Message from the Board President of NPH International
Reinhart Köhler, who joined the NPH family 40 years ago as a volunteer, shares his thoughts about the impact of support from people around the world.
Dear NPH Family,
As we approach the end of the year and think of all of the holidays I have experienced in the different cultures in which I have lived, a story comes to mind.
The story revolves around a girl and Hermana Mayor named Maria*. I remember when she described an encounter she had with a woman she met by chance on a public bus ride in San Diego. They were talking about where they were from, and Maria explained that she had grown up in a children’s home in Mexico. The woman responded by explaining how, through her church, they had supported a children’s home in Mexico. Maria asked what kind of support they had given and the woman listed some of the different goods that they had sent, among them a huge number of pajamas. Maria asked what the pajamas looked like, and once her travel companion gave her a description, Maria knew that the children’s home this woman had supported was Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos y Hermanas.
At that time, when the pajamas arrived, the NPH home was located in Alcolman, close to Mexico City, situated at an altitude of over 7,000 feet (2,250 meters), which meant temperatures plummeted at night, particularly in the winter months. Maria was well into her twenties when she met this lady, but she still remembered how she had loved the warmth of those pajamas with their thick and soft cloth when she was barely 7 years old. Spontaneously, she took the woman’s hand and said, “I was one of the children who received your pajamas. You will never know what a wonderful gift you and your parish gave us, saving us from the physical cold and also bringing warmth to our hearts. I remember this special gift often and the memories still create joy of sheer gratitude in my heart. Thank you!”
Hearing this story, two things stand out to me. One is that, while I have met many supporters of the NPH Family throughout my 40 years with NPH and was able to pass on the gratitude of our children and young adults for the support received, there are also thousands of supporters who have never met anyone from NPH and will never meet any one of us. Will they ever know the true impact their support had and the gratitude they brought to our hearts?
The second aspect of this story is that, even when we have direct contact with those we are blessed to support, we may never know how profound our impact on their lives has been. A volunteer surgeon at the Holy Family Surgery Center of One World Surgery sees the patient rolling in on a wheelchair, having lived in pain for years and then sees the same patient walking out of the surgery center healed. But the surgeon will not see that this patient returns to his/her family being able now to provide again for the children and elderly, holding the family together and sending the family’s children to school again. Those children will turn into productive adults because their parents could give them the education to better their lives. The same is true for the children growing up at NPH. I have come to know many adult Pequeños and Pequeñas, their families and how the change in their lives has made a huge difference in the lives of their children and grandchildren.
While Father Wasson was a visionary, I am certain that when he took in those boys from jail in 1954, he never thought that his act of Christian kindness would grow into a family of tens of thousands of children, and bring vital services to impoverished communities to help families to stay together and raise their children, preventing the families from falling apart and the need for alternative childcare services. When NPH Honduras started its San José Family Center in the rural area of the Mata de Plátano Community, we began with 94 children. Within three years, the group of children we serve has grown close to 300, with support being provided in schooling, tutoring, therapy for special needs children, and support for the families of the children we serve.
I wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas and New Year. Please know how grateful the NPH Family is for your support and prayers, and please always remember that your support has a profound and immediate impact on the children we serve, but also will bring blessings to many more for years to come, some of whom we know, and many we may never get to know, except that with your generosity and the grace of God the wave of goodness will continue into eternity.
NPH International Board President
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