alfred's photo and knew he was the child she should sponsor
               Alicia says she saw Alfred's photo and knew right away that he was the child she should sponsor. 
Since that day two years ago, Alicia has done her best to build a relationship with Alfred all the way over in Sierra Leone, Africa. Those of you who sponsor children know it's not always easy to build a relationship with a five-year-old from another culture through letters. But Alicia has been faithful. "We write letters often," she says. "I try to draw him pictures—but he's better at drawing than I am!" 
Alicia treasures the letters Alfred has sent her
                                                   Alicia treasures the letters Alfred has sent her. 
Over the past two years, Alicia has gotten a tiny glimpse of how her sponsorship has changed Alfred's life.  "His letters have been getting longer," she reports. "I can tell he's learning more." Alicia can see him growing spiritually as well. "He wrote that he wants me to pray for him every day, and that he prays for me," she says. 
But the biggest impact Alicia got to see was in his yearly photo. The boy she picked out of the stack of photos stared blankly back with sad, yellow eyes. 
Alfred when he entered COTN's child sponsorship program in Sierra Leone
A year later, she received a photo of a much bigger boy with an enormous smile. "I almost didn't think it was him," she says. 
Alfred in 2012
Sponsorship has had an impact on Alicia as well. "It helps me remember why God gave me a job in the first place," she says. "And that my money isn't mine. It grows my heart writing that check every month." 
Sponsoring certainly has done a number on her heart, and you can tell by the way Alicia's eyes light up when she talks about Alfred. "I love him, and I haven't even met him yet." 
This month, Alicia will get a chance to meet Alfred. Follow along with her as she makes the journey from Washington state to Freetown, Sierra Leone, all the way up to our ministry center in Banta, and then across a river in a dugout canoe to meet Alfred and get a deeper look at how her sponsorship has changed his life. 
500 children need sponsors by September 1st. Will you Be One for a child? Browse photos of children waiting for a sponsor today!