As a Canadian, I don't bat an eyelash when I hear of temperatures dropping to the freezing point. It's pretty typical for the temps in our corner of the world to go further below the freezing point than it ever reaches above it. Summers are mild, winters are ridiculous -- that's life in Canada.
One of the first questions that is communicated back and forth between our family and our sponsored children's families are weather related... it's something we all have in common, and something we're curious about when it comes to other countries. It's a conversation starter, it breaks the ice, so to speak.
Last week, I received a letter from Lizbeth's family in Bolivia. Her mother, Sonia, explained that as of April, it was very "hot!" in Bolivia. I grinned... I had just returned from Honduras, and from what I understand, Honduras is not quite as hot as Bolivia. If it was "very hot" in Honduras for us Canadians, and it seemed mild to the locals... I can't even imagine what someone from Bolivia would consider "Hot!". Perhaps to us Canadians, it would classify as "lava activity?" Would they find our low 70's summer temps "cold"?
I didn't give it much thought until this morning, when I happened to glance at CNN's news headlines, one of which immediately concerned me:
"Cold Temps Cause Deaths in Bolivia"
(CNN) -- An intense cold front in southern Latin America continues to blanket the region, causing deaths, school and highway closures, and other woes.
A total of 18 people have died in Bolivia as a direct or indirect consequence of low temperatures, the Peruvian state-run Andina news agency reported. The deaths were spread out throughout the country.
On Monday, Bolivian officials said temperatures in the major city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra would reach 3 C (37 F), the lowest in 29 years, and in other regions the mercury dropped below freezing, Andina reported.
As a precaution, Bolivian authorities canceled school from Monday to Wednesday, the official Bolivian news agency ABI reported.
I immediately thought of Lizbeth, her family, and all the Compassion families in Bolivia living in extreme poverty. Would they have the resources to keep their families warm during this unseasonably cold weather? Were they safe?
All morning, I prayed for Lizbeth's family, praying for God to provide a way to keep them warm.
Little did I know that God had answered my prayer months ago... in MARCH!
I learned about His provision early this afternoon when I received another letter in the mail from Lizbeth's family.
When I read the letter and saw the photo that accompanied it, I knew it was His way of saying "I Have Already Provided". It was a letter thanking us for the family gift we had sent to them back in March in order to provide for the most urgent needs of the entire family, above and beyond the needs covered by sponsorship. They explained that they had bought items that they really needed, the majority of which was:
Clothes and blankets.
When God prompted me to give in March, I had no idea that this is what He had in mind, I didn't know what their needs were, or what their needs would be.
I didn't need to know...
... I just needed to trust and obey.
Hard not to trust a God who answers prayers before you even bring them to Him!
If you'd like more information on providing a family gift to your sponsored child's family, please consult your country's Compassion Office for more information, or click here:
For more information on what your contribution will provide depending on the country your child lives in, check out this awesome link -- Country Specific Gift Giving and Letter Writing Info
Click on the appropriate country, and then click on the bottom right hand side link "View Letter Writing and Gift Giving Tips". Did you know, for example, that in Bolivia, a $100 family gift can buy a bicycle, a cow or a sewing machine? The bicycle can provide transportation, the cow can provide milk and income, and the sewing machine can provided a way for the family to increase their income.