After we visited with Victor’s family and had a meal with them, we went to walk to the Compassion Center in El Alto. It was closed because of the holiday (Father’s Day in Bolivia) so we were not able to go inside, which was a bummer because one of the kids had to use the restroom. So we headed out to find another one. Note: If you ever have a child who was particular about public bathrooms, take them to a 3rd world country. They will never again complain about using an indoor bathroom where you do not have to pay for toilet paper or bring your own! :)
We drove to the 2nd Compassion center, stopped to chat with some of the older students there and they sang us a few songs. If I can figure out how to upload, I have a video of one I will add to this.
We were also able to listen to them share a bit about their plans for the future, this was just amazing! These young people have such confidence, great ambitions and desire to truly be world changers, it is absolutely AWESOME to see the staff, teachers, and volunteers at Compassion influencing these children. We can not encourage you enough to get involved with Compassion International. Sponsor kids, write them, donate when you can, and go visit them if God calls you too! You will never be the same!!!
The 2nd family we were to meet, has a little girl who at the time was about 6 years old. Her name is Nicole and we have sponsored her for a few years. We were matched with Nicole after we attended a Compassion Experience event. If you have not yet had one of these come to your area, check out their Find an Event page. It is a very accurate model of a home of one of the children who has a real story shared through Compassion sponsorship. You walk through their home, see how they live, and hear their story in order to better understand these precious kiddos. For our kids it was a BIG eye opener. They were actually able to walk in a center in Bolivia (and Uganda, Guatemala, etc.) in the Compassion Experience for the first time about a year and 1/2 before we actually ended up going to Bolivia. How amazing that God was preparing them, even then for this experience.
We had lunch with Nicole and her younger sister Celeste. There is a procedure through Compassion that only 1/2 of the children in each family can be sponsored. So in Nicole’s family, there are 2 children, only 1 can be sponsored. Celeste was able to come to the Center and participate in the meal, activity, that day because we were there. This was absolutely heartbreaking for us to realize. All this time we had been sending Nicole, letters, stickers, little pictures, and didn’t realize there was a younger sibling at home. We can not officially “sponsor” Celeste, but now that we know about her, we can always send 2 packs of stickers, 2 notes, 2 cards, etc. And make sure to pray for them both by name, this was so encouraging to us.
We then went to the main church area and they did a program for us. Make sure you look at all the photos of this, they danced, sang, and might have made a cool sign with Richard’s name on it and posted it on the wall.🙂 He was super gracious about this, but it was kind of hilarious. They apologized because they said they didn’t know we were all coming, so they just had his name up. Which was of course fine. They gave us gifts for visiting them and they took photos with all of us.
After the visit here, we went with Celeste, Nicole, and their mom back to their apartment. Their father was there and we were able to meet him as well and see some of Nicole’s school work and they had some crackers and water to share with us. (Our kids were thrilled by this and I loved watching our girls and theirs have a “tea party ” with their snack. Overall it was a wonderful day and a chance for a what we hope will not be a once in a lifetime meeting. Thankful for family in Bolivia who let us stay with them and drove us around for this amazing day.