Editor’s Note: Stephanie Wheelock and her husband, James, had the opportunity to meet Frank in Uganda, a young boy who they sponsor through Help One Now.
I consider myself to be a fairly ordinary person. I’m a 31-year-old wife and mother that works part time as a personal trainer. My everyday life revolves around nap times, dinner preps, mounds of laundry, work outs, church group meetings, play dates, etc…I run the typical race of general American survival.
But last May, my husband and I decided to take a time out from the rat race and head to Uganda to celebrate our ten-year anniversary. We bought our tickets, packed our bags, and headed over to see what Africa had in store for us.
Several years ago we began sponsoring a child through Help One Now – Frank. So when we bought our tickets to Uganda, we were thrilled that we were finally going to be able to meet him! When we first started sponsoring him, he was only 12 years old. We didn’t know a lot about his background, but we knew he needed support for an education and to help provide sustenance for his family.
We met Frank at his church in a little village. He was now 15 years old and wore a shy smile as he shook both our hands. I knew right away that he had a genuinely kind spirit. He was so incredibly thankful to meet us; his countenance showed his gratitude the entire time we spoke. The pastor of the church, Edward Magumba, told us how Frank was very intelligent; he was one of the top students in his secondary school. He told us how he studied hard every day and that he wanted to become an electrical engineer.
A few days later we visited Frank at his home. We were introduced to his mother and three siblings. I know that Frank’s family felt blessed by our visit, but I couldn’t help but think that I was the one being blessed. Frank’s family lives in a one- bedroom dirt-packed “house.” They have no electricity or running water. His mother is a single mom without a job, doing her best to take care of four kids. They have every reason in the book to lead a joy-less life. But their gratitude to us for our involvement in the sponsorship program was one of the greatest blessings I could have received. Through the sponsorship program, Frank is able to go to one of the best secondary schools in his area. He’s getting an amazing education, the ability to learn about God, and the tools to go to a university.
Before we left their home, the family brought out a humongous jackfruit as a gift of their gratitude. I knew that their precious gift was one of sacrifice as they didn’t have much food. We filled our bellies with their gift, humbled by their attitude and joy.
Meeting Frank in person gave us the gift of perspective. Every day we have the choice to engage and invest in countless avenues. We have the choice to center our lives around ourselves: our hobbies, careers, finances, kids’ sports activities, dance recitals, etc… Or, we have the choice to invest in someone’s life. Someone who might not otherwise have any hope or promise for a future.
When I feel like just an ordinary 31 year old in this world, I remember the opportunities I have been given and the impact I can leave on this world. There is more to life than just what I see. There is the ability to leave an enormous ripple effect on our world when we invest in others and their future.
I am so thankful to Help One Now for the work that they are doing to help continue that ripple. And I am blessed to be able to be a part of it.