The Planting Is So Very Good

This morning I woke up COMPLETELY REFRESHED after four hours of sleep (disclaimer: the first part of this sentence is not at all true), and after I got out of bed and started getting dressed, I noticed that I was a wee bit – OH, HOW DO YOU SAY? – weak in the knees.

(Sorry. That whole “HOW DO YOU SAY?” thing was a tribute to the lovely Ms. Kathleen Turner. I believe we’ve discussed her love for the “HOW DO YOU SAY?” before. It makes me so happy.)

Apparently I was responding unfavorably to the altitude (Quito is very mountainous, a fact that was completely lost on me until, well, today), and at breakfast Keely told me that I needed to drink coffee (this is one instance when caffeine is my friend) and lots and lots of water. I didn’t really know what to expect in the way of coffee, but I ordered a cup and just have to say this:

THANK YOU, ECUADOR, FOR YOUR COFFEE.

It is magical and delicious.

However, it is not magically delicious, because, well, that would be Lucky Charms.

After breakfast we hopped on the bus to travel to Cayambe, a mountain town about an hour and a half away. I am notorious for not really thinking things through until I’m in the middle of said things and have no real way of changing the course of action at that point, and that is why, about 30 minutes into our trip, I looked at Melanie and said, “My. My, my, my. Ecuador is very mountain-y. And these roads – well, they are very twisty.”

And then I had to quit talking for a few minutes because I wanted to sit back and really enjoy the experience of my entire face turning green. Kelly was having a similar reaction to the twistiness, and I thought that if she and I both were in such poor shape less than an hour into the trip, it did not bode well for the second half of our journey.

Maybe this would be a good time for me to show you a map of our route that I drew this afternoon. I feel that it might be a helpful visual aid.

It’s totally true to scale. And you may have noticed that I marked a few milestones on the map. Perhaps I should elaborate.

The first milestone is that Kelly and I were both somewhat ill (I believe I’ve mentioned that already). But the second milestone is that when we stopped at a convenience store for a restroom break, Kelly and I were the last two off of the bus (what with trying to stand up without wobbling and all), and when we stepped onto the parking lot, THERE WAS A BULLDOG THERE TO GREET US.

A REAL-LIVE BULLDOG!

And get this: I WAS WEARING MY MISSISSIPPI STATE RAIN JACKET.

Listen. If I’d had my cowbell with me, it might have been the happiest moment of my entire life.

The combination of the bulldog and the fresh air worked wonders on the car sickness, and when we hit the road again, we decided that a snack was in order. Kelly opted for the Ecuadorian Doritos, and when I saw the bag, there was no way that I wasn’t taking a picture.

Mega Queso. If you ask me (which, granted, you didn’t), the world needs more Mega Queso. And I think I just may try to order some Mega Queso the next time I’m at Chuy’s.

After the bulldog and the Mega Queso, I felt the day had already far exceeded my expectations, but then there was a little something called the Equator.

We only had about two minutes to take in all the Equator goodness, so it was all very Griswold-esque. But still: THE EQUATOR. Not exactly a normal stop when I’m running my Monday afternoon errands at home, you know?

Our next stop was Cayambe. And that, my friends, was the hands-down highlight of the day. No question at all.

Cayambe is a beautiful little town situated on the edge of a mountain, and we went straight to the church that ministers to the kids at the Happy Face Child Development Center. It was so neat to hear how they’re serving their community, and they told us that out of the 400 kids they serve, about 100 of them don’t have sponsors yet. The church even started another branch of their Compassion project to serve an additional 100 kids at the top of the mountain. Many of those children still don’t have sponsors, so their expenses are covered through Compassion’s Unsponsored Children Fund. Their care doesn’t differ in any way, but they’re missing that one-to-one relationship with a sponsor.

After we heard from the church’s pastor, we split into groups and traveled to three different parts of Cayambe. Kelly, Patricia and I rode in the back of a pick-up (OH YES MA’AM WE DID) to visit a precious family where three of the seven children are sponsored by Compassion. Compassion normally has a one child per family sponsorship policy, but the poverty in this part of Ecuador is so extreme, so profound, that they’ve made an exception to the general rule.

The nine members of this family live in a cinder block home with no indoor plumbing, and while they do have bedrooms, they don’t have mattresses. They sleep on pieces of plywood, and the kids’ rooms don’t have any lighting at all. Despite the difficulty of their circumstances, though, this family has hope. This family has Hope.

The mama’s name is Rosa Maria (which I loved since I have a sister-in-law whose name is Rose Marie), and she told us about how Compassion offered counseling (through the local church) to her and her husband when they were going through a difficult time. She told us about how one of her sons – who doesn’t have a sponsor, by the way – was starting to act out and rebel at school, and the people at the Child Development Center stepped in to help. She told us about how she dreams that her children will have professional jobs one day, how she gets up at 4:30 every morning so that she can cook breakfast for them before they start walking to school at 5, how she would love it if each one of her children could have his or her own bed – and a mattress for that bed.

