Greetings from the gorgeous country of Ecuador. As we prepare the day of meeting with over 200 children sponsored by Compassion, this is my view:
The beach is one of my favorite aspects of God’s creation and I love seeing it all over the world.
Anyway, let me backtrack a minute. We arrived in Quito early Friday morning, around midnight local time. (We’re on Eastern time here.) After heading through customs and grabbing our luggage, we boarded the bus for our hotel. We were all pretty tired, and many of us didn’t feel great.
However, meeting our Compassion leader Andrea, who lives in Quito, was so refreshing! The love of Christ, her country, and Compassion was evident as she told us a little about our trip, standing up on the bus as we wove through the hilly streets of Quito. She immediately set us at ease and one thing she said really stuck out to me. She referred to the fact that some of us may be nervous meeting the women at the CSP (child survival program) the next day. But she reminded us that we are all a part of the same family- God’s family- we just happen to live in different parts of the world.
The next morning (after a very short night!) we woke up to this view:
As much as I love Houston and there are so many beautiful aspects of it, physical beauty ain’t one of ‘em.
Quito, however, is just stunning. So many colors, and lots of lush vegetation.
After the best breakfast I’ve ever had, we had a brief informational meeting. Andrea told us of the extreme poverty in parts of Ecuador and how many kiddos don’t have a father present, or he may be the husband to several wives, and therefore father to many, many children.
we then headed back to the airport, where we almost missed our flight to Manta. We made it though and once arriving, we drove straight to the project where Compassion has been working for about 2 years. It was amazing to hear from the pastor and local missionaries. The church had only been planted about three years earlier, and now has 450 members!
We spent time talking with the moms and their precious children. Most of the kiddos here were under the age of 3, and if you know me, babies are my love language! I was able to hold a precious one-month old and give her a bottle. Her mom is a sweet little 14 year old that is just a child herself. It broke my heart, but also gave me hope to see what a nurturing mother the girl was, and how much she is learning through Compassion.
We also visited in the homes of a few women from the center. It was heart-breaking to see the woman crying because she wanted to give her 2 children a better home- better than the 12×12 room the four of them shared, that lets rain water in each time it rains.
We returned to the center to bid farewell to this amazing group of women. Four out of ten of them are mothers before the age of 18, and Compassion volunteers ( who are also Ecuadoreans) work diligently with them to teach them about physical, spiritual, and emotional development. Each woman gets a 45-minute home visit each week from the promoter and it seemed they all share a special bond with the 2 promoters.
One other thing Compassion is doing is teaching these women marketable skills. For example, they had a jewelry-making class and several of the women began making and selling beautiful jewelry. Right before we headed back to the hotel, the women gave each of us a gorgeous bracelet that had been hand-crafted by them.
Did you get that?
They. gave. us. gifts.
They, who live in homes smaller than my bedroom. They, who probably don’t know what it is to have a loving, monagamous husband. They, who may or may not have a meal to provide their children that night. They gave us gifts.