It was a moment I’ll remember forever.

I sat in a Kenyan church, just a few blocks away from a massive trash pile that people were sifting through for food to eat or things to sell. I sat there, watching the beautiful Kenyan women worshiping from the stage with everything they had, thanking God for their blessings.  These women surely have far less than me and all I could think was, “I’m not sure the last time I thanked God liked that.”

Alongside the joyful congregation I was inspired and heartbroken at the same time. I was in tears asking God to forgive me for my attitude, and the times I’ve been ungrateful. 

 I have to admit I’ve been one of those people who isn’t easily convinced to sponsor a child in another country, because I grew up poor right here in Houston.

I know what it’s like to go to bed hungry and get made fun of for not having the right clothes or shoes at school. I know what it’s like to share a room with a bunch of my cousins and go to sleep sweating because there’s no central air conditioning. 

Oh the excuses I could make to convince myself that I was right for not sponsoring a child. 

“There are needs here.”

“I am a single mom.”

“Let someone with more money do that.”

But then I sat there looking at the broken floor of this church, honestly just ashamed at how I once thought. “Lord forgive me” is all I could utter through my tears as we worshiped. I’m so thankful God knows me and loves me enough to gently show me His heart and the things He wants to change in mine. 

As our trip to Kenya went on we visited one of the worst slums in the region. Mathare is a collection of slums in Nairobi with a population of about 500,000 people. We had a team with us as we walked through the dirt roads passing the living spaces made of aluminum. Their homes are about the size of my bathroom and stacked on top of each other. The smell in the air was deplorable but I was trying to hold my breath instead of my nose because I didn’t want to seem rude. They lived in the smell, they played here, and ate here. 

As we walked through with the guides, I noticed a young girl walking beside me. She wasn’t with us but looked curious to why we were there. We stood out because we had Caucasians and me a Hispanic in the group. They aren’t used to seeing people who look like us there. 

As we kept walking, there she stayed walking right beside me. We were told to stay with our group for our safety and I wasn’t sure if I should talk to her. Then finally I looked at her, smiled, and said, “Hi, what’s your name?” With a smile, she looked back at me and said, “My name is Joyce.” I said, “Hi Joyce, I’m Reyna.” 

It was kinda overwhelming, here I was in the middle of one of the worst slums in Africa talking to a little girl who looked just as innocent as mine at that age. This beautiful child has her whole life ahead of her with dreams and aspirations of her own. 

 I didn’t know what else to say, and by the time I looked for her beside me again- she was gone. Surely, it was because we walked too far from her home. 

I couldn’t stop thinking about Joyce during my flight home. 

 I made a promise to God, “If I find Joyce and she needs a sponsor I’ll do it.” As soon as I got home I told my girls about her and with big eyes they said, “Mom, look for her!”

So I went on the Compassion website and scrolled and scrolled and then there she was. The beautiful Kenyan girl I met in Mathare who was waiting for a sponsor. Little did she or I know the day we met was a God orchestrated appointment. I couldn’t believe it. 

The faithfulness and goodness of God is something I can’t put a price on. To see Him work in my life and in the lives of those around me has been and continues to be the greatest adventure of my life. The day I said yes to Jesus was the best day of my life, but saying yes to Him hasn’t been a one time event

Here was another opportunity, and I said “YES!” I don’t know what will happen next, who Joyce will grow up to be, or how this will impact my girls, but I do know I’ve never regretted saying yes to Jesus.

Even in my humanity and ungratefulness, He loves me, He chooses me, and He uses me. The same is true for you! 

I am in awe of Him and often feel so undeserving. I believe time is one of the most valuable currencies you can give someone. And if you’re thinking about sponsoring a child, I’d say go for it! I can’t promise you you’ll change the world, but you will change a life, starting with yours

All the best. 

Your friend, 


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