After 11 years of faithful support, Ruth Brunner finally meets her sponsored girl, Evelia Escamilla, in person. Evelia was only 5 years old when Ruth began sponsoring her.
Church mission trips to developing countries usually include hard physical work in difficult conditions. Days set aside for sightseeing and shopping are welcome breaks. Recently, Ruth Brunner and her husband participated in a mission's trip to Puebla, Mexico. But when the group got a much-deserved day for sightseeing, the Brunners did something different. They made a trip to the small town of Corralillos, home of Evelia Escamilla, the girl Ruth has sponsored through Compassion for 11 years.
The Brunners were escorted by a Compassion Mexico staff member to the Prince of Peace Student Center, the project Evelia attends. It was the day a local dentist was giving checkups. Although Ruth was happy to meet the project staff and see how sponsorship contributions provide essential services to children in need, she was eager to meet Evelia.
A Surprise Envelope
When Evelia suddenly appeared in the doorway, no introductions were needed. A huge smile lit up her face as she rushed into her sponsor's waiting arms. The joy of their hug radiated to everyone in the room.
Like old friends, Evelia and Ruth walked hand-in-hand to the 16-year-old's home where her mother and grandmother had prepared a special dinner. Afterward, Ruth surprised Evelia by presenting her an envelope. Inside were all the child updates about Evelia that Ruth had received from Compassion through the years. It also contained every letter Evelia had written to her since she was first sponsored at age 5. Evelia laughed at the misspelled words in her early letters and grew teary-eyed at the pictures she had drawn as a young child for her beloved sponsor.
But the surprise wasn't over. Evelia opened a dresser drawer and pulled out the stack of letters, cards and photos that Ruth had sent her. She had saved them all; each a precious reminder that she was loved and cherished not just by Ruth, but by God as well.
A Life of Promise
Over the past 11 years, Ruth has seen Evelia grow from a child into a lovely young teen who is well on her way to becoming a self-sufficient, mature Christian woman. She is succeeding in her high school classes and she has Jesus in her heart. Described by her project staff as a sensitive person, Evelia dreams of someday being a teacher.
But no matter what path Evelia takes, she will always know that she has a champion and best friend in Ruth Brunner. And she will always have special memories of their meeting face-to-face.
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