The last day in Bolivia, we were able to kick back and visit some amazing scenery of mountains and waterfalls. Even though we didn't need a translator to "look at landscapes," we were honored to have Raquel come with us. The hour drive took us past her parent's home, where we picked up her mother who joined us. We spent the day taking in the scenery and loving the company of each other. (Pictures to follow on that.) On the way home, Raquel mentioned we would be going past her old Project. That's right, Project.
Raquel was a sponsored child. Her mother shared with us how she and Raquel's father were very young when Raquel was born. Jobs came and went. They were scraping to get by. Never once did they let go of trusting God. At a young age, Raquel received the great news of a sponsorship...from Colorado, USA. Hre mother spoke of this blessing with such powerful gratitude. Life-changing gratitude. She spoke of how many times just putting a clean blanket down to sleep on was all they could do, but now they had faith their child had that extra support. Support that came in the form of a meal, enrollment in the Project, medical attention, life-skills training, and the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So with the mention of driving past her old Project, we didn't hesitate on asking to stop. And here it is...
Now God speed. Raquel turns around.
Standing there is an older gentleman.
We were let through and guided around by Raquel. She emotionally shared with us her days there. Her days there because of her sponsors. Goosebumps at the presence of God in this place....then and now.
Raquel ended this heavenly moment by sharing her personal story of her sponsorship. A sponsorship that allowed her to grow in faith, be taken care of, and learn life skills such as English as a second language which ultimately is why she has the successful job as a translator today.
And remember how this sponsorship is so much more than the $35 a month? Raquel continued to share with us in a voice that began to crack and tears began to well, "the letters."
The letters from her sponsors kept her going, encouraged her, gave her hope. So much, that she took those letters with her to college, and on days she would get down, they were pulled out and re-read. She still has every single letter to this day. My friends, this is the relational part. This is where you see Compassion International change the life of those in poverty one child at a time. Full circle. Today the trip came full circle.
But the circle didn't end there! As we got back on the bus and continued down the road, Raquel had planned a surprise for us. We were able to stop at the large acre plot her parent's now own and her sister's family live on.
It. was. amazing.
But it wasn't always.
It began as a run down piece of land. The family has worked the ground, built from the ground up, added gardens, and made a gorgeous plot of land. It even holds a large patio area where they rent out to families for reunions, weddings and such. The wood poles were even hand carved. All done by Raquel's family. The other piece of Compassion...helping parents to learn skills and trades that will support their family. Ever hear the saying "give a man a fish and he eats only one meal, but teach him to fish and he eats forever?" Well, add eat forever, and feed his family, and then feed his community.
Matthew West - Do Something
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don't You do something?”
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don't You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something
I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It's alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
I'm gonna do something”
We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still