South American Blessing

One of my best experiences last year before we left Chile was a trip I took with my friend, Roger Cunningham, to Bolivia to visit the Compassion child that Janet and I support.  His name is Michael and over the three years that we have been sponsoring him he has grown alot so I wanted to take the opportunity to meet him before we left South America.  I can still remember the day I picked up Michael's informational brochure at the Lutheran church in Kingwood where we had gone one sunday morning just because we had never been there before!  They were having a Compassion Sunday and as I looked at the numerous children's faces Michael's stood out above the rest!  I'm sure the fact that he was from Bolivia played a part in our decision because of it's close proximity to Chile where we had spent so many years.  At that time, we didn't know we would be going back to live there again within the next year!  Anyway, we decided to sponsor Michael and got to know many things about his family.  When we got his second year picture, however, I was really concerned because instead of the big smile in our first photo the year before, he had a hugh frown! Everytime I looked at the picture my heart just ached because he was obviously not the same happy boy I had "gotten to know" previously.  We were back in Chile when this picture came and I made up my mind right then that I wanted to meet Michael in person.  At first, Janet and I were going together but Roger had traveled to Bolivia many times before and it seemed more practical for he and I to go especially since we were now planning a return to the states and Janet was heavy into the packing.  All the plans were made and we were set up to spend the whole day with Michael.  We had a local host who take us to the church-run facility where he spent afternoons after school and then we would go to his home and meet his family.  Afterwards, we could have lnch at the church facility and then spent some time at the zoo! I will never forgot the emotion I felt when I walked into this ordinary day care setting and saw this rather small boy sitting in a much larger chair! Within seconds, he were locked in a hugh embrace and I felt like I was meeting a grandchild that I had not met before! His mother and sisters were there also and as we say, it was just like old home week!  The whole day was one of incredible ease which I know was because of the super planning of the Compassion folks and the wonderful Christians at the church facility.  I was impressed with the number of teenagers, boys and girls, who were there helping out with lunch and explaining the daily program for the children.  The trip to the zoo was a blast and by this time we both felt like we were old friends!  This picture of Michael doing his monkey act in the tree is one of my favorites.  I'm not sure when I will see him again but I feel much closer to him having met him and there have been no more pictures with frowns!