Open My Eyes {Nicaragua, Day 3}


I am emotionally exhausted.  My leftover tears from yesterday starting flowing this morning on the bus and would. not. stop.  As an interesting aside, lest you think I could be in danger of dehydration from all my blubbering, let me reassure you that our trusty Compassion staff is committed to child poverty and blogger hydration.  Like a boss.  As I cried, they pushed water intake.  Totally endearing, if you ask me although they don’t seem to be as committed to taking the hydration commitment to its logical conclusion.  Ask Shaun, he’ll tell you.  #howlongcaniholdit

I read some of your comments and emails on the ride to our Compassion center, about how you shared the joy and heartache of  Diana’s story with me, and I wasn’t sure I could pull myself together.  Then we got to the center and found out it was vocational training day.  The students would be giving us manicures and making pizza for us.  We were were in for a treat and one that just might have the power to stop the cryfest.

We started in the church, where the young folks that have been learning music played for us. What a treat, to hear them sing praises to God in full voice and playing the instruments they had been taught to play at this center, the largest Compassion project in Nicaragua.  They nurture nearly 800 kids here every week.  In a church of 400 people.  The pastor told how much of an impact Compassion has made in the lives of these young ones.  I saw evidence of that all day long.  They sang,

“Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.

Open the eyes of my heart.

 I want to see you.  

I want to see you.”


I saw evidence of Him everywhere today, shining bright in the darkest eyes.

We were supposed to observe the young whipper snappers in the class and assist them as they made pizza and cake.  You had me at pizza but cake just adds another level of love and communion into any fellowship.   Do you have any idea what it’s like for some of the kindest, most grateful kids in the world to make lunch for you?  And homemade pizza, no less? I might coulda hitch-kicked at the thought of it all but I’ll remind you of some of the side effects of militant hydration.   I was in charge of chopping the tomatoes and mint and peppers, under the careful supervision of understudy, Celia.   She kept saying to me, “Un poquito, señora.”  And every time I chopped the peppers smaller, she would say it again.  After four times of ‘un poquito’, I finally asked Carlos how to say, “Honey child, this ain’t my first rodeo.”  And as proficient as Carlos has gotten at translating Appalachian into Spanish, I rendered him speechless.  Celia was so darn cute with her corrections to my chopping skills that I took it all back and hugged and smooched her right on the cheek.

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 111 - Day 3

These vocational classes are the coolest thing ever.  Compassion provides opportunity for  the kids to study  in a variety of fields including training in hair, nails, computers, pottery, cooking, and music, and more, depending on the specific center.

They are learning to make pizza, my friends.  This is a life skill that I’ve tried to get y’all to practice with me.  I hope Celia and her friends will shame you into dough making.  These girls are bossy pants when it comes to all the details dough rolling.  Someone has taught them well.

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 111 - Day 3

We ate our delicious pizza and cake and headed out to do a home visit with Antonio, a charming five year old with all the promise in the world of having Shaun Groves hair when he grows up.

Look at those eyes.  

I asked his mom where he got those and she pulled out a tattered photo album with pictures of his father, still living with them, but working to support five kids.



He’s got his papa’s eyes.  And he was so proud to point him out to me in every picture.

He was also pretty excited to put 400 smiley face stamps on his sister’s arm!


The rains came down as we left his house and I immediately thought of the ark and how Antonio is safe in the fold of the Church and under Compassion’s care.  I left with hope that he will one day take classes like Celia and learn a skill that will give him confidence and the hope of finding a decent job.  But more than that, I pray that He will learn to trust His heavenly Father, that he will learn to see with world through the cross of  Christ.  That Antonio will recognize his neighbor in every dark and lonely place. And that Jesus’ will shine in him that like the warm June sun.


It all seemed just fine and dandy until we got back to hotel.

I started sifting through pictures and grasping for words.  How do you tell a story like this and tell the truth, with tenderness and sufficient urgency but without manipulation?  How do you stand up for the children who are at risk for being orphaned, or sold into prostitution, or left to fend for themselves in a drug-ravaged land? How do you help others to see when it took coming here to open your own stubborn eyes?  Today, I am their voice and I crumble under the weight of it.  I don’t have the right words.  My blindness sickens me.  I come up empty, fumbling around in the dark and frustrated by my own lack of understanding. I pray that God uses my frailties.  I pray He opens my eyes. I pray He shows me all the empty places in my heart.  I hope He crushes my self-centeredness and self-greed and pride. I beg Him to replace this heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh— bright red, that beats with passion for even just one that is missing from His fold.

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 111 - Day 3

I turn to the psalms and read this:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
 those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

 Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
 He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
 for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

He opens our eyes with His Word.  

And that Word is powerful and does what it will do.  If only, we bring them to the fold to hear.

