A Chance to Trust: Traveling to El Salvador in November with Compassion International

August 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm 51 comments

So there was a little buzz around the Twittersphere this morning when it was announced that I’m joining Compassion International‘s next blogger trip to El Salvador in November.

Most of this so-called buzz was from my good friends, who sent me messages saying things to the effect of, “What???”

So to save myself the effort of having to write back to each of you—Yeah, so… Lord willing, I’m going to El Salvador in November.

el salvador

Okay, the story goes…

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Shaun Groves, who is the Blogger Relationship Manager of Compassion’s blogger trips, asking if I’d be interested in joining this trip to El Salvador in November. I’d followed a couple of their trips through other blogger friends, and been fascinated by the stories I’ve read.

I also thought it was really cool and innovative on Compassion’s part to use bloggers and their influence in this way.

Anyway, back to the story (by the way, this is what it’s like to have a real conversation with me—rabbit trails, rabbit trails)… so that night I mentioned the email to Abraham and our good friend Wes, and they were both really encouraging about my going. I was really nervous, mostly feeling like I don’t have a good enough blog to do something like this. But they persisted, and the thoughts of the trip persisted in my head and heart.

I’ve always felt really intimidated to start traveling down the road of greater global poverty awareness, social justice issues, etc.—mostly because I felt insecure. I’ll be honest about my insecurities and failings. Ready?

  • There’s too much information. I wouldn’t know where to start.
  • There’s always people who know more than me and I’m gonna look like an idiot if I try to join this effort.
  • I don’t have time.
  • I have way too much of my own pain right now.
  • I’m forgetful when I have food and clean water and money for groceries.
  • I might actually have to change if I know more.
  • What if I’m a flash-in-the-pan kind of person? What if I get all gung-ho and then lose steam? (Again, pride telling me I’ll look like an idiot, and me listening to that, instead of to God’s voice.)

But back in the fall, right after Felicity’s first birthday, I was treated by my dear friend Jenna (lovingly known for her quirky online alterego, jennapants) to a concert by Sara Groves, Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken, and others to highlight some ministries doing work with poverty, slavery, and childhood prostitution. I was shaken by it. I remember coming home and asking Abraham random things like, “Do you want to become an abolitionist with me?”

I remember wanting so deeply to get outside of myself for a little while and remember the plight of those around the world who have it so much worse than me.

But it’s been hard. To be honest, year #2 without Felicity has felt so much harder on many levels. A good friend of mine (whose 24-year-old son died a few weeks before Felicity) told me recently, “Year One is the year of shock. Year Two is the year of feeling.” How true that’s been for me.

But in all of that pain, I’ve still felt a tugging and longing to be part of this global effort outside of myself to see change in God’s big world.

I know things like poverty, prostitution, and slavery matter to God. Jesus told us that a cup of cold water matters to him.

So I’m trusting God that none of these experiences and longings have been accidental, that he is indeed doing something in my heart to bring greater measures of healing, bring me to a place of deeper dependence on him, show himself to me in new ways… I’m eager.

I’m trusting him that these non-accidents are going to set a tone for Year #3, the theme of which is yet to be experienced.

I really hope you’ll stay tuned through November and pray me through the trip to El Salvador. I’m really excited to share with you all what God is doing in that little country in His great big world.


Entry filed under: Blogging, Faith, Grief, Travel.

A birthday and an almost-finished sweater Our home renovations (read: What we’ve done all summer)

51 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tamie  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Hi Molly

    What a great opportunity for you! I’ve been observing the US Compassion blogger phenomenon from here in Australia and have been excited by the possibility of its grass roots awareness raising.

    Thanks for your honesty and courage. Looking forward to walking this journey with you through the blogosphere!

  • 2. Cara Herzberg  |  August 26, 2009 at 5:20 am

    This is awesome, Molly. I am so glad you are taking the risks. Your heart can only get bigger through this.

  • 3. JessicainFlorida  |  August 26, 2009 at 7:09 am

    Oh Molly, I think you are the right person to go for all the reasons you listed. Humilty, full recongnition of your need for the Lord, a heart and arms that can comfort as you have been comforted.

    I can’t wait to read about your trip and see the work God does as a result.

    Hebrews 13; “…for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear…’

  • 4. Andie  |  August 26, 2009 at 7:56 am

    thrilled for you. I love how God is intertwining this new awakening to world things with your grief. He is doing a beautiful work in you.
    I wish I could go with you. 🙂

  • 5. Morgan  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:37 am

    so glad you’re going! can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • 6. ToilingAnt  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:43 am

    So, so excited for you!

  • 7. Kirstjen Pratt  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:02 am

    That’s great! I’m sure it will be a life changing trip and in ways that you can’t abandon when you get home. The blogs I follow that have gone on trips seem amazing!

