Meeting Felicia


By Beth Hofmann, 2014 30 Hour Famine Study Tour participant

hoffmanWhat we saw and did in El Salvador, on the 30 Hour Famine Study Tour, changed the way I think about myself, my life, and the world around me.

The experience that impacted me the most was when we met Felicia. Felicia is a sponsored child through World Vision. We got the chance to go to her home, learn about her life, and how World Vision sponsors are making a difference in her life. Felicia started off talking about her family and what she does in her free time. I didn’t expect to have much in common with her at first. We’re from different countries, speak a different language, and live 2000 miles apart. While talking with Felicia, we learned that she is 16 years old with an older brother and younger sister. She attends school and her favorite subject is math. She likes to play softball, her favorite food is spaghetti, and she wants to be a nurse when she grows up.

While we sat and listened to Felicia tell her story, I couldn’t help but smile when I heard that we did have things in common: our older brothers and love for Italian food. As she went on to talk about her daily life, my smile faded and my heart began to ache. Felicia explained how she walks two hours every other day to fetch clean water.  We learned that her father is a corn farmer who struggles to provide income for his family. She said there isn’t enough food for everyone some nights.

When I heard about her everyday challenges, it became clear why we do the 30 Hour Famine. We fast and fundraise for children and teenagers like Felicia. You and I have big dreams and bright future plans. Felicia and her family worry about where their next meal is coming from. It takes them hours to get water. We just turn on our faucet.

Being welcomed into Felicia’s home, and getting the opportunity to hear her story, made me realize that I’ve taken things for granted. I’ve never questioned if there will be a roof over my head, clean water to drink, and food on the table. Felicia, and many of the people we met while in El Salvador, think about survival. I’ve never had to worry about my survival. I’ve never questioned tomorrow.

During our debrief sessions we were all asked to share with the group about an experience, a story, scripture, testimony, anything that was on our mind. I shared James 4:13-15. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit,’yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”

No matter what our circumstances are in life, some things we can’t control. Just like the passage suggests, tomorrow is not a guarantee.  Every day we have is a blessing and a gift, and it was a true blessing to have heard everyone’s stories in El Salvador.