One of the many reasons that I love going on sponsor trips is because of the awesome people I will meet. They live all over the United States (two fabulous Canadians too!) and they have a desire to see poverty ended in Jesus’ name

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First Row: Janet, Abbey, Jordy & her mom, Susan, Rebecca, and Irma (Compassion Mexico staff)

Second Row: Why do I not know these first two Compassion workers’ names? With the excited look Angelica “Angie” (Compassion Mexico staff), Evonne, Susana, Dannette, Shyann, Beth (me), Judy, Mike, Sharon(looking over his shoulder) and Marla is in green.

Back Row: Paul, James (peeking out with a white brimmed hat), Nancy (just behind Angie), Andy, Brandon, Amy, Jeff, Ken, Rick, Gayle (hiding behind Judy) David, Kip, Yvonne (peeking out between Sharon and Susan), Susan (red shirt), and Matt.

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Angie is going to introduce me to her single brother. Ooh-lala! We’re going to be more than sisters in Christ, and then I can live in Mexico and be her sister-in-law as well!

Janet is from New Mexico and what an adventurous spirit. She decided to stand the whole way when rode on the cattle trucks. What I love about her is her gentle and humorous spirit. She noticed I was out of sorts and just reminded me to be gracious and walk away. I did and realized that I was just a little over-tired.

Abbey and I were roommates, and not to mention her great hat, she has a passion to change the world! Her love for Alexia, her sponsored daughter was awesome, especially that she wanted to do something special for her just a few days before her 16th birthday. They got a cake!

I was SO excited about Mike and Judy being there. When I first did a Compassion sponsor tour, Sean Dana was my leader and Judy and Mike were in my family group. Mike is so funny and such a hoot! Judy is a great photographer. Both of them love children and their love for life and laughter is infectious. I was sandwiched between Mike and Judy and Susan and Jordy on the flights because of our last names. That was possibly the best remedy you could have given me to avoid any anxiety about turbulence. Not long ago (September, 2013) I had what I think was a panic attack that left me wrecked for days. The jolt of the plane that I was on headed from my hometown to Chicago left me crying and shaking uncontrollably – and it wasn’t even a bad case of turbulence.  Hence, I was a little nervous to be flying again and was hoping that the long days and roller coaster of emotions wouldn’t lead to another unexpected bout of fear and trepidation.

Jordy & her mom, Susan are fabulous and also the two that were of Canada. I was so glad that our names were so close in the alphabet because we were seat partners for the four flights we were on – I just wanted to soak up the accent). Personally I love the way that the name of “Jesus” is said with a Canadian accent. How is it different? I don’t know. There is just a neat emphasis on “us” that I cannot explain. People from Michigan and Minnesota also seem to say it the same way. I was so impressed with Susan’s love for her husband and her children and the way she encouraged Jordy to take a trip to Europe. And Jordy’s beautiful heart. What more can I say but that they were visiting two sponsored children. Susan also made sure that I got a piece of chicken and we traded jello. She didn’t like lime. I don’t like orange. It was a perfect match!

Rebecca is an introvert and we happily got along right from the start. Her love for zoos amazed me, but her desire to play with the kids on our trip was even better. She had them laughing and giggling and squealing within seconds of arriving. It’s the language of love. She is the blurred and smiling flash of blue.

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Susana and I had the pleasure of pairing up together to observe the 9-11 year- olds do a lesson on characteristics (socio-emotional). She is from Hawaii and I am sure that I will get invited to her house one day. She also speaks fluent Spanish and I am just in awe – what a great friend! I learned a lot about the pro bowl from her as well.

Dannette is a writer and Andy does a lot of Compassion training, so I actually had the privilege of knowing them prior to our trip as they are advocates in the Northwest. I always love seeing the way married couples interact with one another and it tickles my heart when you see such evidence of what real life must be like for them. Dannette saving a seat for Andy. Andy’s face lighting up when he mentions Dannette. And both of them draw kids to them like nothing else. Dannette is a great writer and has a knack for telling a story. Both of them attract children and make them feel safe. One little boy just stood and held Andy’s hand. Andy said he had gotten lost from the rest of his age group, but I think the little boy found exactly what he needed that afternoon.

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Yvonne is a rocking Compassion advocate. She is Christ-centered, focused on encouraging others in Christ’s love, beautiful, confident and led worship for our last day when we hosted a Vacation Bible School. Paul and Evonne’s voices carried as well, and I was just glad to be with all of them as we tried to get our translator, David, to help us with a butterfly song. The kids laughed and David, our translator who was soon to celebrate his 75th birthday, giggled every time he got to the part about the fish tail and giggling with glee. What you have to know about David is that he was burglar who came to Christ at the age of 40 and then started a missions group to the indigenous tribes of Mexico in the south.

Brandon & Amy’s room was next door when we were in Palenque. We got out the hammocks, walked down by the pond near our room, enjoyed the beauty of flowers, birds, and a plantain tree (like bananas but definitely not bananas). I can’t say enough about the way this couple seeks out God, the way that they are real people who ask deep questions. Brandon came up to me to see if all was okay – it was the day after my child-visit day and I was wrecked. Amy and I sat by the pool in Palenque and discussed the disparity between what we had and what children in countries like Mexico did not. And poverty just sucks out the hope. It makes you wish you had no soul. She got me thinking about that all week and even now.

What can you do when you see the despair of a child with no hope? When you witness children who work as brick-makers to pay off a father or even a grandfather’s debt (worth maybe $100) instead of going to school? What can you do when people are shoved to the farthest regions of a country and treated as garbage because they have dark skin, are indigenous, are children, are girls? How do you deal with that when you live in a place where you have  SO MUCH MORE 

EVERYTHING

you could ever need?

The opposite of poverty is… enough.

But how is it enough not to do more?

How is it doing enough when you can’t explain it to others?

How do you deal with the great divide separating the world of enough (too much at times) and the world of poverty?

These people are awesome because God created them. They have all brought questions to mind that make me wrestle with myself and the world in which I live.

I’ll end this as a “Part 1”

But I just want you to know that a Compassion sponsor trip changed my life.

And even the fourth one that I have now been on makes me so admire the people

And makes me want to draw even nearer to God who loves me.

Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.

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