Hey, everyone! I hope you all are doing very well. I’ve come well past my halfway mark and have about 3 months left. I’ve decided that it is time to tell you all a story from my vacation back in December. [Note: Volunteers at this organization in Peru have to leave the country after 6 months to renew their visas. So a few of the volunteers scheduled their vacation to Bolivia to renew their visas]. This post is less about a boring moral or object lesson and more about me just wanting to share a cool story with you all. That being said, this is also an enormous thank you to those of you who helped get me here. Some of you donated to my funds, many of you prayed for me and a few helped mold me into a man with a desire to serve, so this one is for all of you. What you’re about to read is probably one of my fondest memories of this year so far. It never could have happened if it wasn’t for all the wonderful people who helped get me here, so thank you. Please enjoy.
The musicians stopped for a drink and my new friend laid his heavy head in my lap. I began to feel his warmth spread to me as the last of the sun set behind the distant Andean Mountains. As the last light left, it gave way to the persistent lightning in the distance. I was in a different world. This was the experience of a lifetime, the kind tourists can’t buy. The kind that only a lucky few find once in a while. This was Copacabana, this was Bolivia, this was Gods creation.
I fought to stop the tears from falling as another soft song faded into the cold night. My companion stretched and wagged his tail as I employed both hands to stroke his soft fur. I stood up and pulled a few Bolivianos from my pocket and approached their circle from my outsiders perch. They refused my money at first, but with some persuasion they took it and said thank you. They didn’t realize what they had given me that night. I patted my fluffy friend on the head and said goodbye, truly grateful for temporarily filling the empty space in my heart. After wishing the Bolivians a good night, I continued on towards the town. I left their little circle and my canine friend behind. The lightning became brighter and the stormy sky got darker as I entered the lighted streets. I looked back one more time, knowing that I had experienced something very special.
Kainan Shaw is a student missionary from Walla Walla University serving as an English teacher in Peru through the NAD Office of Volunteer Ministries and Adventist Volunteer Service. This was originally posted on his blog on March 16, 2016, and is used with permission.