While the tropical rains poured down outside on an August afternoon in Nicaragua, we nestled into our dry space, enjoying our time together at our sponsor child’s home.
We had met at a local mall earlier in the day, where we shared lunch at Nicaragua’s fried chicken favorite, Tip Top. As soon as we arrived at the home, where we were warmly welcomed, we met our sponsor child’s family. Gifts were exchanged, and nerves had settled as more time passed, and we all became more able to share, to know each other, to get past that initial shyness.
We weren’t completely new to each other. We had sponsored this teen, Jose, since he was a young boy of 10 years, sharing almost monthly letters, getting to know each other in bits and pieces across the miles. And we had met in person one other time as well, two years earlier, at an amusement park in Managua during a Compassion group tour.
Jose’s mother told us he ran all the way home from the Compassion project when he learned of this upcoming visit, excited to share the news that we were returning.
Now we were sitting in our sponsor child’s home, in a little barrio in Managua, on a rainy summer afternoon. We were surrounded by our Nicaraguan family: Jose, along with his mother, his two younger brothers, a worker from his project and our Compassion translator. My two teen sons, Aidan and Logan, were there as well.
We were arranged around the room in white plastic chairs, crowding the hard-packed dirt floor. Jose had carefully wiped each chair down with a cloth as he unstacked them and spread them out for us when we first arrived. Colorful woven hammocks hung against a wall from large hooks, folded in half, stowed away for the day. There were family photos framed and hanging on the turquoise painted brick walls.
And there were two refrigerators in the room as well. Any refrigerator seemed out of place, but the presence of two was especially unusual. We soon found out those two refrigerators were a source of the family’s income. Throughout our visit, neighbors would stop by, calling out to our hosts in order to purchase baggies of ice and to get a peek at the family’s visitors.
We passed the two-hour visit with ease, asking questions, sharing stories, with a give and take that isn’t possible in letters. As always, the time passed too quckly.
As us two mothers shared about our teen sons’ interests, we found a common ground among the boys, just has we had during our last visit together. This time one commonality was that all three teens had participated in theater groups. Our enthusiastic translator seized on this piece of information, and while Jose and Logan were too shy to share their talents on command, she convinced Aidan to perform.
He nervously belted out the first song that came to mind, Elvis’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” With no music to accompany him, Aidan sang,
“Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you.
Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin
If I can’t help falling in love with you?”
We all clapped, appreciated Aidan’s effort, as more walls broke down, more barriers were overcome. And while we weren’t falling in love in the same sense as the Elvis song, we bonded a bit more, loved each other more, knew each other more. We really were sitting there together, falling in love even more with our brothers and sisters in Christ, our families normally separated by so many miles.
And having built up those bonds we had begun with our first letters, with our first visit, we made new memories together to see us through until our next visit.
Please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion and expanding your family. You can see the children waiting for sponsors by clicking here. If you’re interested in reading about our first visit with Jose and his mom, click here.