Life defining decisions- by Ally Maloney

There are moments in life when you look back and you know that they were defining, that they changed you, and that even if you tried, you couldn’t forget.  For me one of those moments was my trip to Uganda a few years ago.  I remember getting out of the van and being greeted by a sea of smiling faces and dancing feet all so excited to see me, even though we had never met.  The welcome that we received as guests was incredibly humbling and at the same time heart wrenching.  I remember thinking that I felt so unworthy to be received the way that I was.

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Ally and the child she sponsors Mary (AKA Bling Bling)

Getting out of the van I quickly become associated with many of the adorable and endearing children.  One, named Mary, was especially easy for me to bond with.  I had brought some little bracelets to share with the kids and she was especially fond of them. We called it her “Bling Bling” and that also quickly became her nickname.

Over the past 4 years I’ve continued to sponsor and stay in touch with her.  My sister and dad had the privilege of traveling to Uganda two years ago and also got to meet Mary.  On that trip both my sister and dad met and began sponsoring kids as well.  This past year my dad had the incredible privilege of being able to send his sponsored child to college.  You can read about my dad’s opportunity and see a video about his child’s changed life here!

allykidsThere are few things that are more rewarding than knowing that you have had the chance to impact and change someone’s life.  Getting to sponsor a child is that very opportunity and it’s so incredibly simple to do.  $38 dollars is nothing.  $38 dollars that probably would have been spent on a new shirt, a night at the movies, a month of tanning.. it’s really not even a sacrifice when you compare it to what these kids in Africa live with every day.  The chance to give them a future is entirely priceless.  There are some things in life that require planning and thought before action, not this however.  There really is no question.  Sponsorship is something that everyone can, and should do.  For me it was easy,  I met Mary, we became FRIENDS, we laughed and sang together and saw each other cry.  How could I not give up a small amount of money to make sure that she could reach the potential that God has given her?  For me it was easy because I know that she is a real 13-year-old girl, with feelings, emotion, hurts, joys, and real needs.  For those of you who haven’t been to Africa, know that one, you should definitely try to get there, and two, these kids are real, their need is real, and you can really help them.  I would strongly encourage you to do that.  It will change the lives of both your sponsored child and you yourself.  To learn more about sponsoring a child please check out our 100 percent smiles page– there are still many children waiting for you to say yes to changing their life!

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Here are a few more fun pics from my trip and from the trip my dad and sister went on as well!

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