Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mail Call! Letter from Saymen (and my commentary)

I get super excited for letters from Ethiopia because they don't come very often. The projects in Ethiopia haven't quite caught on to Compassion's new 6-letters-a-year (if the sponsor writes regularly) rule, so usually I only hear from my kids there 2 or 3 times a year. Today I got a letter from my 7-year-old correspondent in Ethiopia. His name is Saymen and I've been writing to him since 2012. This letter was written on February 15, 2014. It's the "My School" template:

I am in first grade. My school is 100 km from my house. I go to school on foot. It takes me 10 minutes. My school uniform is the colour green. My favourite school teacher's name is teacher Abeba. My favourite thing about school is to learn. My favourite subject is math. After school I like to study and play. Pray for my school and that I would be polite (I wonder if he actually asked that second part, or his grandma :P ). We had great Christmas time with my friends by eating and drinking. Thank you for your Christmas gift and bought cloth (I wonder if he means "clothes"?). I've recieved your pop-up lion's book (YEAAHHH he got it! I found a cardboard pop-up storybook in the dollar store last year about the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den. I sent it in a package, asking Compassion to send it to Saymen if it was ok to send. Apparently it was, and he has it now!), sticker etc. Our new year celebration is different from you. We celebrated on Sept. 01. 


I'm off to write him a letter about my school!

Friday, March 14, 2014

New Compassion Family Member!


Hello everyone! Today I would like to introduce you to the newest member of my Compassion family! Her name is Rosalie and she is 11 years old. Compassion just finished processing her information and adding her to my account today so she is officially my newest sponsored child. This is her most recent picture. I love her smile :)

There are 3 younger pictures of her so she must have been in her Compassion project for awhile now, and I am probably not her first sponsor. I can't wait to encourage her through letters, gifts etc and hopefully sponsor her through till her graduation from the Compassion program!

Here are her younger pictures. I'm guessing her age in each of them based on when her picture was last updated:


So these pictures pretty much prove that my new sponsored child has always been adorable :)

Rosalie lives in the Philippines with her mom and 5 siblings. She likes singing, rolling a hoop and playing house. Her chores include making beds, helping in the kitchen and running errands. She is in school where her performance is below average -- I hope that through encouraging letters and prayers this will change, but I love her regardless of how well she's doing in school.

A new sponsorship journey has officially begun! I can't wait to hear from Rosalie and start building a friendship with her.  


Monday, March 10, 2014

What I Learned in Ibarra

January 11, 2013

We were told that Ibarra, Ecuador was dangerous. The people on this trip last year didn’t go there. There are drugs, plenty of theft, and prostitution. Most of the children at project EC-419 have mothers who steal and fathers who sell drugs. Some have fathers who are in jail. We were told to keep personal belongings close to us at all times, as kids were likely to steal our cameras and other belongings rather than play with them and then give them back. After we left the project I was informed that some people felt uneasy there, including our translators. But visiting EC-419 was one of the best experiences of the week for me. We were their first visitors from another country! 

Most of the children at this project are Afro-Ecuadorian (about 70% of them are, according to one of our translators). There are concrete walls and mostly concrete on the ground (except for one area with a bit of grass) but it was so colourful! The walls were painted bright colours and there was hopscotch, months, days of the week, etc painted on the ground. Even the swings and the slide were colourful! The classrooms were too. It looked like a very child-friendly place. 



We helped to serve lunch for the kids. As I was giving them bowls of soup some of the kids were showing off their English skills. Instead of “gracias” and “de nada” it was “thank you” and “you’re welcome”!


This project has benefitted from a Complementary Intervention—a new building currently containing 2 classrooms and 2 washrooms. While we were in one of the classrooms the pastor told us his story. There was a man who came to his church high on drugs and was being disruptive so the pastor kicked him out. This man waited for the pastor to walk home that day, punched him in the face and said he was going to kill him. The pastor knew that God was going to protect him and so he did not leave the area even though his life was in danger. This man was attacked by another man, who cut his face with a machete. The man then went to his neighbor, who was a member of the pastor’s church and said that God must have punished him for trying to kill the pastor. Later on this man protected the pastor in another dangerous situation. And the pastor is still alive today! 

We met the teenagers and sang some songs with them and for them. That day they were learning about the importance of telling the truth. Their group is called “More Than Conquerors” which is pretty awesome because it’s from one of my favourite Bible verses. 

Then we watched a special presentation that the children had prepared for us:



After the special presentation they gave us each a gift. I thought we were just getting one gift, but the gifts kept coming! 2 bracelets, a pair of earrings, a scarf and then another bracelet. They were so generous even though they have very little. 

Fellow sponsors, Child Sponsorship actually works! These children know the Gospel and shared it with us in a powerful skit. They are learning how to be polite, and how to give freely of what they have even if they don't have very much. Dedicated pastors and staff members are committed to caring for these kids, regardless of the dangers they may face in doing so. Our partnerships with this church in Ibarra and churches all over the world truly are helping to "release children from poverty in Jesus' name".


