When Simon Sheu, 51, opened the front doors to Christian Children's Fund’s international headquarters on July 15, 2005, a smile spread across his face.
As a former sponsored child, Sheu had imagined this moment for many years – visiting the CCF offices in the United States was among his lifelong dreams. Now, accompanied by his wife and two daughters, Sheu is thousands of miles from his home in Taiwan. Following a 22-hour flight, he and his family are tired but excited.
When I was a child, I would receive letters from my sponsor, look at the return address and try to imagine this building,” Sheu said. “It is nice to put an actual place with the address.”
More than 39 years after his first encounter with CCF as a young child, Sheu stands inside the red brick building’s lobby. This, he believes, is the hub – the very place, the same people that lent a helping hand and encouragement all those years ago.
Today, Sheu is a successful business owner, with textile factories in Taiwan and China. Sheu is also a family man and a volunteer for the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, a member organization of ChildFund International.
As a child, however, his prospects were dim.
Sheu’s father passed away when he was eight years old, leaving his mother to care for him and his four sisters. Teased by his peers, made to feel ashamed for the loss of his father, Sheu withdrew inward.
Working in a small community outside of Taipei, Taiwan, CCF staff and volunteers noticed this quiet boy and befriended him. Sheu recalled his initial apprehension, “but they were so patient with me and gave me the time to trust them.”
As a CCF-sponsored child, Sheu received clothing, nutritional supplements and assistance with his education. He chuckles, recalling the finer points of his sponsorship – the powdered milk, the ping pong tournaments, the mobile library – roller skating during CCF-organized outings.
“Money is one way to help somebody,” Sheu said. “But it was also the love of my teachers and sponsor family that make me strong today.”
After more than two hours of handshakes, tours and introductions, Sheu and his family have seen CCF’s inner workings. Before leaving, he asks to take a photo of the building and snaps two or three for good measure.
“These are kind, honest people,” Sheu said. “This is like my family.”
Before leaving, Sheu takes one last, long look at the building.
“I am very proud to be part of this,” he said. “So, if there is anything I can do to help, I will always do my best.”