By the way…
I am in Ecuador! It’s not quite as sudden a trip as this blog post may seem. Sorry I haven’t told you sooner. (I’ve instagrammed though, so you can check over there!)
I am here with Compassion International to see projects that I will hopefully have an opportunity to talk about in the future, like we’ve done, for example, at Bloom Conferences in the past. Tiffany Thurston (who is the Bloom Babe Boss and one of my favorite co-workers) has also been to Ecuador with this same organization, so I’m stoked to see the same country that she saw.
This is not a blogging trip like many of our friends have gone on before me – I (probably) won’t be blogging daily about our trip. It’s more for me to see what Compassion really does when someone donates $38 a month to a kid in Ecuador so that my opportunities to tell friends about it, over coffee or from a stage, are genuine and first-hand.
. . . . .
I forgot to tell my family I was going on this trip until I casually mentioned it a few weeks ago at Christmas.
Because I travel so many weekends out of the year, I never ask my friends to remember where I am. (To be honest, I don’t care if they know which city I’m in when I’m gone, I mainly just want them to remember when I am HOME.) So last week when I started saying things like, “oh yeah, I can’t be at that birthday party on Saturday because I’ll be in Ecuador,” people’s eyes bugged out that that shocked emoji.
Shoot. I had forgotten to tell my friends too.
“Oh sorry,” I’d say, “I guess I just put it on my calendar and didn’t think to tell you.”
I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I promise. I’ve laughed about it and explained it away, but when I get quiet with myself and think about HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU FORGET TO TELL YOUR PEOPLE YOU WERE LEAVING AMERICA, I find this little sentence in my heart:
I tried to stay a little detached from Ecuador.
A casual observer on a business trip. Nothing to see here, folks, just another work trip and I’ll be home in time for church on Sunday.
But that’s all a cover-up. I know it deep in my knower.
I want to stay casual because I don’t want to care too much.
Something has happened to me in my very few experiences with real poverty – on mission trips to Costa Rica, spending time in rural Appalachia, or with Mocha Club in South Africa – that has made me afraid to feel what I feel when I’m smack in the middle of impoverished communities. I really don’t like it, so I avoid it.
So I’ve been afraid of this trip.
I’ve under-discussed a trip I’m genuinely excited to be on because I’m scared of poverty. That’s just the truth of it.
I don’t know what to do with it.
I can’t fix the globalness of it.
I don’t know how to leave it but I sure don’t know how to sit in it.
It makes me feel sad and mad and weird.
It scares me. And I’m embarrassed by that.
. . . . .
That being said, the first two days here have been awesome.
I’m still kinda scared, but I’m here.
Our team is full of fun people- I’ll definitely introduce them to you soon. We spent Tuesday at the Compassion office in Quito and what the staff does and the excellence with which they do it literally astounds me. (The mail room alone- where letters go from kid to sponsor and sponsor to kid? Insanely organized.)
Tomorrow we head to see the actual projects and hang with kids and Compassion is giving me this opportunity and asking me to talk about it.
But what they are ACTUALLY asking of me?
They are asking me to SEE the children and the families.
They are asking me to FEEL the weight of their burdens.
They are asking me to wrestle with the truth of poverty on our planet AND what can be done about it.
The talking part? I can handle.
The seeing and feeling and being present and willing to wrestle part? That’s what I’m scared of.
But as we flew from Miami to Quito, I settled in my heart that I will not be afraid to feel. And I’ve whispered that to myself a few times already. I refuse to let fear of any type dictate what moves me or motivates me. I may end up laughing more than crying and finding joy around every corner. It tends to go that way. But I know if I let my heart stay untouched, I will miss the good stuff.
I hope I mean that.
Pray for us?
. . . . .