Sunday, March 22, 2015

Losing my heart in Bolivia!

After returning from my May 2014 trip to Honduras to visit my Compassion children, I vowed to never forget the wonderful experience I had been blessed with, and prayed that God would continue to use me to fulfill His plan for my life, to reach “the least of these” wherever they may be and to release children from poverty in Jesus’ precious name!
That “wherever they may be” led me back to my “heart” country Bolivia in mid-September 2014 to meet 20 sponsored children.

Although I have been on previous sponsor tours and individual visit trips, this experience in Bolivia was life-changing to say the least. Twenty-one days of awesome God moments, the emotions of which I will be processing for a long time. Visiting each child in their home, meeting each family and touring each project centre was so enlightening, as I had a chance to witness their day-to-day struggles, but also to see the dedicated love, care and encouragement shown to them by their project staff and pastors. I came away so comforted knowing that each one of my sponsored kids are in great hands and are learning to be servant leaders through learning about God's Word and applying it to their lives.

What really touched me was the warm reception I received at many of the projects, with all the project kids lined up to greet me waving handmade Canadian flags and red and white balloons – I even had the red carpet rolled out for me on one occasion! I have never felt more honored in my life! It didn't matter if I had sponsored the child for only 2 months or 13 years, the joyful reception was the same. One teen boy (Benjamin) I had only sponsored for 5 weeks when I met him, but you would have thought it was 5 years! His project director told me he had a tough home life, and had waited so long for a sponsor, always asking "when will it be my turn to have a sponsor and receive letters?" So when I told Benjamin to expect to receive lots of letters from me, the beaming smile on his face was priceless, and made me think "now, this is why I do what I do!"

Accompanied by Juan & Josue

Other highlights were: (1) spending the afternoon with almost a dozen Leadership Development Program (LDP) students at their study centre in Cochabamba, including reconnecting with Bryan, an LDP student we met during our 2013 sponsor tour. It was the first time they had ever heard the testimony of how sponsorship impacted the sponsor! Needless to say there were many tears shed, as they were also very open during their testimonies of their family life struggles growing up through the years and the positive impact the Compassion sponsorship and leadership programs had had on their lives. If the future of Bolivia is in the hands of these fine young people, I have no doubt that Bolivia will be in great shape for years to come!

(2) visiting a Child Survival Program in El Alto de La Paz sponsored by my church in Calgary, spending 5 hours with moms and babies, and seeing the beaming smiles on the faces of the moms, many of whom have come to know the Lord Jesus through their involvement with Compassion. I was also so touched by the dedication of the project's sponsorship coordinator Franz, a former sponsored child who grew up in this project and who now oversees 600+ sponsored children in the regular sponsorship program.

Sponsorship coordinator Franz

Jesus states in Luke 12:48, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked”. Feeling so grateful for the honour and privilege of being the hands and feet of Jesus in blessing and giving hope to the beautiful Dominican, Honduran and Bolivian people in 2014, sharing the overabundance of blessings that God has poured out upon my life! God was so good to me in 2014 and I cannot wait to see where He will take me next! 

2015 will see me staying closer to home, that is, until October 2015 when I will be joining a Compassion U.S. sponsor tour travelling to Rwanda, Africa to meet 11 sponsored children. I plan to stay on in Rwanda for a few days after the group returns home to visit other ministries in the Kigali, Rwanda area.

Stay tuned for more trip updates! In the meantime, if you are interested in knowing more about sponsoring a child through Compassion, please contact me via email at: or by clicking the link below, which will take you directly to Compassion Canada's website.