Typically, people looking to become a sponsor will browse our website to find a vulnerable child or teen to support. For Michael Ward, the process was flipped. In 2019, he traveled to Moldova with JMI for the first time and met 4-year-old Gabi in Carpineni village. She was not part of our program yet. “God opened my eyes to see the need to help the children of Moldova, and when I returned home, I added Gabi to the sponsorship program,” Michael said. Now, he sponsors both Gabi, who is now 11, and her sister Ana Maria, and has been back to visit them multiple times over the years.
Q: Why did you choose to sponsor with JMI?
A: God led me to go on a mission trip to Moldova seven years ago while in church on Missions Sunday. God had been moving in my life, preparing me for a journey that would change my life forever. I knew He was calling me to go on a mission trip to Moldova, but I didn’t know when until that day.
While on my first trip to Moldova, God led me to a vulnerable, young little girl named Gabi (pictured below in 2017). She was very shy and wouldn’t look me in the eyes. Halfway through the mission trip, she made eye contact with me and in that moment, God showed me the love that He has for her and the children of Moldova. It was so tangible, strong, and real that it brought me to tears. God opened my eyes to see the need to help the children of Moldova, and when I returned home, I added Gabi to the sponsorship program. Now I sponsor Gabi and her sister Ana Maria.
Q: With child sponsorships, you write letters back and forth each month. Is there a particular letter that has stuck with you?
A: Each letter that I receive from them states how much they appreciate the gifts that were sent and how excited they were to have received a letter from me. It is their only way to communicate with me in the States. It gives me peace of mind that they are doing well. I see a picture of each sponsored child each month, and I save all the pictures. Seeing them smiling in the pictures lets me know that everything is okay and that their needs are being met.
Q: What impact have you seen in the lives of your sponsored children and their family?
A: I have seen needs met through this program. They receive clothing, personal hygiene supplies and food and water. Not only is JMI providing for their basic needs, but they are also providing for their spiritual needs. Ana Maria and Gabi are learning about the Bible and growing in their faith in Jesus Christ when they go to summer camps and monthly meetings. This is the real impact on their lives.
Q: What has it been like seeing them in person over the years?
A: I have been so incredibly blessed to be able to travel to Moldova each year to see my sponsored children (pictured above in 2023). Being present and seeing them in person is the biggest gift of all. I have been fortunate to spend time with them at summer camps and be able to talk with them about how their lives are going. I have had the special privilege of purchasing food and supplies and visiting their home to see their living conditions. It has blessed me to have them in my life. They are beautiful children who make the best of their situations and find joy even though they don’t have much.
Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit that your sponsored children receive through this program?
A: Support, prayer, and relationship. I think having a sponsor that cares and prays for them means so much. I see how much receiving a letter from their sponsor means to them. For them to know that someone is praying for them and thinking of them and supporting them goes a long way.
Q: Is there something God has taught you through sponsorship?
A: God has shown me His love for children. He has shown me that He has not forgotten about the vulnerable, lost, or forgotten. He is moving and working in the country of Moldova. He has established JMI to organize, care for, and love on the orphaned.
Q: If there is someone considering a commitment to sponsoring a child for the first time, is there any encouragement you’d like to give?
A: . Please pray and ask God to lead you as you consider sponsoring a child. God handpicked two little girls for me who needed someone to provide basic supplies and support, and I have gotten so much more out of this commitment. I believe that you will be blessed more by them, and your life will be forever changed.