Monday, June 27, 2016

Compassion Trip, Report #4

Wednesday morning we packed up and left Riobamba to go back to Quito.
And Wednesday evening?
I got to meet Noemi! The little girl I have been sponsoring for the past six years.

I cannot even begin to describe the joy I experienced in having those sweet arms wrapped around me, feeling like they were never going to let go.
Preciousness in its purest form.

The evening when sponsors met their kids was simply wonderful. Every Compassion child was accompanied by a staff member from their Compassion center, an interpreter, and - in many cases - also by a family member. Noemi's mom came with her, and it was a delight to meet her, too.
***Honest moment: In the middle of dinner I decided to give Sara (the interpreter) a break. (Read that: I wanted to show off my Spanish skills.) So I started counting in Spanish. "Uno, dos, tres..." Eventually I went auto-pilot and stopped using my brain, and this happened: "Ventiocho, ventinueve, ventidiez."
As soon as the laughter erupted around me, I realized my error and was sorry for allowing my brain to shut off. But I did enjoy the laugh we all had together. *wink*
For those who don't know Espanol, let me interpret. I was counting, "Twenty-eight, twenty-nine, twenty-ten" I think Noemi's mom was trying to lessen my embarrassment by telling me Arturo (Noemi's eight-yer-old brother) used to do that, too. *face palm*

In addition to dinner, the evening consisted of a comedian/magician and a silly photo booth. And I loved the way it was put together because it made a situation fun and comfortable - which could otherwise have been filled with nerves. It was explained to us that many of the children would probably be quite nervous - and even shy - about meeting a stranger from so far away (And truth be told, many sponsors were feeling the same!) and we should not feel badly if we didn't "hit it off" right away.
But the combination of the entertainer and the photo booth lightened the mood perfectly and set the stage for a wonderful introduction. I remember laughing with Noemi during the magic show and thinking, These folks thought of everything! The people who put this evening - and this whole trip - together have covered every base to make sure it was a success.

And honestly? My expression that night about the dinner and tour perfectly sums up the way I came to feel about Compassion as a whole organization.
I mean, before the tour I thought Compassion was great. I admired the work they do. I wouldn't have been sponsoring children for the past eight or nine years if I didn't believe in what they were doing. But participating in this sponsor tour and seeing all the things I saw - learning so many things I didn't know I didn't know(!) - has increased my esteem for Compassion International a thousand times.
And that's why I'm blogging about my trip. Because I want let other people (you!) know what a great opportunity it is to reach out to "the least of these" by participating in Compassion's sponsorship programs.
I'll share about our "Fun Day" tomorrow, and wrap it up Wednesday with a vlog.


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