February 6, 2014

Andrea's Story - An invitation to be God's hands and feet (part 1)

Have you ever taken a moment to look back on your journey and wonder, how did I get here? The story of how I got to be connected to my Compassion sponsored child, Andrea, is one of those God-sized stories. It's one of those "If you give a mouse a cookie" type of tales.

My story begins with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I so love this organization. We moved to a new city and state when my husband accepted a staff position at a church. I knew no one. At the time, most of my days were spent alone with my six-month old. Babies are precious, but eventually you crave a conversation with someone who can speak back to you. MOPS entered my life like a breath of fresh air. I was surrounded by women who understood exactly where I was coming from.

The next year, I got involved with my local MOPS leadership team. The year after that, I served as assistant coordinator. That summer, my friend and I traveled to the MOPS convention. It was fantastic. I was certain I wanted to come back the following year.

A few months later, MOPS hosted a twitter contest in which they gave away a free registration to the 2013 MOMcon convention. I entered, crossed my fingers, and won.

A few weeks later, MOPS mentioned they were looking for a MOMcon Crew - people who were willing to help promote the convention. The only stipulation: You had to already be registered for convention. Thanks to the contest, I was registered and more than excited to help spread the word.

A few weeks after that, we got an e-mail asking if anyone on the MOMcon Crew would be interested in writing an article for the MOPS blog about convention. (If there's one thing I love about as much as MOPS, it's writing). I submitted my article, "The Sisterhood of MOPS," and was thrilled when it was selected.  

A few days later, I got a phone call. Would I be willing to travel to El Salvador with Compassion International to write about the work that they're doing from the perspective of a MOPS mom. . . and could I let them know by the next day. I'm sure my husband must have been rather surprised to receive a phone call from his excited wife, wondering if there was any way we could make this work. He assured me, that if this was something I wanted to do, that we could figure out a way to make it happen.

Then I began praying about sponsoring a child. I've attended plenty of events over the years where Compassion sponsorship has been featured. I've picked up packets and looked at pictures, but I had never sponsored a child before. I began looking at our budget and tried to determine if we could make it work. You can read the whole story here (complete with information on how I managed to shut down our local YMCA).

A couple weeks before I was scheduled to leave, I had her picture and her name. Andrea. A seven-year-old girl from El Salvador. I'm the mom of two little boys (now with a third boy on the way). Most of the time I'm shopping for things like sports balls and super heroes. It was so much fun to walk around Wal-Mart with a cart full of pink. I picked out a couple dresses, some socks, a hairbrush, a doll, and a few other small toys and items that could fit inside the small pink and purple backpack that I was bringing for her.

I was excited, a little bit nervous, and not quite sure what God had planned. Here I was, just a normal, stay-at-home mom, about to hop on a plane to El Salvador and meet a little girl that I didn't even know existed a few weeks earlier.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was excited. I knew that God had been pulling the strings behind the scenes and I couldn't wait to see what He had planned.


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