What an unusual trip this has been.
The first couple of days were a little more normal for me. We had two days of wonderful visits to Compassion church projects, meeting amazing project workers who are absolute heroes, visiting homes of children who have nothing and yet still have been instilled with hope for a future that will break the cycle of poverty in their lives. The two projects we visited Friday and Saturday both had water systems that provided clean water to their entire communities at one third of the standard price in town. It was so powerful to see the visions both of these churches had for their communities. They were not churches just making themselves feel good by taking care of their own needs; they were making themselves uncomfortable in order to reach out into a desperate and hurting world and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Both of the communities we visited were struggling with gangs, violence, drugs and alcohol addition, and desperate poverty. And these churches chose to do something about it. They have partnered with Compassion for training and funding to minister to children and to break the horrible cycle of poverty that is so present in their communities.
Then Sunday morning we headed off to visit an orphanage, Casa Aleluya, where Michael’s wife Debbie has come in the past on a missions trip. This is a huge facility where they care for over 400 orphans. We pulled up and walked straight into their church service where they were waiting for Michael to take the stage.
Later we got the tour of the facility and of course got to hold some precious little babies.
Then we were off to lunch and a press conference. This is where the trip left the usual…
And soon after that the day really changed when we found out that 10 of Michael W. Smith’s band and crew would not be making it for the big concert because of flight delays and cancellations. Krista, who plays violin and sings backup was the only one who made it. The restful day at the hotel that Spence, Keely and I had planned suddenly changed. The rest of the day Spence and I turned into production manager, road manager and sound techs trying to get everything set up for the show while Keely handled media and the meet and greet.
Even with the craziness of today, my mind keeps going back to this sweet, funny, barefoot little boy we met yesterday who lives in the Guatemala City dump. (And yes, he thought it was funny to stick his finger up his nose.)
He was one of many we saw who were not sponsored yet with Compassion but the church already had their eye on him. As you can see, he lives right in the city dump and as he ran out to greet us he was barefooted. We had learned just earlier that every sponsored child gets a pair of shoes every year, but it is children who aren’t sponsored who the church could not afford to provide with shoes. Keely and I noticed this little boys bare feet and went to mention it to the project director who we had just given three bags of shoes to. With a wide smile she told us through the translator, “Don’t worry, I am on it. I have already sized up his feet.”
It brought tears to my eyes knowing that these children who even Compassion isn’t reaching yet can be cared for by this amazing local church because several of you responded to Isabel’s heart for Shoes For Kids. All of those dots connecting can only happen because of a big and loving God. Thank you for being a part of this with us.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
Dominican Republic Missions trip
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