A Trip with Intention


A Trip with Intention  

Many have asked us about our vacation this summer.  Either because they have followed along on our Instagram stories and want to hear all the details, or simply because they are blown away that we went away for 17 days. My consistent response is, “It wasn’t a vacation. It was an experience”.

Nestled in the hill top of Quito, Ecuador sits a home, not a house. A home where 24 children under the age of 6 are loved beyond measure. Brought together by life’s circumstances a family was created. A family that continually evolves as the lucky ones leave when they go to their adoptive family and as others join the community that will nurture them until they find their forever home. For His Children, is so much more than an orphanage. 

Invited by a client, turned dear friend, my family had the privilege of spending 10 days at a place that would change us forever. Change the way we thought about the world, the way we  thought about each other, and the way we thought about life. Everyone needs a perspective shift, a pause to reflect, something bigger than the small lives we unintentionally live. 

The purpose of the trip was to give the caregivers (called Tias aka angels on earth) children a camp experience. We created a curriculum based around the theme of Lion King. The curriculum included four forty minute lessons. Movement, art, science, and a “snacktivity”.  The purpose of this camp was to give each child an experience that they would not otherwise get, but the reality is, they gave us an experience that we would have otherwise never have gotten. 

Our community back home (you) generously gave their money for the materials that were used with love. The remaining materials were donated to the onsite preschool. The camp was from 8-12pm and was a labor of love. Everyone took on roles (some familiar and some not), everyone did their best to communicate with children that spoke a different language (learning that communication goes far beyond the spoken word). The children left with the days projects to show to their parents at home, and the stories to share over dinner. At 12pm our camp day was over, but our day of service continued.  

Living at the orphanage allowed us to help with the babies and toddlers and treat the tias to an evening of pampering. My children would set their alarm (unprompted) to wake up at 6am to go and help feed and play with the babies. They would chomp at the bit for the end of nap time so that they could play in the backyard with the toddlers, whether that was jumping on the trampoline, swinging them on swings or playing with a simple rope. A simple rope that would create a world of imagination. Quiet after dinner activities were organized by us, the team. Classical music and painting was one of the favorites. Bed time stories were read and hugs and kisses goodnight were passed around. After the littles had gone to bed, it was time to cater to the tias. The tias work 12 hour shifts, cooking, cleaning, and caring for children under the age of 6 and some with special needs. Taking time to appreciate them is and was key. Every caregiver needs to feel cared for. As they reclined back with their warm tea and chocolate, we delightfully gave them manicures and pedicures and simple massages with intention and gratefulness for all that they do to give these children the love and care that every child deserves. 

Every child also deserves to be able to serve others, a chance to “see the bigger picture”, think about something and someone else other than themselves. This trip has given us something to reflect back on, as a family, when we get caught up and inundated with the things we “have to do or else”. Our experience at For His Children will be our constant reminder of what is important, what matters, and ultimately who we want to be in this lifetime. 


Heather Gunn-Rivera