I Am…

By Nelson Alvarez, Class of 2015.

Nelson used poetry to express his thoughts and hopes for his life and our world.  Thank you, Nelson!

I am an open and persevering person.

I wonder if another world is possible.

I hear people pondering about their world dream.

I see a sign that says peace.

I want an equal world with the same human rights.

I am an open and persevering person.

I pretend I am a president.

I feel I have an incredible power.

I touch the lives of millions of people.

I worry about the future of children.

I cry from injustice.

I am an open and persevering person.

I understand I cannot fix all the world problems.

I say education is the key to success.

I dream someday we will live in peace.

I try to understand the suffering of people.

I hope we do not have any war.

I am an open and persevering person.

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“I would do it again in a heartbeat” ~ A Reflection on Hosting an NPH Student

By Cheryl Goodwin

When we agreed to be a host family for one of the Leadership students this year, I knew that I would be glad I had done it. My family has been involved with NPH since 2007, when my oldest daughter worked at the regional office. She invited us to a Faces of Hope event that introduced us to NPH, its founder and the children who are part of a large, loving family.  Shortly after that we sponsored our first godchild from Guatemala, and then a second one.

I have been a Table Captain at numerous events, volunteered in the office, and am currently serving on the Regional Board.  This past summer, I visited the home in Guatemala and was able to meet my godchildren and see first-hand that everything that I had heard about NPH was true. I remember clearly driving through the entrance of the grounds and being brought to tears by the beauty of it all, especially in contrast to the poverty we had passed through on the trip from the airport.

During this trip I was able to visit with several of the young men and women who had been through the Leadership program in the past few years.  It was good to see them living out what the program was aiming for – providing leadership and support to their sisters and brothers at NPH. I was also introduced to Luisa, who was planning to come as one of this year’s students.

Paul and I have always opened our home to others.  Our children’s friends were (are) always welcome, extended family members have lived with us for several months, holiday gatherings are frequently at our house, and we have had weekly meals with a  large group of friends for nearly twenty years.  However, in recent years, I kept feeling the call to show “hospitality to strangers.”  We had been asked to consider hosting a student the prior year, but for several reasons had decided it wasn’t the right time.  The idea had stayed in my mind, however, and my visit to the home in Guatemala made everything so much more real than it had been before.  So, when Kara King asked us to consider it again this year we said yes.

To be honest, even after saying yes, I was nervous and uncertain about whether or not it was a good idea. Our student, Magda, is from Honduras and she spoke very little English.  Since neither my husband, my mother, nor I speak Spanish, I was worried about how we were going to communicate.  The first couple weeks were a bit of a challenge, communication-wise.  The translation programs on our cell phones were a life-saver, allowing us to at least get the basics of what we were trying to say across. However, we were able to laugh as we fumbled our way through unfamiliar words and as Magda’s English skills increased and we learned a little Spanish, communication became easier.  We now have long, detailed conversations with only the occasional look-up of a particularly difficult word.

I had also worried that we wouldn’t be exciting enough for her – we don’t have kids at home, we aren’t soccer players, and are pretty busy with work commitments.  But we can, and did, provide an opportunity for her to be part of our family, with all of our quirks and goodness. Our friends and church family have loved getting the chance to get to know her.  I was rather surprised at how quickly Magda began to feel like another daughter to us.

As I mentioned earlier, I knew that I would be glad that we had agreed to be a host family and that it was the right thing to do.  What I hadn’t counted on, however, was the joy I would experience in the midst of it.  I love introducing her to our family’s traditions, taking her to our favorite restaurants, participating in holiday activities, spending the evening watching a movie at home, and even helping her with her homework.  I am humbled by the fact that she has been willing to share her life story with us and that she trusts us to love and care for her.  I am blessed by her generosity and kindness towards her brothers and sisters at the ranch. I am impressed with her hard work to learn a new language and a new culture. I know she will take a piece of my heart with her when she returns to Honduras at the end of June, but am comforted by the knowledge that I now have another reason to visit the NPH ranch there.

An added benefit of being a host family is the opportunity to get to know the other five students and their host families. Each of them, Luisa, Samy, Lucre, Florine, and Nelson, are wonderful individuals who challenge and bless me.  As I near the end of this year, I am saddened by the fact that I will miss them all and so very encouraged by the good work that I know they will all do in the future.

I am grateful that I have been able to play a small part in their lives. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

An Evening with Sonia Nazario

By: Nelson Alvarez Hernandez

(written in English by Nelson!)

What can I say? This experience started in one of our leadership meetings.  I said something about an article that I read on Univision, and it talks about a social issue, migration.  I was surprised by this article because this media shows quite relevant numbers about migration especially highlighting the children that every year cross the borders to find their mother that left them when they were 5 years old or less.  So when Kara asked me if I wanted introduce a writer, the main question that I had in my mind was “who is Sonia Nazario?”

And immediately I said yes.

Then my host family gave me a brief biography on Sonia Nazario.  A few days later my host family bought me “Enrique’s Journey”.  When I started reading the book I did not want to stop reading this wonderful book. My experience reading Enrique’s Journey has been one of the most important in my life because this book talks about a reality that we are living now in our Central American countries, where thousands of children are traveling every year, crossing the borders to find their mother in the US, and we see that our governments do not do anything for these people, but I know that people from other countries are working hard for us.

December 4th, 2014: I will never forget this day because it was when I met Sonia Nazario.  When I met her I remember that I was reading my speech and she came in front of me and I said “I cannot believe it”.  I could not believe what was happening in this moment because it was all so fast, but then I realized that I was talking with Sonia Nazario. Something that I always remember is a question that she asked me when we were talking before the conference, the question was: “Are you orphan?”.  And at the beginning I was laughing because of the directness of her question.  But my answer for her was, so I do not have mother and father, but I found a new family and this family is NPH. I think that NPH is my family because it always has supported me, always been there in my difficult and in my happy moments, and given me so many opportunities.

When I was in the podium introducing her, my first three minutes I felt nervous but then I felt comfortable because meeting her before the conference helped me a lot.

This experience for me is one of the most important in my life, because I met a brave, courageous woman who is fighting for the people who do not have A VOICE IN THIS SYSTEM and the poorest people and I realize that there are people working for those people.

The experience of reading “Enrique’s Journey” definitely changed my way of thinking about this social problem, and I realized the poorest people who do not have a lot are often the people who share the little that they have with each other.

This book connects to my life in many ways, first because the boy who she talks about is Honduran. Second because since he was a little boy his father abandoned him besides his mother and in my case was the same my father abandoned me and my mother died when I was two years old, so both of us were abandoned by our fathers. It is why I say I, like Enrique, could have been one of the thousands children traveling every year crossing the borders.