The Best Kept Secret

By Robyn Wilson
Photos Courtesy of Sue Holloway

A sponsor in South Dakota loves volunteering with OneChild and inspiring others to change lives with her.

For Sue Holloway, the power of sponsorship isn’t a secret that she likes to keep to herself. She’s seen children’s lives transformed. And she’s passionate about spreading the word.

For the last 13 years, Sue has been volunteering with OneChild at Hills Alive, a Christian music festival, where she encourages attendees to bring hope to kids in hard places. The festival, which is held in Rapid City, South Dakota, draws 30,000 people from five states. “This summer we had more kids sponsored than ever before!” Sue says. “I always tell people to study the children’s photos, look into their faces, and see which one speaks to you.”

Every time a child is sponsored, Sue grows more inspired, knowing that one more child will have hope.

Sue remembers hearing about OneChild’s ministry for the first time while listening to Power 107-1 KSLT, a radio station that was owned at the time by Bethesda Christian Broadcasting. As the director of a women’s crisis center at the time, Sue had also been working with the station. During a radiothon, Sue heard about a teenage girl in Haiti who needed a loving sponsor. At that moment, Sue knew God was calling her to sponsor the girl.

But Sue didn’t stop there. Over the last 22 years, she has sponsored 14 kids with OneChild, giving each child the opportunity to flourish.

Out of the many kids that Sue has sponsored, a boy named José stands out to her the most. She recalls the moment she saw José’s child packet at a concert in February 2007.

“There was a special bond between José and my family because he wanted to be a doctor — even at the age of 4.” Sue’s husband is a doctor, and she is a retired physical therapist. José also suffered from hemophilia, and because of Sue’s medical background, she felt a strong desire to help him.

In July of 2007, Sue had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic to meet José, his two older siblings, and his mom. Sue quickly learned that José’s father had left the family after losing another son to hemophilia and becoming depressed.

When Sue entered the family’s apartment, she was shocked by the severe poverty. “After seeing their living conditions, I decided to sponsor all three kids,” says Sue. “The whole family was living in one room and sharing one bed. The entire complex shared a bathroom. They didn’t even have a refrigerator. I was grateful to be able to sponsor the kids and help improve their lives.”

During the last two decades, Sue has also travelled to Honduras, Haiti, and Swaziland on 30 mission trips — and she believes the need for sponsorship is greater than ever.

“Many families live in homes made of sticks and mud,” Sue says. “They don’t have electricity or running water. There are often no roads — just dirt. The lack of sanitation is unbelievable. And education is often nonexistent.”

Despite the desperate situations Sue has encountered while travelling, she is always moved by the gratitude of the families she meets. “They appreciate what sponsors are doing so much,” she says. “Seeing the joy on their faces is wonderful. And I love that the women are always singing, especially in Honduras and South Africa, even while doing chores. It’s all worship songs. They are still praising God with their whole hearts!”

Sponsorship is a way for Sue to live out her faith as well. “The Bible tells us in Luke 12:48 that for everyone who has been given much, much will be required,” says Sue. “If we can make someone’s life easier in a country that has little, it’s our privilege to help.”

Sue was filled with joy when she met her sponsored boy, José, in the Dominican Republic, and his sister, Wendy, who she later sponsored as well.

It’s also been encouraging for Sue to witness the hope that sponsorship brings. “What we are doing as sponsors is very important,” she says. “OneChild sponsors are helping the most economically challenged kids in the world. These kids are living at such a level that anything we can do to help will change their lives. They are receiving incredible support at their Hope Centers. Your sponsorship matters so much. And we need to invite others to make a difference with us!”

Sue also believes that OneChild’s sponsors are leaving a powerful legacy that will bring hope for years to come. “These kids are tomorrow’s leaders,” she says. “As a sponsor, you are improving the life of a child — and that child will go on to transform even more lives. Your impact today will have a ripple effect that will last for generations!”

On a trip to Honduras, Sue helped a dental team provide fluoride treatments, extractions, and oral hygiene training for kids.
After meeting a girl in Honduras who could not walk, Sue returned the next year with a wheelchair — the girl was incredibly grateful.
In the Dominican Republic, Sue enjoyed delivering gifts to a friend’s sponsored child.
OneChild has been launching radio campaigns across the country to challenge listeners to bring hope to kids in hard places. You may even hear a OneChild radiothon on your local station! Pray that listeners will be inspired to become Child Champions — just like Sue was inspired through the radio years ago.