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Aug 26, 2015 18:18
Category: Station News

Paul in Ecuador with Compassion International

Every day I was in Ecuador, I asked myself this question, “Jesus, is this you?” Matthew 25 is pretty clear that as we assist people out of poverty, we are serving Jesus directly. So when I was invited by Compassion International to join them on a tour of their work in the greater Quito area, I didn’t hesitate to take them up on their offer.

For more than 40 years, congregations in Ecuador have been fulfilling the words of Jesus to invite the children to come (Matthew 19:14) to the life-giving services provided by Child Development Centers right next to their host churches. Last year they served more than 74,000 children, and 32,000 families in 230 communities across that country alone. World-wide, Compassion International facilitated the sponsorship of 200,000 new children, which is a record for them.

Positive Life Radio listeners played a part in reaching that record by sponsoring 269 children in Ecuador last May. Two hundred of the sponsorships were from one project in San Lorenzo, located in a remote region on the north coast of Ecuador on its border with Columbia. Many of the families there are Afro-Ecuadorians, descendants from Africans on a slave ship headed to Peru that ran aground in the early 16th century. Racism deeply ingrained from the Spanish colonial era has adversely effected Afro-Ecuadorians and poverty is rampant among that group.

In this San Lorenzo Child Development Center is where our sponsored child comes from. My wife Teri and I had the privilege of meeting 8-year-old Alan, his mother and tutor who traveled 11 hours by bus so we could be together in Quito for 6 hours. Understandably shy at first, Alan soon bonded with us. We shared the stories of our lives, through an interpreter who spoke fluent Spanish and English. We shared gifts we had brought, one of which was a soccer ball, that prompted a match in a park with other team members. Alan, was the high scoring player. He wants to play soccer professionally one day. We gave him a Bible and prayed together.

Alan asked when we would come visit again, and we have no idea if or when that might happen. We know for sure that we will keep in touch with him through letters sent through the mail and Compassion’s new app. I really want to encourage you to communicate with your sponsored child on a regular basis. And we also know this. We have every confidence that Compassion International’s country office through its local Child Development Centers will be taking care of all the sponsored children that Positive Life Radio listeners have sponsored in Ecuador. As they willingly showed us their financial spreadsheets, and answered every question with complete transparency, we can with confidence say that your $38/month investment is in good hands.