Mentor, Family, Friend

Mentor, Family, Friend

By: Roberto Medrano in El Salvador, with Brandy Campbell   |   Posted: June 02, 2008

A Compassion Sponsor Inspires Her Faraway "Daughter"

Flor was sponsored for 12 years by Bernetta. The two grew close, with Flor even becoming a missionary, like Bernetta.

Flor grew up in Tacuba, one of the poorest towns in El Salvador. In this hillside community dotted with coffee plantations, Flor's father, a retired schoolteacher, struggled to provide for Flor and her younger sister. Flor watched her friends grow weak from hunger. She saw her own belly bloat with malnutrition.

An Answer to a Prayer

Every night Flor's mother prayed for God to offer His hand of love to her family. When Flor was 5, her mother's prayers were tangibly answered when Flor was registered at the Por Una Vida Mejor Student Center (ES-516).  At the center, workers struggled to comfort Flor, who was painfully shy. She cried while eating her snack and showed little interest in her new school supplies or clothes. Nobody could have guessed the one thing that would stop her tears had nothing to do with relieving her hunger or giving her gifts.

"I Remember That First Letter."

Flor still remembers the moment she stopped crying. It was the day workers at the student center called her name and she rushed forward to receive her first sponsor letter. As she pulled out the note, a picture
of Bernetta, Flor's sponsor, fluttered out.  "I remember that first letter," recalls Flor. "In the letter she told me that she did not have children and that was why God gave her a faraway child. She even said I was like her own daughter. That made me feel
like I was on top of the world."

A Strong Influence

For 12 years, the relationship between Bernetta and Flor strengthened. Bernetta told Flor about her mission trips and encouraged the girl to go to church. "My sponsor is a very strong influence in my life," says Flor, "and she is why I started to get involved in the evangelistic groups at my project." Eventually, Flor, her sister and her mother received Christ. As Flor participated in Bible studies, she felt a desire to participate in missions just like Bernetta. She soon began going on youth mission trips across Latin America, including Nicaragua and Panama. "I remember that my sponsor was preparing  for her mission trip to Germany when I was preparing for mine to Panama," says Flor, "and I told her that she was my inspiration and that God had used her to open my eyes concerning missions."

"She Was the Voice of God in My Life."

Today Flor is 20 and works part time at the student center. She is saving her money to attend university. Eventually, she would like to do full-time mission work, ministering to children in poverty a dream that she would have never realized were it not for
the support of Bernetta. "My sponsor was the strongest influence on me. Without her help, love and letters, my life would not be the same. She was like my faraway mother who always supported me. She was the voice of God in my life."

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