When I went to Peru last summer, I didn't expect to be changed. I didn't expect to be altered for life. I didn't expect that my entire view of the world would be shifted. I didn't expect to want to do something about it. I didn't expect to remember quite so vividly. But I did.
I remember those precious children at the Sagrada Familia Orphanage so vividly, in fact, that there is not an hour in the day that goes by that I do not think about them. That I don't wish I was there. That I don't yearn to do something for them.
I couldn't just sit back and do nothing. So I didn't.
About five months ago, I contacted a woman at our church who is the "connection", for lack of a better word, between our church and the church in Peru. I asked her if I could give Christmas presents to Cesár, Hectór, and Carmensita. She consented wholeheartedly, offering to personally deliver the gifts when she travelled to Peru, but asked if I thought I could collect giveaways so that all the children at the baby house in the orphanage could get Christmas gifts.
As you can imagine, I jumped right on that train. With the power of God, we received plenty of donations for the kids in the Sagrada Familia Orphanage. But something had been birthed inside me. Something big. I had an idea. A big idea. I told our "connection woman" about it when she came to get the gifts. What if next year, we gave Christmas gifts to all 800 kids at the orphanage? And what if we had families sponsor their gifts, and write them a letter to make it even more personal?
To my utter and complete shock, she thought it was doable, and said she would talk to the pastor in Peru, and have a meeting with me when she got back. I couldn't believe it. Could this actually happen?
I immediately told a few girls who had been on the Peru team with me who had expressed their strong desire to be involved when I'd told them the idea. When our "connection woman" got back from Peru, we all met with her. We couldn't believe it. It was actually happening.
Over the next four months or so, we were busy planning, praying, and getting permission to do what we wanted to do. My idea had grown into something much bigger than I had ever thought it would be, and transformed into something better than it originally was. The outcome?
When our church's student team goes to Peru in July, we will visit the orphanage, throwing the orphans a big Worthday party to celebrate how much they are worth to us and to Jesus. We will bring them a personal gift along with a letter from their sponsor. While we are excited to bring them gifts, our real joy is in bringing the love of Jesus to both the orphans, and the orphanage workers and director. We're also excited to partner with our sister church.
However, in order to accomplish the Worthday sponsorship, enforcing the connection between child and sponsor, we will travel to Peru to get pictures and information of all 800 orphans over Spring Break.
That means I'm going to Peru next month! I am so excited! Not only for this project, but also to see my little Carmensita again! I bet she's grown a lot!
And the best part? Our church thinks that this "Worthday" ministry could be used in other places that they go! So there could one day be Worthday parties in Nigeria, Haiti, Sudan, anywhere!
God is so good!