This story is a pretty cool example about how there are no coincidences in life. On trips, I have experienced this often; and yet this time, it was pretty awesome. Or as my mom would say it was epic! When I lead trips, I always tell the guests to let go & let God and to let God show up & watch how He often shows off.
On this particular morning in Guayaquil, Ecuador, we were planning to have four home visit groups with WAYFM. We were going to visit two homes each and to gather stories for the next week’s radio sponsorship campaign. When we started dividing the team into groups, we decided to put certain DJ’s and cameramen together. We ended up only really needing 3 sets of home visits and not 4, yet we had those other two homes expecting us to come visit. I decided to go to these homes, along with Karen, a former Compassion Canada staff member, who is living in Ecuador and friends with Jocelyn.
The first home that we went to visit was Jorge’s home. He was very shy, and we had a short and nice visit. Angie, our translator, knew we were tight on time and still had the second home to visit, so we said a goodbye prayer and left. The second home turned out to be right across the street from the first. This gave us a little extra time, and we silently hoped that this child would be a little more outgoing. It was 10 year old Luis’ home, but he goes by Louie. He happened to be the first boy I sat next to when we had arrived at the project, and he turned to smile at me. He had a handsome 23 year old brother who played guitar and a beautiful 19 year old sister (with a lovely smile with braces) who loved to sing & dance. I saw a similarities to my own kids in them. We started talking and asked if he was sponsored (We had name tags on all the available kids at the center, since the radio team will be featuring those kids in their campaign next week), and Luis did not have a tag on. He said yes and said that he would like to share something with me. He shyly and quietly told me that he wished that he could meet his sponsor.
“I love my sponsor, and I wish he would visit me.”
Does he write you?
Yes, a lot.
Would you like to show us a letter?
He brings me this letter. I notice it’s from a Rob Porter. My spidey senses tingle, and I am immediately reminded of my tall friend/coworker who loves the Steelers and lives in South Carolina. Out of curiosity, I asked Louie if he has a picture of his sponsor. We continue talking and his mom Paola, who is a tutor at the project, and she recalled from a letter that his sponsor was from the States and worked at Compassion.
Could it be?
Could Louie be Rob’s sponsored child?
What are the chances?
So I discreetly text Rob a picture of the letter. I also email him and receive his out of the office. We continue chatting it up with the family. Then I get this text back…. That’s him!!! What in the world? In the 100,000 kids in Ecuador, out of the 3 projects we were going to, and out of almost 100 times that lead trips in that country, and the first day of home visits; I randomly go to the last homes on the list? If the radio folks went to Louie’s home, they wouldn’t have been able to make that connection. Amidst the immediate goosebumps, I ask if Rob was free to FaceTime. He was in DC with work, but he had sometime available. I discreetly caution him that Louie might request he come to visit. (I knew Rob had been to Ecuador before with work, but could not make it to Guayaquil to visit his kids there.)
“Louie, would you like to talk to your sponsor?”
He said yes.
Okay, let’s do it!
Louis started to cry. Oh be still my heart.It was the best $10 spent on an international unlimited data plan. Louie met Rob, and Rob got to meet Louie, his parents (Luis and Paola), and his older siblings (Estiven and Damaris).
Louie told Rob that he would pray for him to come to Ecuador and play futbol with him. Rob, almost speechless, said he wasn’t sure when he will come, but he would for sure be praying along with Luis that it would happen. We FaceTimed for about 20 minutes. After we finished FaceTiming, sweet Louie made a video for Rob.
So fun. Coolest day! There was not a dry eye among us all. Rob told me later that this experience honestly was one of the most incredible things in his life. When back at the project, Louie helped me pass out my hair ties, match box cars, lollipops, stickers and expandable towels. Such a great helper. God indeed showed off!