Compassion Bloggers

My joints and calf are feeling much better now, and of all my moments spent resting & reading on the couch last week, this one was my favorite:

The moment my inbox said I had an email from this guy…

His name is Shaun Groves, and he works with Compassion– a child sponsorship and advocacy organization.

Of all my moments resting & reading on the couch last week, this one was my scariest:

The moment my inbox said I had an email from this guy…

His name is Shaun Groves, and I’ve been praying HARD about what he said in that email ever since I got it. The second paragraph of his email read:


“I’m headed to Peru in November with a bunch of bloggers and I’d very much like you to consider joining us.”


I first learned about the Compassion Blogger trips soon after we started sponsoring a little boy named Wat (from Thailand) a few years ago.

Since then, I’ve read about several friends’ Compassion Blogger experiences on their blogs, (AngieNesterRee, Gussy, Emily) but I hadn’t ever really thought about what I would do if I had an opportunity to take one. They do, after all, involve (sometimes) getting shots, and (always) flying on airplanes.

Truth #1: I’m afraid of all medicines. Pill, liquid, powder or paste- I can’t bring myself to even take a Tylenol unless I have the most monster-sized migraine ever. Why? At some point along the way my brain decided to believe that I will most definitely have a bad or allergic (and possibly fatal) reaction to them. I also can’t shake the thought that someone has actually filled (or re-filled) my medicine containers with something other than what the label on it says. Something poisonous, or that I’m allergic to, of course. Irrational? Probably. But I titled this paragraph with the word, “truth”, so there ya have it.

Truth #2: The last time I traveled by plane was in 2005. I hadn’t flown for a few years before that because of a previous scary experience I had while flying, but I needed to join Kevin on a songwriting-related trip to Los Angeles. It was going to be a hard trip for him and he asked that I go with for emotional support. Upon take-off, it became abundantly clear that I was, in fact, still 100% terrified of flying, and I had one of those get-me-off-this-plane-right-now moments that shook me to my core. I had the mother of all panic attacks on that flight and spent the entire five-day trip completely freaked about how we were going to get home. (So much for that emotional support Kev was hoping for!) Because of fear, I came THISCLOSE to insisting that we DRIVE back to Alabama from Los Angeles. I cried desperate tears in the air on the way back home, and vowed to never fly again after we (somehow) (miraculously) made it back home safely aboard flight 308.

I’ll never forget that number.

I’m kidding.

I don’t remember the number, but I am totally serious about how scared I am to fly. Irrational? Probably. But, again, I’m just spittin’ the truth here.

(You can imagine my surprise when I began to feel a call to internationally adopt. More about that in a future post!)

All that said, and needless to say, I’ve had time to really think about what I would do if I had an opportunity to take a Compassion Blogger trip over the past few days.

The answer I’ve decided to commit to:

I’d go.

I’d go to Peru with God, and my husband, and a bunch of fellow bloggers- whom I cannot wait to meet. And, yes, I will get through those flights. (I will get through those flights, I will get through those flights) I’ve already got a burning, stress-knot the size of Machu Picchu in my stomach, but I know I will I have a rope bridge moment when we land safe and sound. No matter how afraid I get when I think about flying- actually sitting in that seat, smelling the smells, hearing the noises, and knowing how high we are off the ground- the thought of stepping off an airplane and sporting a smile that almost doesn’t fit on my face makes me want to try again.

While I was thinking & praying, and thinking & praying this weekend, I thought about the reasons why I should go, and the reasons why I shouldn’t go. The list of why shouldnt’s was very short and entirely fear-based. The list of why should’s doesn’t seem to have an ending (I haven’t found one yet anyway), and in a nutshell, it’s a matter of mattering, and showing less-fortunate folks they do.

I am so grateful for the opportunity the folks at Compassion have given us, and I feel blessed to have been invited to go with them.

So what is the purpose of a Compassion Bloggers trip?

Shaun says, “I think it’s helpful for all of us to remember the purpose of these trips. They are not rewards for faithful support of Compassion, nor are they your one opportunity to meet your sponsored child. Compassion International has an open door policy: Any sponsor can see Compassion’s ministry for themselves and meet their sponsored child. Go here to learn more about Sponsor Tours.

These trips are primarily journalistic: spending a week in a country asking questions, taking pictures, experiencing poverty and witnessing progress, ingesting large amounts of programmatic information and regurgitating it all nightly in the form of a blog post. It’s hard work.

Compassion Blogger trip is designed to do three things:

1. Release From Poverty: Get as many children sponsored as possible with integrity.

2. Inform Sponsors: Educate sponsors at home about the particulars of Compassion’s ministry to their child.

3. Expose & Inspire: Introduce first-world Christians to third-world need and ministry and to what the bible says about poverty in hopes that they will care for the poor even if it’s not through Compassion International.”

I hope you’ll follow along with our posts from Peru. We’ll be traveling from November 12-18th.

In the meantime, I know that I need to focus on what happens during the DASH, not the flights before and after it.

Music makes me less afraid. Let’s listen Shaun play some today!

