A Pilgrimage to Ecuador

Eight years ago Shaun Groves led a group of bloggers to Uganda. It was scary and exciting. It was new. The idea was simple: why not allow people who might know about Compassion see the heart of this ministry through the eyes of bloggers who also might not know much about Compassion? Why not let these bloggers walk the dirt alleys, duck into tin-roofed homes, and enter into an encounter with children living in poverty? And then blog about it.

It sounded pretty fantastical at the time. These bloggers weren’t blogging about poverty on a daily basis so it seemed like a risk to have them experience it so up close and then have them write about that experience as well as how Compassion was breaking the cycle of poverty. Maybe they’d shut down. Maybe they’d disagree. Maybe they’d reveal it’s too much to express the complexity of poverty in one post in a way that also inspires people to act and sponsor a child. Can we all agree that this is a tall order?

Eight years later, with nearly 80 bloggers in the field and over 7500 children who found loving sponsors, the risk was worth more than we could have imagined. Sounds just like God. So we’re still doing these trips. They’re still advocating for children in poverty. Stories that might never have been told, stories that seemed to be tucked nicely away in the dark, are being exposed. And thousands of people, and you specifically, are releasing children from poverty by sharing the stories.

This Saturday, I have the honor of getting on a plane with three amazing bloggers and traveling to Ecuador for our 14th blog trip from January 30 – February 5.

And a little treat? For the first time in the history of these trips, each of our bloggers is bringing one of their sons. You will get to experience Ecuador and poverty and God’s work through the eyes of a blogger and their child. It all feels pretty fantastical – again. But God seems to really like working through children. We couldn’t agree more.

And our bloggers? Here’s what they have to say about traveling with their son:

Compassion Bloggers Ecuador 2016 Ashley Corbett

Ashley Ann Campbell from Under the Sycamore and her son Corbett.

“Motherhood changed me. I have so many dreams and hopes for my children. #CompassionInternational has allowed me to come alongside the moms of my sponsored kids. Together, my son and I will get to watch these children we love have the opportunity to dream big with great hope for the future. I am equally thankful for all that wells up within my own kids as they forge relationships through letters and pictures with amazing kids around the globe.”

Compassion Bloggers Ecuador 2016  Ruth Caleb

Ruth Simons from GraceLaced and her son Caleb.

“I’m grateful to travel with Compassion, and more grateful still, to get to do it with my oldest, Caleb. At almost 14, he is already becoming a young man I laugh with, analyze with, work with, and enjoy as a friend. But seeing firsthand the poverty that exists together, and for him to serve Christ by loving with his 13 year old hands and heart…well, that is fulfilling a dream of this mama’s heart.”

Compassion Bloggers Ecuador 2016 Shannan Calvin

Shannan Martin from Flower Patch Farmgirl and her son Calvin.

“As the mom of four kiddos through adoption, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of raising global citizens who understand the beauty of different cultures. Through sponsoring kids through Compassion International, our family has a richer perspective on what it means to be part of the kingdom of God, where we all belong to and learn from each other. I’m thrilled to journey to Ecuador with my son and experience the miracle of cross-continental kinship, then bring home that seed of neighborliness, nurture it, and pass it on.”

Here’s what I know. We’re committed to taking this pilgrimage to show you the beauty and poverty of Ecuador. We’re committed to fully living every day in each place, in front of each child and their families- not just for the purpose of producing a blog post. We’re going to love big. As Sidney Muisyo says: we go to see, to know, to touch, to understand – with an openness of heart and mind – the shared journey we all have as children of God.

And those are the stories we’re going to tell.

We’re inviting you into all the stories too. The hard stories, the hope-filled stories, the stories that need your action. We’re in this to rescue children from poverty in Jesus’ name. We know you’re knee deep in this with us too. For every time you’ve shared a post, whispered a prayer, or sponsored a child during these trips, thank you.

If this is all new to you, welcome to your first blog trip! It’s going to be a wild ride. You’ll probably cry, you’ll laugh, you’ll shout out thanks to God Almighty for His hand that saves.

So how can you follow? We have a few ideas.

  • First, we have a trip page where I will be posting every single blog post every single night. There are already some posts up, go ahead and give it a read!
  • Subscribe and follow our bloggers. Just click on the links above. They will be blogging every night, inviting you into every day.
  • If you have a blog, join the Compassion Bloggers Network and write your own posts about what you are learning during the trip.

We can’t wait to walk this journey with you. Until next week!

5 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Eleanor Clark February 5, 2016

    I was Blessed so much seeing all the pictures and the mothers and the kids to and how the kids had a lot of hope wish they would on went to EC280 though so I could see what that place looked like and the center there now I have two children from the same center I just wonder if they could be friends one is older then the other hope I can see them some day though.

  2. Leigh Trigilio February 1, 2016

    Our child is in Ecuador! Can someone please list the places the bloggers will be visiting, so we can see if our child’s village/church is on the list!?

    1. Eric and Lynne Magel February 2, 2016

      Will you be visiting Kleiner Rafael Velasco Chumbi, his number is EC2260490

      1. Sarah February 2, 2016

        Regrettably, Eric and Lynne, visiting Kleiner’s project is not on the agenda for this trip. Thank you so much for blessing him with your sponsorship though. I know he is blessed to have such caring sponsors!

    2. Susan Sayler February 1, 2016

      Hi Leigh! We visited student center EC123 yesterday. The rest of the week we have scheduled to visit EC114, EC160, and EC471. Check your child’s ID number and the first two letters and numbers indicate the center.

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