During the short-term service trip that I took part in last month, our group was assigned a translator, a 36 year old man named Victor. Through our conversations with him, we came to know his story.
|Victor, left, lends his phone to track down a missing piece of luggage.|
When he was a young child Victor’s mother was heavily involved in witchcraft. People would come to his house to have their fortunes told and to get spiritual help when they were in trouble. He remembers seeing his mother in fits where demons came over her. She was absolutely opposed to Victor, her firstborn, reading the Bible or having any contact with Christianity. Thus for his first years he was ignorant of the true God.
For some reason, his mother softened a little when there were prospects for Victor to go to school. The only way the family could afford education was through child sponsorship with Compassion®. One of this agency’s stipulations was that the child be permitted to attend Bible classes on Saturdays. Even though it meant Victor would be exposed to the Bible, his mother went along with it.
Victor came to know the Lord through these classes. At the age of five or six he recognized he had the talent for memorizing Bible verses. He continued his education; he is grateful that eventually his mother also became a believer in the one true God and turned away from her previous practices.
Currently Victor acts as a host/translator for the teams sent from Canada to assist COCREF (a federation of 16 Christian schools). He was incredibly patient with us, explaining nuances of the Dominican way of life. He also pitched in with the construction work, although it seemed to go above and beyond his role. Since this job as host and translator for work teams is seasonal, he also does written translations for Compassion® when children and their sponsors correspond with each other. Depending on the week, he will translate between 200 and 400 pieces of correspondence for this agency; he is paid by the piece. He told us that about 50,000 Dominican children are sponsored through this agency.
Victor is a praise team leader at a large church that was founded by Korean missionaries. He also speaks some conversational Korean. He and his wife have four children; the youngest is a girl whose name is based on the Hebrew word “Jireh,” associated with God as our provider.
My youngest daughter and I jointly sponsor a Compassion® child in the Dominican. Even though it didn’t work out for me to visit the girl we sponsor, my experience with Victor confirmed the long-term impact such a sponsorship can have.