Fabricio's Potential

I remember when I met Fabricio for the first time at Camp Agape. He was a highly energetic and somewhat aggressive kindergartner. He welcomed me to Camp with a punch, which at his height proved to be a very unfortunate blow for me. 

I guess a lot can change from one year to another. I spent a day at Camp Agape at the beginning of this year and he seemed to be a very different Fabricio. Admittedly every child has good days and bad days, but on this particular day I was very impressed to see a very calm and collected boy, and while I helped him with his homework I was reminded about why UPH exists and what our job really is.

Fabricio´s homework was simply to copy a short phrase 10 times to practice his handwriting. One time he would forget to add the period, another he would leave out an accent, but by the end he had it down and made no mistakes as he learned to take his time. On one occasion he wrote a particularly nice letter "e", and I stopped him once he finished his sentence and showed him how nice that "e" was in comparison to the others he had written. But I let the others go by because I didn't realize that he was capable of such nice e's. At first he was really disheartened as he thought I was going to ask him to erase them and do them all again, but I just asked him to focus on doing more e's like the one he had just done, emphasizing that we both knew that he could. 

My takeaway was that what UPH does is celebrate the moments when a child (or teenager) reveals their true potential and encourage them to do it again. After all, that is the very first part of our mission statement: "To inspire the children and youth of Honduras to reach their potential..."

We don't just want to point to lofty standards, that they perhaps can't relate to, but we want to focus their attention onto the things they are already doing well, and set them goals that they can achieve.

While UPH offers programs for Copán's children and youth, I believe that God's plan is bigger than that, and that he uses children to offer learning experiences to us "grown-ups". That same day I was challenged. 

There was a moment when the camp Directors asked for a volunteer to pray before camp started. Much to my amazement it wasn't just two or three goody-two-shoes who raised their hands, but about 80% of the children put up their hands. Amongst the hands, I saw Fabricio's; the same hand that hit me in a tender area a year before. His eyes betrayed a desperate eagerness that perhaps only children possess, and all the while was saying "I haven't prayed yet! I haven't prayed yet!"

What a great wake-up call for me! I can't think of a time at a church meeting that I jumped at the opportunity to pray. Truly, Jesus was right when he said that "the kingdom of heaven is of such as these”. [Matthew 19:14]

Hugh Stacey - Executive Director