  • 8. Jacqueline  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:08 am

    From a stranger-not-a-stalker…Have to comment this morning…You said, “I know things like poverty, prostitution, and slavery matter to God. Jesus told us that a cup of cold water matters to him.”

    That is a life-changing statement. I’m praying it will change mine.

  • 9. JenR  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Molly-yes, there will be people going who know more and are more connected with this topic than you. But I doubt that it was strictly for your amount of topical knowledge that you were asked to go. You have a voice and an authority into a segment of the population that is likely to be influenced by what you see, experience, and write about on this trip. Through much pain, you have earned the right to speak to hurting people about children. You give voice and words to feelings that many people experience but cannot describe. God uses your words to bring healing and to inspire action.

    • 10. Molly Piper  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you Jen. That means so much.

  • 11. Kelly @ Love Well  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I nominated you for the trip, Molly. And while I’m sure my voice was just added to the chorus (“Ask Molly! Ask Molly! Ask Molly!”), I’m thrilled to see that God tapped on your shoulder as well.

    I’m already praying for what God is going to do with you and through you in November. May it be a time of growth and wonder and even healing for your sweet, sweet heart. I’m excited for you.

    • 12. Molly Piper  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:26 pm

      Kelly!!!! I can’t believe you!! You are the sweetest. Seriously. Thank you. This is such an honor for me, I can’t even believe it’s happening.

      And I just feel like God’s been orchestrating so much stuff behind the scenes. I’m in awe.

  • 13. patty broberg  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:37 am


    I’m excited to pray for you and to follow your trip. We have had a Compassion child (first a boy in Mexico, now a girl in Uganda) for many years, and I always wonder about meeting one of them someday.

    Anyway, I don’t know how to say what I’m thinking. Just something about your pain — it makes me think you are going as a “real” person. Not someone who has never experienced hard things and needs to see what the world is really about. I think God will use you, AND will encourage your heart.

    So I’m excited to watch and see what He does!

  • 14. Abby  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:40 am

    You said, “There’s always people who know more than me and I’m gonna look like an idiot if I try to join this effort.”

    I understand that statement. I recently returned from a World Orphans/Hope 221 mission trip. Before the trip, I had those feelings and more. I’ve never served overseas on a mission trip & I sooooo wanted to be in my element. It’s rather embarrassing as I type it out, but there it is.

    The weekend before I left, I was literally face down before the Lord with the realization that I have nothing to offer, that His goals & will would be accomplished in spite of myself. He would conduct & orchestrate this trip without my assistance. This is something I know (that He is in control), yet most of the time I’m too busy trying to knock Him off of the conductor’s stand & grab the baton out of His hands. The trip was beautiful, btw. God increased my heart for the widow, orphan, & the oppressed (which is his heart).

    I’m praying for your trip in November, sister. I appreciate how your authenticity shines through in your writing.

    • 15. Molly Piper  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:30 pm

      That’s sooo how I feel, on my face, nothing to offer. And isn’t that what grace is?!? I offer nothing, I come completely dependent… Thanks for sharing your story.

  • 16. rokensa  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Hello Molly

    As a Salvadoran and a Christian I am happy and exited this is happening, The Lord has a big plan for this tiny country and your are now part of this plan 🙂

    You will find out as many other people that visits the country for the first time that there are many reasons to say… El Salvador is IMPRESSIVE! But the biggest reason is about the people, we have been molded through dictatorships, war, earthquakes, typhoons, scarcity (nor poverty as you will see we act and feel as we are rich)…

    I am glad blogger trips like yours are coming to help our people and our country, please make sure you contact me during your trip I would love to be of help!

    • 17. Molly Piper  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:32 pm

      WOW!! I’m so happy you commented. I have no idea about the details of our trip, but it’s so amazing to have an El Salvadorian connection on my blog. I had no idea!

      I’m looking forward to doing some reading on the history of El Salvador before I go. Any resources you’d recommend?

  • 18. Rachel  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Molly! I’m so excited for you. I have also enjoyed following the Compassion bloggers, and am anxious to read your perspective. I think they picked the right blogger!

  • 19. Emily  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Hi Molly, I’m one of those lurkers you encouraged not to feel awkward about finally commenting 🙂

    I’ve read your blog for awhile and love it, and appreciate the way you articulate the joys and sorrows of your days.

    I am a Wheaton College senior currently spending six months in Bolivia interning at a home for teenage street girls who’ve experienced physical and sexual abuse. I just started posting this week about how my desires to share the harder stuff I’m seeing and learning contrast with my great insecurity about doing so. What will people think?! Am I just going to sound angsty and guilt-trippy and lame?! And it’s not like I’m even doing anything about all this anyway (which is a whole other huge God breaking me thing that I’ve barely started to touch on).

