A sponsor’s imperfect gift teaches the perfect lesson

Sometimes the best lessons are learned by making mistakes. This was true for sponsor Karen Gardner, whose small mistranslations showed her and her sponsored students that no one is perfect.

Karen Gardner (center) and her husband Craig pictured with their sponsor students Ingrid and Karin, and the girls' family.

Karen Gardner (center) and her husband Craig pictured with their sponsored students Ingrid and Karin, and the girls’ family on a recent visit last spring.

This February, Karen Gardner was visiting Antigua as part of the medical mission group, Faith in Practice, which she has been a part of for 10 years. Each time she returns to Guatemala, she sets up a home visit with her sponsored students, sisters Ingrid and Karin. This visit seemed especially important though, since Karen learned late last year that both girls were having a great deal of difficulty in school and neither had passed their grade. Karen had an idea to bring the girls colorful, easy-to-read books to encourage them to read. After shopping around for a while, she realized that it was difficult to find “fun books” in Antigua. However, she did manage to find some children’s books at a local restaurant. She bought, “The Ugly Duckling” and a book about butterflies written in both Spanish and English. Then she saw it—the perfect book called, “I Can Do It!” Much to her disappointment, the book was entirely in English and she left without purchasing it.

Later that night, it occurred to Karen that she could just translate the book for the girls. She was enrolled in Spanish school in Antigua, after all! So she went back to the restaurant and bought the book. Then Karen’s Spanish instructor helped her carefully translate the text. She wrote the translation in a notebook first, and then copied it into the book. When her instructor reviewed it, she noticed that Karen had made a few mistakes. Karen was upset with her carelessness, but didn’t have time to make corrections before her home visit.

When Karen arrived at Ingrid and Karin’s home, she read them “The Ugly Duckling” in Spanish. Then she pulled out her translated book, “Yo Puedo Hacer Lo!” and began to read. She heard muffled giggles from the girls as they saw her translation mistakes. Karen had to smile. How perfect that her gift to them was imperfect! It showed the girls that everyone makes mistakes and struggles at times, but it’s no reason to give up. Even though they were having trouble in school, they needed to continue to work hard. Karen told the girls that she would love them no matter what, and wanted them to do well. They both promised to try their hardest.

Karen said, “Familias de Esperanza es realamente La Esperanza de las Familias,” which translates to “Common Hope truly is the Hope of the Families.” But it’s supportive sponsors like Karen whose encouragement makes all the difference.

Karen plans to return to Guatemala at the end of March, and is looking forward to another home visit with Ingrid and Karin.

 

 

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