UP Catholic 03 10 2017 E Edition Page 18

BY LOREENE ZENO-KOSKEY SPECIAL TO THE U.P. CATHOLIC I came back with my soul on fire! was Martha Jennings' reaction to the Unbound Awareness Trip to Guate- mala that she took at the end of Janu- ary. She went to the Central American country to see firsthand the work done in third world nations by Un- bound, the largest Catholic sponsor- ship group in the United States. The Marquette immigration attorney also went to see two of the three children she sponsors through Unbound. The international nonprofit organi- zation brings the sponsored individu- als, who can be children, young adults and elders, to a central location where all the sponsors on the trip are waiting. Jennings explained, I stood at the entrance until I recognized Domingo, and I just burst into tears! Domingo is the 14-year-old she has sponsored for four years. Jennings also met the young girl she has spon- sored for just four months, six-year- old Skarlet, as well as the families of both children. Following the excursion to Gua- temala, Jennings began sponsoring another girl, Yessica, who lives in El Salvador. In addition, Martha's hus- band, Pat, was so inspired by her trip that he decided to sponsor a child in Bolivia and young adult in Kenya. The sponsorship costs Martha and Pat $36 a month per child, which she equates to the cost of a couple going out to dinner or to the movies with pop and popcorn. According to Jen- nings, Domingo and Skarlet are both in school, and her financial assistance provides items to facilitate their education, such as shoes, a uniform fee and school supplies. She also noted that if the children get sick, Unbound will arrange health care for them and their families. It really takes care not only of the kid, but the family, Jennings emphasized. For instance, she pointed out that so- cial promoters from Unbound work with the families of spon- sored children. The promoter asked Do- mingo's parents, the Gomezes, what one item they would like to receive to make their lives easier. Many people ask for consumer goods, like a small refrigerator, but Mr. and Mrs. Gomez decided on fertilizer for the small piece of land that Domingo's father works with five other men from his community. During our visit, Mr. Gomez ap- proached me, buried his face in my shoulder and wept, Martha recalled. I learned that the tears were from gratitude, and that is when I learned about the gift of fertilizer, and the fact that the harvest had doubled with that gift. Since all the men farm the land communally, they share the harvest. So, the gift really helped all six familiesIt's mind-boggling how that little amount of money can help, Jennings said of her sponsorship. Her motivation for helping people thousands of miles away is firmly rooted in her faith. I very much liked, and took to heart, Bishop Sample's (the former bishop of Mar- quette) quote about being the face of Christ to others. I like to think of any supposedly good works that I do as a manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit working through me, be- cause I love the Lord. And of course, His prime teaching was, 'Whatsoever you do for the least of my people, that you do unto me.' Jennings saw that special care for others on display when she watched a couple on the awareness trip meet the elderly man with disabilities they chose to sponsor. It's easy to love a child, but to love this guy? she asked with great emotion. In addition to meeting the individu- 18 March 10, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org Catholic sponsorship group has large impact on diocesan parishioners SEE UNBOUND ON PAGE 19 COURTESY PHOTO During a recent mission trip to Guatemala, Martha Jennings, a Marquette attorney meets the Gomez family, whose son she sponsors. St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Manistique, MI is seeking a principal for the 2017-2018 school year. This is a full time position, responsibilities include principal and teaching duties. Email Cassie LaTourneau at clatourneau@dioceseofmarquette.org with your resume and a letter of interest. We're online! Visit The U.P. Catholic Newspaper www.upcatholic.org Facebook www.facebook.com/ theupcatholic Twitter www.twitter.com @theupcatholic YouTube www.youtube.com/ user/theupcatholic

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