My first trip with Caroline’s Promise was in the summer of 2007. Lisa and David Holbrook approached me and offered the opportunity to stay at Eagle’s Nest, an orphanage in the mountains of Guatemala. I prayed about it for a while and decided God wanted me on that trip. Before the trip I was a young Christian who recently had rededicated my life to Christ and honestly, I was scared about what God might have planned for me and what He might do in my life. I went to Guatemala that year spiritually scared and lukewarm. But thanks to God, I came back with my eyes opened wide with a realization of what I really need in life and how good God is. At the end of the trip we all sat in a circle and discussed what we felt God had taught us on the trip. As for my response, I am a very blessed young man! I have more than I will ever need and God has blessed my life beyond what I deserve. God showed me that I am lucky to have a job, fortunate to attend college, fortunate that I have Christian parents that care enough to teach me responsibility, and a realization that no matter how hard life gets, and no matter what this world throws at me, my God is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow. His love is perfect and will never ever fail me. I saw children that literally had nothing; no family to go home to and nobody to love them. It broke my heart. I learned to simply trust in God and know that know matter what, he will never leave me nor forsake me.
Another thing that I took away from my first trip with Caroline’s Promise was the idea of somehow helping out at least one child in Guatemala. I felt God laying it on my heart to sponsor a child who has far less than me and less opportunities in life. With my new outlook on life, what God taught me on the trip and the eye opening experiences I got to witness in Guatemala, I began doing some research on how I could sponsor a child. A few weeks after our return home, weeks of praying and researching, I was led to the perfect match; a little boy in Guatemala who loves sports and toy cars.
On my second trip to Guatemala two years later, I was excited about going back to Eagle’s nest. And then I found out I would have the opportunity to meet the little boy I sponsor and I was ecstatic! I found out before we left for the trip that I could go and buy Samuel some school supplies and little toys. I went out and loaded this little dude up! I got him a cool little ninja turtle book bag with tons of school supplies, candy, toys, a soccer ball, toy cars, and much more. I really can’t explain how I felt when I first got to shake his little hand. His big toe was sticking out of one of his shoes and his nose was running from a cold he had. Me and my fiancé sat him down and got him to where he was comfortable with us and I gave him his “gift bag”. It was actually overwhelming to him. I realized that little Samuel wasn’t used to having even one pencil given to him and when I gave him fifty he looked a little overwhelmed. When I saw this little boy’s face light up, I did everything in my power to not cry. I don’t care how tough you think you are, when God has given you the ability to put a smile on a little kid’s face that hasn’t been shown love, and you are able to see that smile, you are going to get emotional. But once he got done looking at all his gifts he, my fiancé, and I went off to play some soccer with his new ball. We had a blast together and I could have stayed in that moment for the rest of my life.
God’s word says that if and when you reach out to those in need, he will bless you. Blessing you may not mean giving you a job making $500,000/year, but maybe simply an overwhelming spirit of joy. During that moment, when I got to show the love of Christ to Samuel, I was blessed. I will never forget the image of Samuel hugging my fiancé as tight as he could right before we had to leave him. This little boy longed for love and affection. I thank God that he gave me the opportunity to meet the coolest kid on the planet and for laying it on my heart to support him, love him, and reach out to him. $30/month seems like nothing to me now.
My experiences with Caroline’s Promise were both fun and entertaining, but more importantly, the trips enabled me to do God’s work and show the love of Christ to the less fortunate. Deuteronomy 14:28-29 says “At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do”. My life has been full of blessings since I made my decision to sponsor little Samuel. My eyes have been opened to what really matters in life and my faith in Jesus Christ has become stronger. God’s love is perfect. He will never fail you and He keeps His promises.