Sponsorship & Sponsors: Taking the Long View

“Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future, I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now.” Elisabeth Elliot ...


photo courtesy of my friend, Rachael Wise www.rachaelwisephotography.com




Investment.

When you hear that word, do you think of the financial world?   Do you think of money saved and interest earned?    Do you accept the idea of delayed gratification - sacrificing the use of your money today for a great future return?

Spiritual investment has been large on our radar as we finish 7 years in Honduras and 4 years at IVA.  We have been in a season full of questions, seeking to follow God's will for the future of ROH and IVA.    It is a fine balance to plan for the future while still faithfully continuing today's work.

One Thursday, I (Laura) was sitting on a wooden bench at IVA in the heat of a tropical Honduran afternoon.    Rambunctious IVA students were screaming, dancing and trying to practice their routines for an upcoming event.     I was looking for some music on my computer to get the next group going while sighing at the chaos around me.  In an instant, it was as if my spiritual eyes opened.    A group of boys were out playing soccer on the IVA field,  the kitchen work was being wrapped up for the day and chores were happening inside my classroom.    In the space of the moment, God whispered to me... "these kids are more than worth the investment, Laura."

Wow... so this is what investment really means.      These faces, these stories, these challenges that seem so insurmountable... these very ones are worth the investment of my time, my treasure and my life.   And, if you are reading this, yours.   It is the day-after-day, month-after-month investment.

Here's the rub.   Investment sounds so pretty and successful, doesn't it?   Investment sounds as if there is somehow a guaranteed windfall at the end.
    
Is that how we are to view the work of Reach Out Honduras?   An automatic win?   A guaranteed slam dunk in the eyes of the world?

Our students come from very hard places, some with stories that would make you shiver.  Their culture pulls hard, terribly hard.   And we lose some...  we lose students to teen pregnancy, to the lure of an easier way, to drugs, to apathy and to relocation because their family has no ability to earn money here...
       
Do these 'endings' mean the investment is a failure?

Thankfully, we have come to see investment as so much more.   It is a risk and we do not know the outcome.   However, investing in the Lord's economy means that we put the "return on investment" entirely in His hands.    What looks like a failure to our human eyes may just be the beginning of His beautiful work.

Recently, I had the privilege to sit across the table from a friend who spent years in education administration.   We talked and together  uncovered a new meaning of 'success' for Instituto Vida Abundante and ROH.    Instead of counting the losses and mourning those who won't 'graduate' with us, how about we look at the days and months and maybe even years that we were able to pour love into their lives?    What if we define success as more than a diploma?   

Yes, success CAN be a diploma or a college scholarship.    But, what if success in God's eyes also looks like a student who can look an adult in the eye and communicate well?   What if a good investment results in one who can write legibly?   More importantly, what if the ultimate success is a student who can read and understand a page of the Bible for herself?     What if His success looks like hungry bellies who do not have to worry about today's bread?   And most importantly of all, what if His success truly is a student who feels loved day after day and finally realizes that this very love comes straight from the heart of a Heavenly Father who waits patiently to forgive and enter in?

We choose to take the long view.    We choose to believe that God has begun a good work in each of the students He brings our way.     We believe that He has allowed all of us to be a small part of their journey without being able to control any outcomes.     This investment requires every bit of our effort.  We won't give up on a student because the return today doesn't seem so bright.  

As sponsors, donors and prayer warriors for Reach Out Honduras and Instituto Vida Abundante, we urge you to prayerfully do the same.   Your investment is different than ours, but equally critical.   Know that each dollar, each note and each visit is depositing seeds of hope into the lives of your 'neighbors.'    You may never witness the return on your investment or, perhaps, the return may be much less than what you had imagined when you originally signed up to sponsor the education of a child in a third-world country.     

We ask for your prayers to keep our hearts focused with eyes to see that His idea of investment does indeed bring a rich return, even when it looks much different than we ever imagined.


*For the 2018 school year, we will need 60 NEW sponsors for our incoming 7th grade class.   For more information, contact laura@reachouthonduras.org.   

 

Comments

Anonymous said…
Dear Laura, yes, I read your words not once, but twice. It is exactly what I think, feel and have expressed over the years as administrator of the high school here. It is so true we do not know how God is going to use the months or years that a student has studied at IVA. We just believe and keep moving. Did you read the Franciscan Benediction at the end of the page? The part towards the end--"may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference"-to invest. Thank you, Laura.
Laura Waits said…
Love you, friend! Thank you for reading this... twice!

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