Today was another super-long super-packed day. I can't believe I brought a book to read during our down times. There hasn't been one yet!
We headed out this morning on a three hour bus ride from Quito to our Pillaro area development project (ADP) in the Ambato area. Yesterday we were at an ADP that was just entering the phase-out stage while today we were in an area where we've only been working for a couple of years. The local staff expressed many of the challenges they've faced in establishing themselves in the area and I´ve learned that one of the greatest difficulties in getting started in the apprehension of the people whom we are assisting. It takes a while to build up trust but once that is established with a few community leaders then it becomes much easier to work together. Just like yesterday, I was amazed to learn that there are 25 communities in this ADP which means we are helping to improve the lives of over 43,000 people!
I don't have a ton of details tonight, just one awesome highlight you need to know about. In the middle of a presentation by the local staff (did you know 97% of World Vision´s field staff are actually from the communities they are working in?), we had to take a break when two sponsored children and their mother visited the office to meet with Autumn, our rep from Alberta. She had the privilege of meeting with them on behalf of their sponsors in Canada, giving them greetings and gifts, and hearing exactly how being sponsored has changed their lives. As the rest of us waited in the adjacent office, a hush came over the room, in awe at what was happening. God was reaching down to provide for this beautiful young family through a Canadian donor who had choosen to change the life of a little girl they had never met, yet felt compelled to bless. This is grace. This is love. This was a holy moment. How could we be anything else but silent?
There are 1500 children registered in this region but only 880 are sponsored. After seeing the radiant face of the children´s mother today my heart breaks for the other 620 kids who need to know that same kind of love.
For complete photos from the journey click here.
To sponsor a child in Ecuador visit WorldVision.ca