November 21, 2021

HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY, RAQUEL!

This was the first photo I saw of little Raquel when I became her Compassion International sponsor back in 2009. She was only three years old at the time, and today she turns 16.  She lives in the coastal area east of Lima, Peru, with her parents and a much younger brother. Through Compassion, she receives many benefits of learning, health care, Bible study, and financial assistance. 

This second photo was made when she was about ten years old.  We’ve communicated through letters sent back and forth—first from a translator and later, written in Spanish by Raquel with a translation following. She’s only about six months younger than my grandsons Sam and Eli and almost a year older than Charlotte. That makes me feel closer to her, although I know her life is much different from theirs. The impact of the pandemic has been extremely difficult, and most of the school and extracurricular activities she enjoyed so much disappeared. Outreach workers stay in contact with the families and provide assistance, but I know it has disrupted her life very seriously.  I can only hope she and her family have remained healthy and that vaccines will be available to them soon.

This was the latest photo I had of her, taken at school just before the pandemic. Charlotte has always enjoyed reading the letters from Raquel and has included her own notes and drawings for her when I replied.  I always keep one of her photos on my refrigerator with the latest ones of the grandkids.

Raquel has written about her large extended family, naming a long list of cousins who live in the mountains and talking of visits to her grandmother and aunt.  She dreams of being able to travel, wanting most to visit Brazil, Russia and the United States.  She once mentioned that she would really like to become a travel agent! She’s written about playing volleyball and soccer, said her favorite colors are purple and pink, and described the items (always clothes and shoes) she was able to buy with my birthday money gifts.  She has said they had turkey and cocoa for Thanksgiving, and described some of her favorite Peruvian dishes.Here’s wishing that Raquel is well, celebrating her birthday with her family and friends, and that some of her dreams will come true.

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