The call to Africa started when Gabi Gonzalez, now a SFC senior, was in Lower School. Photos of high school students on missions trips filled the Lower School chapel and grabbed hold of her attention. “Something about the smiles of the kids in Africa caught my eye,” Gabi recalls. That little spark in Lower School never left her over the years. As a freshman, Gabi joined SFC’s mission trip to Uganda and it was there where her heart was captured.
Leaving Uganda during her freshman year, Gabi recalls words written on crumpled piece of paper, “‘Save a place in your heart for me.’ These words were given to me by the most joyful 8 year old I’d ever met. And it’s these words that will forever be stuck in my mind.” In that moment, Gabi’s love for the people of Uganda deepened. “I could confidently say I knew I was made to be there, whether it be short term or long term.” SFC gave Gabi the opportunity to make a difference even at 15 years of age. “SFC gave me an opportunity. Without SFC behind me, I doubt my parents would have ever allowed me to go.”
With a passion for the people of Uganda, Gabi applied to return there with The Children’s Heritage Foundation (CHF), SFC’s partner in Uganda, her Sophomore year and again with SFC in her Junior year. Although accepted to both programs, both trips to Uganda were canceled due to terrorist threats and health regulations. With the trip canceled her sophomore year, Gabi decided to donate the money she raised for the trip to CHF in Uganda. “I was really struggling not being able to return to Uganda. Donating the money was a way for me to see how I can help and impact them even when I can’t be there!” CHF surprised Gabi by dedicating a home in her name. And in her Junior year when the trip was cancelled, Gabi felt God was calling her to go. CHF embraced Gabi as part of their team.
“SFC provided an opportunity for me to live out a childhood dream, and God used circumstances to ignite a passion inside of me! I will forever save a place in my heart for the country of Uganda and for all the beautiful people I have met there over the years.” Gabi hopes to one day live in the country she calls her second home and teach or intern for a non-profit.
See the excitement of students living out a love for God and his people here.