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Longtime sponsors Lisa and Dave Hassler live in Conroe, Texas. The couple, along with their two daughters, began sponsoring Kevin, now 17, in 2006. Today, Dave and Lisa share their sponsorship of the Honduran teen with their three grandkids, as well.
Here, Lisa discusses how sponsorship has changed her life.
Someone from Children International came to our church. We learned about children of the world who need help, and we asked ourselves, "How can we get involved with something like that?" We started asking people what they knew. We went to the library and did some research.
We saw that you could correspond with your child. Our daughters were very inquisitive about the sponsored child. Jennifer, 12, and Caitlin, 9 (at the time), would draw pictures and send them. They even went through a phase where they wanted to send confetti in the letters.
We sponsored one boy before Kevin. That family's financial situation changed, so that's when we started sponsoring Kevin. We've sponsored Kevin for 10 years.
Recently, we've talked about going to meet Kevin in Honduras. We do extra gifts as they come along, but I hadn't thought about [visiting until my son-in-law brought it up]. We just started talking about doing that in the last year. It's very possible in the future.
One of the most dramatic things for me was when we'd get the follow-up letters from CI. We'd learn about stuff that we just don't have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. How they live in contrast with how we live. I'd mention to my kids how amazing it is we have shoes or a washer and dryer.
When you teach children, the first thing you learn is that you learn more than they do. Partly because you want to stay ahead of them. But, in imparting that knowledge, you'll find that you're learning as much or more than they are.
My sister, Laura, was killed in an Amtrak accident in the District of Columbia over New Year’s in 1987. She was a missionary in Nigeria two summers before. She had a huge heart for the disadvantaged in developing countries. I have all her letters. She’d tell me: “You need to [go to Nigeria]. You have to do this.” She was passionate about it. I remember when these opportunities to sponsor came up. I remember thinking, “Ok, we can help this way.”
It takes so many people on that stepladder to make sure we're taking care of people. One at a time. It takes all of them doing that. My sister could go. I could stay home, and be a mom and be a sponsor. And we've been blessed to be able to do what we do.