Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dear Albertina...

We joined Compassion in sponsoring Albertina around nine years ago. She lives in Bolivia. We all love her, even though we’ve never met in person. It’s been fun to see her learn to draw and write, and to watch her grow up. I was proud to learn that she was teaching Sunday School last year. We laughed when something got lost in translation. Once, I signed a letter:

Stefanie, for Steve and the girls

The next letter from Albertina began:

Dear Sponsor Stefanie and Forsteve

When I write to her, besides sending family news or pictures, I include a passage of scripture to encourage her. I think it’s awesome that she has sent verses to me too, and I know that she prays for us because she has said so.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about a letter that made me cry. A couple of weeks before that letter, I got a different letter that made me cry. I thought it was from Albertina, but it was from her tutor, Esau. Albertina has moved to another neighborhood, and is no longer attending her student center. I was heartsick! It was so sudden.

I was supposed to call Compassion to make arrangements to sponsor another child, but I just couldn’t call. After about a week I forced myself to call. A while back we got a mailing about older kids. It’s harder to find sponsors for the older ones. I called with the intention to sponsor one of them. I wish I could remember the name of the lady I talked to. She could hear that I was upset, and she told me that the same thing had just happened to her.

She said, “You’ve done a great job writing to her.”

Part of why I was feeling so bad is that I was convicted a while back that I didn’t write to Albertina enough. I started using e-mail because I hardly ever have stamps around here so I forget to send things. Then I felt guilty because I didn’t send pictures recently. To have her tell me that my measly two letters this year was a great job…that was too much.

Would I have written more often had I known our time was short? I hope so.

A packet with a new child was already in the mail. It arrived last weekend. Noemy is a sweet almost 7 year old, but we all agreed that we want to transfer our sponsorship to an older child. So….will one of you sponsor Noemy?

I’ve almost finished one last letter to Albertina. The teachers or children still at the center often have contact with former students. Sometimes the children come back to visit family in the neighborhood. I will gladly sponsor her again if she’s ever near a Compassion center, but I will pray for her the rest of my life. I have a feeling that she will do the same.

I am finally getting excited to meet our new friend in Bolivia

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