Feb 26 2010

The best birthday gift

By Shirley Foley, CFCA sponsor

On Aug. 30, I went on a mission awareness trip to Bolivia to meet my sponsored child, Kevin, and to visit the different CFCA projects. The mission awareness trip coincided with my birthday, Sept. 1, and this trip was the best gift that I have ever received.

I couldnít wait to meet my godson, Kevin, who will be 8 years old next month. Kevin and I have been writing to each other regularly for nearly three years now, and have become close through our letters. Meeting Kevin personally for the first time was truly a moving experience. As we hugged, I was in tears ó tears of joy and gratitude for the gift of sponsorship of this beautiful child. Kevin is delightful: he loves to play football, loves to draw, was the best student in his class last year, is an excellent reader and is very precious to me. Kevin and I were able to spend three days together visiting homes and projects with our group

As I am writing this, I am filling up with tears, not tears of sadness, but tears of joy as I remember the outpouring of love by our Bolivian friends. We visited homes and projects each day. In every project and in every home, we were received with such warmth and love as one could not imagine. During these visits, we, the group of sponsors, experienced a whole range of emotions ó love, joy, kindness, heartbreak, laughter, friendship, faith, goodness, generosity, sadness, elation, the love of God, solidarity and the oneness of us all.

It was obvious that our Bolivian friends had spent months preparing for our visit. Everything was perfect. No detail was overlooked. Everywhere we visited, we were met with welcoming banners, with music and dances, delicious home-cooked meals, handmade gifts, necklaces, flowers and their wonderful warmth and love. And we danced!!!!! Joyfully!!!

The sponsors that I met in this group are loving, caring people who filled my heart with happiness and appreciation to have the pleasure of sharing this visit with them. I think that we really didnít know what to expect on our visit. We knew that we would see poverty, but what we found was a deep and abiding love ó a love showered on us at every step of our journey. Yes, we saw poverty, heart-wrenching poverty, but through and overall was the ever-present love and hope and faith of our beautiful Bolivian friends ó men, women and children, old and young. They thanked us for our help and called us Godís angels. But they are Godís angels. We could never give these wonderful, kind and generous friends what they have given to us.

We were honored to walk with them, honored to stand in solidarity with them, honored to be united with them and honored to be family.

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