A story of rooftops and buttercups

Members of Carter's Chord, a World Vision Artist Associate, recently traveled to the Dominican Republic to record the music video "Love a Little Bigger," shown above, and to meet their sponsored child, Franyely, who shares a tiny space on a rooftop with her father and brother. The three musicians got a firsthand look at the challenges faced by the family -- and how World Vision's presence in their community has created a reason for hope.

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"Vida en toda su plenitud la voluntad para hacer esto posible"

Life to the fullest, and the will to make it happen. That is one of the themes of World Vision in the Dominican Republic.

It’s Thursday. It’s hard to believe that we have been home for almost an entire week. I can’t get the faces, sounds, smells, smiles out of my head. The three of us knew that taking a trip to visit our sponsored child would be an amazing thing. I don’t know that we were prepared for how much our hearts would be grabbed -- captured.

Life to the fullest, and the will to make it happen. That is what everyone deserves. That is what World Vision is trying to give people around the world -- a chance, dignity, and a future -- and we saw it all firsthand.

Small, narrow, spiral metal stairs wind up the side of the building, spilling us onto the rooftop of a three-story building. There at the far end stands a structure. A room of sorts -- no, this is a home. This is the home where our sponsored child, Franyely, lays her head each night. Four-year-old Franyely, her 6-year-old brother, and her dad all share one bed. They have a small TV, a few toy cars, a hot plate for cooking, and each other. That is all.

Franyely’s mother split when she was 2 months old. Never coming back. Franyely’s father, Francisco, is a single dad working as a handyman, trying to do everything he can to keep his family together. He has a hard time finding work because he has no one to watch the children during the day, and he doesn’t want to leave them alone. His mother used to watch the children, but she passed away a few months ago. So he takes them along on his painting and maintenance jobs.

Carter's Chord in the Dominican Republic with their sponsored child, Franyely. From left to right: Emily, Joanna, Franyely, Franyeley's father, Fanyely's brother, and Becky.

It’s been a bleak picture for this little family, but they have two things they can hold onto: their faith, and now they also have World Vision.

World Vision, to act as an advocate for them in the community; World Vision, who can come alongside them and ensure that the children get the things that they need and that Francisco can get some assistance; World Vision, who has vocational training centers, music schools, counseling centers, and church partnerships.

This family is not alone. Knowing that our sponsorship is helping put all these things in place for this sweet family is amazing.

Though their world looks somber at times, the real story here is the joy. This family loves each other. Hope is an amazing thing. Hope is something you can feel -- something you can see. We could hear it in Franyely’s laughter, see it in her brother’s smile, and feel it in Franyely’s hugs (she gives amazing hugs).

They aren’t all that different from any kid you might know. Franyely loves puppy dogs and pretending to cook. She watches Barney the Dinosaur with her brother. They play and fight like normal brothers and sisters do. Her father has a nickname for her, Bombón, which means “Buttercup” in Spanish -- a ray of sunshine on the cloudy days; a little buttercup amid the dirt of poverty.

There are so many more stories to tell from our trip. So much information to download. In the coming weeks, we will be releasing a video blog series chronicling our trip. We will be showing teasers of our music video for the song “Love a Little Bigger,” which we shot while in the Dominican Republic. We would love for all of you to join us on this journey.

I want to leave with one thing. Listen to your heart. I know there are amazing charity organizations all over the world, and I don’t know where you already spend your generosity. But if you feel moved to learn more about World Vision and the world of child sponsorship, please investigate more. Listen to that little voice inside that is telling you that you are blessed -- and that even with what little you have, you can make a world of difference in the life of a family.

Look at the faces of the little ones waiting for a sponsor. I promise -- committing yourself to something like this will change your life in ways you didn’t even know possible. We’ve seen it firsthand -- it’s all completely legit. Your letters are hand-delivered to your sponsored child; case workers who truly care are on the ground in these countries; and hope is in the air. Take a second, and truly consider sponsoring a child today.

This post originally appeared on the blog of Carter's Chord. Learn more about Carter's Chord and other World Vision artists.

Sponsor a child in the Dominican Republic today. Your love and support for a child like Franyely will help provide life-giving basics like nutritious food, clean water, medical care, and education, as well as the intangible gift of hope.

Watch this video recap of the group's trip to the Dominican Republic:

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