Compassion in Peru – Day 1

There’s so much on my heart today. So much I want to tell you. I’m struggling to put Day 1 into words though, so maybe I’ll just start with something simple…

We’re in Lima, Peru with Compassion.

We’re learning about what they’re doing to release children, one-by-one, from poverty. We’re witnessing firsthand how they work holistically with individual children to address their spiritual, economic, social and physical needs, and how they give each and every one an opportunity to become a responsible and fulfilled Christian adult. We sponsor two children through Compassion, and we’re so grateful for the opportunity to see how everything works up close and personal like this.

Today, on day one of five, we dove heart first into Compassion’s Child Survival Program. We spent time with mama’s and their (under 3 year old) babies and it was so incredibly awesome to hear what these women are doing to help each other and each other’s children.

The community we visited this morning sits high atop a mountain of dust.

Since infant mortality is extremely high in parts of the world like this, Compassion has made it their mission to promote effective child development to ensure that children survive the early years, when they’re most vulnerable to disease and malnutrition. They educate mothers and primary caregivers, before and after their children are born, about how to provide critical care for their babies during their earliest years.

First we visited a church, then some of our group walked over to this little girl’s house…

Yes, that’s the inside of her house, and no, it didn’t have much in the way of a floor or a ceiling.

I wish I could really, really describe to you how it felt inside that place. I’m trying so hard to string the right words together, but every time I line them up, they don’t seem to explain it quite right. All I know how to tell you for sure is that that place was overflowing with Love.

I will never forget hearing about how much Compassion has changed her mama’s life for the better…

I will never forget how much I wanted to tell her that she changed my life for the better, too.

Right before we left, I led my first ever (out loud) group prayer right back there next to their table. Shaun asked me to do it, not knowing I’d never done it before, and I’m so glad he did. I left with a feeling of hope that something Better is coming for those women and their children…

…and it was in that moment I realized just how blessed beyond belief we are. Not just because we’re able to do so much for them for so little, but because of the gifts they give right back to us, too.

For more posts about our time in Peru, visit Shaun GrovesAngie Smith and Jen Schmidt.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


  1. says

    That is the miracle of mission work…you always get more blessed then you expect…keep your eyes and your heart open…God is there. So happy that you are sharing this with us.

  2. Megan B says

    So excited for you! For all the blessings you’ll be giving and receiving. Can’t wait to read more!

  3. Lisa Frank says

    Love it! When I was a junior in college, I went on a similar mission trip to Kenya with two professors and a group of college students. We spent time in the bush, in remote villages without running water or electricity, teaching at an elementary school. The kids had tattered uniforms and only a few had shoes, even though they had to walk for miles through the rocky countryside just to get to school every day. When we visited Nairobi, our sights were very similar to your photos above. We walked through a dump, where families had literally built shacks on top of mountains of garbage. It was poverty to the extreme. You would assume that hope could not survive in a place such as that, but to my amazement (even now, 16 years later), so many people we met had transcended the hopelessness and disgrace and sadness. As we walked through the garbage trails, we were greeted with huge smiles and little children jumping and dancing and exhibiting such pure joy! Thank you for reminding me of that today. In the midst of busy schedules, bickering little children and life’s daily grind, it’s so easy to lose sight of how the rest of the world has to live. So I faced some minor inconveniences today–big deal. I have a loving family, a strong and secure home, a closet full of clothes, a stuffed refrigerator, a car that has gas in it and starts up whenever I need it to. These are luxuries some of these families might never know.

    How VERY MUCH we all have to be THANKFUL for, and what an appropriate season to reflect upon all the gifts we have been given. I pray God’s peace and safety over you and Kevin while you travel and that He would continue to touch your hearts. :)

  4. pam pauly says

    Wow! I am a Compassion sponsor and have not been writing my child like I know I should. Your post has really impacted me and given me a true vision of what Compassion does. Thank you Layla for overcoming your fear of flying to bring us this story.

  5. says

    Layla, Kevin thank you for going. And then sharing it with us so we can feel like we’ve been there. Those photos, your praying, that sweet little girl on the chair? I am moved.

  6. says

    All the time we spend making our homes special – all the extra touches, the paint colors, the furnishings — and then we see what these people live with!! It certainly turns your mind inside out. Just in time for Thanksgiving — it makes me thankful for all we have and all we can give. God bless you both on this journey!! As you are already seeing, the blessings are huge!!

