Written by Michelle Plett
“You’re going to be my new best friend.”
She isn’t what I expected.
I’d just walked into the airport when I received the text in our group chat, “I’m here. Meet me in front of the Departure signs.” I considered pretending I didn’t get the text. A conversation with a stranger prior to a long flight to Peru was not exactly my idea of fun at that moment.
Excitement got the better of me and I wandered over to Kristin. She had black hair, half-shaved, and was decked in traveling clothes. She immediately grabbed me and pulled me into a big hug as she exclaimed, “You’re going to be my new best friend.” I would later learn that this same kind of love poured out of her on everyone, without prejudice.
Then Michelle Plett, Stephen Woo and Kristin Messina before a World Vision Ambassador trio to Peru in July 2018. Photo: Stephen Woo/World Vision
She is passionate about people.
This was Kristin’s third trip with World Vision and she had been a sponsor since 2016. On our first night in Trujillo, Peru, Kristin was reunited with fellow Sponsorship Ambassadors, Katana and Cindy. Sitting beside them was like eating dinner with a bunch of sorority sisters. Giggles and selfies were exchanged that evening as these women, whose shared experiences from previous World Vision trips, were reunited.
As they compared stories of their trip to Tanzania, Kristin’s face lit up, recounting the time spent with the children and in the community. For these women, being an Ambassador is about more than helping children—it’s about genuine connection. They are more than fellow Ambassadors, they are friends and through their work, have grown to truly care for one another.
She is loving.
Whenever I hear Kristin speak about why she became a sponsor, I can’t help, but get caught up in her emotion: “They’re children--every child has a right to be a child.”
This was evident as soon as we walked into the school in Peru, Kristin dropped to her knees. The children excitedly welcomed us, keen to meet these strangers from Canada. Kristin did not hesitate and was soon in the middle of it, jumping, dancing and hugging the children. Like all of us, the children could not help, but be near Kristin. One little girl in Oztuco, Peru took a liking to Kristin. She followed her around the school, played with her hair, crawled into her lap and hugged her. Clearly, this was something that had happened before.
In fact, Kristin’s first experience with her sponsored child, Mariam, was very similar. Mariam, who Kristin noticed when we sat to meet with the children in a beautifully shaded area outside in Kilago, Tanzania, was reserved and kept her distance. Understanding a child’s need for space, Kristin sat on the ground and played with the other children. Slowly, Mariam made her way over until eventually she was touching her leg. Now familiar and comfortable, Mariam did not leave Kristin’s side the entire afternoon. By the end of the day, Kristin told Mariam and her grandmother that she would be her sponsor. You see it in the tears that form as Kristin speaks. Her love for children runs deep, her desire to help unmatched.
She is compassionate
That time in Tanzania changed Kristin. There is a line from ‘Albertine’ by singer Brooke Fraser that goes, “now that I have seen, I am responsible.”
This is Kristin.
She saw the work of World Vision and understood her place in it. “You get it because you read about it. But then see it, seeing how each country, every need is assessed and then a plan is made to help the community become self-sustaining.”
“This is what I have do right now,” she quietly states as she looks out the car window, “they’re children… their innocence should be protected.”
She is a World Vision Ambassador.
She can be you, too.
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