Recipe for a Trip of a Lifetime
- 8 flights in 4 days + 1 missed international flight.
- Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F (40 degrees C).
- It’s so hot and humid that I’m drenched in my own sweat.
- My jeans are stuck to my leg and my handkerchief is soaked from all the perspiration. (Can’t believe they call this winter)
- Top it off with lugging around bulging backpacks filled with gifts.
But when you meet your special sponsored child for the first time, and the moment he runs out to greet you and gives you a big hug, you can’t help but smile and feel how amazing life really is.
I can only describe the events of my first week in Colombia in one word. Indescribable.
My wife called it the best possible wedding anniversary gift because it is something that she will never forget.
It’s too hard to describe in words what I felt and saw, and it’s even harder for the experience to be conveyed through words so I’ll keep it short.
I sponsor 4 children through an organization called Compassion. Three of them live in Colombia and I made the decision to visit them this October in order to see them face to face and to encourage them and let them know how much we care for them.
People mentioned that they were expecting blond haired elderly couple, and it was a big surprise to see young Korean’s for the first time. The places we visited were also small rural towns so it was the first time for many people seeing a foreigner. We were greeted like rockstars everywhere we went. Crowds of children, cameras in our face, photos with so many people. It made it even more fun and interesting that we were Asian.
Day 1: Visiting Elifeleth
The boy holding the picture Bible is the child we sponsor. If you look immediately above my wife’s head, there is a photo of my wife and I in the corner of that big picture at the back. The family proudly hung our photo in their home to show their gratitude. Made me ashamed at all my previous complaining.
We don’t speak any Spanish so we had an interpreter with us, but in the end the only intentional language needed was hugs, laughs and tears.
Day 2: Visiting William
It’s not often you get to enjoy real coconut milk. You also don’t see too many homes that own a pig, horse, chicken and dog. William is a young lad that touches my heart. I remember the encouragement needed at that age and so I wanted to let him know how much we cared for him. William’s family live on about $50 a month. They live a very simple life with nothing but the necessities. No internet, no phone, no modern kitchen. The kitchen stove is just a pit with a fire.
In the 12 years that the sponsored school was opened, we were the first to have ever visited.
Day 3: Visiting Kelly
Adorable Kelly. She’s only 5 years old and cried for about 20 mins when she saw us. Probably because my head is twice the size of hers…
But that all cleared up when we all spent the day at the zoo.
Each of the we homes we visited didn’t have the luxury of a carpet or even floor. Dusty cement floors was the norm. No insulation or walls either. Walls were created by simple cotton curtains. The children didn’t have toys, books, coloring pencils or even paper to draw on.
But the children and families are happy. They didn’t worry endlessly and their hearts were open, inviting and embracing.
It reminded me of how much I have to be thankful for.
My Thanks to You
In 3 days of visiting each child, I didn’t care one bit about how my portfolio was doing. There could have been another flash crash and it wouldn’t have mattered. I love investing and I find so much enjoyment when I study companies and create spreadsheets but thankfully, I experienced first hand the joy and love or something bigger.
But what I do want to say is how thankful I am for you and this website. It has helped in numerous ways and I want to make sure that you know I appreciate the part you have played in growing this website.
I’m not making millions off my investments and this website, but I’m not making zero either. Do know that from your involvement with this site, you are helping a child receive support to do well in a tough society. Thank you.
For the past 3 years, you’ve only known me by my writing and as OSV, but as we get into our 4th year and beyond, I hope to change things by sharing a more personal involved side with you.