We recently mailed out January sponsor letters! Whew! While it’s always a lot of work to print the papers, pull kids from class, double check student work, stamp and stuff envelopes, and send 240ish letters off, I love looking through the cute messages and drawings that our students create for their sponsors. Lots of “I love you’s” and “Thank you’s” and “Please come visit me’s”. Relationships are growing!
A couple weeks ago, I pulled out our 3rd grader Estaylin so that he could finish up his sponsor letter. We sat in the hallway together and chatted while he worked. After he wrote his little note, I told him to turn over his paper so he could add some details to the drawing of his house and family.
Last year, Estaylin’s dad passed away in a tractor accident in the villages. Estaylin now lives with his mom and his little brother. As I looked down at his picture, I saw that he had drawn 4 little people.
I asked Estaylin who those stick figures represented. He started with the second one. “There’s my mom. And that’s me. And Eliangel.” My heart hurt as I realized the significance of that first little figure. It had to be his father – his older siblings don’t live in the house with them.
“That’s cool, Estaylin. And what about that one? Is that your dad?”
He quickly gave me a gruff response. “My dad died.”
“I know, buddy. I’m sure you miss him a lot. But I think it’s cool that you drew him here. It’s always good to remember him and the good times you had with him.”
He gave a brief nod. And with that, the exchange was over. I gave him a hug and sent him back to class.
While I don’t get to be with Estaylin every day, our teachers and staff do. I’m thankful that people who love the Lord are able to pour into his little life all week long. And in the midst of the pain that he’s probably still experiencing even months after his dad’s death, I’m praying that he sees the love of Jesus in the faces and the hugs and the words of those he interacts with.