Friday, November 11, 2011

King of the Jungle

People say this world's a jungle and sometimes I must admit
I'd be scared to death if I did not know who was king of it
But the truth is God created this whole world with His own hand
So everything is under His command

What I need is to remember one thing
That the Lord of the gentle breeze is Lord of the rough and tumble
And He is King of the Jungle Yes he is

- "King of the Jungle" Stephen Curtis Chapman

We spent the last two days in the Amazon jungle.  We took a six hour bus ride and a boat ride on the amazon river to get to where we were going.  It was the experience of a lifetime. I think I said about 100 times "I never thought I would ever find myself in the jungle of Ecuador".  It's something I will never forget.

Yesterday we went to visit a child development center.  We got there in time for lunch and they told us on the way there that  we would be having fish and grilled worms.  I laughed out loud and then realized they weren't joking.  Adventure eating is not my friend - I was a little stressed. 

 Especially when I saw that the fish was staring back at me. 

The pastor was encouraging us to eat the worms and I whispered to Melanie that "they could just put me on the bus and send me home cause I wasn't eating a worm."  I just couldn't do it. 

After lunch the kids came to the center after school and we were able to serve them a meal.  And then we got to play with the kids.  We did all kinds of fun games and despite the language barrier - it was just so fun.

We took a boat back to the lodge where we were staying.  We stayed in screened in rooms and there was no air conditioning and no phone service or internet.  It was kind of fun to be just kind of cut off from the world for a day.  We ate dinner and then we sat around sharing how Compassion had impacted our lives and what we had learned on these trips.  It was such a blessing to just share how on our first trips we were mostly just shocked and sad by the poverty and this time around we were seeing more hope and joy despite the poor conditions.  

The thing I've been so struck by is the simple, pure faith I have seen in the children, the families and the pastors of the church and staff of the development centers.  Their love for God just shines like the brightest light from their inside out.  I met a pastor of a center today who had been a Compassion sponsored child and he smiled so much sharing with me about how Compassion had just changed his life.

Today we took another boat ride down the amazon to visit a couple of homes.  The home I went to reminded me of Swiss Family Robinson.  They lived deep in the jungle and their house was just this square on stilts.  

There was no bed for the parents - they sleep on the floor. The four boys sleep on one bed in the other room.  They had no bathroom and no running water.  But the family was SO sweet and their boys were precious.  The boys get up at 4 a.m. and walk 30 minutes to get to school.  They had no furniture in their house - but one of the boys had a letter from his Compassion sponsor and that was displayed proudly on their wall.  I don't think you realize how much letters to your kids mean to them!!!!

We took another boat ride and went to visit the child center.  This is in a community of about 600 people.  These people are VERY isolated.  No TV's, no phones, very very poor.  They warned us that the people would be very shy and wouldn't talk much.  I was able to meet my newest Compassion child that we are sponsoring.  

His name is Paul and he's 6.  He was so cute.  I spent a few hours with him and he never said ONE WORD. ha! The translator told me that the children in this village are always told not to talk to people they don't know and this boy had never seen a blond person before.  I'm sure he was very afraid of me. I gave him a backpack I had brought with me with legos and cars and clothes.  The pastor told me his parents were just saved and baptized about a month ago.  Over and over we hear stories of families being saved because of how Compassion helps their children.  

We went back to our lodge and ate lunch and packed up to leave.  I was able to eat lunch with Paul and his Pastor.  We said goodbye and I hope that Paul will remember this day. I know I always will.

This has been an amazing week for me.  I have loved sharing this week with some of my favorite people in all the world.  I have loved getting to see for a second time in person how amazing Compassion truly is.  I believe SO strongly in Compassion.  I read this in a brochure for Compassion and I love what it said:

"Compassion accomplishes its mission of holistic child development by being an advocate for children.  Child advocacy characterizes both who we are and how we accomplish our mission.  An advocate is one who speaks for and supports the rights and needs of those who may not be able to do this for themselves.  Because God loves children and the poor with abandon, so do we.  Compassion is passionate about children, especially those in poverty, and can't help but speak out on their behalf.  Our mandate comes from Scripture: "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy" (Proverbs 31:8-9)

Will you be an advocate for these children and release them from poverty?

(If you have any questions about Compassion - leave them in the comments and I'll try to get them answered.  And if you sponsored a child this week - will you leave a comment and let me know? It's an encouragement to me to know that this trip has a purpose. It's not a contest - it doesn't matter if 2 of you became sponsors or 200  - but it does help me to just feel like this trip was worth it!)

blog comments powered by Disqus