Awhile back, letters from the Country Directors for all of our sponsored kids were sent out. I got a big envelope filled with wonderful letters about all the great work Compassion is doing in different countries. I’m going to start sharing these on the blog, and first up is Bolivia’s!
I have nothing but fantastic things to say about Compassion Bolivia, from the amazing photographs of the children to the quality of the letters to the wonderful tutors- it’s clear they’re doing fantastic work there. I sponsor my beloved Elvis in Bolivia, and my close relationship with him is why Bolivia is at the top of my list for a future Compassion trip (here’s hoping they offer one in the summer soon!).
My name is Mario Vásquez, and I’ve been working for Compassion for about 30 years. I started as an errand boy, and 21 years ago, I became Country Director for Bolivia.
Thank you for your support to change the future of Elvis through your faithfulness. Sponsorship is God’s tool to shape and transform lives. There are two groups of heroes: the first are this great host of sponsors and donors who give their money in faith. The Bible says that whoever gives to the poor lends to God (Proverbs 19:17). The second is the staff at the child development centers who work daily with the children, providing a safe environment where children can come to know God’s purpose for their lives.
In Bolivia, the main challenges children face rise from a lack of role models in their families. Most of our children live in overcrowded conditions with few basic utilities, vulnerable to all kinds of dangers. The older children take care of the younger, because their parents go out to work. Many also suffer violence from their own parents under the pretext of discipline. Sadly, in Bolivia, exercising violence against the most vulnerable is part of the culture. Schools and health care centers are far away. Thus, the child development centers become an oasis for the children.
There is significant different between children who were sponsored through Compassion and those who didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the program. One sponsored child completed here university degree; she helps her family, supports her church, and is now mentoring other children in the program. But she sadly said that none of her other siblings completed university, and that the eldest already has a family and too many responsibilities she finds it difficult to fulfill.
The work that the churches and centers do is highly valued in the communities. For example, we encourage churches that have been working with us for a long time (15 to 20 years) to plant other churches and centers in areas outside the city. These new churches are welcomed in the new communities. The community leaders look to them with much hope for all the children in the area.
The sponsor-child relationship is invaluable. The letters help their self-esteem grow incredibly. I heard the testimony of a young woman who has a birthmark covering much of her face. When she was a child, she was bullied by other children, who called her ‘werewolf’. But a miracle happened, because her sponsor did not stop writing and telling her she was beautiful. This encouragement through letters helped her so much that the girl has come to feel comfortable with her birthmark. She is now a professional who works with other young people, helping provide leadership training.
I can see the fruits of this ministry. I remember the faces of children at the center, and now I see them all grown up: pastors, doctors, and other responsible people. When I learn that they are faithful people, no longer living in poverty, who see their future with hope and optimism, I see God’s power. My goal is to give to Bolivia citizens who represent God’s kingdom well, who are good children, good parents, good husbands and wives, good bosses, good workers, and good citizens- men and women who desire to serve others and not just serve themselves.
This ministry works to expand God’s kingdom. It is not an easy task. Please pray for your child and all children in Bolivia who live in poverty and vulnerability, so that God gives wisdom to all of us working to do His will.
Thank you for your support for Elvis, which is fundamental. I would like to encourage you to keep on supporting your child, knowing that your investment is invaluable.
In Jesus, Mario Vásquez”
I love this letter ❤