She’s a mama who wants God’s best for her children. Just like you. Just like me.

At one point during our visit we walked to the back of the home, where the family owns a small plot of land that’s adjacent their grandfather’s land. The soil was rich, the land was tilled – but the family hadn’t finished planting all of their seeds. A staff member from the Child Development Center asked us if we’d like to help, so Kelly, Patricia and I each grabbed a handful of corn. We’d turn over a section of soil, drop in four pieces of corn, then walk another foot and repeat the process. We did this over and over for about half an hour, moving from row to row, visiting with Rosa Maria and her children as we planted.

And on the third or fourth row, I looked down at what we were doing, and I thought, This is it. THIS IS IT.

Barring something totally unexpected, I’ll never witness the harvest of those seeds.

But.

I’m no less invested in the outcome just because I may not see it in person.

It dawned on me that child sponsorship through Compassion works in a similar way. A sponsorship plants seeds in a child’s life – access to good medical care, provision for school supplies and uniforms, love and care from committed staff members at the local Child Development Center, healthy meals at the CDC several times a week – and then the local church waters those seeds through discipleship. The staff of the local church will share the Gospel with that child through their words and through their actions – and in all these things the Lord is working to gather a harvest of believers in the next generation.

And while we may not see our sponsored child(ren) in person, we still get to have that one-to-one relationship with them. We get to write to them (and they write to us!). We get to invest in their lives, to share Jesus with them, to pray with them as they grow up into the men and women that God created them to be.

Those seeds are for their good.

And those seeds are for His glory.

There are so many ways that you can sponsor a child through Compassion. You can sponsor a child at the Child Development Center we visited today (and based on what we saw today, the needs in that community are huge). You can also sponsor a child in Ecuador who’s been waiting for a sponsor over six months (there are over 700 children in Ecuador who have been waiting that long). OR – you can sponsor a child in the country of your choice.

Every single one of those children deserves someone who cares enough to plant the seeds of sponsorship into his or her life.

And one day – Lord willing – there will be a harvest in that child’s life that will last for eternity.

It’s worth it, y’all.

It really is.
____________________________________________
Be sure to check out the posts by the other bloggers on our team – see y’all tomorrow!

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Comments

  1. Girl, you’ve got to get Amanda to share her Dramamine! Sounds like she’s holding out on you. Also, you had me at Lucky Charms! Love love love reading along with you. Thank you for being there. You are a wonder. And an excellent cartographer!

  2. I am a sucker for a good analogy and that? That was a beautiful analogy. Thank you for sharing that. I am praying for all of you this week!

  3. Awesome recap of the first day! Terrific analogy, Sophie! Thanks for being there. Let the team know (esp. Bigmama and Amanda) that we are praying for you all and excited to hear all that God accomplishes in and through you during your time in Equador. We love you bunches!

  4. I showed my kids where Ecuador is on the map tonight and we prayed for y’all. I was quite relieved to see no milestone on the map for puking. LOVE that you were able to help Rosa Marie and her family plant their corn — and lovely analogy. Thank you!

  5. UM I ALMOST LOST MY COOKIES WHEN I SAW WHAT KELLY CHOSE TO EAT AFTER FEELING ILL….IM NOT SURE BUT I THINK MY COMPUTER HAD SMELL A VISION AND I GOT A LITTLE SICKLY MY OWN SELF!

    THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR JOURNEY WITH US!

  6. Those object lessons are powerful and stick, don’t they?! I love that and am praying others will choose to sponsor!

  7. What a wonderful story! What a wonderful opportunity to help that family! And how wonderful that we can be a part of the sowing and reaping as we partner with Compassion! Also, I left a piece of my heart somewhere in Ecuador in 2010…if you happen to see it, will you tell it to keep on lovin’ there?

  8. What a great day! Mega Queso & mega love :)

  9. Oh my! Cayambe is not far from the Casa de Esperanza (Hacienda of Hope)! The teen hangout at our church is called the Cayambe Cafe after the village.

    Loving your stories. I’m not sure I could have restrained myself from giving some login’ to that bulldog. What a cutie!

  10. I love your map drawing! Great visual. And what a beautiful gift planting seeds with the family. Precious.

  11. Love the recap of your day today! Kelly and I are Facebook buddies and I follow her blog daily. My Katelyn drew a portrait of Harper when she was tiny.

    Compassion is so awesome! My heart simply breaks for the children in each of these situations. I cannot imagine how each Mamma feels seeing her children without a mattress for their bed.

    Stay well and safe . . . God Bless

  12. Steve Jones says:

    “THIS IS IT…I’m no less invested in the outcome just because I may not see it in person.” Absolutely beautiful, brilliant, genius, took my breath away moment. What an amazing God-given moment of clarity. Wow, wow, wow!

