Mar 26 2014

Friendships cross barriers in Unbound

diverse-hands

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

True friendship goes beyond the miles between people — beyond their culture, their religion and the color of their skin.

“I have been in Kenya thrice,” said Toni Guidice, who is from New York and sponsors three children through Unbound. “Seeing my sponsored children brings warmth to my heart. Each time I see them my heart melts.

“I feel nothing but love when I look into their eyes.”

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Feb 24 2014

Remembering a scholar and special friend

By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

“My dream is to make it in life. I dream of being a woman representative in my community. I want to fight for the rights of all women. I want to write books and inspire people by telling my story.”

This is what Stephanie said to me.

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Feb 19 2014

Celebrating ‘Love Your Pet Day’

sponsored child in Mexico

Geraldine, an Unbound sponsored child in Mexico, smiles with her dog, Chamaco, which means “little kid.” Is it just us, or are they sharing an inside joke?

National Love Your Pet Day is Thursday, Feb. 20! Check out photos from around the world of sponsored friends with their pets.

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Oct 7 2013

Sisterly love: 9-year-old sponsor meets her Salvadoran sponsored friend

CFCA sponsored friend Blanca, left, and her sponsor Kendall, right, in El Salvador.

CFCA sponsored friend Blanca, left, and her sponsor Kendall, right, in El Salvador.

CFCA sponsors come in all ages. Take 9-year-old Kendall, for example. She recently went on an awareness trip to El Salvador to meet her sponsored friend Blanca.

Although Blanca and Kendall don’t speak the same language, they didn’t have any problems communicating. They shared and played together in the universal language of friendship.

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Mar 13 2013

Wishing for a well: Community gets clean water source

By Jordan Kimbrell, CFCA Sponsor Services

Oliver's village
A rural village, west of Antsirabe, Madagascar, is home to a small farming community.

Farming is one of the main sources of income in the Antsirabe region, and the members of this community rely on it.

families in Madagascar

In 2011, Dolores Reed from Paducah, Ky., who sponsors Olivier in this region of Madagascar, learned from an article that many people in the country don’t have easy access to clean water for drinking, cooking or watering the crops in seasons when rainfall is scarce.

She learned through CFCA that Olivier’s village lacked ready access to clean water. The community where he lives relied on streams, which also served as drinking water for the livestock.

“They didn’t have [good access to] water,” Dolores said. “We take water for granted.” Read more

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Feb 19 2013

Did my sponsored friend receive the gift I mailed?

Ask Sponsor ServicesQ. I sent my sponsored child some gifts in the mail (using a CFCA-approved mailing package and everything), but I never received any thank-you letters from her or any acknowledgement of my gift. How do I know she received it?

A. Depending on when you sent the item, an acknowledgment letter may have crossed in the mail.

If much time has passed, however, and you still havenít heard from your friend, try sending a letter asking her to let you know if she received your gifts. Make sure you describe the items and when you mailed them.

It’s also important to remember that cultural expectations for correspondence vary from country to country. CFCA works in many areas where oral traditions are the main way of communicating. Your friend may not have grown up with thank-you cards or other kinds of written correspondence.

Read the answer to a related Ask Sponsor Services question: Why do my child’s letters sound so impersonal?

A good tip when sending a gift to your friend: Include a note asking her to write you and let you know if she received your gift.

And remember, by following CFCA’s mailing guidelines, you lower the risk of the item becoming lost or stolen in the mail.

For some small gift ideas, check out 18 small gift ideas to send to your sponsored friend.

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Mar 25 2009

Relationships are essential for a full life

Lenten reflection: Week 5
By Rev. Kelly Demo, CFCA preacher

ìAnd I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.î ñJohn 12:32

Our God, who is relational by nature, chose to become a member of the human family as an expression of intimate love. We, Godís children, are also relational and the yearning of our hearts for closeness to God and to one another is a reflection of our nature and Godís deepest desire.

Because of this, relationships are the very essence of life. Godís two greatest commandments are not about what work we do, or what we eat, or even how we are to worship God. Our two greatest commandments are to love God and each other.

We believe this is the greatest gift that CFCA has to offer to the world. The reason the founders chose the sponsorship model was because it is relational. One does not simply write a check and forget about it. Sponsors are called into personal relationships with someone they didnít even know existed before sponsorship. They are given the opportunity to love God by loving another of Godís children. Sponsor and sponsored friend carry one another in their hearts and allow the other to change them for the better.

CFCAís structure in our projects follows this model as well and feeds the need for relationships among those we serve. For example, mothers in Merida, Mexico, tell us that the CFCA mothers groups are the most important part of the program to them. Most of their families moved from villages to the city, and that move isolated them from the social fabric that had sustained their ancestors for generations. The mothers groups are recreating that sense of community that is so essential to a full life.

Lent gives us a chance to stop and examine our relationships. It is often easier to give up chocolate for Lent than to rebuild and heal relationships.

Author Stephen Levine writes, ìIf you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?î

Reflection questions:
1. How would you define your relationship with God? Is God your teacher? Friend? Distant relative you only see on holidays? Guide? Do you like that relationship or do you want it to change? What needs to happen to bring about that change?
2. Is there a friendship that you have lost and mourn that loss? What might God be calling you to do about that?

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