By Kris Amundson          You don´t have to spend much time in Honduras to realize how critically important family is. But most of the girls we support have no family. Because of parental illness, abuse, or the effects of abject poverty, they have little or no contact with their biological family.

Where Christ Church can, we have tried to fill the gap. Tonight, when Astrid graduates, Anne Reed will be her family escort - only appropriate because Anne has supported her since she came to OLR. Tania, our other graduate, has ties to Christ Church dating to the time when she was in a preschool class taught by Sarah DeCamps and Sara Conrath.

As family, one of the greatest gifts we can give these young women is time. They have endured things most of us could not. Their path is not always straight. But when we stick with them, we provide the same love and support that they would get from a family.

Last night we saw Joan Burchell, a former member of Christ Church. She was in town for the kindergarten graduation of the daughter of a young woman she sponsored. She had to come, Brenda said - she was family.

When we spent time with Sonia Bardalas over the last few days, we saw the fruits of that family love. Over the years, she and Anne Reed have established a close bond. Anne has supported Sonia through incredible challenges. But the payoff is seeing how Sonia is raising her son Andres - he is a well-mannered, well-spoken, self-confident boy of 10.

I am looking forward to seeing my god-daughter Aurora tomorrow night. My role, she has informed me, is to tell her son Isaac how beautiful he is! (This will not be hard.) And when Julia introduced me to Jimenita, the name she gave me was "abuelita" (grandma). Now, that is family!

Today, pray that the family of our church can become family to girls who need our love.

Astrid and Tanya were at the Holy Family School yesterday to prepare for today's graduation. Astrid's younger sister Siobhan has long been proudly sponsored by Christ Church at Our Little Roses.

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