(This performance of Come By Here, by Shaun Groves, was recorded in a bathroom on a previous Compassion Blogger trip. Gotta love those acoustics!)

Guest Bathroom Update
Instagram Anstagram's

Have posts from The Lettered Cottage sent right to your INBOX!


  1. Kathy says

    God just took your hand, brought you in close and gave you a big ol’ hug.
    He is proud of you. He knows you have put your faith in him and he will not let you down…..promise. He is healing you.

  2. Dawn says

    You can be so proud of yourself for doing this. I’m became afraid of flying after I had my daughter and now, every time I have to go on an airplane with or without her, I put my faith in God that it’s not yet my time or if it is my time to go, then I will accept it and I pray for giving strength to those left behind. That’s how I get thru the flight.
    All my love to you, Layla.

  3. Brooke says

    Wow I can not wait to follow your journey! I myself am to afraid to even think about getting on a plane!

    You will do great on this big adventurer!

  4. Gwen says

    What a blessing! You’ll be a blessing & you’ll be greatly blessed. Fear of flying –DRUGS!!! There is absolutely nothing wrong with sleeping the flight away. You can get all rested up on the way there for your exhausting days & on the way home—no explanation needed. Godspeed.

  5. Deborah says

    Layla, you go girl! I am starting to pray for you now and your fear of flying and praying God’s peace and blessings upon all on you as you travel. May God be with you and bless you richly.

  6. Linda says

    I love your blog and think that you have an inner glow that shows your faith and happiness. Those people will be so blessed to see your beautiful smiling face.

    Just know that GOD and Kevin and your family and all your ‘fans’ love you and you can have a pleasant flight. Maybe Kev can sing to you on your take off. The whole plane load might enjoy that as well. I know I would!

    Praying for a wonderful trip for you.

  7. says

    I’m so excited for you! And glad that you’re feeling better too! :) I sponsored a child from Tanzania after reading about The Nester’s blogger trip. I had known a couple of friends who sponsored Compassion kids, and I had thought maybe it might be something I could or should do, but never actually did it… until Nester’s posts. I just couldn’t put it off any longer! I’m grateful. So many people will be blessed through your trip. I empathize a little with your fears. The anticipation (for me, anyway) is usually worse than the actual flight, so at least once it’s over you won’t have to stress over it anymore. :) I know, not very helpful. I’ll be praying for God to ease your fears.

  8. says

    I can totally relate to the flying thing. Will be praying for you and Kevin. So happy that you’re following God’s Will despite your fears.

  9. Suzie says

    God will honor your effort, Layla! Courage is not the absence of fear. It is being afraid…and doing it anyway. <3

  10. says

    I sponsor two children through Compassion and completely believe in everything they are doing to help children in poverty! I’m so glad you are overcoming your fear. I’m actually going to be going on a short term missions trip at the end of the month (although not sponsored through Compassion) and it is easy to get overwhelmed with fear and “what ifs”. It gave me encouragement after reading that you too have your own unique “truths” and how you are choosing to say no to fear. Congrats on doing what you feel called to do regardless of any fear and doubts you may have.
    – Lauren

  11. says

    So excited for you. The trip will change your life in a most amazing way. You will never be the same. It’s beautiful and glorious and…well, you’ll be wanting to get right on that international adoption thing when you get home. 😉

    Get ready for a fun ride! I can’t wait to read along.

  12. says

    I don’t get to comment much anymore but had to take a moment to tell you how rewarding I think that trip will be for you. We also sponsor a child through Compassion and I would love to go and visit her. However, it is so expensive so there is just no way for us to go. So if you are able to come up with the money, nothing else should stop you! Just keep thinking of little Wat and you will make it through the medicines and the flight. He is worth it!

    Bless you for supporting little Wat!

  13. says

    Oh, Layla. I am so proud and excited for you.

    Listen, I don’t think your fears are irrational. If they were, they’d be easy to dismiss. Instead, they’re rooted in a deep rationality that has just taken a twist to make them debilitating.

    October isn’t very far away, but there’s enough time for some real prayer work to get you ready for this trip. I have experienced some deep healing through healing prayer–and I mean DEEP, because my needs were so deep. We would all be privileged to pray for you during the trip, but I think some pre-trip prayer work would be wonderful and could transform your experience from having to survive the flights into being able to thrive through the flights.

    I know we’ve only met a couple of times, so you may think I’m a crazy woman for talking about this–but I would love to help if I can.

  14. says

    Layla, your great big heart and generous spirit is so inspiring and one of the reasons I come to TLC over and over again. This trip will be life changing for you and for so many others THROUGH YOU! I’m in awe of your courage, moved to tears, and can’t wait to read every word and soak up every beautiful truth in Kevin’s and your images.
    Bless you!!
    xo Heidi

  15. says

    What an amazing opportunity for you both Layla ~ I cannot wait to follow along with you on your journey!

