Have you ever been really excited for an upcoming trip? I found out last fall that I would have the opportunity to travel to Ecuador with Compassion International in January. Compassion International is the child sponsorship organization the women of the PennDel Network are partnering with during our 2019 Spring Tour and Fall Conference. I have been to Ecuador several times with our church mission program, so this country holds a special place in my heart. Elisha Cruz, one of the Women of Purpose Core Team members, was travelling with me, which made the trip even more special. Monday, January 7 couldn’t come soon enough!
The Saturday before I was to leave, my husband Steve was teaching at the PennDel School of Ministry and I had the day to myself to shop and purchase some school supplies and toys I wanted to take with me. Off I went, shopping and praying, as I thought about the trip. Unexpectedly, about 11AM I began to feel really ill, so sick that I had to push myself to finish shopping and get home as fast as I could. The next thing I remember was lying on our living room sofa with blankets stacked on top of me, sleeping on and off for hours. When Steve arrived home, that’s where he found me, my fever blazing. Thinking about getting on an airplane in less than two days, made me panic. I slept right through Sunday and prayed that I would feel okay on Monday.
On Monday, off Elisha and I went. My plan was to sleep on the plane from Miami to Ecuador, but instead, the woman seated next to me wanted to talk about her spiritual condition. After talking with her for three of the four-hour flight, I was able to pray with her. By the time we got off the plane and arrived at the hotel, it was about 1AM. My throat was hurting, I was coughing, I had lost my voice, and I just wanted to sleep.
As they say, “up and at ‘em . . .”
Tuesday morning at 7:30am began our three-day, whirlwind tour of seeing Compassion International in action. What a great experience!
Michael Queen, who works for Compassion International and was leading the trip, gave us the opportunity to begin a sponsorship for a child we would be able to meet on Wednesday. I sponsor two girls in Guatemala through another organization, that I have visited once a year for the past five years, so I know the privilege of actually meeting the child you sponsor. It is such a great gift. Profiles were given to each of us to view and I chose a sweet little five-year old boy name Jared. Tomorrow I would meet him.
Arriving at the church, the children were lined up to greet us. I was still not feeling great, but excited to meet Jared. I thought I would recognize him in the crowd as we walked in between the children. Everyone was excited and smiling so sweetly, except one little boy. He had a surgical mask on, so you couldn’t see his face. My immediate thought was, “I need to stay away from him, so I don’t get worse.” Can you imagine my surprise when a few minutes later they brought him to me and said, “Here is Jared, the child you chose.”? He has been sick since Saturday, but his momma wanted him to meet you.” He looked so afraid and when I felt his head, he was burning up. Jared sat on his momma’s lap for a few minutes, while we watched some of the children sing and dance for us in the church. A woman from the church then asked us to go outside with her, so we could meet in a small room to talk for a minute. She arranged this, so sweet Jared could then go home and rest. I totally understood how he was feeling! I spoke with his mom and Jared for a few minutes, with the help of an interpreter, and then they left.
When I thought of the chances of Jared being the one child out of a hundred that I would choose to sponsor, and that he would also be sick when I met him, the irony of the whole thing struck me. How appropriate that God would put us together, two humans that BOTH got sick on the previous Saturday and were still struggling. The crazy thing was this . . . though we were not feeling well, the language of LOVE bridged the gap between us. Before we left the area, Jared was feeling a little better and came back to see me with his father, a smile on his now “unmasked” face, ready for some hugs and a few photos.
During the month of February, the subject of LOVE is everywhere. I have a personal relationship with Jesus because of His love toward me when I was a sinner. It says in Romans 5:6 that “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” NLT
You and I were sick spiritually, but Jesus came toward us, giving His everything to have a relationship with us. This year, during our Spring Tour and WP Fall Conference, we have an opportunity to represent His love to a needy child through sponsorship. Once you sponsor a child, Compassion International makes it very easy, through their Compassion App to stay connected to your sponsored child through letters and photos. Here’s the bonus . . . the first 200 profiles we share will be from Ecuador and our hope is to then take a group to visit their sponsored child in Ecuador in the future.
It’s all about LOVE.