Category Archives: Sponsors

Half a World Away

Jenifer with some of the children.

We are delighted to feature this beautiful story written by Jenifer Segal about her experience as a sponsor. Jenifer is married and mother of two children living in St. Louis. She is National Editor of Major League Baseball communications and is thrilled to share her inspirational story with the James Connection community...

I was blessed with an opportunity to travel to Manipur, India, in January 2011, along with Jan Swensen and Stephanie (Robison) Cooper to see the work being done at Angels Place and to help construct a new library on campus.

It was not my first mission trip, but it certainly was among the most impactful. Spending a week reading and playing, singing and laughing with the children renewed my spirit and left the sort of impression that is not easily erased. Upon saying goodbye, I felt certain that I would forever be attached to those children.

My life has changed so much since then. I moved away from Pittsburgh and settled in St. Louis, where I now live with my husband and our two young children. Yet one constant through all these seasons of life has been my connection to Angels Place.

Deciding to become a sponsor – and to recruit others to do the same – was an obvious next step upon returning home from India. I had just seen firsthand the needs of these children and the way that Angels Place helped fill the gap for orphans in that community. I was also blown away to learn how much could be achieved from a seemingly modest monthly donation.

And so began a special relationship that I had with a stranger a half a world away.

Her name was Lamneichong, and over the last decade, I have been blessed to watch her grow from a young girl to a high school graduate. She had been abandoned by her mother, shortly after her father died, but found her way to Angels Place when she was nine years old. What a joy it was to watch her flourish over the next 11 years.

We shared letters and pictures, as well as stories about important life events. Together, we celebrated her baptism and achievements in school. She had aspirations to be a clothing designer, and she showcased that talent through the beautiful sketches and drawings she sent in the mail.

For a while, I worried about whether someone like me – someone who had hardly wanted for anything as a child – could easily relate to someone like Lamneichong, whose life had been littered with hardship. Those concerns quickly faded away, though, as we found commonality in our faith. She’d always end her letters with a note about how she was praying for me. I found it humbling that someone who could have been so hardened by life’s circumstances could demonstrate such a mature faith.

Lamneichong recently completed her schooling and graduated from Angels Place. I’ll miss our correspondence, but I also know that she is destined for great things. As for me, I now get to know another Angel, this one named Chinthiannem, a nine year old I began sponsoring this summer. And what a blessing it will be to spend the next decade bonding with another one of God’s children who, without the work of James Connection, I would otherwise never have gotten to know.

- Jenifer (Langosch) Segal

Spotlight Volunteer Ann McCamy

Ann McCamy joined the James Connection volunteer team in early 2020. Inspired by the relationship her sons had with their sponsored child, she wanted to help facilitate more of those precious connections. So she took on the rewarding, though often daunting, job of managing our bi-annual letter drive.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing the letters going back and forth”, reports Ann. “I'm especially touched by exchanges between kids here in the U.S. and kids in India. It's just really sweet to see children who are just learning how to write make this kind of effort to communicate with someone they will never meet face-to-face.”

Yes, Ann is the one who works tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure every child at Angels’ Place gets a letter, even if she has to write some herself. She also recruits volunteers, like her aging home-bound neighbor, to fill in the gaps when sponsors don’t write. “Grandma Evelyn”, as her neighbor is fondly known, is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve and was overjoyed to receive her own special letter from an older child she had written this past year. For Ann, these moments of sweet connection make the challenges worth while.

From her own personal experience as a sponsor, Ann understands how meaningful these letters can be, not only for her family but the children in India as well. “The smiles tell the story”, she says, recalling pictures of the children beaming with joy as they hold their newly delivered letter like it was a precious treasure.

Ann wants sponsors to remember, “It’s a beautiful thing to provide financial support, but also realize that the photo on the fridge is a real child who would love to build a relationship with a real person in America who cares for them. Writing a letter really doesn't take a lot of time, but it means a lot to your child.”

Our next letter drive is coming up in August. If you are a sponsor, please, consider taking just a few minutes to write your child. You will surely make his or her day! You don't even have to wait until August. Write anytime you feel the inspiration and we will hold your letter to send when the batch goes to India.

If you are not yet a sponsor and want to learn how to become one, visit our Ways to Help > Sponsor Page for more information.

Angel of the Week: Hunuliansang

Hnunliansang“Cheerful and fun-loving” is how the Angel’s Place caregivers describe our Angel of the Week: Hnunliansang. It is a remarkable and blessed transformation for a boy who was in great need not too long ago.

In 2010, Hnunliansang was five years old and living with his grandfather. He remembers little of the time, but does remember the loneliness. No longer able to take care of the child, his grandfather brought him to Angel’s Place, and now he is a happy boy who has the opportunity to go to school – and who enjoys it!

Hnunliansang’s favorite things about life at Angel’s Place are school – where his favorite subject is English – dancing, and playing with the other children. This transformation would not have been possible without the generous support of his sponsors, and his gratitude for their support is the first thing that he wants to share with all the contacts in the James Connection.

The James Connection makes possible the change in life from loneliness to hope by helping children like Hnunliansang. If you would like to help us to transform the life of another child, we invite you to become a sponsor through the James Connection.  Visit our Ways to Help page for more information.

To read more Angel of the Week stories, click on "Angel of the Week" under "Categories" to the right of this page.

An American Angel

DSC_3149-2As Christmas approached last year, LeeAnne Lafferty of Gibsonia, PA (pictured left with her mother, Jenny) was thinking about the orphans of the world. She wanted to help but didn’t know how. Her first thought was that she could share her toys with them, and so she talked the idea over with her mother, Jenny. They prayed on how they could help, and after a week an idea came to them: Cookies for Kids. Their idea was to sell cookies to help children in need. So they bought their ingredients and started baking.

The Laffertys were soon baking cookies together and selling them by the dozen. Contributors knew that the goal was to support the orphans of the world, and so they responded with a generosity in the spirit of the Laffertys' inspired idea. People gave anywhere from $10 to $250 for a dozen cookies, and in the end the Laffertys raised $1,150 from their home congregation. In the words of Jenny, “We know God can give an increase when the giving is placed in His hands.” For their contributions raised, the Cookies for Kids has provided almost the equivalent of three sponsorships for the children at Angel’s Place, and we are so grateful for their generosity that helps to make a new life for the children of Angel’s Place.

If you feel inspired by LeeAnne's story and would like to learn more about what you can do to help the children of Angels' Place, visit our Ways to Help page.