  16. Gayla Templeton says

    My first question was going to be, do you work in Guatamala. Since he was singing this song in Guatamala that quesion went out the window. That gets me to question #2. How much is it to adopt a kid there? What % of donations actually get there and is not spent on GLOSSY mailings every month to get more donations to waste? I’ve been believing that I should adopt another child with the money I waste every month. I was supporting a missionary couple until they sent their glossy mailing showing them on their Disney Cruise. Okaaaaay! I’m giving away part of my SS so they can afford to cruise when I can’t? I switched from giving them $100 mo to giving to adopt in Guatamala $35 a month and I’m sure they spend a good bit on mailings to get me to do more. They should know that God is in charge of that. I lost $450 a month of my income. There is a chance I might lose that much more shortly. Long story. If I am reduced to living on SS only can I stop giving at all? God’s job, once again. Being a sponsor shouldn’t be this difficult. Maybe your group is my answer to these prayers. Does the money go to the child, the family, or the village. Will I lose this child when the needs of the village are filled? That hurt a lot the last time so I have not allowed myself to know and care for this child in Guatamala. Tell me about your group, please and thank you. Signed Tortured Old Lady who worries about what is God’s business.

  17. Cindy W says

    If God brings you to it He will bring you through it. I’m sure your trip to Peru will be rewarding. My aunt & uncle were missionaries there for over 30 years. My cousin lives in Iquitos and brings God’s word to the deaf there. I look forward to seeing posts of your trip here:)

  18. Beth says


    You will go, you will be safe, and it will be a life-changing experience! Don’t let this opportunity pass you by! So glad you’re feeling better.

  19. says

    As someone who has messed up, whacked out fears of anything related to the medical world, I can totally relate! I wish I could be on your flight with you so we could chat and get through it together. As someone who is a Compassion employee, and who has been on a trip…it’s TOTALLY worth it! My prayers go with you. :-)

  20. says

    I meant to respond to this sooner after reading it in my feed! I just wanted to thank you for sharing this, Layla, and baring your soul, as it were, to get the word out about Compassion. My goal is to one day earn enough monthly from my blog to sponsor a child (dare I aim for two? :-), so I appreciate your perspective and honesty. I will be following along with you and praying for you guys!

  21. Mary says

    L- I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and wish you a calm and peaceful flight. I really enjoy your blog!
    (Mom of two internationally adopted boys :)…..)

  22. kate says

    layla – i love this post. i am inspired by all the things you share to make homes beautiful but this one… it’s all about your heart and could there be a more important renovation? i can’t wait to follow along with your compassion adventure. i guarantee i will cry with every post. this is such an incredible opportunity… god bless it and grow you exponentially!!!

  23. says

    wow Layla. That is incredible. What an AMAZING opportunity. We have had a sponsored child through compassion for about 7 years now. It has been so much fun to watch him grow up from a distance. I get so excited when we get letters from him in the mail. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you guys! It will be amazing, I am sure of it:)

  24. says

    LOL – I just got home from Peru 24 hours ago. It was amazing – is there any room left to go along?? Please say hi to all my friends! You will love every last one!!!

    • Layla says

      Oh my goodness, Karin! I am so excited to hear you just got back from there! 😀

  25. says

    I sponsor 3 children with Compassion and to have the opportunity to visit them would be wonderful. This mission trip will change your life forever.

  26. says

    OOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMGGGGGGGGosh. I am so, so, so happy for you!!!!!!! BTW I have a fear of flying that God insisted I get over this year as I flew to the Ophan Summit in Orange County this spring and then the Haven Conf a few weeks later. Ug. Girl this is gonna be big (you going). I’m thrilled for you. Oh, and I entered my blog in Compassion’s “contest”. Wish me luck. We could white knuckle that flight together! Best, Jen

  27. MARIA says

    I’ve just happened across your site and skimmed over a few posts and now have stopped on this one. Totally in AWE for you! This journey you will embark on in just a few short months will forever change you and your family. So excited for you to rock it in Peru!

  28. says

    I had the opportunity of going to Peru on a service mission for two weeks last spring. We had such a great time and felt like we really made a difference in the lives of those we went to serve. We even got to spend the night on one of the islands on Lake Titticaca. (I don’t know how to spell that.) I think you will have a great time. I posted about our trip on my blog if you want to see what we did.

  29. Shane says

    Hey guys, long time reader, first time commenter.

    First, my wife and I are Christians too and have felt the call to support a child through compassion. We have children of our own, but see it as a way of fulfilling James 1:27. I’m really happy for y’all about taking the next step and adopting! I pray God will bless y’all for showing His love to those kids.

    Second, my wife and I are Auburn alumni! War Eagle! We grew up in Bay Minette, AL, but live in St. Louis, MO now as we work here.

    Just remember God’s strengths are made perfect in our weaknesses.

  30. Amy says

    God is with you on those flights. Just picture yourself sitting in the center of His palm. He’s got you.
    Reaching out in faith to walk in His plan for you is what He wants ALL of us to do. Good for you!
    Through His strength, you can make it!

    I have had those panic moments myself, and this is how I prepare for them. I focus on Him and not on me.

    You are on the right track, putting it out there honestly and not hiding behind your fears.
    Go with God!