Some will be safe, inside the arms of Christ’s love tonight.  They will be led by a “straight way to a city where they can dwell.”  They will be redeemed from the hand of their foe. Their thirst will be satisfied and their hunger will be filled with good things. They will tell the story of how they were redeemed and they will cry out to the Lord in their trouble.

And they will do that because you say yes.  Because you give them a chance to see Him.  Sponsor and child and open your eyes and heart to a love like you’ve never known.

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 186 - Day 2



Follow the other compassion bloggers here!  And my dear friend, Traci, wrecked me with her post today.  But more than that, she poured out her heart in our hotel room tonight and we cried like babies. She’s something else.  You are gonna be blessed!


I am loving my new friends so much.  Make sure you check out Christy and Kelly’s blogs and Shaun’s precious story of Sambaji.

Four exhausted girls, who are feeling inadequate and missing their kids will wave and send you hugs and kisses  from Nicaragua and say thank you for taking this journey with us.  Thank you for praying, for sharing your love, for taking the time to bless and strengthen your sisters.

We love you and couldn’t do this without you.



p.s.  I cannot tell a lie.  I am Keely Marie Scott’s newest super fan.  She is AMAZING!  She has taken most of the photos I’ve used in my posts and she is all kinds of charming with these kids. If you’re not following her on Instagram, then that’s a crying shame.  Join the fan club.  Also? I’m gonna try to steal all her jewelry before I leave.

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  • Melissa McIntyre says:

    You’re in Nicaragua and Ann Voskamp is in Uganda…. reading both of your posts and following you both in these countries far from Georgia! I’m feeling a serious tug at my heart to pack up my husband and six children and just GO! Go love on and feed the needy! We do what we can, but it doesn’t seem like enough. I swear, I’m hearing GO form the Spirit…pray that we are ready?? are willing to say yes to whatever that means??
    Love and prayers and tennis shoes from me to you Edie! Love you!;-)

  • Nester says:

    I cannot believe that you made pizza on this trip–Edie, the pizza queen?! How I love that through Compassion, these children learn all sorts of skills, tears!

  • Jenn says:

    Thank YOU, Edie! Despite exhaustion and too much water intake and the inevitable results, you do have the words, with His help and guidance. Praying for you that God will continue to sustain you and give you the strength to keep on! Praying that many children will be sponsored through this trip. {{{{hugs}}}

  • Debbie from Illinois says:

    My friend went to Haiti to serve at a church that takes care of very needy children that feed themselves from a dump. Her family is now in the process of adopting 3 children. It has been a long expensive process but so worth it.

  • Robin Dance says:

    “tell the truth, with tenderness and sufficient urgency” ~ You have done that, Edie! Beautifully so.

    You’re inviting us to meet these new friends of yours, to see how your heart melts under their weight. You’re telling how Compassion and OUR sponsorship truly makes a difference!

    You’re inviting their stories to come alive under our gaze! God is taking your experience, weariness, and loss for words and mixing it together for his glory and your readers’ good…and for some, a call to Sponsor a child, maybe for the first time!!

    Well done, friend. :)

    (you’ve earned a tinkle break :) :) :) )

  • martha says:

    I feel words are inadequate to express my feelings as I read your posts everyday. We are so blessed with material riches, but you are experiencing the real riches that our Father has for us. Over 20 years ago my sister and her husband adopted 2 little boys from the slums of Columbia. Now they are fine young men who love the Lord. It wasn’t always an easy journey, but we have been blessed over and over by having them in our lives. Your photos are so powerful !!……and when I see those dear little faces I want to go wrap them in my arms and give them warmth and safety. It is gratifying to realize that our Father is doing just that through Compassion. Thank you Edie!…..I am praying for your mission group.

  • paige says:

    this aint my first rodeo? crying through the tears.
    love you.
    keep on sister. you’re doing it right. changing the hearts of many & changing the world.

  • Ruth says:

    Dear Edie-your posts through out this trip have opened our eyes. God has truly giftedyou with the words to speak that would pierce our hearts. The work of Compassion is so precious in the lives of these children and their families. Thank you for sharing this with us. To see the work that is being done and the lives it is transforming is a blessing.
    Hugs sweet friend

  • You girls are salt and light always, but especially this week. Praying so many children are sponsored this week because of your writing and your trip. This world needs Jesus in a bad way. So thankful for Compassion’s gospel message to Nicaragua!

  • teresa says:

    guess I’ll just have to break down and start making homemade pizza……..
    you are such an inspiration! I prayed for you this morning–safe travel, calm, and wellness.
    also, for those darling faces that I can’t vision without tears. precious. so precious.
    thanks for sharing this trip with us!

