I am so honored to welcome my dear friend, and the leader of the Compassion Bloggers in Equador this week, Brianne McKoy. She is one of the most precious people and gifted writers know and she is full of the love of Christ.  I traveled with her to Nicaragua in 2012 and I am honored to partner with Compassion to spread God’s love to the some of the hardest places.  Welcome sweet Bri. You are precious to me. Thank you for sharing the stories our little neighbors around the world.

 

Sweet girl.
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I just wanted to wrap my arms around you and whisper to you that there is great hope for you. I would’ve held you for countless minutes and said it over and over.
There is great hope for you.
And then I’d let you know, a man is not the answer.
But first: I woke-up at three am this morning after two days of restless sleep. I boarded a plane with some amazing women. I flew to you and I would have done it again and again and again.

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I learned that in your community more likely than not, you’ll get married at 14. You’ll start having babies. And then the father will leave you.

 

As we traveled to you, our Trip Specialist was explaining the poverty of your community. She talked about your early entrance into marriage & I begged why. The reason? Most likely, your own father is not present in your home. Your mamma is gone too because she needs to find work to feed you.

 

So love, you’re missing it.

 

Right around age 14, right when the loneliness in your heart has expanded to where you are sure you just can’t hold it anymore, a man will come along and promise you all the things that you believe are echoes of your dreams.

 

And I know poverty is lapping over you relentlessly and this man, you will convince yourself, he has to be the answer. He has to be at least some kind of different from where you stand now.

 

All of this, I know all of this before I take one step off the bus.

 

As we arrive I see lingering right outside the church several trucks filled with guys. Just watching. Trying to cast a net with their eyes. Calling out for a little attention.

The information I was just given about the danger of your future came eerily into focus and as I entered the church I looked back and watched as the pastor locked the gate to the church to keep the men out. To keep your future safe.

When I met you and saw how beautiful you are. How precious. How loving, I wanted to run to the gate of the church and dead bolt, no, double dead bolt it’s doors.

I wanted to keep you impossibly safe.

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But poverty – it is not something to just be hidden from. It must be broken.

 

As I took you in and wondered how easy it must be for you to give away a future that you don’t believe you really have – I became vibrantly aware of what you are coming up against.

 

Sometimes poverty looks like not having enough food to nourish your body. Sometimes it looks like not living in acceptable conditions – leaving you exposed to the weather, disease and an easy target for all kinds of evil. Today it looked a lot like loneliness. Like no one was ever going to come for you. Like the only way out was just another turn into poverty – getting married too young and starting a family you can’t possibly provide for.

You were up to your elbows in abandonment.

And just when I though I’d need a lifetime of deep breaths before I lost my mind at this cycle of poverty, I went to your house, Brenda.

Your smile was so innocent and blindingly pure.

 

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Your mother and father were both in the home. Your dad had not abandoned the family.

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We learned about your older siblings. Your sister did get married early and now she has a lot of her own troubles that your mom pleaded with us to pray for. But for you? Her prayers for you were different. Not strained. For you she wanted us to pray that you would continue to study hard, to become a professional.

They said they have these prayers for you because you are in the Compassion program.

While loneliness, abandonment, and an urgency to settle down young is raging through your community, there is something else living loud. The local church.

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Five years ago Compassion partnered with this church. Your family registered you in the Compassion program and now you have a sponsor.

You told us that your sponsor’s letters are filled with encouragement. Asking you to work hard. Telling you God has a plan for you.

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You have come to know Jesus. And you know He has a plan for you too.

So poverty, it is breaking with every step you take. And you are another divine appointment, reminding me that my life is so worth losing for the work of God.

Your hope filled smile was simply this, the irrefutable voice of God reminding me that if I have, if any of us in this world, have any amount of status, any money, any power it is for the sole purpose, the soul-purpose, to allow Him to use us to save many lives. To release a child from poverty. To come into their world, and say to them,

“God sees you. He sees you. He loves you. He has a plan for you. One you cannot even imagine.”

And a few years ago I didn’t understand, but now I know that coming into your world is as simple as sponsoring a child for $38 a month. For committing to partner with God and allowing Him to use us so that a child in an impoverished community can know, they are not abandoned. To taste and see that God’s love is so fierce it drowns out and expels the ruthless desertion this world would impose on you.

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To Edie’s readers, you are a gracious bunch! I know this from when she was on a Compassion Blog Trip. Thank you for reading about the girls of Manta.

Will you partner with God today? Will you please sponsor a child for $38 a month and break light into the great shadow of darkness and abandonment that poverty casts?

For reading about Brenda, thank you. God has something so unimaginable for her, doesn’t He? I pray that today you allow him to bring a Brenda into your life. If you were like me, and wondering if sponsorship is the right time or step for you, can I say that I waited to long to sponsor my first child? And a child’s life is not worthy of my “lofty” time-delayed contemplation. We must act.

We must allow Him to use our life for something greater than this world has to offer.

View children from Ecuador who are in great need of hope and love. Sponsor a child today.

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This week I am in Ecuador with Compassion for our 14th Compassion Blogger Trip. Enter this with us? Read more stories about our time in Ecuador from Ruth at GraceLaced.com, Shannan from FlowerPatch Farmgirl , and Ashley from Under the Sycamore.

And a gift? Ruth graciously created a print exclusive to Compassion. To anyone who during our trip, you will receive this print FREE to commemorate your decision to save a life.

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10 comments on “An Open Letter to the Girls of Manta (Guest Post)”

  1. so proud of you compassion bloggers! Y’all are making a difference not only in your sponsor child’s life, but in the life of your readers! I hope one day I can meet my little sponsor babe. SO proud of your love and consistency in sharing it.

    Blessings upon blessings,
    LJ

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