Growing Up with Sponsor Children
// Sammie Bennett
When Zach and Abby Taggart were in elementary school they attended a comedy concert with their parents, Brian and Karin. It was a Laugh All Night event in 2009, where the entire family learned about New Missions.
Brian and Karin made a decision that night: Zach and Abby would each choose a sponsor child who was their same age and gender. “We wanted it to feel like a partnership,” Karin explained, of including their children in the process. “Even though we’re technically the sponsors, we wanted our kids to be just as involved.”
Zach and Abby got involved with sponsorship from the very beginning. They helped write letters, pack shoeboxes, and pray for their sponsor children--Louvenson and Berline. Around the dinner table, the family would talk about the two children they were supporting in Haiti. Zach and Abby even kept pictures of Louvenson and Berline in their bedrooms.
In July 2017, the Taggart family had the incredible opportunity to meet the two children they had only ever seen in pictures. The family traveled to Haiti together and spent time with both Louvenson and Berline. “It was absolutely incredible,” Karin said, of the trip. “We have been praying for these children and writing and receiving letters over the past few years. And to actually see them in person and hug them... it’s just amazing. Because I feel like they’re a part of my family.”
Zach and Louvenson--who were both sixteen at the time--bonded over dominoes. “Those two boys connected,” said Brian. “I really can’t describe it. They were like brothers almost... it was just two guys hanging out. It was absolutely amazing to see.”
Berline and Abby also played dominoes together. “What was surprising to me was how alike they were,” said Karin, of the girls. Berline was thirteen at the time, and Abby fourteen. “They live in two different countries with two different cultures, and yet they were so similar.” During their time together, Berline gave her only pack of crackers to Abby. “That was all she had, and she gave them to Abby,” Karin said. “It was very moving.”
Sponsoring both Berline and Louvenson has deeply impacted the Taggart family’s culture overall. “We try to find ways to constantly engage,” Brian explained. Their sponsor children’s pictures are now on a board in their pantry so the family members can see them often.
“Every big grocery shop, we generally buy some kind of supply and keep a bin as a constant reminder that we’re in this,” Brian said. They then take the items in their bin to the New Missions headquarters, where the entire family volunteers monthly during the fall and winter seasons and other times throughout the year as well.
Whether volunteering at headquarters or packing shoeboxes for Berline and Louvenson, Zach and Abby have experienced the joy of partnering with New Missions. And so have Karin and Brian. “It’s just brought so much joy and so much love into my life, and into my family’s life,” Karin said. “Why wouldn’t you want to sponsor a kid? It’s a really awesome experience.” ~Sammie Bennett