Meeting Silvia

silviaIn an effort to help Live Intentionally readers reach their dreams and inspire others, I’ve invited you to share your dreams. On Fridays I feature a reader & their dream. Today’s post is by Paula Kiger…

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. -Martin Buber

I have a journey planned for July of this year. The journey will take me and my 14 year old daughter, Tenley, to Guatemala, on a Mission Awareness Trip conducted by the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. Obviously the destination is Guatemala, but what am I really seeking by going and taking my daughter? Why is it so important that it leads me to ask for your help?

This trip, in which we will meet Silvia, the child our extended family has been sponsoring for six years, has been in my “Top 3 Goals” for two years running.

To be perfectly honest with you, this trip is not a mission trip where we build houses, install irrigation, teach English, or do other public works. It is defined as an “in-depth immersion experience.” In the words of CFCA:

You will be welcomed into the homes of families and have the opportunity to talk with them about their daily lives. You will hear them describe their challenges and successes, and get to know them as individuals with distinct gifts, abilities and tremendous potential. You will hear presentations about the culture, religion, social and economic conditions in the country. As you travel to CFCA communities, you will have the opportunity to observe the country’s unique natural beauty. Each day, you will have time for personal or group reflections to help you process what you have seen and learned.

When I look back on my education, I remember reading geography books, about various dietary and societal practices of other cultures. It was interesting but it just seemed so ……. sterile. As a parent I want my children to see, touch, and experience other countries. At a time when our world is beset by tensions that arise partially because cultures don’t understand one another, I see this as a chance to plant a seed in my child of understanding – a seed that can only grow by looking our sponsored child, Silvia, and the other people of her country in the eye.

In addition, this is one of the only ways I can think of to drive home the point with my child that problems come in many degrees of magnitude. The things that a typical middle class American teenager thinks are issues (not having an iPhone, Hollister not having your favoriate wash in jeans, squabbles with classmates), are much smaller in magnitude than the issues some people in our world face.

paula and tenleyTenley and I are confirmed to go on the July 16-July 23 trip.  The fee that Christian Foundation for Children and Aging charges for basic shelter, food, and other necessities has been paid. We have been vaccinated against various travel-related maladies. One of the last pieces of this puzzle is airfare.

Last September, when I committed to this trip, my husband had just lost his job and we thought he would find employment rather quickly; but that has not happened. Despite his best efforts, nothing suitable has materialized as we approach the 9 month anniversary of his job loss.

At a time when our family should prioritize the basic expenses of living, it feels a bit extravagant to be planning an international trip, but I really sense that I have a small window with my teenager in which a trip like this can make a lifelong impression.

I have established a “chip in” for anyone who would like to contribute to our airfare fund (any amount is appreciated!):

If you can’t contribute right now, we would still appreciate your positive thoughts and prayers.

This seven days may change a teenager’s life forever, and you can play a part.

Thank you for reading this!

Adios y gracias!

About paulakiger

I live in Tallahassee, Florida. I am a wife of one, mom of two, and friend of many. Please visit me at my blog, Perspicacity, at

14 Responses to “Meeting Silvia”

  1. Thank you, Paul, for sharing my and Tenley’s (and Silvia’s) story with your readers. I am humbled and grateful.

    • Paula, thanks for sharing your dream here on Live Intentionally. And way to go on not giving up on your dream despite challenging financial circumstances. By doing so, you’re giving God a chance to do something miraculous, and giving yourself, Tenley, and everyone around you the opportunity to experience God’s power!

      • Thanks for sharing Paula K. and Tenley and Silvia’s story. WHEN they meet this July it will be such a God -moment, not a casual hello -goodbye. The Kigers have been generous and loving church family and the family is looking forward to seeing this happen. Only wish that Paula could pack a few of us with her! Thanks for commenting; all the best!

        • Pat, what a lovely way to put it – a God moment. And I appreciate your other comments. Our Holy Comforter Church family is certainly a place where despite all our human imperfections God’s grace creates some pretty amazing things. 🙂

  2. Fantastic Blog! I really enjoy (and appreciate) your comments [thoughts] …
    All the best!

  3. This is an amazing story. This is showing all of us that even the sponsors make sacrifices to help a needy child. Lets all learn to appreciate what God has given us. Tenley and mom will for sure meet Silvia through God’s power. I may not afford to give now but you are both in ma thought and prayers. You trip intention is amazing!

  4. Why has the chipin event ended?

    • Hi Douglas, I sent you an email to respond personally. I have reactivated the ChipIn for anyone who is interested in donating. Ultimately, we are most grateful for support of all kinds, prayers as well as donations. 🙂

  5. Dear Paula,
    In 2009, I was fortunate to take 4 of my children to Guatemala. It had blessings in many unexpected ways. I feel God will help you find a way to go. You will not regret it. You won’t need much money when you are there. CFCA provides everything. God bless you!

  6. You might be able to get a lower airfare if you tell them it is a mission trip.

    • Hi MaryAnne, thank you for your comments – it is really great to hear from someone who has been to Guatemala with their children! I was able to secure a very reasonable airfare recently so that was a huge relief!


  1. Sponsor writes about upcoming trip to Guatemala « Around the World with CFCA - June 2, 2011

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