I traveled with my mom and we arranged an individual visit (as opposed to a sponsor tour). What's the difference? Well, with a sponsor tour, Compassion arranges everything. When you file a request for an individual visit, Compassion only arranges the Compassion part of your trip. We have friends who used to live in Nicaragua as missionaries and continue to return yearly for on going mission work. I planned our trip to coincide with the end of their mission trip so they could be with us and be our guides/translators while in Nicaragua. We stayed at a sweet guest house called, Quinta Shalom, and had nice accommodations and delicious meals for about $25 per day. This guest house can hold quite a few guests and there were several other groups that came and went during our stay. It was fun to talk to others and share about why we were all in Nicaragua. I even met several other Compassion sponsors who were interested in hearing about the day we had with our kids.
On the morning of our Compassion day, a driver and translator picked us up and took us to the Compassion project in Ciudad Sandino. In arranging for my visit, I had requested to tour the child development center and do home visits. I also had mentioned I would have my violin along and would like to play for the kids. Although there was a wee bit of miscommunication between myself, the US contact and the Nicaraguan country office, we were able to meet all 5 kids and visit all 5 homes. The miscommunication occurred because I kept adding kids that we wanted to meet and those requests got lost between the US and NI. Thankfully, we were able to locate the 2 missing kids (Kendry and Maria) and they came right to the Compassion project.
The 5 kids we were meeting were...
|Josseling Dayana - age 17 - we've sponsored her for 12 years|
|Kendry - age 11 - sponsored in December|
|Maria - age 11 - sponsored by my mom in December|
|Kerlint - age 10 - sponsored by my mom for three years|
|Ana - sponsored by my brother's family in January|
None of the newly sponsored kids had received our introductory letters so they didn't know anything about us. Also, Ana had only found out that morning that someone wanted to meet her and Kendry and Maria found out after we'd already arrived at the project. So the only ones who were truly expecting us were Josseling and Kerlint.
There is no school in Nicaragua during the months of December and January, but the Compassion project was up and running with lots of kids. I'm not sure if this was normal or a special day because there was also a group of about 30 Canadian pastors visiting. We actually met several of these Canadians on our flight to Nicaragua. We made the Compassion connection during the flight and talked a bit.
|fellow Compassion travelers we met on our flight|
It was fun to reconnect with them at the project and talk a bit more. Even more fun to point out my own sponsored children!
So that's a little background about our trip.... God used this trip to further my understanding about Compassion's ministry, bring focus to my own sponsorship vision and share a message with fellow sponsors and advocates.
Compassion is doing what they say they are doing!
I'll probably mention that message in each post because I think it's an important one!