El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3}

The reason why we create is to reflect what is beautiful, make known our point of view, showcase what we see, and exalt what we believe to be valuable. The freedom to create, reflect, and see the world uniquely is more powerful than we think, but so is being known and seen for who we are created to be.

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

We don't have to live in poverty to know that trials make us want to know the presence of God in a tangible way. We want to know that He knows our name, that He sees the tears that stream down our faces, that He understands when we don't think we've got what it takes to make it through. We want to know the God who can turn our hopelessness into inexplicable joy.

Perhaps that's why Hagar expresses in Genesis 16:13-14 the name of Him who sees...El Roi:

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” 

Today, the #compassionbloggers team gathered at 4am to hop on a flight from Quito to Manta -- on the coast of Ecuador -- because there are still hundreds of children in the most impoverished communities of Ecuador that need to be invested in through child sponsorship.

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

I met another mom today in Manta, raising a family of six in a home on a dirt floor.

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

I stepped into the doorway of her home with one thing in mind: I want to SEE this woman. I want to not simply sum her up or look at her life as a problem to solve. She is a mom, wife, child of God. We are more alike than we are different.

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

She tears up and cries over the same things that make me well up: "I want more for my children," she says. "I want them to love God, and I want them to be able to follow their dreams." She smiles wide when she tells us how her children are creative, smart, and unique. 

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I tell her that I see it...I see them.

But she is created in the image of God, too, I remind her. Unique and unforgotten are words that fall easily off our lips, but harder to back up with action and intention in a world where we can gaze upon extreme poverty just as easily as our hearts can beat fast at the latest and greatest in home trends. It's just that Jesus gives us eyes to see when we let Him show us how Gospel-living is upside down in this fleeting world

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Her children are respectful, warm, kind, and engaging...kids who light up when we begin to talk about how having a sponsor through Compassion has changed their lives.

"How has having a sponsor changed your life?" I ask through my translator. 

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

She urges her son, Leodan, to grab a folder of meticulously kept letters and cards from his sponsor, and answered my question with tears in her eyes:

"I thank God that someone chose to sponsor my child through Compassion. It means that my child can learn about Jesus and have opportunity...opportunity to hope and reach their full potential."

Child Sponsorship means that through the simple gift of someone else SEEING the worth of investing in her child, she could experience in a tangible way: The God who sees.

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

Back at the Compassion center, I find myself surrounded by eager faces and a stack of paper and crayons. Karolina and I locked eyes, and I knew that she needed to know that I see her...that she was worth considering, gazing at, investing time in.

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

The simplest of sketches still brought wonder to the child's eyes, because for those few precious moments: It was just me and her...one to one. 

Another sweet girl, Marley, tapped me on the arm, as if to say: Me too...I, too, want to be seen, truly seen. 

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com
El Roi: The God Who Sees Them {Compassion Bloggers Trip Ecuador 2016, Day 3} | gracelaced.com

The girls clutched their portraits and giggled as I wrote out their names, and signed my own. Crayon and pencil drawings on construction paper may be no works of art, but that wasn't the point. They are works of art created by a loving God who SEES THEM. I'm but the messenger.

Dear friend,

You've been called to be a messenger too.

You carry the privilege of delivering opportunity, hope, development, and tools for change. You get to not turn away, and truly SEE ONE CHILD for who he or she has been created to be by a holy God. 

And in turn, your child sponsorship for only $38 a month, becomes El Roi...to a child and his family. Let a child know that God sees him today.

You won't want to miss Brianne's challenging post today at Ann Voskamp's front porch...or Ashley's post about intentionally exposing her children to the hard realities of poverty...and Shannan's post, giving perspective to what it truly costs to change another life. 

Follow the trip at Compassion Bloggers, or through #compassionbloggers on Instagram and Facebook. (Photos in this post by: Ashley Ann Photography and @MikeVarel.

Because of grace,

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