He is 12 years old and is one of the oldest children who attends the Luz y Vida Learning Center in Peru. His father abandoned his family when he was very young and his mother is an elderly tribal woman who only speaks the native tongue Quechua, cooks over an open fire, and lives in a very primitive home. When I arrived at the Luz y Vida Learning Center, I recognized him right away.
When I told Samuel that my family prays for him often, his eyes filled with tears.
Spending a week with Samuel and all of his friends at the Luz y Vida Learning Center was one of the best weeks of my life. Being his sponsor felt like being an auntie, and I gave him as much love, friendship and encouragement as an auntie could. Our last night in Peru we attended a church service and I was able to sit by Samuel. He prayed and sang worship songs with a sincere heart, and it was obvious that all of his hope for his future is in God. Samuel told me that he is the youngest of 4 siblings, and I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to share with him the story of David being anointed as King over all his older brothers. I told Samuel that although he is the youngest, God can use him to lead his family and his community. He cried when we said goodbye, and he gave me a tattered photo of himself riding a horse. I know this is one of the only photos he owns, a priceless gift for his sponsor.
Sponsoring Samuel is a gift from God to me, he helps me remember what is most important in this world. Everytime I start to feel whiney about my old 1960’s fixer-upper of a house, I picture Samuel’s mother cooking over an open fire. When I am aghast that I have to look at the pink and blue seashell wallpaper in my bathroom, I think of Samuel’s family wishing they had a bathroom. Maybe I should keep that wallpaper as a sort of personal protest against my own selfishness, because it makes me remember that I have a choice: to live to please myself OR to use my resources, time, and energy to love God by loving people. Thank you Samuel, for helping me to choose the latter.