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New Friends in Peru: A Look into an Ultimate Journey Trip

Will she remember me? If she remembers me, does she even want to see me again? Will I know her if I see her? Is her daughter still part of the Compassion program? Do they still attend church there? I could barely control my thoughts as my daughter Bekah and I prepared to go to Peru this past June. I was so excited for Bekah to experience what I had 3 years before when I went with my daughter Grace.

On the trip with Grace in 2014, God had something in store for me that took me by surprise. Not only did we get to meet Fabian, the child we sponsor through Compassion, and his mother Helen, but we were also invited to visit the home of a young girl named Cecilia. She is sponsored through Compassion, though not by anyone on our trip. We journeyed to her home high up on the mountain (typically in Peru, the higher on the mountain you live the poorer you are) and met Marleny, Cecilia’s mother, Cecilia (8), her sister Sumi (3), and little brother Victor (1).

Something about this precious woman and her three children just grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. Her willingness to have us, total strangers, in her home and the love that came through when she spoke to us about her husband, her children, and the life she shares with them truly touched me. I wept the whole way down the hill after that home visit.

Fast forward to 2017. I couldn’t wait to get my arms around Fabian and hug on he and his mom, but God kept bringing Marleny and her children to my mind. In the short time we had with her three years before, she had somehow left a mark on my heart and I couldn’t wait to see her again. But those questions rumbled through my head: Would she remember me? Do they still attend church at Dios es Amor? Do they still live in the area? 

On the second day of our trip, while we were at the church I saw a woman I thought was Marleny and found a translator to ask. I was overjoyed that not only was it her, but she also remembered me and gave me a huge hug! It was so very frustrating to not be able to speak directly with her, but I think our smiles communicated how happy we were to reconnect with one another. Bekah and I put together a small bag of household items for her and a little bag of gifts for each of her children. It was such a blessing to shower that sweet family with some love even in that small way.

As the bus pulled away on our last day at the church the women and children waved goodbye to us, and Marleny was one of the last ones to stay and keep waving. I felt such a connection to her and I think she felt the same. Tears welled up as we drove away for the last time that day in June, and again as I sit here and write this today. I’m reminded again how much I need to not only be praying for Fabian and his mother, Helen, but also for Marleny and her family. I’m already looking forward to going back and reconnecting with so many of the Peruvians that God has graciously allowed my path to cross with on this earthly journey we are all on.

Both of my trips to Peru have been amazing, and I would encourage anyone who sponsors a child to make every effort to go. It’s truly a priceless experience to sit with your sponsored child and his or her family in their home, pray with them, and share in their pride for what they have as they share it with you. I was able to learn about Fabian and Helen’s daily life and how I can be praying for and supporting them better. No matter who you are, you will meet people in Peru whom God will use to shape your life and change your heart, even when you aren’t expecting it!

Lisa Owen

To learn more about the 2018 Ultimate Journey Trip to Peru, visit the trip page, or come to the informational meeting on January 14, at 10:30am in Room 401A. To see children from our partner church’s project that are waiting on sponsorship, click here.

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