Of loving and giving

“Extend love. Pass on hope.”

Tin and RJ have been living by this goal even before they became a couple.

“You get a sense of fulfillment when you become part of someone’s life transformation and when people are reminded of God’s love for them because of what you do,” Tin shares.

Tin and RJ are World Vision’s sponsors for 10 years now. They have been separately sponsoring children before they met. Tin started when she was 23 while RJ sponsored  a child named Angeline from Cavite.

“I remember looking at the picture folders and how the photo of Angeline easily captured me. There was an instant connection,” recalls RJ.

Over the years, both Tin and RJ made sure to catch up with their respective sponsored children by writing them letters.

“Two weeks into the sponsorship program, I met her. I’ve read a lot of stories about sponsors like me meeting their sponsored child, but it’s different if you experience it yourself. I was particularly touched when we were eating and that child would save some of her foods for her siblings,” shares RJ, underscoring the power of giving that he learned from Angeline, and at the same time being reminded of how his sponsorship is making a difference in her life.

Tin also got the chance to meet her sponsored child from Zambales.

A match made in heaven

Tin and RJ met at work.

Their advocacies, their love for children brought them together. They started as colleagues whose friendship was nurtured over time.

After five years of friendship and courtship, they got married in 2017.

“By the time we got married, our individual sponsored children have graduated and their communities where World Vision operates have become economically stable,” Tin shares.

World Vision’s child sponsorship program operates on a community-based approach. The pooled funds from sponsors are used to implement different initiatives on education, economic development, disaster risk reduction, health and nutrition, among others, that empower families and the communities as a whole to create an enabling environment for children.

“We were newlyweds and didn’t have a child yet, so we decided to sponsor our first child as a married couple,” shares RJ.

“Mary Joy has a charming smile and I think that was one of the reasons we were immediately drawn to her,” Tin smiles. The couple also describes the child as someone who loves reading and writing.

Asked how they are able to stay true to their commitment to their sponsored child, especially amid the economic blow of COVID-19, RJ answers, “It’s our priority. Our sponsorship pledge is a non-negotiable in our budget.”

The couple agrees that giving is a journey and every journey has its own story.

“Child sponsorship with World Vision is a journey of life transformation. You do not just get to see how someone’s life is being changed, but, you also see how your life as a sponsor is transformed along the way,” Tin says.

Like how parents would do their best for their child, RJ and Tin continue to try harder to connect with their sponsored child Mary Joy. To them, loving is giving and giving also means making time.

“This year, we resolve to always write her letters and to always pray for her and her family, especially in these trying times. We pray that God will bless her and keep her safe,” says RJ.

“To Mary Jane, I hope that you press on. Remember that God will always send people to remind you that you are loved,” ends Tin.