Where do I begin?
My trip to Ecuador with Operation Christmas Child was life changing.
I always knew a shoe box could potentially change the life of a child, but until you see it first hand I'm not sure you really understand. My heart has been forever impacted by the precious children I met in Ecuador.
The whirlwind began Sunday morning and ended when I arrived home late Wednesday evening. It was a short, but impactful, trip.
If you've been following along this week, you read about Ruby, the little girl who received the shoe box packed by my Anna. Next week I will tell you about the journey to the top of the mountain that was perhaps the most memorable event of the trip.
Today I'll share some collages with you from my trip. It's so hard to put it all into words, but maybe the pictures will give you a glimpse into my time in Ecuador.
1. I left Atlanta early Sunday morning - a bit apprehensive, but mostly excited! I met my travel group in Miami and we arrived in Quito late Sunday evening.
2. This picture is from the largest distribution we did - at a public school in Quito.
3. Two precious faces from our first distribution
4. More children at the school distribution, with my friend Sami Cone.
5. It's always good to include a stuffed animal in the box that a child can love. When a child opens a box the first thing they go for is something to cuddle.
6. This sweet little one didn't crack a smile until she saw the beanie baby in her box - she melted my heart.
Sightseeing at The Equator
Wow - the equator was such a neat place. I wish my family had been with me. We did so many cool science experiments (more on that in another post) and got to sight see a bit.
You can see our travel group below - everyone was a media personality (radio host, station manager, etc..) except for two bloggers. I learned a lot and had a great time with this outgoing group of folks.
Several of the people on the trip were doing interviews and posting along the way. A couple that you might be interested to read/watch:
I can now proudly say have stood with one foot in each hemisphere!
Did you know you can balance an egg on a pin right on the equator?
I'm putting it on my bucket list to bring my family here - wouldn't that be the coolest field trip ever??
Faces From Quito
Look at this sweet face. Do you see what I mean about putting something to love in your shoe boxes? The children in Equador all had hugs, kisses, and smiles - in abundance! They were truly the most loving children I have ever met.
Visiting orphanages is something I'm not ready to write about yet - I can hardly talk about it without becoming very emotional. I'm praying for grace and mercy in this area.
Another thing to include when you pack boxes -- LEGOS! The boys that got LEGOS just loved them.
Notice the picture on the bottom right. This gives you a good idea of what Quito is like - VERY long and VERY crowded. The area we stayed in was very nice, but the areas we traveled to were much more depressed.
Everyone needs to make a trip to a third world country so you can appreciate your blessings and know the URGENT need that exists to help others. Coming back to America after being in such a country is shocking - almost disgusting really.
The biggest take away I have from the week is that these little shoe boxes make a HUGE DIFFERENCE.
In addition to the boxes, Operation Christmas Child equips local pastors with discipleship materials. They train teachers to teach in the discipleship program, and they offer invaluable prayer support for these pastors.
Over 130,000 boxes will be distributed in Ecuador this holiday season - that is 130,000 opportunities for children to know Christ. To me, that is amazing. I look forward to sharing more about Operation Christmas Child in the weeks to come.
I wish each of you a blessed Christmas - there will be no Collage Friday next week. After so much time away from my family - and so many loose ends to tie up from my trip - I will be taking a little break.
HUGE blessings to all of you. I love this community and how we gather here each week to check in with and support each other.
Please join me for Collage Friday!
If you'd like to link, you can do so in a couple of ways:
- Enter your link below. Be sure to link to your post with photo collages and link back to this post (or include the Collage Friday button on your blog).
- Share your photo collage(s) on Instagram, FB, G+, or Twitter - use the hashtag #collagefriday so I can find you!