Note: Over the past few weeks, we have shared the reflections of Karin Daun, a VisionTrust Board of Directors member who recently completed a short-term mission trip to Peru. This post is the conclusion of those reflections. To catch up on part one, click here.
Absorbing and Reflecting the Light of Christ:
The theme of light penetrated the trip. Our first question in our preparation period was, what do we want to do on this mission trip?
Initially we said we wanted to be a light for the people of Ayacucho, but as we prepared our hearts and prayed, we realized that we did not have all the answers, and we were not capable of being a light to them.
Perhaps, we wondered, they were going to be the light to us!
We realized that the best we could do was to absorb the light of Christ through prayer and study of His Word and then, as the moon reflects the light of the sun, we could reflect the light of God’s son.
We knew that we would also be receiving light from the wonderful people of Ayacucho, and we did.
The Transitional Home where we spent time with children is called Casa Luz – “House of Light”. It was a sanctuary for many children whose lives were truly transformed from the inside out by the outpouring of the Love and Light of Christ from the staff. It was there in the orphanage that God showed me what true gratitude looks like.
Gratitude – Humbling yet Contagious
When we first arrived at the orphanage, we were greeted with hugs and called “tío” and “tía”, which means “uncle” and “aunt” in Spanish. Because most of the kids do not have a traditional “family”, they consider visitors family. We were the family of Christ and we were all greeted as their uncles and aunts.
After sharing introductions, it was time for a tour of the Transitional Home. I thought that one of the staff would take us around with a translator, but no–each of the kids grabbed one or two of us by the hand and started our own personalized tour!
Our tours were in Spanish so most of us just listened and beamed at our tour guides’ enthusiasm. They took us everywhere and were especially proud of their bedrooms, which were nice and tidy. They all shared a room with a couple of other kids.
After the tour, the kids wanted to play in this little cement courtyard on an incline. No matter–to them it was perfect for a soccer game! Our younger generation played a game of soccer with the older kids while others played “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” and “Ring Around the Rosie” with some of the younger kids.
It was so little yet received with such gratitude.
Another place we experienced a level of unexplainable gratitude was during the home visits. We went to several homes of children in the Learning Centers so we could gain an appreciation for the home lives of some of the kids. Each home and each family has a different story, but there are some common themes.
One is that they have very little. Several of them did not own their home, but rented it. Others owned their homes because they, or their parents, got them through claiming the land, which is still common in Peru.
Secondly, they had gratitude. They were thankful that we had come to visit them and for what we were doing to support the Learning Center. I was so humbled that they were thanking us because the reality is that we were doing very little. God, show us what you would have us do!
Finally, they had been hurt, but they were filled with hope. We always closed a visit by asking for prayer requests, and the requests were big. Marriages falling apart, a husband who could not work due to seizures so the mom and three boys had to work. The work of the boys took them far away so they could not live at home which broke the mother’s heart. Prayers for eyes which were red from infection. So many basic needs, yet they were always grateful for what they had.
Gratitude – Catch it, Pray Big and Change Someone’s World!
*Want to get involved? Click the links below to find out how you can join a short-term team, donate, or sponsor a child in one of VisionTrust’s 17 countries.*