Sury's Story

It all started my freshman year in college.  While reading through a Focus on the Family magazine, the pages turned to an event of a lifetime: a trip to Guatemala with Compassion International alongside a team with the purpose of meeting their sponsor children face-to-face.  It sounded amazing, yet there was one problem...I wasn't a Compassion sponsor.  So I took a leap of faith and signed up to be the sponsor of a little Guatemalan girl named Sury, not knowing how much my life was about to change.  I soon after received my Compassion child packet in the mail, filled with information about Sury and her family, her country of Guatemala, heart-breaking facts about poverty, and the mission and purpose of Compassion.  I wrote my first letter to Sury and soon received my first letter from her, not understanding at the time how important the relationship being built through these letters would be.  Thus began the journey the Lord would use to open my eyes to the needs around the world, reveal to me more of His heart, break  my own heart for the poor and from my selfish, foolish spending, and give me a passion and desire to make a difference.


I ended up being too old the following summer to join the Compassion team with Focus on the Family, yet the Lord had other plans.  He led me to join a group of sponsors on a Compassion Sponsor Tour in July 2009, making it the most adventurous step of faith I had taken up until that point in my Christian walk, leaving me humbled and changed.  After the Lord's faithful provision, I packed my bags, flew to Miami to meet up with my team, and headed off to Guatemala.  We spent the week with the Compassion staff in Guatemala City while traveling to surrounding towns and communities to witness Compassion in action first-hand.  We visited local churches that Compassion works with and ministered to the children through VBS-style activities, paid visits to families with Compassion-sponsored children, and learned all that we could of the organization and the lives and situations of the families and children.  Obviously, the highlight of the trip was meeting Sury herself.  The arrangements were made for all of our sponsor children to travel to meet us in Guatemala City, making it the first time for most of them to even travel outside their communities.  Sury was the first one off the bus, totally shy and reserved, yet I wouldn't doubt it if I was more nervous than she was. We spent the day together, along with her father, her Compassion tutor, and translator, playing together and learning more about her life and family.  The day was filled with so many mixed emotions, including myself being completely broken for this little girl and her family and humbled that the Lord would choose me to be a part of her life.

Sury was 4 then and is now 12, has accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord, and is being transformed into the young lady God created her to be, all through the work the Lord is doing through her church and Compassion International.  Visit Compassion's website to learn more of what this wonderful organization is  all about.  I hope you will join me in being a part of what God is doing in the lives of these children.

Compassion International | | Sponsor Today!

Sarah Chelf

Lifestyle photographer in Fort Worth, Texas specializing in natural lighting and on-location photography.