My husband has worked for a child sponsorship program, Compassion for over 5 years now. We had the incredible privilege to travel to the Dominican Republic with them to see first hand what Compassion really does, to be in the front lines, to see where every dollar we donate goes, and to meet one of the children we have sponsored for over 8 years (and yes she is very real).
My mind has been going over and over what to write, because really, how can I put into words what we experienced first hand? How can I tell you about the depth of poverty we saw, but also the hope for so many because of the wonderful work of Compassion? Words do not suffice, only those of us who experienced the trip can truly know and understand anything I say or write, but I am still going to write. I will write in hopes that maybe someone will just understand a small sliver of what we experienced, maybe one more child will know what hope is because they are sponsored. Maybe just one more person will decide to write to their child, to change a life forever simply from the words they say. I also write to remind myself, to never forget this experience and how it has touched and changed my life, and help continue to mold who I am.
One of the best things about the trip was that it was just not Compassion employees, it was also several sponsors, people who make a monthly donation to a particular child to help change their life (and they all got to meet the children they have sponsored). It was quite the mix of people, young, old, families, single people, couples, and people with all different personalities. All strangers on the first day and friends with an incredible journey together by the end.
This post is just an introduction with mostly just photos
Our first stop a Pentecostal Dominican church that is a partner with Compassion.
For me there was nothing better than to see the children. I just LOVED LOVED LOVED the kids! Three precious girls sat next to me at church, we did not know how to speak to each other ( I know like 4 Spanish words) but we smiled at each other and were just happy
|we all worship the same way|
|just hanging out with my new friends|
a precious little baby came in and his mother just kept telling me "infermo" which I knew meant sick, but I had no idea what was wrong.....
and this little miss personality just came an plopped herself right on my lap, she was like a little Norah (I just loved every minute!)
I brought a photo of our girls and the kids loved to look at it!
|hi down there|
an older woman asked me to take a photo of her, it was so sweet, she probably doesn't have many photos of herself and I just loved capturing her with her age and beauty. Dominican's age well
Since this church partners with Compassion we got see where the children meet during the week and meet some of the staff and enjoy a delicious lunch they made for us. We really only got to see a tiny glimpse of the hard work they all do
The church service was going for about 4 hours (yes, that is 4 hours for one service) we had various translators throughout the time and then the pastor said "just 2 more minutes" which in Dominican apparently means another hour because the service continued for another hour !! Gosh I get impatient at a 1.5 hour service and this was 5 hours, the stamina of the Dominican's is amazing, I think I need a little of it.
The next 4 hours were spent on a bus, getting to see a lot of the country and getting to our next destination. I can't wait to share about the next day, with mommies and babies and really seeing what Compassion is doing in peoples lives!
Please feel free to ask questions by leaving comments, I want to answer all of them!
Oh and I tried to pick one favorite photo from each day, but this day I had to pick out 2