Monday, October 1, 2012

BR-329 Home visits, Saturday September 29, 2012

I sponsor three girls from BR-329. I started in May, after two of my other Brazil girls had to leave the program. I was referred to advocate Bev Yearwood, who passed these three girls on: Alynne, Monalisa and Larissa.

Larissa is four years old. She lives with her mum, grandma, 2 older brothers and baby sister, who found my finger very tasty for some reason. They have just moved house because mum got a job, so the grandma is able to look after baby. The family is very blessed in this regard, because not everyone has a parent who is either able or willing to look after the grandchildren. Both brothers are sponsored by same person from the US. Judging by when she was playing with the footy at the Project, she will have good ball skills when she gets older.

 Alynne is 17 and in 10th grade. She has had 4 sponsors through her life and wants to be a lawyer. Alynne lives with two younger sisters, her mother, her “aunt” (who is really just a  close friend) and her aunt’s daughter. She is leaving the Compassion program because she just got a job at a grocery store and her mother got a job too. They just moved house, and their circumstances have improved to the point where they don’t need the extra assistance. When she was growing up, Alynne missed two years of school resulting from family instability and moving around a lot. Fortunately she was still was able to go to the Compassion Project during this time. She is involved in church. Her mother would like to but is often busy and tired. Sometimes the aunt (lovingly) tries to drag the mother up and make her go because she thinks she’s being lazy.

Monalisa is 18 and is about to graduate from the Compassion program. She lives with her mother and younger sister. They live in a kind of apartment complex with 3 other families, some of whom are relatives. She has been described to me as an entrepreneur, and dreams of being a vet. She has been recently offered three different government jobs, and chose to work at a health insurance company, which was a blessing, because when she broke her leg three weeks ago, she was able to get health insurance to pay for it! I’m Monalisa’s second sponsor, so it’s good that she’s had that stability. She is very involved in church, and is applying for a position in Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, which provides free college education for a select number of students from each country. 

The selection process for the LDP is very rigorous, and aims to develop Christian leaders who will impact their communities and countries for Jesus. This is also done through sponsorship, but instead of $44/month (in Australia), it’s $400, so it’s very demanding all-round. 

Here are the challenges she's facing right now: as I mentioned, 3 weeks ago Monalisa broke her leg in three places, had surgery, and is now getting around in a wheelchair. She is in the process of applying to be an LDP student. The project staff and I have no doubt she will make it.

One of the stages in the LDP application process is a "team-building"component, where they complete group activities to assess each potential student's ability to work with others and show leadership. They originally thought this was going to be in January, but it got moved to October, which will make it quite difficult for Monalisa in a wheelchair. The project staff are seeking an exemption for her.

I have never been in the position of considering sponsoring an LDP student, but now I definitely am. At the time I told Monalisa that even if I could not continue to sponsor her in the LDP, I would find someone who could. Since then I have decided I could not bear to "give her away", but I would be willing to co-sponsor. I believe God has brought Monalisa into my life for a reason, and the four month sponsorship is not to be the end of it. I am aware of the extra costs, but in my past experiences with God's provision, money is not a worry for me. 

Like with the other kids, I gave these three girls some gifts. Before I gave her the soft toy lamb, I said to Monalisa "I know you're 18, but I'm sure everyone loves a soft toy!" I also gave them a necklace. Siblings received a clip-on koala and a postcard of Melbourne or Australian animals. The family received an Australia-themed clock and a small Australian flag. Monalisa and Alynne also received a scientific calculator courtesy of my friend Steve.

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