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The End Of An Era

Updated: Jul 18, 2021

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. This is a story about a girl and her journey with an incredible organization called Compassion Canada. Compassion Canada is a holistic child development organization that helps to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

This particular tale began in Central Ontario Canada, in the beautiful cottage region of Muskoka. The season was winter, and I was visiting this stunning Canadian location for the first time with my youth group. After one of the teaching sessions, there was a tiny booth with pamphlets of children who live in poverty around the world. I immediately picked one up and made a promise to myself to one day sponsor a child with Compassion when I had a regular income. Sadly, I would fail to keep my promise.



Photo by Aliko Sunawang - @sunawang

Fast forward to March 2010, I had no job after returning from the mission field and my EI (employment insurance) was about to end after months of searching for work. People would ask me what kind of career I would like to have, and I would respond, “I’m not sure exactly, but I would love to work for a ministry like Compassion Canada.” This is not a joke. During this period of waiting upon God and job hunting, I was reading the gospels and God’s heart for the poor was highlighted across the pages. There was no denying that God wanted me to sponsor a child. I did not know how I would make future donation payments after I stopped receiving EI, but I knew I had to obey what the Holy Spirit was leading me to do. So, I sponsored a young boy from Colombia. Fun fact, I still sponsor Hernan to this day and I still have the pamphlet I picked up as a teenager in Muskoka! Then, later that month, once I had taken a step of faith with child sponsorship, God opened the doors to a wonderful employment opportunity with Compassion Canada. Again, I’m not kidding. This is how God works!

I was hired in April 2010, and I had two weeks to pack, move to a new city and find a place to live. On May 3, 2010, this Latin, wide-eyed and twenty something year old girl, landed a job at a dream workplace.



Photo by Brooke Cagle


The middle of a story might be my favourite. It’s past the introduction of characters, setting and theme. It’s where the juicy part of the plot lies. Usually, the central section is where most of the story rests. The topic is explained, important details are revealed and the climax portion is reached.

The chapters between the beginning and the end of this narrative are filled with wonderful memories. The following reads like a highlight reel but it’s not an exhaustive list. Hold on tight!

  • Delicious meals inside and outside of the office with work friends who also became just friends. My favourite meals were always Qdoba meals.

  • Starbucks outings and movie watching.

  • Training trips to The Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Honduras where I got to know co-workers on a deeper level, play with precious children and listen to stories from our selfless field staff.

  • A filming trip to Guatemala that was a blast.

  • Meaningful conversations on buses in our field countries, in our Café Bella at the office, at co-worker’s cubicles and homes, at Compassion events and more.

  • Department retreats, including my favourite: An all-day workshop on the Enneagram, after which I understood and appreciated my co-workers even better.

  • Our annual beach kick-off in July (sadly this did not happen in 2021 or 2020 because of Covid).

  • Thursday chapels, especially the teaching ones where staff shared testimonies.

  • Singing praises to God with my colleagues at Thursday chapels.

  • Beginning each day with prayer in our teams.

  • Praying for sponsors over the phone, educating them on our program and encouraging them.

  • When sponsors would invite me to visit them in their homes. The most exciting one was from a woman who had a beach house in Nova Scotia.

  • Volunteering at Compassion events, including at concerts for Marcos Witt and For King & Country.

  • Celebrations of birthdays, engagements, weddings, new homes, trips and babies.

  • Hosting chapel a few times and having the privilege of sharing a reflection/devotion with my peers and leaders.

  • Acting in a skit during a chapel where I pretended to be a pregnant woman at the field.

  • Witnessing the thoughtful & loving way the baton was passed from one President & CEO of Compassion to another.

  • Being a part of 3 different book clubs at different times with various Compassion friends.

  • Writing an article about my sponsorship experience for our magazine.

  • And so much more.


There were also many heartbreaking moments that we experienced as a Compassion family.

  • Grieving when marriages ended.

  • Car accidents.

  • Loved ones passing away.

  • Battles of anxiety and fear. I was thankful to share my testimony on this topic in chapel.

  • Co-workers leaving. Some for exciting new adventures and others with sad exits.

  • Hard conversations, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

  • Health issues and scares.

  • Difficult work seasons.

  • Taking risks that didn't work out.

  • Friendships that changed.

  • And more.

It’s unique to be an employee at a place where your professional life and your personal life intermingle so profoundly. Simply put, my Compassion co-workers evolved from colleagues, to friends, and became family. I moved to London 11 years ago for a job, but I gained a whole community and a second family, which was so special for a girl whose blood family is hours away. Everyone of you who has walked through the doors at 985 Adelaide St S, whether you're a current employee or not, has made an impact in my life. Thank you for your laughter, your tears, your dancing, your hugs, your conversations, your smiles, your prayers and your love. Your faith has pointed me to Jesus and that is the greatest gift anyone can impart to anyone else.

Photo by Jan Tinneberg

I love you my Compassion brothers and sisters. Keep fighting the good fight. My character exits the narrative as a regular character, but I hope to make guest appearances in the future. It’s been an honour to be in your company. It may be the end of an era, but it’s the beginning of everything else. :) Much love,

Raquel

You live you learn

You love you learn

You cry you learn

You lose you learn

You bleed you learn

You scream you learn

You grieve you learn

You choke you learn

You laugh you learn

You choose you learn

You pray you learn

You ask you learn

You live you learn


You Learn – Alanis Morissette *For more information about this amazing ministry please visit www.compassion.ca


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