That's how much time I spent in the beautiful country of Ecuador. Seven days of wonderful children, learning about Compassion and having my life changed.
I actually started this post not long after I got back and just didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to put into words all that the people of Ecuador had taught me. Now that I've had to tell the story of our trip to several people, I have easily identified a common thread.
The people that we met in Los Bajos (which, by the way, translates to "The Lows") had so very little, but they seemed like they had everything. When we arrived, I was nervous. I thought that maybe they would reject us and think of us as intruders.
Instead, we were welcomed with open arms, open homes and open hearts. The people of Los Bajos were so thankful that we had come "to the end of the world" to spend time with them. They were so touched that we thought them important enough to spend our money to come to Los Bajos. They honestly couldn't believe it. Several times, the question was asked, "What could you gain by coming to us? Why here?"
The answer was so simple to everyone in our group: Why anywhere else? Our churches were invested in Monte Horeb. Our churches help fund the Stadia project to plant this church. We have been praying over them and asking God to bless them in ways we couldn't imagine.
And God did amazing things in Los Bajos. God brought the wonderful Mama Rosa and her husband to plant that church and see to its health. Mama Rosa has helped plant sixty other churches throughout the region and God definitely put her in the right place.
So Mama Rosa and Stadia planted Monte Horeb church, knowing that soon Compassion could come in and start working with the children (Compassion partners with churches in regions that need assistance...no church, no Compassion). When Compassion came in, our churches were on board. Our church members sponsored many kids at the Monte Horeb center.
We are now forever connected to Monte Horeb Family Center and Los Bajos. We love those people and pray for them unceasingly. Our fates are intertwined.
There were many things said and learned during that week that will be with me forever. But, one mother asked something that pulled at my heartstrings. She asked us to please not forget Los Bajos and the children. She asked us to keep praying for them.
How could I forget? They changed my heart. They changed my life.
Now, the only thing I can think to do to prove to them that we are serious is to go back to Ecuador and keep writing our letters to the children.
In the meantime, I have joined the Compassion Advocate Network and will continue to tell my story and the stories of the children I met during my week in Ecuador. I will continue to "sing until the whole world hears."
Sponsor a child today and help release them from poverty in Jesus' name.