Every-once-in-awhile, a moment "happens" in our lives that captures truth in a snapshot. When you hold that snapshot in your heart, it becomes a window to something real and holy and precious. Jesus did this with stories — we sometimes call these stories parables. Every great communicator has a way of helping us do this. We also do this for ourselves to help us remember emotionally-charged truth as more than just a collection of facts and data bits.

At lunch yesterday, our group of bloggers went to an African hotel to eat Chinese food with a bunch of people we had never met. Those circumstances don't exactly sound like a recipe for social success. This lunch, however, was unlike any of us had ever shared ... and it was wonderful.

Several days earlier, I had been privileged to meet with the little girl our family sponsors. We consider her our Compassion child. Now, for the first time, the rest of the group was getting to meet the child their families were sponsoring. I had an idea what they would experience, although each of these visits is as unique as the people involved. They would dance the strange uncomfortable dance I did at first with Doreen as we tried to get acquainted. Then they would share gifts and find a way to communicate. Before long, they would lose their hearts to these precious children. By the time lunch was over, none of them would ever be the same. (Just let them tell their own stories and you will see this is true: you can catch those by reading their blogs.)

What I was not prepared to experience was meeting an eleven year old boy we'll call "Little D." He is the sponsored child of BooMama's brother. He came along to meet BooMama, but of course she needed to bond with her sponsored child, a precious little girl whom she held most of the lunch. "Little D" is a sweet boy, but in such a setting, he was naturally shy. He would have missed out on much of the magic of this moment. So I was privileged to step in and have lunch with him.

Sophie (aka BooMama) had tried to explain to "Little D" who her brother and his family were and how it all fit. She spent some precious moments with him, but when Sophie's tiny little girl was presented to her, it was time for me to try to get acquainted with "Little D" and let her have her special moment with her family's sponsored child.

So I stepped in ... well, stumbled in is probably more accurate. Now "Little D" was a master at one word answers to my questions. So we looked at pictures of BooMama's now famous family. Then we tried drawing. Then we looked at other gifts given to him in his gift backpack. Then we talked about what he wanted to be when he grew up — a mechanic. We visited about his family — four brothers, a mother, and his father was not alive. Then we ate and talked about food. He didn't eat a whole lot.

There was still a lot of time left to fill, and I was running out of options. It wasn't forced communication — it was pleasant and comfortable — we just lacked that spark to really make things memorable. Then, I noticed "Little D" was interested in my camera. Bingo! I quit taking pictures, and he started! We found that magic moment. A sweet snapshot where his personality came alive.

He figured out the intricacies of the digital camera as if he had designed it. Motion video, stills, looking at previous pictures, framing pictures, and taking pictures ... He took lots of pictures. His wonderful smile lit up our end of the table. He became more animated. He moved all around our table taking pictures — in fact, all the pictures on this page, and many more, were taken by "Little D"!

By the end of lunch, he was having a blast playing with his soccer ball or taking pictures or visiting with friends. Yet when all was said and done, and as much as these moments were precious, none of these moments was the snapshot of grace that I will treasure most. As we were getting ready for the hard good-byes, "Little D" and I hugged, "high-fived," and then he looked at me with that wide smile and a sparkle in his eyes and asked, "When are you coming back to see me?"

He had no idea how far away any of us lived. He just knew that all the distance could collapse in a moment of grace, a digital camera, and a little boy who found out that he was truly special to a number of people from half a world away who would instantly love him.

What a holy moment! What a precious snapshot! What a privilege of grace to get to experience it!

Now isn't it your turn to have such a moment?

You can change the life of a child, too!

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