When I tell people I’m an International Trip Leader for Compassion International , I usually get two responses. The first is, “WOW, how do I get that job?” and the second is, “What exactly do you do?”
I pinch myself most days when I’m on a trip because yes, it’s an amazing job. I have the privilege of walking alongside sponsors and project church staff, Compassion International staff and kids. I get to see firsthand the special moment of meeting your sponsored child for the first time (or the 4th!). I get to be part of, for many, a once in a lifetime experience of seeing another country. It is an honor and one I do not take lightly.
However, it’s so much more than that. For me, every trip has at least one “AH HA” moment where I’m emotionally undone. I sit in my room at least once during a trip and recall my amazing abundance in life and my need for a Savior to rescue me from my selfishness and greed. I’m continually overwhelmed and reminded that having much does not equal happiness. In fact, most of the time I see how having great need brings great joy.
When I was in Peru a few weeks ago, we spent considerable time at one project. There was an amazing project staff member, Rosa, who always greeted me loudly with a “Meloody” (yes, spelling is intentional). She worked tirelessly with the children, spending 6 days a week pouring into their lives. Her spirit was always full of JOY.
On the last day, as I was hugging her good-bye I was overcome with emotion. How can there be such joy in the midst of such work and exhaustion? Rosa experiences the same worries as I do, she is married and has children so I’m sure her mind is as full as mine with worries about her family. YET EVERY SINGLE DAY she shows up, a REAL smile on her face. I was struck with how selfish I am; complaining about the dishes on the counter left overnight, the crumbs on the floor four minutes after I JUST swept. I was deeply convicted.
If you have 5 minutes, please watch this clip from the Compassion blog. Click here for the link. Two brothers from Tanzania, raised by their mom until she died have found HOPE in the midst of awful despair. Their church partners with Compassion, providing these teenagers job skills. One brother is learning how to design and make guitars. The other brother is a designer of bags and clothes. Together they are learning life long skills that will give them a new future and hope.
My job is meeting brothers like Kulwa and Doto. I get to meet the staff who pour themselves into the lives of these children. With the privilege of this job comes great responsibility. As I see needs and opportunities, I cannot remain silent. I have to speak for those who do not have their own voice.
Yes, I’m lucky. I’m blessed and boy do I feel the responsibility of both of those things heavily on my shoulders.