When you sponsor a child or aging friend, you open the door to another culture ó your new friend’s culture. By writing to their friends, sponsors deepen this connection across cultural, geographic and economic divides.
These letter-writing ideas can help you on your journey to greater cultural awareness:
- Find some news headlines from your sponsored friend’s country.
These can make great conversation starters. As you search for headlines, pay attention to the news article’s tone as well as the information. Is it lighthearted or somber? Does it focus on institutional matters or social concerns? See who is quoted ó politicians, celebrities, government officials, etc.
Practical tip for your next letter: Set aside a few minutes each day for a week to scan some headlines from your sponsored friend’s country. Mention one or two of them and ask your friend for some context. What makes this news? Is it unusual or typical of the challenges the country may be facing?
- Watch the weather and how you react to it.
If you come from a cold climate, you’re probably used to wearing gloves, scarves and winter coats. If your sponsored friend is from a tropical country, she or he may have a hard time relating to descriptions of winter and cold. Read more
Janelle Stamm, accounting specialist for our office in Kansas City, was able to attend the installation Mass for Pope Francis with her daughter, Megan, as part of Megan’s high school senior class pilgrimage to Italy. Here are her thoughts on this historic occasion.
It’s been more than 40 hours since Papa Francesco was installed, and I’m just thrilled.
It. Was. Amazing.
Seeing the Pope up front, receiving communion blessed by him and sharing the entire experience with Megan is priceless.
After the Mass was over, the more than 40 participants on our pilgrimage swapped stories and pictures. Here is one of those stories along with the picture.
While waiting for the Pope to arrive, two of our high school senior girls, Kelsey and Virginia, met a couple who traveled from Argentina to Rome for the sole purpose to have their baby blessed. Kelsey and Virginia helped by handing the baby, named Joseph, to Papa Francesco.
The faith of this couple in Papa Francesco demonstrated by their sacrifice of time and money to travel all that way combined with the faith in others as they handed their baby over is humbling.
It has left a profound impact on all of us who have heard the story thus far and also contributes to my excitement about our new Pope.
Furthermore, it feels like Papa Francesco’s commitment to the poor aligns perfectly with CFCA’s mission. This alignment confirms my belief that the blessings I prayed for CFCA, our sponsors and our sponsored friends and families will be answered.
By Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison for Africa
On March 4, Kenya held a general election in which the president, senators, county governors and members of parliament were chosen. Regina Mburu, CFCA communications liaison for Africa, is from Kenya and voted in the election. Regina shares her story of voting, of patiently waiting for the results and hoping peace would prevail.
As dawn broke and the sun made its way up to brighten the rather dull skies, my country, Kenya, was ready to usher in a new era ó one that the people hoped would bring along good tidings.
As early as 4 a.m. on March 4, Kenyans were already lined up in different polling stations all over the country, eagerly waiting to cast their votes.
The atmosphere was full of excitement, but at the same time there was tension hidden behind the smiles. The events of the 2007 election, in which more than 1,000 people were killed, were still fresh on the minds of many. Read more
By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent
CFCA is not a one-size-fits-all organization. We rely on our field staffs to know the families in each community, to listen to their needs and hopes, and to provide a program that empowers them to build a path out of poverty.
In the second post in this three-part blog series, we give you a window into several CFCA communities, to gauge the success of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
Water still covers the path to the home of Kuya and Beng, parents of a sponsored child in the Philippines. The area has yet to dry out from monsoon rains that recently hit their community.
Kuya and Beng live with their family in a small home, made of bamboo and plywood, just 5 meters from the lake’s edge.
Like many in their small fishing village, they depend on the lake for their livelihood. Kuya owns a banca (a small fishing boat) and a fish cage.
But the fishing hasn’t been going so well lately.
Water hyacinth, a highly invasive aquatic plant, has hurt the local fishing business. The water hyacinth grows densely along the shore, making it difficult for fishing boats to navigate. The plant also prevents sunlight from entering the water, which reduces the food supply for the fish. Read more
Our CFCA office participates in Cristo Rey Kansas City High School’s work-study program, where students work five days a month at a local company or organization. Dallas Parker, a Cristo Rey student and CFCA communications intern, describes her experience in our Kansas City office.
Working at CFCA has been a great experience for me. I am being exposed to many aspects of mass media and communications. My goal is to be well-rounded in those areas.
Right now, I am a junior at Cristo Rey and participate in its work-study program.
I have not always worked in the communications department at CFCA.
I began working with the child services department. There, I got to see firsthand the letters to sponsors from their sponsored children!
I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I even scanned photos of the actual children being sponsored all over the world, which were then put into the CFCA database.
As a communications intern at CFCA, I have learned a lot about myself. I believe working here has strengthened me spiritually and mentally. Read more
We’re delighted to share a guest post from Rachel Balducci about her CFCA sponsorship experience. Rachel describes herself first and foremost as a wife and mother. She and her husband, Paul, are the proud parents of five boys and one daughter.
I hate to admit this, but I usually sort of dread guest speakers at Mass. Especially if they speak at the end of Mass when, as is the case with four little boys, I am generally at my wits end.
That was my attitude years ago, as I sat and wrestled my four young sons. A visiting priest climbed up onto the lectern and as he began to speak, I whispered a prayer that my boys could behave for a few extra minutes. Never mind what the priest was about to say, I just wanted to not cause a scene.
Father was at our Mass that weekend to talk about a sponsorship program through Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA). And as he began to speak, something stirred within me, and my focus shifted from anxiety about my children’s behavior to what this priest was actually saying.
“We need to do this,” I whispered to my husband, seated at the other end of the pew. “I want to sponsor someone.”
In those few minutes that Father spoke, the Holy Spirit changed something inside me. I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to help. Read more