  7. Laura says

    I was so stunned when I read that was the Inside of her house that I just stared at the photo for the longest moment, and I thought of how I woke up in a bad mood because … of things that don’t even matter any longer. Talk about perspective. I need new bathroom tile. She needs walls, for starters. I’m almost crying thinking about this.
    Of course, I’ve seen and heard of stories such as these, and I have contributed and volunteered all my life, but that sweet mom just holding her son so closely, and your story… oh. Thank you for sharing your story this way.
    I’ll go check out the Compassion website and see what I can do to help.

  8. says

    Thank you Layla for sharing this post and creating awareness. Seeing you guys there and the pictures make the way of life in Peru and so many other countries a reality and not just a news flash you see on tv. I look forward to following the journey you all are on over there.

  9. says

    Lsyla, I am so proud of you. God is using you in wonderful ways, You will bless so many (not just those there but also here through your writing) and yes you will be blessed. My husband does mission work every summer, and he always comes away with an overflowing heart. Your heart is doing the same.

  10. Edie says

    Missions is life changing. Nothing ever looks the same again. Praying for you as you walk this new view of life!! God Bless!

  11. Mom Palmer - Katie says

    Thanks Layla and Kevin for this wonderful post. It breaks my heart to see the conditions these lovely people are living in. It warms my heart to see that you are being a blessing to them and also receiving a great blessing from them. May God continue to use you this week in your journey. We are continuing to pray for you! Love, Mom

  12. says

    This was awesome to read. I hope you continue to have a blessed trip and continue to reach others. Also- I know what you mean about leading a group prayer. I’m glad the spirit leads us in those times!

  13. says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pictures of your trip so far : ) And “congratulations” on your first group prayer! It can be intimidating but so rewarding. I look forward to hearing more about your trip!

  14. Rachel Carey says

    Moving for sure. I wish someone would educate and provide birth control for these people. It’s just sad that these children have to suffer.

  15. Aunt Chriss says

    Layla and Kevin~ I can only imagine how overwhelming your day was today – from the journey to the village to the sights, smells, sounds and emotions of the day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and photos. The landscape is so drab – yes, “a mountain of dust” – the beautiful people you met today jump out of the photos with color! That is the perfect physical embodiment of the thought that it is the people you meet and your interactions with them that bring color into life. Your world is going to be so colorful this week!! I am excited to “be” there with you.
    Much, much love always…

  16. says

    This is a really amazing organization and an awesome thing you are doing. I don’t think there is anything that makes you feel grateful for what you have and where you live than serving others less fortunate. It really is a win win situation.

  17. says

    I am so glad you made it safe. thank you for sharing your experience with us all! what a beautiful picture of the mom holding her baby. that love doesn’t change no matter where you are in the world!

  18. says

    I’m wiping tears as I speak.We are so so blessed and too often forget to thank God for everything.We sponsor a little girl thru Compassion too.We really want to meet her-I’m saving up money already.The pics are awesome,but the work you do-amazing.May God bless you as you do what I am hoping to do one day.

  19. Erika says

    Praying for you and Kevin (and the entire group!) that your hearts can absorb ALL that your eyes will see. I can’t even imagine . . .

    But I’m making this mama and her little boy my desktop image as a reminder to think of y’all this week and hug TIGHT to that overflowing love.

    Have an amazing week, Layla!!!

  20. Jane Crawford says

    Bless you and your group. We Americans just have so much and so much to be happy about. This really puts things into perspective for us. How can we be angry and miserable and grumbling about things in our country when there are so many millions living in abject poverty? Is there a way to donate monetarily to this cause?

  21. Angie says

    Your post has brought tears to my eyes. The pictures, the faces, the words – thank you for going to experience this for those of us who may never get the chance.

  22. Teresa says

    My son has spent countless hours on the hills in Lima, walking those same dusty roads. He meets with the people and teaches them how to accept Christ in their lives. It’s a beautiful thing how accepting Christ opens so many opportunities for these sincere and humble people. After 14 months of service in Peru, I am convinced my son is truly converted to living a Christian life. When we asked what he needed/wanted for Christmas, he only wanted us to send things for other people with needs and nothing for himself. Makes this momma proud!

  23. Amy says

    That picture of the Momma holding her baby close makes you realize that at the heart of it all, there are very few differences in people. Love is indeed universal. Thanks for sharing this. I will certainly hug my little one a little closer tonight and remember just how very blessed I am to be able to provide for her.

  24. Lisa W. says

    Wow…and that we are so blessed compared to SO many across our journey of life. Take Care…be safe!!!