    So anyway, it was a fun coincidence to stop by your blog today, and recognize myself in so many of the insecurities you named :-).

    Can’t wait to read more, and stop on by my blog anytime!

    PS- I guess I missed you and Abraham when you were at Wheaton in 07! I remember your father in law’s chapel talks, though.

  • 20. jennapants  |  August 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

    I’m so excited for you! (Way to encourage Molly, Abraham and Wes!!!)

    I love you bringing your fears in the light. Fears can keep us in bondage if they remain in the dark. There is not much power in a fear exposed.

    May God continue to increase your faith in Him and dependence on Him!!! May God continue to show himself GREAT and worthy of all seemingly risky decisions in your life!

    I love you!!!!

    • 21. Molly Piper  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:33 pm

      “There is not much power in a fear exposed.” I need to hear that every day. Multiple times a day. Well said, Jenna.

      Are you mad I called you quirky? 😉

      • 22. jennapants  |  August 26, 2009 at 6:00 pm

        you KNOW i love quirky people. it made me finally be able to love myself. lol!

  • 23. Ronnica  |  August 26, 2009 at 11:26 am

    How exciting! Though I understand your reservations…thanks for being open about them! I look forward to reading about your experiences in El Salvador!

  • 24. MrsMK  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Molly, my prayers are with you as you open up for this exciting new adventure. Your reasons for holding back will become a informal prayer list….that GOD alone will heal and resolve and answer you!

    Blessings, dear friend!

    • 25. Molly Piper  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you so much Kate! I would love your prayers for these issues.

  • 26. Elizabeth Esther  |  August 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    i personally think the best cure for grief is helping others. i know i would scared about going, too. but i really believe God is gonna do something awesome through you. (((hugs)))

    A Fellow Abolitionist

  • 27. therigneys  |  August 26, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Cried my whole way through this post. Everything in my spirit kept saying, “Yes!!”.

    I feel like my heart is going with you on this trip- not so much because of the reason you are going (which I do pray that God would grow my heart for the people of El Salvador), but because I have so much faith that this is going to shape your Year Three….our Year Three. God is wise- He knows what He is doing when He afflicts and when He heals. Both are beautiful in His sight.

    I love you.

  • 28. Debby  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I’m so happy you’re going, Molly! I can’t wait to learn through your eyes.

    Oh, how I love your vulnerability! Thank you, thank you for admitting your weaknesses and fears,”There’s always people who know more than me and I’m gonna look like an idiot if I try to join this effort.” I can only speak for my own heart, but…wow, that’s kinda the story of my LIFE. May God give us all a kick in the pants because of your boldness to step out there and love!

    And…I, too wish I could go with you. I’ll be praying.

  • 29. Jessica V.  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Great news. I can really relate to not doing things because of your own pain. I cling to 2 Cor 1:3-4 — that we are able to comfort others as God comforts us. Sometimes tragedy better equips us to help those around us.

    And I love this quote: Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. ln those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own. -Fritz Williams

    I look forward to hearing about your trip.

  • 30. Kristin  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    what a great opportunity! and i’m guessing you will be able to meet people there in deeper ways because of your own experiences with suffering.

    i admit i’m slightly jealous…would LOVE to go on a trip like that. i look forward to reading your reflections!

  • 31. Amy  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Molly, I am also a stranger–not a stalker–and I love reading what you write. Coincidentally, I have a sister who lived in El Salvador for a few years if you need a different resource for information there. I visited her a few times, but I’m sure she would be a much more reliable resource than I am. And thank you for writing about your fears. I feel those same fears every day and I really appreciate your vulnerability and honesty.

  • 32. Patricia Jones  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I am so glad you will be joining us on this trip. My name is Patricia and I am one of the female leaders that help on this trip. I look forward to meeting you!!

  • 33. Chris  |  August 27, 2009 at 6:59 am

    So excited for you–and we’ll be praying!

  • 34. Katrina  |  August 27, 2009 at 8:09 am

    I think it’s wonderful how the Lord is leading you. I will definitely be praying. And, I love your rabbit trail tales.

  • 35. Andy  |  August 27, 2009 at 9:42 am

    We support a Compassion child in Uganda. It has been great. It helps our family like you said, get beyond ourselves. This past week he sent us a letter that said his parents are grateful for the support we send. It was a humbling note. I was imagining someone sending my kids money to help our family.

    Thanks for including the blogosphere in your thoughts. We will pray.

