Emily was just one sweet face among the gaggle of about 50 kids that greeted us as our Toyota micro-bus pulled into the Missionary Community Restoration Church. But she was the one that I couldn’t help notice—with my name boldly printed in all caps on bright construction paper and hanging around her neck. It was a clever way for us to be paired up to meet a child.
She was bright, energetic, healthy, full of smiles, and beaming brown eyes. I asked about her age, family, and favorite things to do. I told her of my own daughter, about her same age, and showed her a picture of my family. And of course, we had to get our own picture together—which she promptly wanted to see on the screen.
Emily’s friends put on a show for us—dancing in dresses that would be the envy of many a mamma in the States. They ‘d rehearsed every step and verse and were proud to perform.
Our group, 25 church leaders from all over the U.S., were guests of Compassion International. The purpose of this vision trip was to get boots on the ground to see how they fulfill their mission: “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
Our locale for 3 days was Nicaragua—visiting outposts in its capital city of Managua, then as far north as the mountains of Leon, and as far south as charming city of Granada nestled on Lake Nicaragua.
Confidence is one of the main things Compassion gives to these kids. Compassion sponsors send a monthly donation to support the clothing, education, food and gospel nourishment for a child or children.
But one of the main things that struck me about all of these kids is their confidence. Sure, like all kids, they might be a bit shy at first, but they quickly warmed up and were quick to sing, speak, and engage with us.
It was easy to see why they radiate with beauty. Compassion cares for these kids in 4 major ways. By partnering with a local church, they provide for their cognitive (school), physical (to include medical), socio-emotional, and spiritual needs. Holistic is the best way to describe this beautiful partnership.
To say we were impressed with the ministry of Compassion partnering with Pastor Rodriguez and the staff at Missionary Community Restoration Church, is an understatement. We’d soon find out that the half had not been told to us. The rest of the story could only be seen by walking through the “neighborhoods” these kids live in.
And, that’s a story for the next post!
Daryl Pepper, Associate Pastor, Grace Heartland Church, Elizabethtown KY