This week, we had our first official team meeting for our Mission Trip to the Ecuador Coast. We’ll be taking nearly 30 people from Rocky Mountain Christian Church and LifeBridge Christian Church to visit our church families in Tambillo and Limones. My heart is already there…
As we discuss and prep and questions are asked and explanations are made, I can’t stop thinking about the faces of the people I’ve fallen in love with along the coast in Ecuador. And the reason why they are so easy to love is because of how much they love us before we even get there. You see, sponsorship is so much more important than what you realize. The way that they view us, their sponsors, is similar to the way someone here in the states would view a godmother or godfather – we are very important to them. We send our money to help clothe and feed our children there. Sometimes we write our families and do it more out of obligation than relationship. We feel good about ourselves. We’re doing something for “the least of these” and we’re making a difference – we know all this in our heads, but most of the time we don’t really connect the dots to our hearts. I didn’t. Not until I saw Jovany’s family for the first time and he cried because I didn’t bring Collin. Collin is his actual sponsor – the name Jovany always sees on his letters is Collin’s. Our Ecuadorian family also gave us gifts – lots of them. More than we brought for them. They were the most shy family in the entire program, but their hearts communicated so much toward us. It was the most humbling experience I’ve ever had. Last summer, I got to take Collin there so he could meet Jovany. What another amazing experience that was!
These are the reasons why I’m going back this summer. And I would love to be able to go back year after year. The week we get to spend with the families in our churches in Ecuador are some of the most precious weeks of my year and this will be my third year to go. I don’t want to just see all of them, I want to work alongside of them. I want to serve our families there and serve with the leaders there. I want to make sure they understand how much we love them. And now… we have another child there. Her name is Mery and she will see my name on her letters – not one of my kids’ names. She is the first one we’ve sponsored over the years that’s in my name. (Conner, Karis and Collin have always been the “official” sponsors of our children in other countries.) I can’t wait to meet her and get to know her family and watch her grow up and love her the way that Jesus loves me.
I’m coming, Mery. My heart is already with you.
Next Friday, March 4, 2016, Karis and I have a fundraiser for our trip. We’re hosting an event at La Vita Bella in Longmont from 6:30-8:30 pm with Kayla Gilmore – a silent auction, live music and awesome company! If you live local, I would love to see you and talk to you more about our efforts. I love the mission of Compassion International – releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name… And the partnership with Stadia, giving us the opportunity to plant the church where our children’s center resides to serve the community and children there – a beautiful design. It makes my heart soar.