I've heard this several times since announcing my trip to Ecuador. In every case, I laughed along. I understood the sentiment and honestly, now that I'm here? Well, yes, of course part of me wishes we could be Goshen neighbors rather than the trans-continental kind.
Then I asked my favorite question. "What are your wishes for your family?"
She had two. First, that they would grow in their trust in the Lord. Second, that they would desire to serve their community.
Nodding toward her children both wearing school uniforms - expensive attire required by the public schools and provided by Compassion - I knew the dreams she once had for herself had been transferred without hesitation to them. It is through Compassion's Child Survival Program (for new moms and their babies) that she came to know Jesus ten years ago. Now, with her two oldest children sponsored, she has no reason to place limits on where God might take them. She has no cause to hedge her bets or keep her expectations in check.
This is a mother who understands the vastness of the kingdom of God.
Still, as precious as Josue and Joanna are, as slow as I was to pull back from our goodbye hugs, I do not want to bring them home with me. They are loved deeply and cared for well. That some of their physical need can be met through a small portion of what I spend each month on trivial things is an honor I do not take lightly. That I get to pray for them by name and remind them of their worth from afar while supporting their rich life together is an honor. That they do not have to fear the fracture of their family is orphan prevention at its best.
You have the chance to draw a wider circle by sponsoring a child. Your thirty-eight dollars each month, and even more importantly, your prayers and notes, impact all of them. And if you already do this, I'm asking you to do it again.
Father Gregory Boyle asks, "How much bigger is the God we have than the God we think we have?"
Tonight, the mountains of Ecuador spread out around us. Humble homes filled with vibrant, hopeful people twinkle just past the window glass. And I wonder, how much bigger is the kingdom of Heaven pulsing and alive right now than the kingdom of Heaven we scarcely imagine beyond our own front door?
The kingdom of heaven is you, me, Veronica, and Josue, all trying our best.
It looks like passing the baton of need and sacrifice, taking a lap, and trading off.
It settles around us thick, like grace.
"I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me." Psalm 30:1
Follow along as Ruth shares about the smallest, biggest step.
Follow along as Ashley shares about the youngest Compassion children.
* Images via @mikevarel
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