At 2nd Mile Missions, we like to say that we all have a “yes story” – a moment when we specifically answered God’s call on our lives to be involved with 2nd Mile Missions in some capacity. Saying yes invites us into the important work of disrupting the cycle of poverty in the Dominican Republic and allows us to be a part of bringing hope and the light of Jesus to a country that desperately needs it.
This past September, Loranna Shilling began her “yes story” by signing up to sponsor two children – a brother and sister – from the 2nd Mile Education Center. When asked why she decided to become a sponsor for the first time, Loranna responded, “I was at a crossroads in my giving, so I asked God where he wanted my help. Around the same time, I started seeing social media posts from 2nd Mile Missions about their need for sponsors and I immediately knew that was the answer I was looking for.”
As is so often the case when we choose to give of our time or resources, Loranna unexpectedly found herself on the receiving end of blessings. She shares, “Sponsoring a child for educational growth is a tangible way to act as the hands and feet of Christ. Through sponsoring, I am able to alleviate the financial stressor for the student’s family. The cost of supporting one student is minimal, however, the reward is great. Not only am I helping the child I am sponsoring, I am helping their family, their peers and their community.”
Loranna was privileged to participate in our November 2022 Awareness Trip where she got to meet both of her sponsored students for the first time. Of that experience, Loranna said, “When I met my sponsored students, my heart swelled so much that it hurt. I was overwhelmed by the amount of love that so quickly formed between the students and me. Our very first meeting was as if we were old friends – we hugged each other, shared laughs and were caught up in the excitement of it all.” One of the perks of going on an Awareness Trip is that participants also get the opportunity to meet the parents and family of their sponsored student. Loranna was surprised and humbled by the amount of gratitude expressed by the parents and it made her realize how much she had taken her own education for granted.
Finally, when asked what advice she would give to someone considering becoming a sponsor, she, without hesitation, replied, “Anyone can become a sponsor and 2nd Mile Missions makes it very easy to do so.” She went on to explain, “Education is a gift we often take for granted in the United States, but it is out of reach for many children in the Dominican Republic. 2nd Mile Missions steps in to walk alongside the people in the DR, giving students an opportunity for the education they deserve. I encourage everyone to provide hope for these students so they may be able to see the cycle of poverty be broken in their future.”