👋🏼 Meet our Newest Ambassador: Faith Stine
Meet one of our newest Ambassadors for Kids at TRS, Faith Stine. The Raining Season is thankful for the unique perspective that Faith will bring to this position. Faith's story of sponsorship and its impact has come full circle. You see, Faith, also known as Safienatu, came to our Center when she was just eleven years old.
She knows first hand the impact that sponsoring a child at The Raining Season can have. Faith grew up in Shenge, Sierra Leone, with her grandma, father, and siblings. Her grandma was her primary caretaker. In 2009, her father passed away in a boating accident. The Raining Season heard about this tragedy that took many Sierra Leoneans' lives and set out to the village to help as it left many children as orphans.
After her father's passing, Faith's grandmother was unable to care for her and her siblings, and TRS was able to step in to care for the children. At eleven years old, it was Faith's first time riding in a car. She remembers this new experience, riding and watching the trees pass by as they moved down the dirt roads leading back to Freetown. She remembers thinking at the time that the trees were following her.
Faith and her siblings were welcomed to The Raining Season by staff anxious to love and care for them, kids who eagerly accepted them as their new brothers and sisters, and sponsors who were willing to step in and provide financial support for Faith and her siblings in this new and uncertain time. Faith remembers feeling shocked but glad when she came to TRS. Growing up in a village, Faith did not speak Krio, the primary language spoken in Freetown. Instead, she spoke a tribal language, so it was challenging to adjust, communicate, and learn a new language in a new and unfamiliar place.
With the help of our staff, Faith adjusted to her new home and routine. Faith appreciated the many sponsors that supported her during her time at The Raining Season. She loved receiving letters from her sponsors, looked forward to Skyping with them, and enjoyed when sponsors visited the Center. Not only did she appreciate her sponsors, but at just eleven years old, she also understood the importance of sponsorship. It meant someone was providing her a safe place to sleep, an education, and three meals a day. Faith recalled, "Where I came from, the only meal we had was dinner. Coming to TRS and having three meals a day was a big deal."
One of Faith's first sponsors would eventually become her grandmother. Early on in The Raining Season's days, our founder, Erica Rust, along with others, would visit churches sharing TRS's story and seeking sponsors. While visiting a church in Ozark, Missouri, Faith's now grandmother saw her picture and began sponsoring her. At the same time, Faith's parents began sponsoring her brother. Faith met her mom and dad, Crystal and Kaylor Stine, for the first time in 2011 when they traveled to our Center. In February of 2017, Faith, her brother, and her sister officially joined the Stine family and made the trip to their new home in Ozark, Missouri. Coming to America in February meant quickly needing to adjust from the hot and dry season in Sierra Leone to winter in southwest Missouri, and Faith shared that it was a difficult adjustment. She also shared that American food was not an easy adjustment. She was used to eating rice and did not like many new American dishes. However, today, Faith likes American food, especially her mom's homemade enchiladas!
Today, Faith is twenty-one years old and preparing to graduate with her associate degree in May. Feeling a call to ministry, Faith plans to transfer to a bible college when she graduates. Her goal through ministry is to help kids, be a voice for them, and bring people to Christ. She is the second oldest of six children in the Stine family. She shared that she enjoys taking walks, listening to music, singing, and dancing but claimed that she is not very good at singing or dancing. Faith stays in touch with many of her friends from the Center who have also been adopted by families in America. They keep in touch through social media and FaceTime. Faith also hopes to one day return to Sierra Leone and visit The Raining Season.
The Raining Season, along with her adopted family, have played a significant role in Faith's story. She shared her gratitude to them, "Having my adopted family has shown a family love that I have never had. They also showed me a love that parents should have for children even if they are not biological. I am forever grateful for my adopted family for their love and support."
While Faith is busy with school and dreaming of a future in ministry, she felt called to join The Raining Season as an Ambassador. She shared, "One night, I had a dream. In the dream, there were kids who needed help, and I came to the place where they needed help. After I left the place, I went to places telling people about these kids that needed help. I prayed, 'Lord, please give me a sign if this is what you want me to do.' Two days later, I saw a post from Lori Pyle on Facebook looking for sponsors." Faith shared the post, and Lori messaged her and asked if she had thought about becoming an Ambassador for Kids at TRS. Faith knew this was her sign. As an Ambassador, she would be able to help kids who are growing up in the same orphanage that provided a safe place for her. She shared, "Another reason I wanted to become an Ambassador is because I know how important sponsors were to me and how much my life has changed because of TRS. If it weren't for God and TRS, I wouldn't be where I am today. I want to help others, too."