Trip to Kenya brings Joy to sponsors
November 16, 2010
On the slopes of Mount Kenya in east Africa, Joy can barely sleep. She is so excited to meet the people changing her life and offering her family hope for a better future.
Halfway around the world just outside Dallas, Texas, a couple has been waiting for months to see their Kenyan friend’s smile in person.
Joy, a child sponsored through CFCA, got to meet her
sponsors in 2010.
A friendship developed through CFCA’s Hope for a Family sponsorship program is about to create a memory to last a lifetime.
• • •
Over the last few years, Joy, 9, has seen her family’s situation change dramatically through sponsorship.
“CFCA has helped me in many ways,” Joy said. “I am now healthy because we get food from the program. I can go to school looking smart, since CFCA provides me with a uniform. I am not chased out of school like my friends for not paying fees on time.”
The youngest of four girls, Joy’s early childhood was nothing to smile about. Her mother struggled to make ends meet as a single parent.
Joy and her family slept on the ground without blankets. When her mother couldn’t find work, Joy’s family would often go days without proper nutrition.
Joy’s mother, Esther, approached CFCA for help in 2007. After the CFCA staff assessed the family situation, Joy became eligible for sponsorship and soon after, she became sponsored.
Joy said, “Having sponsors who care about my well-being brings me and my family great joy.”
Since joining the Hope for a Family program, Joy has been one of the top students in her class. Her family no longer worries about going to bed hungry or sleeping on the floor.
Earlier this year, Joy was notified she would soon be having special visitors come to her home in Kenya.
“When I was told to prepare because they were coming, I couldn’t sleep for days,” Joy said. “I couldn’t believe that my sponsors were coming all the way to see me.”
• • •
Joy and Harry Ehmann
Joy and Joanne Ehmann
In August 2006, Joanne and Harry Ehmann were moved by a CFCA presentation at their church and decided to sponsor a young girl from Madagascar. But after a year, the girl and her family moved and left the CFCA program.
“We had the option to choose another friend or let CFCA choose for us,” Joanne said. “We asked CFCA to provide another girl for us. This is how Joy came into our lives. This also reinforces for us the conviction that through CFCA, God chose Joy for us.”
For nearly three years, the Ehmanns have exchanged letters and pictures with Joy. The relationship the Ehmanns share with Joy has enriched their lives.
“Joy’s friendship brings us much happiness,” Harry said. “We feel privileged to assist her in achieving her goals. We love getting her letters and reading about her progress in school as well as how her sisters are doing.”
The Ehmanns were always struck by Joy’s beautiful smile in her photographs, despite the challenges facing her family.
“Her beautiful smile reminds us of how she refers to herself as ‘joyful Joy,’” Harry said. “In our everyday lives, how can we ever feel a moment of sadness for ourselves when Joy has such gladness for her own life?”
• • •
The Ehmanns work for an airline and are world travelers, but neither one had ever been to Africa. After sponsoring Joy, they thought a CFCA mission awareness trip would be a perfect way for them to meet their friend and see her country, Harry said.
The anticipation on both sides of the friendship culminated Feb. 26.
As the bus pulled up to the local CFCA office, the Ehmanns and other trip participants were met with singing and dancing by CFCA mothers groups.
“It was like a reunion even though this was the first time we’d actually met,” Joanne said. “The moment I got off the bus, I recognized Joy. She was even more beautiful than her pictures!
“I was filled with tears of happiness and thrilled to be able to give Joy a hug. It was a moment we will never forget. We felt so much love for Joy and her family.”
Joy was waiting with her arms outstretched.
“I was very happy when Joanne hugged me,” Joy said. “I cried because I was happy. Harry carried me and tickled me and I laughed. We had so much fun together.”
Joy’s visit with her sponsors was everything she hoped it would be. The Ehmanns even brought gifts for Joy and her family, including clothes, a backpack and Joy’s favorite gift — a doll she named Mary, after her CFCA social worker.
“Harry and Joanne brought me a lot of gifts and I was overjoyed,” Joy said. “I also gave them some gifts to carry home with them so that they could remember me.”
The Ehmanns have not forgotten — a part of them has never left.
Read the Ehmanns' full interview about the impact sponsorship is having on their lives.