We don’t know each other, and the chances of us meeting or finding each other are pretty rare, but I just had to write this letter to you in hopes that enough people would share it that one day you’d read it.
You’re a World Vision sponsor and you have been sponsoring a 12 year old boy from Armenia named Menua. From what I can tell you’ve been sponsoring him for a while now, and the reason why I’m writing you like this is because I met him today.
I’m feeling so emotional after returning from his home that I’m not entirely sure what to say to you Rick & Becky, but I had to write in an attempt to tell you how much you’ve impacted a family a world away.
Before you became Menua’s sponsor, his parents lost everything in the Gyumri earthquake and his father later died when Menua was just four years old. Life quickly went from happy and comfortable to sad and vulnerable, as it so often does for families like Menua’s. For a time he and his mom got by with the help of an aunt, but after the tragic death of Menua’s young cousin his aunt moved back to Russia. Since then, it’s just been he and his mom, living in an apartment that’s not really an apartment- it’s just a converted area in the attic of a building where they find a way to survive.
Menua has a good mom– a proud, loving, and tenacious woman. She works as hard as she can to take care of him, working 7 days a week at $1.50 a day, but as you can imagine, that doesn’t exactly go far. Even with working her arthritic hands to their max, they still struggle to survive.
Today I sat in their make-shift home and I listened to their story. I watched Menua’s mom break down in tears recalling the sadness of their narrative. I watched those sitting around me tear up as our hearts broke for this mom and her son. There was so much tragedy and sadness in the room that it felt overwhelming– but all that dissipated when your names came up, Rick and Becky.
You see, your sponsorship of Menua is what they talk about when they talk about the good things in their life. In fact, as soon as the issue of sponsorship came up, Menua’s mother immediately went to a cupboard and pulled out a stack of papers.
And you know what they were?
They were your letters, Rick and Becky. All of them.
Letters, photos, cards– they’ve not only saved everything but they are among this family’s prized possessions.
Menua and his mother had told us of their loneliness but then referred to you, Rick and Becky, and said that it was like you were a very close relative to them. When speaking of you, Menua perked up and said, “they are always writing to encourage me.”
Rick and Becky, I know from the other side of the world letter writing might not seem like that big of a deal, but from this side I need to tell you how big of a deal it actually is. Your letters make a lonely and isolated family feel like they are being encouraged and cared for by a close relative. In fact, I think it might be safe to say that these letters are the most important letters you send anyone all year long.
And, it’s not just the letter writing that you need to know about, Rick and Becky. Your monthly sponsorship and the special gifts you have sent have kept them from starvation and ensured Menua has received the medical attention he needs for his eye condition. The World Vision staff here has made sure that your special gifts were used for emergency food rations when they were going hungry, came by with a box of clothing when they had none, and have personally ensured Menua gets to the doctors as often as he needs.
Growing up to old-school Christian music, I remember a song from my childhood called “Find Us Faithful.” While I don’t listen to that style of music anymore, that song flooded my mind today as I sat in that humble home. The words kept repeating over and over again in my mind:
“We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives”
And, I have to tell you, this song I hadn’t thought of in 25 years made me think of you, Rick and Becky. Today, in this make-shift apartment with Menua and his mother, you were surrounded by a cloud of witnesses– the World Vision blogger team.
And well, today we found you to be faithful.
On behalf of Menua and his mother, I just want to say thank you to the both of you for everything you’ve done to lift them up- both physically and spiritually. And, on behalf of the World Vision blogger team, I want to thank you for the encouragement you were to us on this day.
Keep running this race, Rick and Becky, because you’re running it well.
With sincere hope that one day you’ll discover what a difference you’ve made in Menua’s life,
Benjamin L. Corey