By Scott Linscott
We’ve been back from Guatemala for almost two weeks now. Today, our sponsor kit with a photo of Tanya’s smiling, 7 year old face looking at me. The first thing I noticed was that her birthday is Sunday. I quickly went online and sent my little girl a letter, some photos and a birthday gift that I imagine will arrive weeks too late. It will be easy to remember our girl’s birthday because it is one day after my transplant anniversary. I’m thankful for that timing coincidence.
There were a lot of pretty awesome “coincidences” on our trip. One of the young men travelling with us, Sean, was an instant hit with a couple little girls who would have been content to sit with him all day if they could. He and his brother Cameron are identical twins and I still have trouble telling them apart. Sean, Cam and their mom and dad came to Guatemala with their hearts open to finding another child to sponsor. Here’s the coincidence that I think is so cool. They met a set of precious little, identical twin girls and one of them was in need of a sponsor! The connection was instant. I could not help but cry when I watched Melissa tear up when they gave her a gift of a framed picture of the two sets of twins together. I have no doubt that God brought the Wilson family to Guatemala just for that connection!
We saw the “coincidence” of Steve impulsively sharing a story of his first mission trip and feeling scared and out of place. He didn’t know that some of our team was feeling those exact feelings and would find comfort in his words.
There was the “coincidence” of our team having Doctor Paulding with us and 1 year old twin boys (more twins) with respiratory and ear infections with no money for medicine. “Coincidentally,” Doc Paulding had the medicine they needed and was able to help the family.
There was the “coincidence” of even the paint colors exactly matching the colors of the new painting we began in our home church. When we finish the painting here at home, I have no doubt where our minds will be.
It seemed like each team member found at least one or two natural connections and spots where they knew they belonged, from alongside Mimi in the kitchen to teaching in a first grade class to being adopted by a group of third graders. The soccer games gave us chances to laugh and celebrate goals and a quick downpour let us dance in the rain.
I went to Guatemala mostly because I wanted people in our church to experience the joy of Christians in third world poverty. I hoped to find a connection with another child to sponsor since our little boy from Ghana is now a young man. I hoped for a little girl.
Tanya kept smiling at me when we played with the kids who needed sponsors. She was guarded and quiet but her eyes kept locking on mine. When the noise from a tug of WAR game (thanks Sara and Cam!) drowned us out, I figured I would come back later to see about sponsoring Tanya. When things settled down, I found out Tanya was going to be sponsored by our church children. I pleaded that Robin and I could have her and the church take another because of the connection I sensed. So, Jose, became our FBC child and I got Tanya.
When we went to tell her, the AMG staff member told me not to expect much of a reaction because “she is very shy.” As we explained that Robin and I would be her sponsors she smiled and wrapped her little arms around my neck and squeezed. She took my hand and we went to find Robin who was mobbed by her third graders. Tanya spent the rest of the afternoon talking to me nonstop and we read each of the Spanish children’s books I had brought. When the AMG staff member walked by and saw us, surrounded by other kids, he smiled and remarked about how amazing it was to see quiet, little Tanya so animated and happy. It was such a connection!
It was the same, Providential connection, that we saw with the Wilson family, the Grants, Maddy, Sara, the Lamsons, Jan, Kim and even with little Jose! I think God picked out those kids for us before we even got there.