  • Jolanthe says:

    This line right here —–> ” How do you help others to see when it took coming here to open your own stubborn eyes? ”

    Praying for you and the rest of the bloggers this week – and that the words you speak would open the hearts of many all over the world and they would be able to see through your eyes.


  • Karen says:

    I love the humor! But I love your burdened heart even more!

    Thanks for this incredible post! May many more children be sponsored!

  • Oh yes, only God does something amazing like bring you overseas to make pizza with these blessings.

    No words because I understand. I get it and I thank you for sharing and blubbering and reminding us every day.

    • I KNOW!!!! I was blown over when I was told we were making pizza. It was incredible.
      Love you, Jen, and thank you for all your encouragement.
      I know you know how much it means!!

  • Carin says:

    Edie, God has gifted you with the right words every step of the way during this trip. He paved the way for you, knowing you are the right person for the job. You tell the story with gently humour and humility and great compassion. xo

  • Jennifer says:

    Wow, this is so inspiring! Can I ask which centers you guys are all visiting? Just one or several? My sponsor child is in Nicaragua at the Alpha y Omega Center. Just curios if that is one of your stops :). Hope there are many blessings along the way!

    • We won’t be going to that one, Jennifer, but I would love to have hugged on your child.
      I saw today how incredibly important the letters are the children, so keep writing and praying.
      Thank you for your heart of love for the children.
      Bless you.

  • Wonderful work, Edie. Just wonderful. It is so hard to share the depth of poverty, and ask people to help, without being manipulative. Especially when you just want to shake people awake from their salon-colored hair, fancy nails, dinners out, etc. I struggle with writing it graciously myself, and yet I know Compassion would never want people manipulated into sponsorship. All you ladies have been beautifully gracious in your pleas. Just perfect. The Lord is glorified with every post. Thank you for sharing!

  • Julie north says:

    I knew when your post was a bit later going up that The Lord must be doing a number in your heart. Wow! I almost feel like I’m there with you. Thank you for saying “yes!” For going. For telling. For being transparent and bearing your soul. It is only a work of God that exposes the self-centered tendencies that lurk in all of our hearts. And isn’t it glorious that He promises to give us a heart of flesh, like Christ?! I pray alongside you, “Father, replace this heart of stone!” Thank you for the challenge. The reminder. This is what true faith is! Love and prayers!

    • I love you, Julie, and can’t wait to see you again. Your words are always so full of life, so full of Him.
      Thank you for praying, for walking with me here.
      Miss you!

  • Leigh says:

    Wow Edie. To be served homemade food must be such an honor over there no less. Your post and your experiences are amazing and I can’t wait to read more.
    Xoxo Leigh

  • Karen says:

    Edie…Thank you for this wonderful, beautiful gift you have given us. Through your heartache, compassion, joy and humility you have shown us God’s will. I am so thankful to you for your willingness to be so vulnerable in sharing your experience. Our family has chosen to sponsor two children. xxoo

  • You are so right! When you begin to sponsor children, they become an extension of your family. You wait for the mailman to bring those cream colored envelopes that hold precious letters from your sponsored children. You begin to pray for and love a child you have never met. It is a love that cannot be explained, but is so a part of who you are and who God wants you to be.

  • Thanks for sharing all this with us Edie. I am loving your posts and I feel completely moved by Shaun’s post you linked to. Can hardly wait to sponsor a ‘little mama’ and correspond with her. God is definitely using you once again to ‘grow’ me. :) xo, Jess

  • Hannah H. says:

    Thanks again for your posts!! They have been such a beautiful reminder to me. It’s so encouraging to hear how Compassion is making a difference…and I loved seeing and hearing about the vocational skills!! Our sponsored child, Julissa, from Nicaragua, wrote to us about her cake-decorating class….your post brought beautiful images of her learning these skills to mind!

  • Jill Foley says:

    You have done a wonderful job communicating what God has laid on your heart. Despite the response of your readers, know that you have been obedient in sharing. That is what God asks of us…obedience. It’s his responsibility to move in the hearts of others, and their responsibility to act in obedience.

    When my husband was in Nicaragua last year, he got to see our Josseling in her cosmetology class. And when I was in Peru, I got to witness a manicure and make-up vocational training session. It’s so cool to see these kids learning skills they can use.

  • Words fail me, Edie — following you and Traci on this journey has left me ragged and wrung out and teary and joyful. I can’t imagine how you were able to cope — hoping our prayers for you all were of help and comfort.
    Bless you for taking all of us with you and sharing your heart.
    xo Heidi

    • Ragged and wrung out and yet joyful. THat’s the describes me exactly. I stayed in bed most of the day Monday and cried. Yesterday, I was able to function but maybe the heart never recovers? Love to you for praying, I know that’s what got me through. A million thank yous.

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