Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blanca and Leidy: God's Love Across Cultures

Today I want to tell you about two very special girls I met in Ecuador in January 2013. Their names are Blanca and Leidy. They are sisters, and they are part of a family of 12 kids, 10 of which live at home! They live in extreme poverty, and are receiving help from Compassion. Three of their brothers are enrolled in Compassion's sponsorship program, and the pastor of the church that runs the Compassion program comes to visit them occasionally. I went to Ecuador for a 10-day trip that was run through a partnership between Compassion Canada and my Bible College, and half the group and I got to spend the afternoon with Blanca and Leidy's family doing an activity called "Day in the Life", where we shared a meal with them, played with the kids, helped their mom with some chores and learned more about what it is like to support a family while living in poverty on a day-to-day basis. Little did I know, God was going to use Blanca and Leidy to show me His love in a powerful way.


The day before I had felt like a failure, as I know next to no Spanish and wasn't able to communicate very well with the children at the project we had visited that day. The kids all swarmed around the other girls in my group and, well, I felt a little out of place. I was starting to get the idea that maybe I wasn't so good at this, maybe I was never going to be good at loving these kids even though I really wanted to. Then, while we were playing Duck-Duck-Goose with the whole family, Leidy came over and held my hand. Blanca soon followed and the three of us were pretty much attached for the rest of the afternoon! When I took a break from working in the garden with the others, I took my camera out to take pictures of my classmates working in the field and also all the kids who had gathered on the fence who were watching us and singing songs while we worked. Leidy noticed what I was doing, and as you can tell from the first picture, started posing :)

Soon she, Blanca, and a few of her other siblings gathered around me and wanted to take lots of pictures. It was so much fun! It's hard to explain but something really powerful happened in those moments I shared with them. We couldn't speak each other's languages at all, and yet we were genuinely enjoying spending time together, and showing that we cared for each other. Leidy even remembered my name (she was reading my nametag and I told her when she was saying it correctly) and specifically said "adios" to me when my group had to leave!

God's love stretches across all cultures. He loves us all equally despite who we are or where we come from. We may only know Him a little, but He knows and loves us deeply. Sometimes He uses people in unexpected ways to remind us of this truth. We are all His children, and He wants us to know how much we are loved.






Please keep Blanca, Leidy and their family in your prayers.

If you would like to sponsor a child in Ecuador and help release not just them but their entire family from poverty, go to
https://www.compassion.ca/sponsor-a-child/?country=Ecuador&gender=&minAge=3&maxAge=18

Dios te bendiga!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All About Dagim

Have you ever had to wait for something you really wanted? Maybe even something you actually needed? A break from work or school, or a paycheck, for example. Even as adults we can find it really hard to wait. All over the world, children living in poverty are waiting for something very important -- they are waiting for a loving sponsor. Someone who will be able to support them financially and, more importantly, write them encouraging letters and pray for them. Some wait hundreds of days! I have even seen kids on the Compassion Canada site who have been waiting over 500 days. I can't even imagine... seeing your friends one by one get sponsors, start getting letters and pictures... I would probably start wondering if anyone out there really cared about me at all. For this reason, every once in awhile I will be posting a picture and information about a child who is waiting for a sponsor through Compassion. Sometimes it will be children from the child packs Compassion sends me, and other times it will be pictures from the U.S. or Canada sites.

Today I want to introduce you to a little girl who lives in Ethiopia. Her name is Dagim.


Dagim is 6 years old. Her birthday is March 24. She lives with her father and mother. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home. Dagim is in kindergarten where her performance is average and she enjoys singing and listening to music. She has been waiting 204 days for a sponsor! Your support and encouragement would mean so much to this little girl. If you would like to sponsor her go to
https://www.compassion.ca/sponsor-a-child/?k=ET4140481

If you are unable to sponsor her, please join me in praying that she will have a loving sponsor soon!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's in a Name?

Some of you might be wondering why my blog is called "From Saskatchewan to Sodo". Well I'm going to explain that. As I've already mentioned, I am a Canadian Compassion Sponsor and Advocate. I live in Saskatchewan, and that's where I was living when I decided to sponsor my first Compassion child. Before I tell you the story of how God led me to her, I want to tell you a bit about where she lives.
My sponsored child's name is Misgana. She lives in Ethiopia, in a hillside community called Sodo.


According to Compassion, Sodo is home to about 89,000 people. Typical houses there are made of dirt floors, adobe walls and tin roofs. The primary ethnic group is Wolaita and the most commonly spoken language is Wolaitagna. The regional diet consists of maize and teff (a local grain). Common health problems in this area include malaria, typhoid and HIV/AIDS. Most adults in Sodo work as street vendors and earn about $15 per month. This community has water, electricity and telephone service but needs school facilities, employment opportunities and recreation centers.

So how did I become attached to a girl living in this community, so far away from Canada? Here is my story.

Near the end of September 2011 there was a fast happening at my college, to raise awareness and pray for those affected by the famine in Africa. During this weekend there were worship services happening all day and sometimes late into the night. The second day of the fast I went to one of the worship services with one of my friends and we were only planning to stay for an hour. When the hour was up, she left but for some reason I felt that I needed to stay. And instead of sitting near the back, where people I knew were, I felt like I needed to sit at the front of the church. At first I wasn't sure why I had stayed. The person who came up to speak about fasting didn't hold my attention. But then a Compassion Advocate came up and talked about Compassion, and how sponsorship changes childrens' lives forever. My parents sponsor through Compassion so I knew what an amazing ministry it is and knew one day I wanted to sponsor a child on my own. My excuse was always "I don't have enough money". But that day I realized that I still had some money left in my bank account and it was more than enough to sponsor a child through Compassion. I also realized it came down to about 10 dollars a week, and when planning out what I could spend that year my parents and I had both agreed that I could spend much more than that in a week and still have money left at the end of the year. So I had made my decision. I wanted to sponsor a child. But how would I choose?

The Advocate had brought some child packs with her, 2 children from each of the 5 countries most affected by the famine. They were passed out among the rows for us to see. And guess whose pack was passed to my row and ended up in my hands? Misgana's!

We formed groups with the child packs from the different countries and prayed for the children, and for problems that people in their countries were currently facing. It was during that prayer that I became painfully aware of how many children were still waiting for loving sponsors. And that I could make a difference for one of them. Misgana's child pack was right in front of me, an 11-year-old girl in Ethiopia in need of a sponsor and by then I knew that I was supposed to be her sponsor. It was an exciting day, calling home to tell my parents I now had a sponsored child of my own, praying for her and anticipating writing letters. And I am thankful that one of my friends decided to co-sponsor with me.

When we filled out the card to send to Misgana, there was a map where we coloured in Saskatchewan and Ethiopia, so she could see where we lived and how far away it is from her country. I also had this image in mind when I named this blog.

Now that Misgana is sponsored, she is receiving so many benefits from her Compassion project at her local church! Some but not all of these benefits include Bible teaching, hygiene education, sports, tuition for school, health screening, choir, social events, educational materials, supplementary food, field trips, tutoring, and clothing. I am so glad that my friend and I are able to play a small part in helping release children from poverty in Jesus' name!

This is the picture of Misgana that I saw on the day I sponsored her:


If you would like to change the story for a child living in poverty, go to www.compassion.ca to find out how you can make that happen! Or if you're in the U.S. go to www.compassion.com.