Intentional living

Dallas woman invests in meaningful relationships, life decisions

Created date

December 20th, 2019
Glynda Wilson keeps an album of letters from Judith, a 17-year-old Rwandan girl she sponsors through Compassion International, in her apartment at Highland Springs.

Glynda Wilson keeps an album of letters from Judith, a 17-year-old Rwandan girl she sponsors through Compassion International, in her apartment at Highland Springs.

Glynda Wilson had two considerations when she was thinking about a potential move: home maintenance and a sense of community.

“I was ready to trade one for the other,” says Glynda, who became increasing concerned about the effort and expense it took to maintain her three-bedroom duplex in Dallas.

“The house was built in 1969, so a lot of things were starting to go wrong with it,” she says. “I saw Highland Springs when I took a friend home who lived off of Coit Road. The idea of letting go of home maintenance and gaining a community full of friends and activities was appealing.”

Highland Springs, the Erickson Living-managed community in North Dallas, sits on 89 acres at the corner of Coit and Frankford. Home to more than 1,000 residents, Highland Springs offers a full complement of amenities and activities to support a vibrant, engaged lifestyle.

“The people are so nice, both residents and staff,” says Glynda. “As I toured Highland Springs and learned more about the community, I felt confident I could thrive here.”

The maintenance-free lifestyle, on-site medical center, ample social opportunities, and predictable monthly expenses were all factors in Glynda’s decision to move forward. She reserved a one-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath Grayson-style apartment home and moved to Highland Springs in August 2018 with her dog Buddy.

“I worked for AT&T for 35 years and retired six years ago,” says Glynda. “For the past four and a half years, I’ve been volunteering at Dallas Christian College, my alma mater.”

Glynda volunteers three days a week. When she’s at Highland Springs, Glynda sings in the Highland Springs Chorus and helps with the behind-the-scene operations of Howdy Highland Springs, the community’s in-house television program.

Connections spanning the globe

Letting go of home maintenance also means Glynda is free to focus on relationships and activities of great significance to her, including a child she sponsors through Compassion International.

“I first learned of Compassion International nearly 20 years ago,” says Glynda. “Since that time, I’ve sponsored two children, a boy named Juma at first and now a girl named Judith.”

Both children live in Rwanda, a country Glynda chose intentionally.

“The more I learned of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the more I realized there are hardly any families untouched by the genocide,” says Glynda. “Even now, 25 years later, it’s still affecting people in that country.”

Over the years, Glynda has exchanged letters regularly with her sponsored children, handwritten at first and now via computers.

“It’s much faster to send letters back and forth now than it used to be when we wrote them by hand,” says Glynda. “The letters have to be translated, so it used to take months between sending a letter and receiving it.”

When Glynda’s great-niece Bella, who lives in Chicago, expressed an interest in having a pen pal, Glynda suggested she write Judith.

“The two girls hit it off through their letters, so when Compassion International scheduled a sponsor trip to Rwanda, I thought it would be special to take Bella with me to meet Judith,” says Glynda, who has traveled to Rwanda before to meet her sponsored children.

A meaningful reunion in Rwanda

Glynda and Bella traveled to Rwanda in August 2019 for a ten-day trip. They met Judith in Kigali at the Bambino Super City amusement park. 

“Bella is 15, and Judith is 17, and they got along beautifully,” says Glynda. “We also had the opportunity to visit Judith’s home, which is essentially a small mud hut with a tin roof. There’s no running water or electricity, and her family cooks outside over an open flame. They’re subsistent farmers, growing sorghum and beans.”

Glynda says it’s not lost on her just how far her $38 per month sponsorship money goes when it comes to providing opportunities for Judith’s future.

“Judith wants to be a doctor,” says Glynda. “She’s taking chemistry and biology right now. Kids can stay in the Compassion International program until they’re 22. If Judith does well on her national exams, she’ll be accepted into university. She’s a bright girl who will do so much with any opportunity she’s given.”