Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Compassion Trip, Report #5

So, Thursday morning we rose and got ready quickly - in anticipation of spending the day with our sponsored kids.
Once again, the organizers of our trip did an amazing job of arranging for a wonderful experience. We all met at a park to play and eat and enjoy our time together. There were a couple of swimming pools, three water slides, swing sets, basketball courts, fields for playing frisbee and soccer, a restaurant, and lots of picnic tables. AND, God arranged for the weather to be perfect.
Noemi, Maria (her mother), Arturo (her brother), Sara (the interpreter), Diane (her tutor from the Compassion center), Sandy (her aunt), Darla (her cousin), and Carlos (Maria's fiancee) were all there - and we had a great day together.

To start off the day, I gave the kids a blow-up globe-ball (Compliments of another sponsor. *smile*) and showed them Michigan. We had fun tracing the path from their home to mine.
And we had even more fun batting the ball around in the air to one another.
We swam in the pools, and Noemi liked to watch me do hand-stands in the water. The water slides were tons of fun, but after a while we were all too cold to stay in any longer.
Warming ourselves in the sun became the activity of choice.
Poor Noemi couldn't seem to fully warm up, so she put on her jacket. And we had fun with the swings.
At the end of the day, it was time to bring out the gifts.
With the help of some suggestions from Compassion, before this trip I had lots of fun choosing gifts to bring for Noemi and her family. But it was even more fun watching them get opened.
First, I presented Arturo with his bag.
Among the other gifts, he loved the frisbee he found inside.
Then it was Maria's turn.
And I had another opportunity to see how God had been in the details. While Compassion made suggestions of things which families would find useful, I thought it was a random selection on my part to include wooden spoons in Maria's bag. Until her eyes lit up, she grinned and spoke to Carlos, and Sara interpreted for me that she'd been asking him to get her new spoons.
And, finally, it was Noemi's turn to open her bag.
She gave me a big ol' hug when she found the drawing pad and colored pencils - which totally warmed my heart. But I think my biggest joy came from her delight in having a picture of my family.
When I signed up for this trip, I never could have fathomed the elation which would overcome me in meeting Noemi. Before, I loved her. I believed she was a real person, loved and known by God.
But now - I know her. I have held her, and loved her in person. I am no longer praying for/writing to a little girl I have only imagined. She has become real to me.

And I think this picture has become my favorite one from the entire trip. It was taken without my knowledge - I think by Sara. Wherever we walked, Noemi either held my hand or had her arm around me.
I am so glad someone caught it on my camera.

*thankful, contented smile*



Leah Adams said...

Karen, I am so enjoying experiencing your trip second hand. I sponsor three little girls ~~ two in Tanzania and one in Columbia. I would adore getting to meet them one day, Lord willing. Thank you for sharing with us.

Karen Hossink said...

Leah - I thought it would only ever be a dream for me to meet Noemi. So, so thankful God made it happen!
If you ever get the chance to go on a sponsor tour with Compassion - GO! :)