Monday, September 15, 2014

Boliva Mission Trip 2014 - "Happiness."

Standing outside Nayerli's Aunt's home I took the above photos.  These are the roads she walks daily to school, the Compassion Project, and to see her friends.  It puts in perspective the bliss she had in the photos from the last post as we visited the park.  It is easy to look at those pictures and understand the happiness she encountered at the park.
However, there was one moment at the park that pictures can not begin to translate.  There are very few words that even come close to describe the moment Nayerli got to wear a bathing suit and play in clean clear water for the first time.
Her eyes...oh her eyes, when I handed her the bathing suit I brought her.
The giggles as she and her friends came out of the bathroom stalls.
They way they sheepishly walked from the bathroom to the waterfalls trying to cover themselves with their backpacks, giggling all the way.

Then the moment they first felt the water.

The laughter,
girly screams,
giggles,
excitement...
...it puts the cliche saying "like a kid at Christmas" to shame.

Imagine an 8 yr old experiencing all these things for the very first time.  I brought home these pictures, but I can't begin to describe the emotions and feelings as these moments took place for her...and for me. 

Bolivia MIssion Trip 2014 - "No translation needed for laughter."

After we met, Nayerli and I were able to spend a few days together. With translators close by, we were able to have a great time learning about each other. Being able to see her world, her friends, what she plays, what she likes and about her family was a wonderful experience.  Moments shared together are forever etched in my mind and in my heart.  This child was meant to have more impact on me than I ever will her.
On Friday, July 11, our group was able to take our sponsored children to a beautiful park.  For Nayerli, this was the first time she had ever left her community of dirt roads and rode a bus into the city.
The children met us at out hotel.  There eyes were huge.  Nayerli ask me if it was my house.  As we rode the bus through the city to the park, she carefully took in every-single-thing.  Many times she would awe and point at things that seem so common.  The honest excitement she had pouring out was enough to make my entire journey worth it.
At the park we fed the goldfish, enjoyed playgrounds, zip-lines, waterfalls, go-carts, huge slides, gorgeous gardens and a wonderful spread for lunch.  It was such a relaxing and joyful day.  Watching kids be kids (and big kids be kids) brought everything to an "in the now moment."  Hearing the sponsor children laugh and squill was the best symphony score I have ever heard. 

 I love this girl...to the moon and back.

Bolivia Mission Trip 2014 - "Face to Face"

Over a year and half ago, we began a sponsorship with a very special girl named Nayerli.  A pair up that for us was solely based on a picture of girl in a pink dress with an age just six days older of Emma, yet God had had it all planned out from day one.
Over the past months, we have written letters of encouragement and received letters of encouragement from her.  We had one picture update through Compassion, and were fortunate enough to have Adam's sister and brother in law meet her through a mission trip they went on in 2013.

We knew of her gentle heart, her shyness, her love for learning, dogs, dolls, the color purple, and crafts.  We knew of her smile, of her long dark hair, and gorgeous eyes...but...her touch...and her voice...and that void where a hug belongs.

Then the day came, Wednesday July 9, that void was filled.  And it was joy unspeakable.

Our first few moments we spent hugging, sharing, learning about each other.  She was staying at her Aunt's home, and we were graciously welcomed in.  In a matter of seconds a girl we had only seen in pictures came to life.  Her descriptions were spot on.  A beautiful child of God.
Nayerli shared of her school work and I shared pictures of Adam and the girls on my phone.  She sheepishly asked, "did Emma come?" The string of my heart were tugged as far as they could be.
Nothing can describe the emotions those first moments.  A glorious unfolding.