Blog

Sponsorship makes a difference in Bolivia

Photo courtesy of Kathy  Anderson

Photo courtesy of Kathy Anderson

by Kathy Anderson, WOV Greater Seattle

“This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.” Joshua 1:8

Joshua 1:8 has always been one of my favorite Bible verses. During my long career before retirement, I often saw people striving for success using only material values or position in the company as their criteria, but I knew that wasn’t a satisfying goal. Many passages of Scripture remind us to help those in need and when we act on those reminders, getting involved with lending a helping hand to those in poverty, our definition of prosperity and success is forever altered by what we experience.

I wondered why God wanted my husband and I to go to Bolivia. We had booked a boat trip and had put down an expensive non-refundable deposit when we heard that our Women of Vision trip to Bolivia had been approved for the same week as the boat trip. Then, a small miracle happened! Just two days later, the boat company called and said they had made a mistake on our dates and they would refund our money. Now we knew God wanted us to go to Bolivia and we just had to be listening for His voice of instruction to see what we were to learn.

On the trip, with each visit to our project areas, I could see the benefit of our fundraising efforts for the women and children in the small mountain villages. At the first project, the women were growing and marketing locoto peppers, a very popular pepper to the Bolivians, but pretty hot for our taste! Next, a knitting project which was starting to grow and prosper and finally, a guinea pig farm. Even though in the U.S., we consider guinea pigs to be pets, they are sold as a delicacy for special occasions in Bolivia. While each of these projects are on their way to being successful and I was happy that our group had been able to contribute to help these families, my big lesson was still to come.

Photo courtesy of Kathy  Anderson

Photo courtesy of Kathy Anderson

We have a sponsored child in Bolivia, Edson, age 7. Edson is the middle child in a family of seven children. The whole family was invited to the group party at the World Vision local headquarters with the other sponsored children’s families.It was obvious from the beginning of our time together with Edson’s family that his parents work very hard, clearly love their children and do the best they can for them, but are struggling to raise enough potatoes and beans to feed the family. While visiting with Edson’s Father and Mother, the Father asked us questions such as “Do you have hot water at your house?” and “What kind of vegetables do you grow?” I quickly realized that we couldn’t even begin to describe what our life in the U.S. is like. Then he asked if we could come to see their home. The World Vision staff person quietly told us it would be possible to go there and they had made arrangements for us. The family was just as excited to show us their home as we were to see it. It was cold and raining hard. We first gathered in a small outside shelter area with mud-brick walls and a thatched roof. Small potatoes covered the entire ground area and the children walked over them because there was no other dry place to walk. Next they proudly showed us their sleeping and living area with three beds and barely enough room to walk between them – mud-brick walls, no windows, dirt floor, no heat. The boys slept in one bed, the girls in the second and the parents in the third. All their household items had to be in that small room. Across the small courtyard was the kitchen in another mud-brick building – no windows, dirt floor, no heat, no running water. There was a small table, propane tank with two burners and down by the floor a tiny mud-block stove to be used when wood was available. We didn’t even see an outhouse.

Photo courtesy of Kathy  Anderson

Photo courtesy of Kathy Anderson

The Mother said that she was grateful for the food we brought. “Now I know my children will have something to eat.” That small amount of support – $40 per month to sponsor Edson can make a difference on whether those children will eat or not. I know why God sent us.

It was time to return to the group. I cried for all the things they didn’t have – things we hardly think about – windows, hot running water, heat, our own bed, food we can easily cook or take out from a restaurant, a clothes washer and refrigerator, transportation and on and on. What was the lesson? My future work is completely clear to me – to tell others the story so they too are compelled to help families in poverty. I’ve already started.

Sponsorship makes a difference! Click here to sponsor a World Vision child today.

Leave a Comment