September 17, 2012

Honduras - circle of friends

Our Honduras visit was spent in the company of other artists, speakers, writers and Compassion staff.

I did have a touch of tour-group panic before leaving, with 4 days of snug bus rides and shared meals ahead with total strangers.. You just never know. You know?

Thankfully, after making the rounds of introductions, I was utterly relieved to discover a wonderfully normal and interesting combination of people to spend time with! They made the whole experience that much richer and deeper, with their individual, unique perspectives and thoughtful discussion.

There was Melissa, Natalia, and Sean (part of the band Bellarive, from FL) -

Dan (a writer, from CO) & Jaden (a musician, from CA) -

Michael Jnr (son of Michael, & all-round great guy) & Michael (Speaker & 2-time "Survivor" contestant, from MI) -

Dominick (a musician, from CA) -

Steph (on the left, dear friend & Compassion rep, from Nashville) -

And Jeremy and his wife Julie, who's on the right (Jeremy is part of Nine Lashes, from AL). We missed snapping a picture with them as a couple, thwarted by slow immigration!

We processed the hard & uncomfortable with all these precious people, along with laughing at the super fun & silly parts of each day. Like the lime & spoon race -

{I was pipped-at-the-post by sneaky Julie}

{Nate dropped his lime...}

The sack race, followed by the kiddies turn - 

The 2 Michael's teaching the chicken dance -

And an impromptu jam session with one of the local Pastors -

 {On the drums is Spence, our second, kind-spirited Compassion staff rep, from CO}

We couldn't have asked for a better group of traveling companions, and new, far-flung friends.

Oh, & here we are! Sharing these trips as a couple is a real gift. It can be hard to process alone, hard to describe to others. I'm continually thankful that we can journey together.


September 9, 2012

Sharing Spring Favorites

Pop-on over & check-out the lovely Miss Emily's blog - Each Peach Pear. The name alone makes me happy! Emily is a dear friend from Sydney, who snaps charming pictures & shares stories of daily life, with her adorably chubby-cheeked little ones in-tow.

Most recently, she was kind enough to let me take-over her blog for a day & share some Spring fashion favorites. I had a grand time flicking back through my memory bank and pulling out the best of what I'd spied during our travels this past Spring*.

{A Taster: High-waisted, pleated skirts}

So dreamy.

To all you lucky Southern Hemispherer's (not word, I know) enjoy the slowly warming sun & pretty blossoming trees. 


*on the other side of the equator.

September 4, 2012

Honduras - Compassion at work

It's not altogether easy to put our Honduras visit with Compassion into words. I'm not sure I can adequately describe the heat, the smell, the mud hut homes; the hundreds of young, smiling faces that greeted us; the broken but hope-filled lives connected to ours (& yours!) through child sponsorship. 

I will leave it to the pictures to do most of the describing and fill-in the gaps with an edited version of everything we experienced.

We were just a hop-skip-jump from Miami, yet we were worlds apart - amongst some of the poorest of the poor - taking a look at the life-changing work Compassion, together with local Pastors and volunteers, is achieving in Honduras. In the name of Jesus, they are putting hope into the eyes of children & pushing back against the darkness, with lasting impact. 

Over 3 full days we visited various Compassion student centers, primarily to LOVE on the children that attend (easy!), to see first-hand Compassion at work, and to speak with the amazing men leading the church’s that host the centers. These are men of deep faith, prayer & great vision, who are changing their communities by changing the lives of children, both practically and spiritually [meals, clean water, medical care, education, bible teaching, clothing/supplies, and so much more].

In the afternoon we went on "home visits" with several of the children, meeting their parents and seeing the conditions of where they live. Typically, it's too many people in too small a room - 1 bed, no loo, a dirt floor, possessions we would place in the rubbish pile. At this point everyday my heart was heaviest and the realities of poverty made me light-headed. The smell got under my clothes and the lack of light made it feel like hope had left the room. Early-on in the week, I was overwhelmed by the tide that needed to be turned and felt a bit defeated, wondering if the young lives effected could actually be rescued long-term.

In those moments I was forgetting the great Rescuer.

At the center of each home is a child known & loved by Him, who is coming to understand true Light and Life, and a future that doesn’t have to be defined by poverty. The intervention of Compassion plays an enormous role, and the proof is in the pudding! At the weeks end we got to talk with two former Compassion children, now both enrolled in college*. They shared remarkable stories of redemption, representative of so many others just like them.

I realize it's a well-worn story for many of us... Poverty can settle-in amongst us and we become immune to how to be involved. The images are either all too familiar, or from a place so far away that it stops being real. That's why I wanted to share about it here. These children are very real. I’ve hugged them, kissed their small, dark-haired heads, held their hot little hands, heard about favorite subjects & best friends at school.

If there's one thing I want you to know from our Honduras visit, it's that Compassion are the hands and feet of Jesus amongst these children & their impoverished communities. Each of us have the wonderful opportunity to partner with them in this work - our smallest offering from here at home brings remarkable change for those on the receiving end. If you haven't already, please sponsor a child today. And if you already sponsor - thank you!


Oh, and the letters! I can't sign-off without a huge reminder to WRITE to your Compassion children. They treasure your words of encouragement. You may be the only dad or mum they know... the grandparent that remembers to ask about school... the older brother or sister looking-out for them and cheering-on from afar. 

 [Carlos, with a letter from his sponsor]

I pray in some small way this helps refresh your interest & excitement for Compassion. And I hope these precious faces are a delight and encouragement to see!


*talking with the students gave us a glimpse of what Compassion graduates are achieving all over the developing world, whether it's going to college, receiving skilled labor training or finding full-time employment - the cycle of poverty is being broken.