  13. Wow, what a delight to read…you had me chuckling at the Lucky charms…but laughing out loud at that map! Thank you for sharing this, it made me feel like I was right there with you. I am praying for you all and for the hearts of those who will be moved to sponsor children. May you be less green tomorrow :) Blessings!

  14. I have wondered about the families with multiple children who only have one of them sponsored…does this create any problems amongst the children in the family? Just curious. I would have been wobbling with you…dramamine is my very close friend. Continued prayers for your safety and experiences while in Ecuador.

    • Joyce, I haven’t seen any problems, and I think part of the reason for that is because Compassion ministers to the whole family regardless of how many children are sponsored. I’ll ask about that today, though!

  15. I love this for a lot more serious reasons but this line cracked me up -> it is not magically delicious, because, well, that would be Lucky Charms

  16. “She’s a mama who wants God’s best for her children. Just like you. Just like me.”

    Your poignancy in the midst of humor, in spite of Ecuadorian land-sea sickness, yes THAT is what defines you, my friend. Steve grabbed my favorite line–THIS IS IT!–and your ability to tie this experience together and make it totally relateable (<–is SO a word) will compel many to sponsor children.

    Which makes me happy.

    xo

  17. Beautiful, Sophie. Thanks so, so much for doing this. And I’m curious–do you think there are other bulldogs in Ecuador, or was it some sort of angel-bulldog God sent just for you?

  18. You have such a gift of storytelling. Praying for you as you travel. And praying that your stories will inspire action.

  19. Your talent does not go unnoticed on a post like this. It’s a beautiful mix of humor and sincere compassion. Thank you for doing this. May the Lord bless you and renew you each night (unlike the first:)) so you can continue to do His work. Praying for you all.

  20. Great post. I had to stop in the middle to go write a letter to my compassion child. Then I came back.

  21. You’re hysterical! And yet…so poignant!

    May you be richly blessed through this experience of stepping out of your comfort level in more ways than one.

  22. Love the mega queso! And the map :). Thank you for sharing about this family. I’m always amazed by the simple requests like “and a mattress for their beds.” it really is eye-opening.

    Best,

    Christen price

  23. Love you Soph!! And I love the bulldog…wow! Thinking about you every second of the day!

  24. God made you feel right at home with BULLY.

  25. eat chocolate. It helps with the altitude. Also if you get a chance to try their hot chocolate (with leche) do!!! Heaven in a cup!!!!!
    Also in case you haven’t heard be praying for Bubba and his family. Dad is having triple bypass this afternoon.

  26. i love how you can make me heave, laughing and then have me crying in the next sentence. be blessed over there. you’re doing a great, huge thing…

  27. Hahha. Great map of the roads here. My husband and I work as missionaries here in Ecuador. Thank you for working with children here in Ecuador. You are a true blessing.

  28. Sophie,

    I love reading about your trip–I went with Compassion to Ecuador last year to some of the very same places you’re visiting now. And you’re spot on about the coffee–I know try to order all of my coffee online from Ecuador because I believe it’s the best in the world!

    Continue sharing their stories–the children there need people like you to tell them.

  29. Thank you for leaving your comfort zone and going to Ecuador so those of us who aren’t yet able to go can see the amazing things Compassion is doing. I know I may never be able to visit my Compassion children, but I hope that someone will love on them like you did with that family today.

  30. The seed planting . . . well, an audible sob may have escaped from me while I was reading that. Praying that many children will be sponsored through your words!

  31. Ahh I love it- all! Great analogy! God is using you guys and compassion for His eternal purpose. Praying you have a “motion-sickness” free trip for the rest of your time in Ecuador! Thanks for sharing all that compassion international does with us!

  32. Hate it I can’t view your pictures but I am reading all of the posts from your team and can see the pictures they have. What a blessing you all are to these families and I know you feel the blessing in return.

  33. Thank you for sharing this. I’m praying for you today. May God bless you richly with much fruit from your experience!

  34. Bethany H says:

    I lived in Quito for two years when i was a little girl (parents were missionaries) and went back again when I was a teenager in the summers. LOVE it there. Seeing the faces of the people makes me miss it! Thanks for sharing.

  35. “THIS IS IT. I’m no less invested in the outcome just because I may not see it in person.” – I LOVE this. It rings so true about sponsorship.

    thank you!

  36. Oh goodness, I am bawling. I love this post. I love everything about it. God bless, BooMama!

  37. Mega queso!! Yo quiero!

    Planting seeds… literally ;-) How beautiful.

    Katie

  38. The map: classic!

    Praying for you all, and thank you for the reminder of the beauty and lasting impact sponsorship has for those precious ones. Love to you!

  39. Beautiful, hysterical and heartbreaking. Thank you for this glimpse. Praying for you all!!

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  1. [...] trips they have taken with Compassion. This morning, at the top of my Google Reader were posts by Sophie and Melanie about their first day in Ecuador. Reading these posts brought tears to my eyes as I [...]