By Jen Bakken
Nuestros pequeños hermanos, means “For our little brothers and sisters” in Spanish a language Jenna Jaunich, daughter of Peter and Jodi Jaunich of Delano, will be learning during the next 13 months while volunteering as a caregiver in a Honduras orphanage.
Friends of the Orphans, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned, abandoned, and disadvantaged children through the support of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH), a group of orphanages in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jaunich has joined this dedicated team of international volunteers. First traveling to NPH Honduras in 2005, Jaunich met many children, but a special relationship developed between her and one particular boy, Luis Fernando.
Upon returning to the United States, she became his sponsor, or godmother, and has continued to make a monthly financial contribution in her godchild’s name.
Jaunich has visited Fernando on three other occasions, and the pair keeps in touch through letters.
“Through Luis Fernando, God has shown me what it truly, truly means to love another,” said Jenna Jaunich. “This role as godmother has been the most fulfilling experience of my entire life.”
She admits feeling sad and scared about leaving her job, along with everything and everyone she knows and loves behind, but she has been excited, as well.
Specifically requesting placement at NPH Honduras, to be near her godchild, Jaunich will also work with staff to care for a group of small children.
Early each morning, she will help with waking the little ones, feeding them, bathing them, and walking them to the on-site preschool.
Afternoons will be spent playing, completing chores, and snuggling. In the evening, she will help with dinner and settle them into bed.
While volunteering, Jaunich will be improving her Spanish, immersing herself in a new culture, and earning less than $100 per month.
“Room and board is provided,” said Jaunich. “But, I had to raise financial support through family and friends to pay for travel and a two-week language school.”
Though a very spiritual person, Jaunich never thought she would become an international missionary. She feels that it is by God’s grace that she will be sustained and find the necessary strength for the months ahead.
“Please pray for me. I need it every step of the way,” she said. “But more importantly, pray for the kids of NPH Honduras. I want them to know the love of Christ.”
Friends of the Orphans is composed of regional offices in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, and Washington.
For more information, visit www.friendsoftheorphans.org, or contact the Friends of the Orphans Regional Office in St. Paul by calling (651) 482-1703.
“Volunteers are an invaluable asset to our team,” said Vicky Medley, International Volunteer Coordinator for Friends of the Orphans. “Volunteers provide skills and energy that help guide the growth and development of the children. We are grateful for their willingness to give up a year to work hard for very little pay.”
Jaunich began her trip June 21, with a six hour flight, followed by a four-hour bus trip.
Honduras, in Middle America, borders the Caribbean Sea between Guatemala and Nicaragua, boarding the North Pacific Ocean, between El Salvador and Nicaragua.
The climate is subtropical in lowlands, and is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Jaunich will be occasionally giving updates on her endeavors through her blog, located at saludosdehonduras.blogspot.com.