My name is Paulo Mendonça, I am 15 and have always had the dream of studying abroad through an exchange program. I was never able to go on one, so I never took the idea very seriously. In my mind, there were many financial and spiritual obstacles to overcome. That is until my English teacher called me to talk to him and presented the possibilities, and my reality started to change.
I had been introduced to English as a kid, and it came naturally to me, so I began learning it as a second language. Until 2011, I lived in Rio de Janeiro and did not have any understanding about exchange programs, but I had the desire to meet new people and see new places. In the same year, I came to live in a small city called Atibaia and started studying in an international school that sends students to study abroad through exchange programs. With these opportunities, my desire turned into a dream, so I started considering the possibilities and costs. Then the feeling that this wouldn`t be possible came into my mind.
Years later, I was having a conversation with my English teacher and pastor, Lucas Swisher. He asked me if I still had interest in being a part of the exchange program, because I had already mentioned that dream to him. I immediately said yes, he then said that we could talk to people, and try to make it work. That was when my reality started changing. After talking to a few people and beginning the application process, my dream became a possibility.
Besides the dream of studying abroad, this exchange program would be very important for my professional and spiritual life. It would be a time with many opportunities to get to know myself better, understand my calling and God`s will for my life. At the school where I would study, Pella Christian High School in Iowa, I would be able to help in chapel with the two things I feel a calling from God to do: worship and preaching. I see myself as a natural communicator, passionate musician, and someone who feels joy in connecting with God and people.
To this point, the interest that my family and friends have shown in investing in my life and the potential they see in me has been a real blessing. Not only that, but the process is happening faster than I expected, through the willingness of people to help me. They have been praying for me and helping me start raise money. I see all of that and more as doors being opened by God.
I believe, as I have already mentioned, that it would be really beneficial for my life, but especially my spiritual life. My school coordinator made my mother proudly cry as she spoke about how much they trust and believe in me. Also, after a few minutes of conversation with a coordinator from Pella Christian, she told me I was a promising student that could make the most of this experience. On the other hand, in order to accomplish my dream, I need more than a charming personality. For that reason, I decided to write this letter asking for financial help. The total cost to go on the exchange program is around US$10,000, and the only way to reach this goal is through people who will believe in me and my potential.
I am already thankful for knowing the potential that people like Lucas, Mindy, my coordinator Naty and my family see in me. The willingness they and others have had to help me has already made all the difficulties worth it. I would be very grateful if you were able to support my dream as they have.
Thank you very much!
- Faith Bordonaro
- Stephanie Pethtel
- Bonnie Smith
- Katie Ridenour
- Carlee Stemple
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