going deeper

One little gift. One big reminder.

By: Jerry
Jerry's picture
I just found it this week.  We were unpacking old boxes at our house and there it was, this little purse. It's small, pretty and handmade. For just a moment it took me back to the day it was given to my wife as a gift. It was 2006 and we were in Bolivia with Compassion to meet 5-year-old Lisbeth and her family. We walked to their simple, one-room house located on the edge of a swamp. We were struck by the two beds for six people and the water stains on the walls. During the rainy season the water outside would come inside and the family would walk in water up to their knees sometimes.

Life was hard for Lisbeth's mom. Dad had left, and mom made her money by making handicrafts, like the purse, to sell in the marketplace. She only made around $60.00 monthly. She shared with us how the Compassion program had changed everything.  It was giving Elizabeth education, food and doctor check-ups. It was teaching her about Jesus, and it was making it a little easier on mom because she knew that at least one of her children was getting help. She started to cry as she told us how grateful she was that we were sponsoring her daughter. Then, she opened a small cabinet and pulled out this purse. She gave it to my wife and said, "Please, take this gift from my heart." Initially we didn't want to take it, because we realized how much money that could mean for the family. This was her livelihood. The translator told us we should take it because we meant so much to her, and her feelings would be hurt if we didn't take it.  

So that's the story of the purse. It's a good reminder of the power that you and I have to transform lives. I'm happy to tell you that "little" Lisbeth is 16 today and thriving. Things are better for the family as a whole. Lisbeth and her family are an important part of my family and they have been for over 10 years now. I'm pretty sure they've impacted us more than we've impacted them.

Lisbeth with her mom and her sister along with my wife and I.