September 15, 2011 will go down as one of the best days of my life. It was the day I saw Magally emerging from a crowd of children walking straight into my arms. No introductions necessary. No waiting for a translator to translate our greetings. Just pure joy and love.
Magally and I started out on this journey six years ago. My previously sponsored child left the program for some reason and Magally's sponsor left the program for some reason. And, because God is sovereign, Magally and I got matched up. Wow, did God know what He was doing!I am pretty sure Magally writes more letters than anyone else's sponsor child. I cannot keep up with her. She loves to tell me about what she is learning in school or at the child development center or about her family, especially her grandpa. (I found out from her mom that her grandpa favors and spoils her:) I had to start writing notes to myself on the letters she wrote so I could remember what questions I had answered or what questions I had asked. Since many of our letters crossed in the mail, we often got information from each other twice.
When we greeted I gave her a little photo album. She opened it and immediately pointed out not just me, but also my parents, sister and brother-in-law. She remembers my birthday. When our translator asked how she recognized me, she pulled her Bible out of her bag and showed us the back. There was my picture glued to the back cover with hearts and stickers and my name. One of the many times during the day that tears sprang to my eyes!The morning was spent at the Lima Zoo. When I look at my friends' pictures from the day I realize there is a lot of the zoo we did not see. We got a little sidetracked in the jungle section. Magally lives in the jungle. (She and her mother took an 8 hour bus ride to spend the day in Lima with us! Then, they took the night bus home so that she could go to school in the morning!) She had a great time telling us all about the plants and animals in that area of the zoo. She told me about how bananas grow, pointed out a coffee plant, and told us about her favorite foods.
Her goal for the morning, though, was to see the giraffe. Our translator, who was also the photographer and keeper of the map, did an excellent job of moving us through the zoo so as to end at the giraffe/zebra area. There is an animal whose name sounds like Magally, which we all got a kick out of, especially when another group came up to the sign and read it. We thought they were saying Magally! I wish we'd taken a picture there!
After a few hours at the zoo, we all loaded our buses and headed to a restaurant. It was amazingly difficult to part, even for a few minutes to go to the restaurant! We were all laughing and crying and telling stories on the bus. Magally and I spent the morning walking close together, followed by her mother and our translator. It is amazing to feel that much love for someone you've only just met, although you've known them for many years. This is another thing I didn't know before I started out on this journey. I didn't know I loved Magally this much.And, then we got off the bus at the restaurant, and joy again! We sat at the table, the four of us, surrounded by all of the other sponsors, translators and children, yet completely unaware of them. We had a good laugh about me liking my food plain and not touching. On the bus to the restaurant Magally had found the picture of me eating sushi. She was a bit taken aback by what sushi is. She had written me recently about going to a waterfall so I had a picture of me at Sioux Falls in the album. I joked that it is so small that when I stand up I am taller than it. That got a good laugh, too.To give our translator a little break-and the pressure on us of talking all the time- I pulled the origami paper out of my bag. We made the easiest thing, the cup, very quickly. We moved on to the morning glory which we practiced twice, and then made the balloon, very exciting to actually blow it up! While we were doing origami our leader told us that if we had presents to give, now was the time to do it. So, I excused myself and ran to the bus.Magally was so grateful for each thing that was in the bag that I got for her. She was excited to use the bag for school-the next day! I was glad that I'd gotten a few things for her to share with her sister. She told me that her sister's sponsor is old and will probably never get to visit. (I don't know how old 'old' is...!) With each new thing she pulled out of the bag, I got a hug, even the toothbrush. (I picked the right color, purple!)
Then the dreaded time came, time for good byes. I didn't know that my heart would feel like this. I am so proud of the young woman Magally has become. I am so blessed to have been a part of her life for the past 6 years. I am praying hard that she is selected for the LDP program! If so, then I get to continue to sponsor her!Oh, Heavenly Father, thank you for prompting me to take part in this adventure of sponsorship and the sponsor tour. I am so blessed I think my heart is going to burst. What a mighty God we serve!