A Glimpse Into the Life of a Compassion Trip Leader

“Speak, LORD for your servant is listening.”

1 Samuel 3:9 (NIV)

I still remember walking through the doors of the Global Ministry Center, Compassion’s headquarters, for the first time. An indescribable feeling came over me — I had arrived home.

I knew that I wanted to work for children, see God’s kingdom come by upholding the cause of the oppressed, and build a bridge between different cultures that need each other. But, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that his plans for me included being a part of Compassion’s Trips and Visits Team.

Each Trip an Adventure

As a Trip Planner and Leader at Compassion, I had the opportunity to lock arms with my Compassion family from all over the world, minister to children, shepherd his people from different cultures and walks of life, and to speak up for the most vulnerable of this world. To this day, it is hard to believe that God allowed me to visit 20 of the 25 countries where Compassion works.

Each trip I led was an adventure, providing sponsors a unique cross-cultural experience. Together with Compassion sponsors, I tasted a diverse range of unique cuisines, such as West African fufu, cassava and gari. I heard the beautiful sound of Swahili, one of many tribal languages spoken in East Africa. I saw monuments like Cristo de la Concordia, the colossal statue of Jesus in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I was even chased by monkeys!

But the most precious memories are the ones of children singing and dancing, and of watching them in amazement as they met their sponsors for the first time. Each trip holds a precious memory, a divine appointment. I have learned that those “God moments” from each visit are what ultimately stays in your heart forever. What an amazing calling! What a privilege and responsibility!

“Created to Hear Our Creator”

Then, everything changed when COVID-19 began spreading across the world. My once perfect world came crashing down — not just in my personal life, but also in my work life. The impact the pandemic had on my work was devastating. After my return from Kenya, in January 2020, trips started to be canceled, airlines began shutting down, and my job that I loved so much drastically changed. Instead of planning and leading trips, I found myself praying with sponsors as I was calling them individually to inform them that their long-planned trip had been canceled. In those moments of despair, I knew hearing from God was essential. All I could do was sit at his feet and tune into the voice of my heavenly Father.

A girl in Kenya sits in a church pew praying.

Early on in my walk with God I learned to hide myself in him, listening to the gentle whisper from the One who holds the world in his hands. We were created to hear our Creator!

His voice echoes through all the turmoil and chaos. It invites us to be still, resting in the assurance that he is sovereign. His whisper drowns out anxiety, it calms the storm that is within. His voice causes our hearts to be quiet with a calmness and inner peace. It provides strength for the day. God sees so much more than we do. When we listen to God and decide to trust him, amazing things happen.

Seeking God’s presence to obtain direction for our life is vital in our walk with God. I’ve known this to be especially true throughout this past year, as I walked through the valley of losses and change. When we do, he will turn tough times into a gift of grace, weakness into a gift of strength, transforming the worrier into a mighty warrior. Walking in fear is a master weapon that defies God’s promises and is not part of God’s will for us. Worry steals our faith.

Instead, I choose faith and trust in the name of Jesus Christ on a daily basis. As I begin my day with prayer and intercession, I am reminded that God is a God who keeps his promises. Seeking God’s counsel through the Word of God transforms, equips and empowers me for the task ahead. His power of divine strength is a promise and the assurance that I never am alone. He will be right by my side, showing me the way, just as written in Isaiah 30:21 (NIV), “Your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”

Reflection

  • Are you open to hearing God’s voice? What is God saying to you today?
  • What is the most important relationship in your life? Where does your relationship with God rank?
  • As you sit with Jesus, ask him to show you areas in your life that are filled with fear that cause you to worry. Write them down and search for Scripture that will help you defeat worry in your life. 
  • How have the disappointments of the past year affected your relationship with God? Have they pushed you away? Or have you been drawn nearer to him?
  • Walking closely with God will give you direction for your life and remind you that you are not alone. What patterns of discipline can you build into your life to get closer to God? 
Children in Rwanda smiling

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Linda Susens April 3, 2021

    Hi Claudia,
    I was on your last trip to Kenya. What a blessing that was, for me as much as for the children and families and centers we visited. Among my greatest blessings were your prayers which I found brought me immediately to the feet of my savior! Your love for Jesus and for His children was so evident in everything we did. As we approach our “new reality” I know that He will guide you to the next plans He has for you, and you will continue to make a difference! Much love and God’s blessings, Linda

  2. Avatar
    Claudia Bleck March 17, 2021

    Hi Alisa,

    I remember our Guatemala adventure like it was yesterday. The long drive through the mountains was tough, but the experience that followed made it all worth it.
    As a trip leader, I always considered fun day one of my biggest blessings. Having a box seat to the miracle unfolding in front of me when sponsor and child met face to face was one of my greatest joys on a trip. Thank you Alisa for sharing. Appreciate you more than you will ever know.

    Grateful, Claudia

  3. Avatar
    Claudia Bleck March 17, 2021

    Thank you for your comment, Annie! My hope is that one day you will be able to visit your sponsored child in Uganda. It’s such a beautiful country with beautiful people. You will love it. May our Lord richly bless you and yours.

    In Him, Claudia

  4. Avatar
    Claudia Bleck March 17, 2021

    Dear Stephen,

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They mean so much to me. You are an incredible sponsor! Brazil was an amazing trip, and I will never forget when your sponsored child read the bible to you on fun day, her big smile said it all. It’s been such an honor to go on trips with you, serving, and ministering to the Body of Christ.

    Blessings to you my friend.
    In Christ, Claudia

  5. Avatar
    Stephen Stanfield March 11, 2021

    I was so blessed to be able to share the love of Jesus with you to the beautiful children and staff members in Brazil. The love you have for these children is contagious, it was an honor serving with you.

  6. Avatar
    Stephen Stanfield March 11, 2021

    Miss Claudia, you have an amazing heart, not only for the children but for our Father as well. Serving with you in Brazil was the most amazing experience.. Your love for the children is contagious!! I so look forward to another visit with one of my children, I believe it is one of the most rewarding moments in life.
    Thank you again

  7. Avatar
    Annie March 11, 2021

    Thank you for sharing your experience! Even though sponsor visits look different today (perhaps someday we’ll even have a virtual opportunity!) it makes me even more excited to visit my sponsored child in Uganda one day, hopefully sooner than later.

  8. Avatar
    Alisa March 10, 2021

    Thank you for sharing! I had such a wonderful trip to Guatemala with you a few years ago and I am so grateful for whole experience in Guatemala, including that day meeting my sponsored child!

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