When I found out Buckner was taking a mission trip to Peru, for some reason I just knew that was where I was supposed to be. I had never been on a mission trip to a foreign country, let alone by myself. I feel so blessed that I did though, because I had to put complete trust in knowing that I was in His hands.
Fortunately, that was what the VBS story centered on at the homes we visited, so I felt especially sincere in the message we were sending to the kids. We were there to not only provide the children with the material support, but also emotional support, never letting them forget about God's love for them.
This trip was so beautiful, but it's hard to express in words the things I experienced this week: How I couldn't have asked for a more loving, supportive and genuine group of people found in our Peruvian staff. How the simple act of painting a young girl's nails brought such joy in being attended to. How the tighter squeeze in holding hands or receiving a hug spoke louder than words. How saying goodbye to each child at each home slowly broke apart your heart. How such unimaginable poverty did not crush the spirit of its inhabitants or how some ancient buildings in the Andes could literally steal your breath away. I quickly understood the intense magnitude of God's love for his creation, and how much He wants us to love Him in return.
All of God's creation deserves compassion, and I pray that the children we served will not forget that the love we showed them was not our own, but God’s. There's beauty in freedom even if one doesn't have it in a physical sense. We are free to love God and to find joy even in the worst of situations, and I will always remember the beauty of so many kids yearning to experience it.
I pray in their darkest nights and loneliest hours that they will think of the proof that love is real, that it can be found through Him, that they too can look upon God's giving hands in a shoe print. I will never forget the children I met, Peruvian staff, or the group of fellow Buckner team members who will all be leaving Peru with their hearts in the hands of 800 kids, their stories forever in our thoughts.
I'd like to close with a quote I heard during the trip, "Hope is the unlikely, even the impossible, becoming absolute.” I pray that if the kids I met got anything from our time spent with them besides a new pair of shoes, it was the hope that comes from living in the hands of God.
Megan Levers went on a mission trip to Peru with Shoes for Orphan Souls in August 2011. She lives in the Dallas area.
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