Friday, March 30, 2012

"We can't speak their language but the kids still like to play with us" ~Hayden

Within 2 hours of our arrival in Cuenca, Ecuador we were on a bus headed to an orphanage. The bus driver had his two children on the bus with him, a young boy and girl.  Our youngest two kids, Hayden and Seth climbed onto the benches nearest them.  I wondered if their shy nature would overpower the situation.  Within 30 seconds the four of them, unable to communicate in any other way, made eye contact, offered smiles, spoke their own names, then began to PLAY!  
Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Thumb Wars.  Crazy Faces.  
It is a universal desire for children to just PLAY together.
We found this to continue to be true everywhere we went.
“Play is the language of children”

~Making friends with the bus driver's children~

~Soccer at the orphanages~

~"1,2,3.... JUMP!"~

~Fist bumps~

~Shoulder Rides~


~Gathering rocks on a walk~

~Girl Talk & Snuggling~

~Sticky-Frog on a bald head is funny in ANY language!~

~This little girl had such a cute sense of humor!
She would keep her eyes open when we said "Uno! Dos!", then quickly close them when we said "Tres!"
Such a tease!~

~Climbing into an empty lap for some play time~


~Baket ball and Soccer in the Amazon Rain Forest.  
The kids were so happy to have visitors playing with them~

~Back of the bus shenanigans~


~More Soccer!  Our favorite pass time with the kids at the OSSO orphanage.
These kids played soccer long and hard!~

~These kids loved being pushed in their chairs,
but sometimes they just wanted to play goalie without any assistance!
So inspiring!~

~We played SO MUCH SOCCER that we popped the ball!
We brought the kids a new ball the next day.... GAME ON!!!~

~Being a kid and playing so hard is exhausting work~

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"And a little child shall lead them"

Some knowledge comes with the price tag of student debt 
and far too many weekends spent in school libraries.  
Some lessons take years to learn... years of searching for understanding, 
years of human experience, years of mistakes and picking ourselves up again 
before we begin to grasp what this world is trying to teach us. 
Other lessons are taught in a matter of moments and land so firmly in our hearts 
that we know we will never again view the world the same.

When we traveled to Ecuador to spend some time in the orphanages 
we knew there would be differences noted, knowledge to acquire, and lessons to learn.  
I don't know that any of us were prepared 
to have those lessons hit our hearts with such a gentle but powerful force.  
After our first day spent with the beautiful children of Ecuador 
we asked our own kids to share what they learned in those first few hours:

“We can’t speak their language but the kids still like to play with us.” 

“They don’t have very much at all, but they are happy and laugh.”

 “Sometimes they eat the same things over and over again, but they don’t complain.”

“I think Heavenly Father and Jesus love them and miss them.”

(a painting by Del Parson that hangs in the OSSO orphanage 
of some of the special needs children who live there.) 

"They take care of each other."

"They are really cute kids."

“They want to love.”

For the next two weeks these powerful lessons were proven to us over and over again
simply by looking into their faces and letting each little child lead us.