poverty in south america First there is Monday. It can be crazy. It’s also like a rebirth. Then, next thing you know, it’s Wednesday, that’s hump day. Some weeks you blink and it’s Friday. Others are more of a gradual uphill climb. That’s the standard week.

There are coffee breaks. Early morning wake-up calls. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Family dinners. Unexpected gatherings. Repetition.

But one day, one unexpected someday, we are reminded that this day is not conquered by us. Not created by us. Never ever truly what we thought it would be.

Last month I was reminded of this. October was going to be a normal month with planned dinner dates and errand running and church on Sundays…but one evening, one thing changed, and it changed everything.

For me, that one thing was a death.

And all the normal, “business as usual” days that were supposed to be, became something else.

With this came a reminder I did not want. That anything can change, anywhere and at anytime.

Being in Peru this week, warmed by smiling faces, challenged by hardworking mothers, reminded me that those days when the world stops don’t have to be moments of tragedy or unquenchable sorrow.

I was reminded of that today when I met Rafael. Since entering our program, his favorite thing has been to go to church. In fact, he has never missed one day of Sunday school. In fact, he loves memorizing scripture.

He recited his favorite verse, as I stood in his room, watching him clean up. (He loves when his room is clean!)

“Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding…” –Proverbs 2:2, NASB

Then, he pulled out letters from his sponsor. Then, he told me he wants to be an engineer, or a doctor.

And then I realized that for all of Rafael’s life, he has lived in poverty. His normal is poverty.

poverty in south america

But one day, in the midst of his normal, he was told he had a sponsor. And that one thing changed everything.

Now he has a dream for the future. A dream that now looks like hope. And that moment when he was told he had a sponsor and then that moment when he received his first letter, changed everything.

Today, maybe your everything will change. Or, maybe today you can change someone’s everything.

A side note: On this trip, I have been challenged as I have looked over the letters from sponsors. Their letters are powerful. I’ve seen a lot of the letters that end with a blessing, almost like a benediction spoken over their sponsored child.

How do you end your letters to your sponsored child? What do you leave them with? How do you change their day? Maybe even their everything?


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  1. Nov 15, 2012
    at 7:15 am

    Thank you for sharing. We love writing to our kids. It became more real with the sponsorship of Erik from Boliviia. His words to us… he just turned nine. He said “I am a kind boy. I am so happy God made our path cross.”Compassion has changed the way we do life.

    Praying for all of you!

  2. Nov 15, 2012
    at 8:24 pm

    I end my farewell letters to my children (of which there has unfortunately been a few more recently) with the encouragement to live their whole lives with Jesus so that one day we can finally meet in heaven.

  3. Nov 15, 2012
    at 9:56 pm

    Ah–I am faced with a challenge: to be sure that my letters end well. That they end with encouragement. With hope.

    I know they typically begin and end with love, and I know that sometimes, I end with a scripture verse or an expression of encouragement. But always? I need to erase the question mark.

    Thanks for this post.

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