ok, so getting to Peru was certainly a bit more of a challenge--at least in terms of time--than we thought. After waking up at 3:30am, an early flight to Miami, an extended layover (7 hours) and then maintenance-induced delays, the 5.5 hour flight and 45-minute drive to the hotel landed heads on pillows around 3am. I'm certainly not complaining, though, as the hotel is clean and comfy, much more so than most would endure on actual foreign mission trips. Not much sleep in preparation for day one, but we'll make it up.
Today we visited one of the Compassion Projects here in Lima, Peru. The purpose of today was twofold: 1) to educate us on the impact that Compassion Projects can and do have on the lives of the children involved in them and 2) to love on the kids. :) These are just a few of the beautiful children that were awaiting our arrival.
The kids in this area DO have a public school option apparently, so the education offered here is above and beyond what they receive at school, including the ever-important teachings about Jesus Christ. One of the coolest things I saw all day was this tiny little room where some of the teens were hand-making silkscreens for shirts and such. Their creativity was awesome, and with very little to work with. These are just a few designs I grabbed pics of. The first says "Hip Hop" and is a stencil cut out of paper... the second, a complete shirt they had made. I asked what the shirt said and have a general idea, but if you're spanish savvy, please feel free to post a translation :)
After meeting as many of the morning kids as we could, we headed out to a home visit and were able to give a basket of food and supplies to a beautiful family in need and pray for them as they graciously allowed us into their home. We headed back to the church (the Compassion Projects are all local churches) and were treated to a wonderful lunch prepared by the staff there and a small presentation from the afternoon students!
After we wrapped up lunch and the festivities, we just tried to get around to as many little ones as we could to talk with them, engage them, find out more about their experience with Compassion and such. That's when I met Rebecca and Donna. Rebecca caught my attention first as she had an insatiable curiosity about all of us that led to a myriad of wonderful questions (thank GOD for the wonderful translators there). She was sharp, with a bit of an edge about her, and ended up following me all the way to our bus as we left. Among the many things we were able to talk about were music, famous people, favorite countries and our families. Donna took the conversation to another level when she sweetly and selflessly asked how they could pray for me... I gasped a bit, answered her, and reciprocated. She asked that I pray for her father Jose--that he would change--that he would ask Jesus into his heart. Rebecca asked for the same for her father Moses. The only words I could come up with as we closed our conversation were that of assurance, something I felt they wanted. I simply promised that I would pray for them and their dads, and that I would never forget them! Once on the bus, I was able to shoot one last shot of my two new friends, Donna on the left and Rebecca on the right, waving 'goodbye' to me.
More tomorrow, as day two brings a second Compassion project, more home visits and hopefully more pics to show you.