Hello again. I’m about to take a trip to Bolivia, where I can meet many of the children that I sponsor plus several others too. I’m so excited right now!! I’m stoked. I think I spelled that right.

On June 27, I’m taking off from the Orlando airport and flying into Miami, where I’ll have to run and catch the plane to La Paz because I’ll have just a 45-minute connection window.

La Paz is the highest capital city (14,000 feet) in the world. I hope I’ll be able to breathe there. If I can’t, at least you’ll be able to say that my life ended on top of things. I’m just kidding. My doctor told me that I am capable of making this trip.

The flight will last all night. I’ll arrive in La Paz at 5:30 in the morning on June 28. I’m planning on staying up that day and then taking a look around on Sunday.

On Monday morning, I’ll meet my first child, Franz. He loves cars, so since I worked with some of the James Bond actors and actually cleaned the Aston Martin that Sean Connery drove in Goldfinger, I bought him an Aston Martin model, even equipped with some optional extras, like an ejection seat! I can’t wait to tell him: “Now, pay attention, 007. This is your Aston Martin.” LOL!

My dad sponsors two children in Bolivia, so I’ll be visiting with them as well. I’m planning to take lots of pictures and some video.

On Tuesday, I’ll meet with Dulce. I’ve sponsored her the longest, and she’s written me so many letters. She actually became a Christian about a year ago, and then several people in my church and Dulce prayed for her mom, and her mom also got saved.

Dulce’s dad is no longer with the family. She considers me her dad. And boy … am I a proud dad! (I almost stood up last Sunday in church when they had the dads stand up.) She’s been telling all of the children that she meets about the love of Christ! I’m so excited to see her and to talk with her about the Bible and to pray with her and her family.

Throughout the week, I’ll be meeting with all of the other children I sponsor in that area. On Thursday I’ll fly to Cochabamba. (“Coca-BOMB -uh.” My mom loves how that sounds.) On Friday, I’ll meet with Eliana and Isaias. Eliana wants to become a doctor and visit Los Angeles.

The following evening, I’ll fly to Santa Cruz, where I’ll meet with the last two of my children and a child that I recently found a sponsor for. Finally, the next morning, on July 6, I’ll fly back to the USA. I hope you will pray for me.

  • Pray that I’ll remain healthy and won’t run out of air.
  • Pray that the children will be encouraged and most of all will draw closer to God.

All in all, I’ll be visiting 19 children, 12 that I sponsor, two that I correspond with, two that my dad sponsors, two children that I just found one sponsor for, and one more that a friend of mine sponsors.

kees-twelve-children

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  1. Jun 23, 2008
    at 5:26 pm

    Will be praying for you, Kees!

  2. Jun 23, 2008
    at 5:48 pm

    Wow! Have a wonderful time! God’s blessings! The last time I was in the Dominican Republic, I only saw two children I knew previously, and I thought it was more blessing than I could handle!

  3. Jun 23, 2008
    at 8:00 pm

    Thank you so much! I could use the prayer. I’m a little nervous about the all night non sleep flight followed by a whole day or very little air up there. You may pray that I won’t get sick.

    I got 10 letters from these children today and they are really sweet children and I know that they are looking forward to getting together too. I would hate to be too sick to really be there for them. But if that happens, Rom. 8:28 is still true.

    Kees

  4. Jun 23, 2008
    at 8:11 pm

    God bless you my brother!

  5. Jun 23, 2008
    at 10:06 pm

    I’m in awe of you, Kees. I, too, visited my two DR girls, on my last visit, and will again in October. They got along just fine…after I sat them down and told them they did not need to compete for my love and attention, and it had to stop. Actually, only my first girl, there, was doing the competing, but she kept edging out the one who was meeting me for the first time and was really shy. I had the help of their respective translators, and the three of us really enjoyed watching the girls begin to play together and have fun. So I, too, wish you well, both in health and in spreading your love over so many children. At least, you won’t be seeing them all at the same time! And if you were, I’ll bet you would handle it just fine. Blessings!

  6. Jun 23, 2008
    at 10:55 pm

    God bless, and I have a question since it appears you have experience! What was the average time it took to receive the first letter from your sponsored children? I sponsored my first child a month ago, and it’s been three weeks since I sent my first letter. I’m guessing three months?

  7. Jun 23, 2008
    at 11:37 pm

    Hi, Steve,

    I would say that the first letter took anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months. I found that sometimes the first letter was generic, i.e. Dear sponsor…, especially with the ones that came fairly quick, like the one from three weeks.

    Having said that, I think it depends a lot on where the child is. I found for instance that the little boy, I sponsor in Burkina Faso is much quicker in letters that I get. For instance, last week, I got a letter dated from Burkina Faso, dated sometime in May, but I also got a letter from someone in Bolivia, dated in January.

    I write 2 times/month myself. Some countries have a system, where for every letter that the child gets, they’ll reply back, whereas other countries are on a system where the child writes 3 or 4 letters. I find the important thing is to be regular in writing to the children. It makes a huge impact on them.

    I actually wrote another blog on that earlier. blog.compassion.com/letter-writing

    I think you’re right on with the three months. So, if you write a letter, it takes 3 months to get there and then the answer will be another 3 months, thus a total of 6 months. I share that with the older children too. One of the children made me some beautiful Christmas cards. They brought tears to my eyes. I wrote her back write away. Then 2 weeks later, I got a letter from her asking me if I had received them, because she did it with a lot of love. So, it took another 3 months for her to hear from me how much I appreciated the cards.

