Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. 1 John 3:18-19

Several years ago when I first traveled in South Africa, I found myself almost exhausted by the sights, the new understanding of their country and the loving people with so different stories to tell. Everything came so fast. Our dear friend Ian said to me, “It will take time for all of this to go down into your heart.” I have remembered his words so many times this week in Bolivia. At every stop there was more. More amazing people. More beautiful landscapes. More dedicated World Vision staff. More great need. This will all take time to sink in. To go to the deep places in my heart.

Our journey began with a meeting at Bolivian World Vision National offices in La Paz. Their wonderful staff gave us an overview of their work at 39 World Vision communities all around the country.

World Vision Bolivia National offices

From their offices, they loaded our team into vans with our fearless leader, translator and new friend, Andrea, to guide us through the whole week. We drove about five hours higher up to the city of Oruro. From Oruro we would drive to different World Vision communities each day (the official term is ADP – Area Development Project).

On the way to Oruro.

Our first community visit was to the ADP Winaypaj where we met Taylor’s sponsored child, Ashelin.

Taylor and Ashelin

The week before we arrived, we found out all of Ashelin’s other siblings had been sponsored, except one. We decided we wanted to sponsor her little sister, Rosario.

Sweet little Rosario

Ashelin and Rosario’s grandmother.

I think I’m going to have to write individual posts about each family we visited because these few lines don’t say enough, but I will tell you this. We visited Ashelin and Rosario’s house, their wonderful family fed us a gracious meal and at the time, I thought they were surely the poorest family I had ever met. Until two days later when we we met our next sponsored child, Miriam, from the Soracahi ADP.

With Miriam and her mom.

Miriam is the youngest of 11 children. The family welcomed us to their home with lavish gifts, including a guitar the dad made for Scott. Miriam held onto me from the minute she ran into my arms. I’m not sure she understands what a sponsor family is, but she was so happy we were there. None of us had ever been to a home of such desperate poverty. I think we were all stunned. And humbled. And grateful that God sent us to meet Miriam’s family.

Our families together.

From Miriam’s house we drove about 45 minutes into the most remote valley you can imagine. We were going to meet our sponsor child, Erik, the cutest little boy you’ve ever seen.

After a winding, stream-forging, drive through a valley, we parked for a short hike to Erik’s house.

Our families together. Erik is in the blue sweater.

Happy boys.

A soccer ball makes everything fun!

There is so much more to tell you about each family we have met, but this one thing I know. I have seen them with my own eyes. I have held them with my own arms. I have driven to what felt like the ends of the earth, but God is there. He is working mightily among His people in Bolivia.

Would you sponsor a child in Bolivia today? In the days to come I want to tell you more about the integrity of World Vision, but for now, the need is greater than you can imagine. Children and families are waiting. Mama’s in Bolivia are praying someone will choose their child. The World Vision link on the right of this post will take you to Bolivian children who need sponsor families. Would you choose one today?

Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” Matthew 25:45