Friday, April 3, 2015
This was our team of 21 from Bright Christian Church in Indiana standing in front of Bright Christian Church in Ricaurte, Ecuador. Amazing! Amazing to think that our church family sacrificed to build this church building over three years ago for these sweet people and now we've been blessed ten-fold with inviting them into our own families and we into their's.
Each day we would feed the children lunch. The thing is that when you don't ever have enough to eat, you will first of all eat anything and second of all it's a great way to build trust (by us providing them with a meal).
They were a liiiiitle excited that we were there.
They were obsessed with my camera. They would pose like this and then tackle me to see the picture and then repeat as long as I would allow it.
It's hard to tell by this photo the size of this home, but in it lived a a grandmother and she was raising 11 grandchildren. There were no beds. No running water. No bathrooms. No electricity. Just cement floors to sleep on and a whole lot of love. She later explained that a few of the kids were not biologically her's, but she refused to turn any children away who needed a safe place to live. The man in the center is the pastor of our church in Ricaurte, to the left is his wife. To the right is Agusto- he was the sweetest. He now works for Compassion International but was actually a sponsor child growing up. Amazing!
Whenever we visited their homes we would always leave them with a gift of food. This was often met with tears, lots of tears.
Sweet girls... they loved me for my camera.
Couldn't you just squeeze her? We did, a lot. Precious baby.
Along with our team, we were joined by several team members from Compassion based in Ecuador and the bonus was that we were joined by Emilio. Emilio is actually an olympic champion from Ecuador and he's beginning to serve as one of their celebrity ambassadors so he joined us for about half of our trip because he wanted to experience all that Compassion did for himself. He has such an incredible heart. He had to leave early for a race in Quito but he met up with us for dinner on our way to the airport the last night and was just so sweet- he has big plans on how we too can help these sweet children in his home country.
This was the first moment I met 1 of our three sponsor babies, Jhongley and his mom. Jhongley is the same age as Jackson so I couldn't help but do unintended comparisons the entire week. Their living conditions had zero things in common but I will tell you that he is blessed to have a mom who cherishes him which unfortunately isn't something to take for granted when living in extreme poverty.
Outside the home of our oldest sponsor child, Siclaly. She's so sweet and very shy. The first day she wouldn't say a lot to me but she followed me around all day. When I was inside the church working on something I would often look over and find her watching me through the windows. By the end of the week the walls were down and I was so thankful to see many, many smiles. I worry for her especially. I don't know why, but something tells me she needs my love even more so than the others.
Jhongley outside his house. It's about the size of one average sized bedroom and there are holes in between all of the boards so his mom had hung up pages from magazines to block out the rain and wind. Whenever I think of him, sleeping here my heart hurts... can you imagine?