    Kees

  8. Andrzej Gandecki
    Jun 24, 2008
    at 5:58 am

    I’m praying.

  9. Jun 24, 2008
    at 7:11 am

    Kees ~ Thanks for the info! My child is in Peru.

  10. Jun 24, 2008
    at 7:59 am

    Hi, Vicki,

    How old were the two girls that were competing for your love and attention? I might be in a situation like that several times, because several times, I meet with 1 or 2 at the same time. Sometimes, even with 3 at the same time. The only thing that I’ve wondered about with that is that one of the situations is that I will be meeting with two of my children and a child of another sponsor. So, then I’ll have to focus in on my own children. I’ve wondered how that child feels. Of course I’m going to bring that child some gifts too and I’m going to try to facilitate as much as possible to develop a friendship between those children, because I’ll be gone after a few hours, but they’ll still be there with each other.

    I really do love each of these children though. They are very important to me.

    Kees

  11. Sarah
    Jun 24, 2008
    at 9:22 am

    That is so exciting that you are visiting your sponsored children! I think it is really awesome that you sponsor 12 children and that you write to them so often. I will be praying for you. God Bless!

  12. Jun 24, 2008
    at 10:07 am

    Bless your heart for sponsoring so many! I hope one day I can visit the little girl I sponsor!

  13. Cindy Maddox
    Jun 24, 2008
    at 12:41 pm

    Kees,

    I am so excited for you! That is a dream of mine to one day meet my sponsored children. I will be praying for you. Please let us know how it went when you get back!

    Thanks for sharing their pictures. They are all beautiful and are so blessed to have you as their sponsor.

    Cindy

  14. Jun 24, 2008
    at 12:47 pm

    Thank you so much! I’m so blessed myself to have these children that I can sponsor. I got 10 letters from them just yesterday and it’s such a blessing. I can’t wait to meet them. I will definitely keep you updated and let you know what it was like. I don’t know if I’ll have Internet access from Bolivia. If I do, I might even check in. :-)

    Kees

  15. Jun 24, 2008
    at 7:19 pm

    Hi, Kees,

    Denisse and Maria were 8 and 9 yrs., respectively. Denisse is such an extrovert and flashed me her sweetest smile, every time she had just edged out Maria–who was so quiet, unsure of what to expect, and I think pretty sad about her home situation. I consulted with the two translators–a guy and a gal–and they agreed that I should simply sit both girls down, away from the crowd, and tell them I loved them both and, basically, to knock it off. I couldn’t really single out Denisse as the instigator, but she knew she had gone to far. I ended by asking each one, individually, “Can you go out, now, and play with — and have a good time?” Denisse squirmed all around, then nodded assent. Maria simply nodded. It still took a few minutes for them to actually start playing together, as opposed to individually (on a swing set), but I had to hand it to Denisse: She was the one who reached out to Maria, first. If you see anything like that going on, just speak the truth in love and get a commitment from each child involved to cooperate.

  16. Jun 25, 2008
    at 9:33 am

    Thanks, Vicki,

    I might be in a situation like that, but hopefully, they’ll be all well behaved. I have a lot of stuff to give them too. I have worked with a PR firm for Disney and Disney sends me stuff like stuffed animals and what have when the new movies come out. So, I called them and told them what I was doing and asked if they had any extra promotional stuff for me. They said that they did and they would send it. The next day, there were 5 huge boxes in front of my door!

    Kees

  17. Jun 25, 2008
    at 9:06 pm

    Kees, I love how you know details about each child. They are not just kids — you have made them your kids. Just like the Lord who has every hair on our heads numbered. Buddy, I can’t wait to hear your trip report. I’ll pray for your oxygen level, as well as quality time with each precious child.

  18. Jun 25, 2008
    at 9:25 pm

    Hi, Lisa!

    Yes, I love these children to pieces. By the way, Lisa and I used to work together in a church in Gainesville. She actually was my neighbour, oh, excuse me neighbor… It was America. ;-P

    Yes, I’m so excited about this. And like D.J. (one of our other friends) used to say: “I can’t wait to see the whites of your eyes! There is something about meeting someone in person verses letters. If anything happens on the trip, I hope that they know how much I love them, or even more important how much God loves them!

    Kees

  19. Linda Milby
    Jun 26, 2008
    at 2:21 pm

    Dear Kees,

    God Bless you!!! The group just got back from Nicaragua a little over a week ago. I would love to talk to someone that had the opportunity to go. My dream is to meet my little girl! I know in God’s time I’ll get that chance, and boy I can’t wait! Thank you for all you do for the children, and the insight you give the rest of us here on the blog. It’s awesome to see peoples comments, and refreshing to know that there is a lot of human kindness in this troubling world. Blessings, Linda

  20. Linda Milby
    Jun 26, 2008
    at 5:01 pm

    I’m so excited, I just got home and had a letter!!! I’ve been looking for months! Now the wait is on again………

    Again, I would love to talk to anyone that made the trip to Nicaragua in June of 2008. There’s so much to learn about the culture, and mostly the programs of that country. Please respond if anyone is interested in sharing their experience!

    Blessings,
    Linda

  21. Bethany
    Jul 12, 2013
    at 11:50 am

    I am so excited for you! I sponsor a boy in El Alto, Bolivia and I have had the pleasure of meeting him twice. La Paz is a beautiful city. Can you please post pictures of your trip? Do any of your children happen to attend Monte de Sion in El Alto?

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