Mike Burchett has been to Moldova with JMI many times. He’s a frequent face on the Rolling Hills Community Church team that helps run summer camps for kids in Carpineni. Mike currently sponsors Nicoleta in Moldova, pictured above in 2023. He and his wife and daughter live in Franklin, Tennessee.
Q: How long have you been a sponsor?
A: I have been sponsoring Nicoleta from 2014 till present. I sponsored Catea (pictured below in 2014) until she aged out in 2018.
Q: Why did you choose to sponsor with JMI?
A: I sponsor with JMI because they actually make sponsorship a personal relationship. I have been able to visit the girls yearly since 2014. I get letters each month and can communicate as often as I like. I can also provide Christmas and Birthday gifts for them.
Q: With child and teen sponsorships, you write letters back and forth with your child each month. Is there a particular letter you remember receiving that stuck with you?
A: Nicoleta used to live at home with her older sister, while their mom lived and worked in Italy. She wrote me that the heating had broken in their house, and she had to move in with her cousin for the winter. This is when I mentioned JMI’s Transitional Living program as a future option for her. Nicoleta decided that she would like to go to the program’s Grace House and worked extremely hard to get selected. Thankfully, she is now in her second year.
Q: What impact have you seen in the life of your child and her family through your sponsorship?
A: Now that she is a teenager, I’ve seen Grace House make a big impact on her. I honestly do not think Nicoleta would be at Grace House today without JMI and the sponsorship program in her life as a young child. Once Nicoleta decided she wanted to go to Grace House, she started working extremely hard on her education. I am very proud of what she has accomplished.
Q: What has it been like to meet them in person?
A: I have visited Nicoleta since 2014. I go every summer to Carpineni and spend a lot of quality time with her. It is a great experience. From the time she was 8, she has been my photographer. I just hand her the camera and then pick it up at the end of the week. Also, this past trip (summer 2023) I was able to see Nicoleta in a leadership role through Grace House. It was a great week for me to see how much she has grown in the past 10 years.
Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit that your sponsored child receives through this program?
A: For my sponsored child, the opportunity to continue her education at Grace House. Nicoleta had nowhere to go when school ended at the age of 16. Now she is studying to be a teacher.
Q: Is there something God has taught you through your sponsorship?
A: Humility. It wasn’t actually through my sponsorship, but my first trip to Moldova. I hate asking for money for anything. I had saved $3,000 to go on the trip, and then we had medical bills that took it all. Then I saved $3,000 again, only to have car issues that took all of it. I was in a men’s bible study and mentioned that I thought God was telling me not to go to Moldova. A wise man told me that “I” had worked really hard but it didn’t seem like I had asked God to help out. I had to humble myself and ask for money from strangers. After 2 years of getting about half of it paid through donations, the last 5 years have been 100% funded by other people helping.
A: I wanted to share one of my favorite photos ever, even though it’s not directly related to sponsorship. While in Carpineni, we were at the park doing a small fair/party for the kids at the end of the trip. This young girl came up to me. She asked me to stay where I was and then ran back to her house and brought this picture of me and her sister from camp several years before, whom I remembered. She hadn’t seen her sister in six months, and I was able to get them on a phone call together at that moment. To me in a nutshell, that’s what we do when we visit. We build relationships.
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 them?
A: Do it! Since 2014, I have been able to get several other children sponsored who needed assistance. My sister and best friend have sponsored children that I met in Carpineni.