  25. says

    Thank you for sharing this journey with us! Praying for your time in Peru, for the wonderful work of Compassion and for all who will be impacted through your sharing!


  26. Linda says

    You are so right…there are no words to adequately describe what you see first hand in a third world country. Every Christ follower needs to make it part of their spiritual formation to tske their own trip.
    I’ve never been the same…nor will they!
    Forever grateful!

  27. says

    Thank you for going. Thank you for sponsoring 2 children and thank you for sharing with us. If you can give some extra hugs from me since I’m not in a place to sponsor right now and it breaks my heart. Keep up the lovely work Kevin & Layla!

  28. says

    Layla & Kevin, so glad you are blogging this experience and sharing the journey. The ways God is at work globally are amazing! I’m so thankful for the ministry Compassion has!! Lives are being changed.

  29. Kelly says

    Thank you so much for writing about your experience in Peru. We sponsor a little girl in Peru through Compassion and I soak up any information I can find about her country. I am prayerful that the support we send each month can help beautiful Yaceli climb out of poverty and come to know Jesus Christ. Thanks for what you are doing there.

  30. says

    Beautiful! Love that photo of the little girl in the chair too!

    Thank you for sharing your story. “I left with a feeling of Hope. . . ” That is what Compassion and the Child Survival program is all about. Hope. Praying for yall!

  31. says

    Aaaaawwww, Layla you always make me feel so good. I can’t tell you how much you lift me up with each post I read. So happy for what you guys are doing. Much love and safe travels to you two.

  32. Peggy says

    Thank you for sharing – I can picture you telling me this story with your right hand over your heart.

  33. says

    Beautiful post, Layla. This is such a wonderful cause. Thank you for sharing it with us. Looking forward to hearing more about your journey.

  34. says

    I so understand the feeling of trying to adequately put into words all that is on your heart ~ it all can be so overwhelming, but you don’t want to miss a thing.

    Praying for you all this week and know that so many lives will be eternally changed because of all that you share. :)

  35. says

    Okay, you? Have me crying on my keyboard. El, I’m SO proud of you for stepping out and GOING. So proud that you prayed out loud and then told all of us it was the first time. Your humility gives me goose bumps. Your heart wows mine.

    And that little line of undies??? Oh my.

    Please don’t forget – I am right there with you in spirit, every step of the way!


  36. says

    Something Better IS coming. For them. For you. For us. Thank you for going to Peru, Layla.

    Dear Lord, please bless this team with good health, traveling mercies, eyes to see and words to string together so we can see too. Amen.

  37. Jen Gash says

    Layla–I’m friends with Angie and have read your blog since before HER! Ha! ;) I wanted to encourage you by saying how awesome it is for you to have prayed for that sweet family. And you’re so right—we gain so much more from our brothers and sisters than we ever give to them. How vast is the love. Amen. Praying for you and the team this week.

  38. Lann Pommerening says

    My sponsored child attends the Adonay Student Center there in Peru. His name is Juan Carlos Barboza Mejia. If you happen to visit that center and see him, give him a big manly hug from his bombero sponsor!
    Thanks for your sacrifice and I am praying for God’s blessing on your trip.

  39. Gretchen says

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m so glad you have stepped out in obedience, and for the ways God is growing you. :-) And I am so grateful for the chance to make a difference!

  40. says

    It is amazing what people go through and how seeing their predicaments can affect and change us.
    I just pray that your visit their will give them hope and faith that things will get better.
    And for those of us who read, that compassion will move us to d something about it.
    God bless you and the team.

  41. says

    I think I would need a never ending box of Kleenex should I ever have the opportunity to go on one of these trips. Thank you for taking to time to put into words and pictures what some of us may never experience. It helps us to realize what a blessing it is to be a small part of this wonderful ministry!

  42. Robyn Robb says

    My daughter is living in Lima for 6 months . This has inspired me to ask her to seek out Compassion and go and experience this for herself. Can you tell me who she can contact? I want her to know the joy you are feeling in your visit to Lima! Thank you!

  43. Glenn says

    Thank you Layla for giving me new perspectives of the living conditions my little girl “Jadhyra” endures daily. She is 14 yrs. old and I have been sponsoring her for 7 years. I read every article I come across on the Compassion Website. You have brought Jadhyra’s life a little closer to me. I have come to love this little girl more with every letter. I will be adding you to my prayer list. Jadhyra is a little NW of Lima. I will be watching for more of your articles. May God Bless you every day of your life. Glenn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>