Compassion International, Peru 2012, Uncategorized

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I’m too exhausted to think of anything but settling the girls and falling into bed.

I wash hair, find jammies, and tuck them in.

They’re asleep in an instant, faces still flushed from the second wind they got around 11:30 p.m. {Awesome}

I let the warm, damp towel linger on my face, staring into the mirror at my tired eyes.

I don’t even look like myself.

I’m empty, drained to the bone of any strength I brought with me.

If I had the capacity, I would let myself cry, but I can only think of making my way to bed and letting the dark hide me for a few hours.

I should read. I think. I need His words.I reach my Bible, thumbing for a few seconds and then letting it rest on my lap.

I wake a few hours later with my glasses still on and the pages of 2 Corinthians open wide. I set it next to me without closing it, because it comforts me this way. It feels like home, I guess.

I close my eyes, thoughts like anchors in search of ground, spirit parched desert-dry.

***

We’re up early, hustling to match shoes and comb hair.

The girls have been bickering and I know they’re tired. I’m tired too, but as any mama knows, that’s irrelevant.

We arrive on time, board the bus for an hour-long drive, and let the bumpy roads lull us into a dreamlike state. What seemed like insurmountable fatigue transforms itself to a rush of excitement as we finally pull up to a crowd of children waving wildly. They’re all light and color and the goodness of God, and as our team settles in, I get lost staring out the stained glass windows. I can see the homes, seemingly glued to the side of a cliff-like mountain, and it occurs to me for the thousandth time that I am far from home.

The wooden pews squeak with our weight, and the director begins a slideshow presentation. She explains that there are several children in the Compassion program that are considered “highly vulnerable” due to extreme life circumstances (condition of home, abusive relationship, sex trafficking, child labor etc). While they receive their monthly sponsor amounts, there is an urgent need that warrants additional support, and Compassion has a fund specifically for cases like these.

I spend the next hour or so sharing life with the children, watching them work and (my personal favorite) enjoying the laughter that comes as a result of my butchered Spanish.

Soon after, we pack up and head out to see some of the children’s homes.

I follow the group and as we arrive I am struck by what incredible condition the house is in. Christina, the homeowner, welcomes us in and points to several chairs she has lined against the wall.

I realize this is one of the houses we saw in the slideshow, and it is much more impressive in person. Lace curtains float in the breeze while we marvel at the structure.

Christina tells us about the way her life has been changed, but it is far more factual than emotional. She speaks kindly, directly, but with no extra words or expressions. It almost sounds like she’s telling someone else’s story. I hear someone ask her how it felt the first time she ever walked in her new home.

She thinks for a moment and then says quietly, “I felt like I was living in someone else’s house. How could all of this be for me?”

Listen, Angie. I’m speaking. You aren’t here because of the house. You’re here because of her heart. 

I keep silent, trying to understand the urging I feel from the Lord. I wish He would be more specific sometimes.

“Angie?” Shaun asks.

“Hmm?” My eyes jerk to his, trying to focus.

“I’m going to pray for Richard, and then you can pray for Christina, okay?” I nod.

When he finishes praying, I begin. I don’t remember what I said, but when my eyes open, she has tears slipping down her face. I’m shocked at the emotion because we haven’t seen it from her so far. I ask her why she is crying. She tells me she feels a different peace, and I smile.

As I had prayed for her, even though I didn’t express it in words, I saw visions of chains breaking. I sensed warfare, generations deep, and it startled me.

“Christina,” I start timidly, unsure of what her response might be.

“Do you attend church?”

She explains through the translator that she goes when her son wants to go. It was the church we had been in that afternoon, and because he knew it as his Compassion program, he often wanted to be there on Sundays as well.

His favorite part of the Compassion program is his “God homework.”

“Could you ask her if she knows the Lord?”

I wait for the expression on her face as the translator asks.

She nods affirmatively, explaining that her son’s teacher had come to visit her and had walked through a prayer of salvation.

“It felt like I was in someone else’s home…” I remember her words and I smile.

She needs to be reminded that she’s worthy. Not just of this home, but also of Mine.

I tell the translator that I want to share something with her that I had felt while I prayed, and Christina turns her attention fully to me, eyes searching mine for the first time since we arrived. “I want her to know that the Lord showed me that she is in a battle. It is a battle within her family, and it has continued for generations. She is the one God is using to win this fight. Her children will reap the benefits of her warring on their behalf, and they will know a different life because of her faithfulness.”

She explains it to her and Christina bows her head, her emotion raw and beautiful.

Her face softens and she stands tall. Stronger than concrete, more delicate than lace.

Compassion built the house, yes, but now it’s up to her to make it a home.

“Does she have a Bible?” I ask. The translator says she does, and explains that her pointing motion was indicating it was in her bedroom. “She says yes, she has one. She leaves it open by her bed.”

I smile, and in my mind’s eye I see a bed an hour’s drive from here with an open Bible.

It’s the battle we have to enter to win, and I sense a day of pages turned.

I touch the walls of her home and pray she will know her own strength.

I ask the Lord to remind her daily that her sacrificial love for her children will outlive even this structure.

And more than anything, I pray she knows she isn’t a stranger in this place…

 

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There were a lot of questions about how Abby and Ellie were doing during the Twitter chat the other night, so I thought this fun video might give you some, umm…insights? {They’re doing great :)}

peru2 from angie smith on Vimeo.

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