by Erin Fonner
(Erin Fonner and her family live in the U.S. and sponsor a Makarios child in the D.R.)
Those big brown eyes. That was what first captured me about Juan Carlos, a then
three year old boy whose photo had been posted to the Makarios website. He had
a big, happy smile and cute, curly hair – but my goodness, those eyes! Deep and
piercing, as if he were looking right into my soul, reaching all the way from the far
away island of the Dominican Republic, right into my living room in Austin, Texas, as
if to say, “Pick me.”
When I first heard about Makarios, I instantly resonated with their mission and
the way they approached their ministry. The Holy Spirit drew me to them with the
passion of a Brazilian World Cup fan – “I must be a part of this!” I thought, “Even if
it’s from the sidelines, I must show my support!“ To do that, I didn’t paint my face or
chant at the top of my lungs. I instead chose to sponsor a child.
My husband and I started sponsoring Juan Carlos two years ago, when our own son,
Carson, turned three. We did so for a couple of reasons. Not only do we want to be
a part of Makarios’ mission but we also want to invite our children to join us in the
joy of serving Christ. We intentionally chose a three year old boy so that our three
year old son could pray for him, relate to him as they grow up, get excited about the
toys and clothes we buy him, write to him, and eventually meet him one day. Next
year, when our oldest daughter turns three, we will look to sponsor a three year old
girl, and when our baby girl turns three, we will do the same.
While it’s neat to be able to send money each month, it’s so much more fun, and
more rewarding, to pour into our relationship with our sponsored child – both for
him and for us! Our son takes pride in picking out pajamas or a swimsuit or a small
toy to send to Juan Carlos. And he lights up when he gets a photo of him wearing
that swimsuit and holding a sign that says “Gracias.” One time, a Makarios teacher
traced Juan Carlos’ hand on a piece of paper and sent it to us. It was fun for Carson
to put his hand inside the print to see whose was bigger.
Carson is learning Spanish in school, and his relationship with Juan Carlos helps
reinforce how useful it is to learn another language. We haven’t made it to the DR
yet, though we desperately want to. Having young children makes travel difficult for
now, but our vision with Makarios is long term. Once our daughters grow up a bit,
we hope to visit Juan Carlos and our future sponsored children every other summer.
These trips are an essential component of fostering a faith that rises above culture
and translates into action, and we hope to be a blessing to the Dominicans in the
We pray that each of our kids grows to have a heart of compassion, a sense of
gratitude, a global perspective, and most of all a passionate relationship with Jesus.
We pray these same things for Juan Carlos. There’s a love and tenderness we feel
for him that transcends the miles between us. We are excited to watch him grow in
the years to come and eagerly await the day when we can look into those big brown
eyes and give him a big ‘ol hug.
To have your "PICK ME!" moment, please click here to see the children who are currently in need of sponsors.