  • 36. Laura @ Texas in Africa  |  August 27, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    There’s no “might” about it. You will have to change if you know more about poverty. The call to simplicity, to complete dependence on God rather than all the safety nets we build for ourselves – I can speak from about 11 years of experience that there’s just no going back once you start down that path. You won’t be comfortable in your comfort again.

    I think you have good gifts to bring on the trip as well. You’ll be able to connect with mothers who have lost children. El Salvador is one of those places with an infant/child mortality rate that is getting better but is still too high. Nobody else will be able to understand across the barriers of language and culture the way that you will.

    A book that helped me come to grips with reality and get through it all was Ron Sider’s Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Good luck and know that you’ll be in our prayers.

  • 37. dawn  |  August 28, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Wow–how exciting!! I love Compassion…we have a compassion child in columbia–but also live in CO near the Compassion headquarters…and know many who work there…including my dad.

    Anyway, you are going as a “regular” person–and that way we will be able to relate to your experiences all the more. Plus you are honest about it all. And, you are going as someone with a very tender heart because of Felicity. It’s part of the gift she gave you.

    I am about to start year eleven (wow). I’m a relatively new blogger, and haven’t posted about my sweet son yet. I plan to next month. There is much to tell, and you never forget.

    Once again, I think this is fantastic news. I enjoy your blog and will be following your journey!

  • 38. Jennifer S  |  August 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Have you seen this missionary blog yet? – http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/2009/08/be-warned-i-always-re-read-things.html

    It is one that will bring you face to face with what some people deal with in terms of poverty and the issues that come with it.

  • 39. Jen  |  August 29, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Congratulations!!!! I loved following Compassion’s India blogging trip recently.

    We have lost two babies here this year in Bolivia which has made it the hardest/worst year of my life, but if anything helps me, it’s getting outside myself to continue serving and advocating for the 41 in my care.

    Have a GREAT trip!!!
    Jennifer in Bolivia

    (I’ve been hearing more and more about Katie – link above – lately. SUCH an amazing story!!)

  • 40. ebe  |  August 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Hey Molly! I think you are way qualified. You have the Holy Spirit!!
    What other gifting do we need?
    That said, I understand your feelings (and struggle with insecurity too) and you are completely free to struggle with them.

    I am so excited to see how God will use you in El Salvador and how God will use this trip in your life too.

    love you friend,

  • 41. Casey Zachary  |  August 31, 2009 at 1:20 am

    When I open my feedreader and see a post from twentytwowords or the pipers, its like treasure. I like what you two pump out of that little house of yours. Abraham trips my intellectual trigger and you make me shake my head in wonder because of the emotion you invoke. Your posts are like the blueberries except there is never a bad one to throw out.

  • 42. robyn  |  September 2, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Your blog is AMAZING! And you are going to do such a great job. I can’t wait to read about El Salvador, when will you know for sure if you are going? I have friends down here who read your blog and want you to come down to Austin to visit, not to mention how much WE would love to have you!

    Love you Molly!

  • 43. Andy L  |  September 4, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I am very much looking forward to reading your posts. Bravo to you for going.

  • 44. Linda  |  September 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    This is my first visit to your blog Molly. I have come from the (in)courage blog. What a wonderful opportunity for you. I pray the Lord will go before you as you prepare to go.
    I noticed that you love to knit. We have that in common. I’m a grandmother and have been at it for a long time. I find it so soothing and relaxing (unless a drop a stitch or something!).
    I’m so sorry for the loss of your precious little one Molly. I pray the Father will fill you with His peace and presence always.
    I’ve enjoyed visiting.

  • 45. pendy  |  September 5, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Here from (in)courage….and I plan to live vicariously through the El Salvador bloggers. My sponsored child is there and so you can imagine my excitement when I learned a while back that a bloggers trip for El Salvador was planned. Please if you go to ES778 tell eight-year-old Patricia that her sponsor adores her.

  • 46. Rich  |  September 6, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Great, honest post! All the best with your trip and your year of feeling.

  • 47. Jess  |  September 6, 2009 at 7:27 am

    This is so exciting! Looking forward to how God uses you in this new way through your blog!

  • 48. Sandra Harberger  |  September 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Molly,
    El Salvador is amazing! My husband spent two years in the Peace Corps there. I visited there twice. Once for a week, and then again for three weeks. The people are wonderful. I hope you enjoy your trip. I hope to go back again someday… Email me if you want more info.!!

  • 49. Kimberly  |  September 6, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    God will speak through you, just follow Him!

  • 50. Melissa  |  September 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    from another stranger-not-a-stalker:

    do you know where abouts in El Salvador you are going? My husband is from Chalatenango, born an raised.

  • […] 28, 2009 As some of you know, I’m heading to El Salvador very soon (12 days!!!) as a blogger for Compassion International. As the trip draws closer, […]


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