Up Front: Love from the Other Side of the World

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Darcy and Carolyn visited their sponsored boy, John, 6.
Darcy and Carolyn visited their sponsored boy, John, 6, in the Philippines to check how he and his family were after the typhoon.

Two Calgarians travel to visit their sponsored child in the typhoon-struck Philippines

Reclaiming life since Typhoon Haiyan has been difficult for families affected by the storm. Survivors have felt down at times, knowing that rebuilding their homes and re-establishing sources of income are long-term, challenging efforts. But the heavy feelings for one sponsored child turned lighter one day in January when the boy’s sponsors from Canada came to visit.

Six-year-old John and his mother, Elma, 27, greeted John’s sponsors, Darcy and Carolyn Chinnery, who travelled to the Philippines, more than 11,000 kilometres from their home in Calgary. The four met at a local World Vision office. When Darcy and Carolyn arrived, John welcomed them excitedly, hanging native necklaces around their necks. John tightly hugged his sponsors as if he was hugging his own parents. The couple had exchanged letters with John before their trip.

On the day of the visit, John woke at five in the morning, eager to travel from his family’s damaged home to the World Vision office. “I was so happy to see my sponsors,” John says. He thanked Darcy and Carolyn many times for being his sponsors.

John’s mother was also very thankful. “I was so happy to see John smile the moment he saw Sir Darcy and Ma’am Carolyn,” Elma says. “I temporarily forgot our problems from the typhoon. We were so happy to meet them in person. They just don’t know how happy they make my child and family.”

“John is not just a picture on our fridge. He is real,” says Darcy. He and his wife have five children and nine grand- children. “We were very glad that John’s family was all safe after the typhoon. We have been thinking of them every day,” adds Carolyn.

Darcy, Carolyn, John and Elma spent several hours together. They made scrapbooks that they exchanged with each other. Darcy and Carolyn also presented gifts to John and his entire family. After the presents, the four had lunch and visited a museum.

“We can’t imagine how John’s family is coping after the disaster,” says Carolyn. “I’ve seen the pain in their eyes—we admire their resiliency. This visit was really a humbling experience for us.”

Before they parted ways, the four exchanged wishes and prayers, hugs and kisses. They promised to continue exchanging letters.

“We pray for you to have a long, happy and blessed life. We want to see you go to school and be a nice man,” said a teary- eyed Carolyn to John, before leaving.

Learn about visiting your sponsored child >>

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Childview.




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