Angie and Alan

Meron's information is no longer showing up on Compassion Canada's website. Do you know what that means? It means that 1) hopefully she now has a loving sponsor and 2) that it's time for me to introduce you to more kids who are waiting for sponsors!

Today I thought I'd break out of my pattern a little bit and introduce you to not one, but two kids! And this time they are from Ecuador, as my last post was about my sponsored child, Blanca, who lives there. Ecuador is a wonderful country to sponsor in and also not as expensive to travel to as some other countries if you would like to meet your sponsored child someday :)

Here are two children who are waiting for loving sponsors, and here is what they might say if they were to introduce themselves to you in person.


Ola! My name is Angie and I am 7 years old. I live with my mom and my three siblings. I like singing, telling stories, and playing house. I help my mom by making beds and running errands. I really like going to my Compassion project and playing with my friends there. I also like going to school. I need a sponsor because my family does not make a lot of money and I want to be able to keep going to school, and going to my project and learning about Jesus. Will you help me?

https://www.compassion.ca/sponsor-a-child/?k=EC3421082

Ola! I am Alan and I am 8 years old. I like soccer, playing with cars and playing with marbles. I live with my stepfather, my mother, and my 2 siblings. At my home I have a lot of chores. I have to take care of animals, make beds and run errands. I really enjoy school -- my marks right now are above average! My family is very proud of me. I also like going to my Compassion project. I would like to have a sponsor because then someone on the other side of the world will know about me, pray for me and send me letters. Will you help me?

https://www.compassion.ca/sponsor-a-child/?k=EC5610724

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Sponsorship Journey through Journals

Blanca, my sponsored child in Ecuador (a different Blanca than the girl I told you about in a previous post), is celebrating her 9th birthday soon. I met her over a year ago, on a trip to Ecuador in 2013. Choosing to sponsor her was a journey of doubt, debating, and prayer. It was the start of a journey of learning about sacrificial giving. The best way to tell this story is through my own words at the time it was happening. So here is the story of how I sponsored and met Blanca, through bits of the journal entries I wrote during my time in Ecuador.

January 5

I am a Compassion Advocate. I work at Compassion booths at events and never in those situations have I felt the need to sponsor another child. I know my friend and I are making a huge difference in Misgana’s life and I’m also grateful for the relationship I’m building with Tamil (another co-sponsorship through Gospel for Asia), and I will NOT bail out on them! But I was super anxious during day of prayer this past semester. The anxiety I do not believe was from God, but some things I thought that day have stuck with me, such as to co-sponsor Misgana and Tamil, I didn’t have to change anything in my lifestyle. I didn’t have to cut back on spending. I didn’t really have to give up anything. Even being a college student! And I know God provides when we follow His will. But what I don’t know is, is this His will? Does He want me to sponsor a child I will meet in Ecuador? The problem is, I can reason myself in and out of this right now. That’s wrong. I need God to do the convincing. If I do it, and God’s not in it, it will turn into a huge mess. There has been a blurry picture in my mind for about a week now. I thought if I sponsored another child I’d switch it up and sponsor a boy but this picture is a little girl, a little girl with pigtails in her hair. What does that mean? Anything? Tomorrow Aaron is going to show us pictures of five Ecuadorian children that need sponsors, and we will be meeting them this week. I hope that will be a confirmation. Maybe I will see the picture in my mind in real life and take it as a sign. Maybe I will feel nothing at all. But how important is feeling when it comes to this?

God, it’s really really hard but please help me to surrender all of this to you. Please show me Your will this week, specifically related to the situation I just described. Please help me to rest peacefully tonight. Renew my strength and prepare me for who and what I will encounter tomorrow. Amen


January 6
           

No pigtails. Wonder what was up with that? Ecuadorian girls generally wear their hair back in one ponytail. I guess I didn’t know that. I don’t have a super strong “feeling” so to say, but I got to thinking: since when do we need to ask God permission to take care of the poor? It says in so many places in the Bible—DO IT! Do it and whatever you do unto these little ones you do unto Me. It’s within my financial capabilities and I might actually have to reprioritize my spending/saving. I might actually have to change some of my lifestyle for Misgana, Tamil, and this little girl. I have a child pack with me right now. I am looking at a picture of Blanca. She was born on March 7, 2005 which currently makes her 7 years old. I’m starting to think, that’s at least a 13 year commitment! How? And then I remember that God is bigger than any of that and if it’s His will, He will provide. I can’t walk away from this experience and do nothing when it’s within my power combined with God’s to do something!


January 9

Important details I need to write down right away:
·         I met Blanca today! She is in 4th grade and has not been at the project very long
·         Favourite colour: red
·         Favourite Bible verse: Psalm 23:1
·         When she grows up she wants to be a “Doctor of Animals” aka a vet
·         Her favourite food was some oatmeal-type thing
·         She enjoys school and her favourite subject is grammar
·         She lives with her mom and some of her cousins live there as well. Some of her cousins had a fight with her mom so they are not living there right now
·         When we stood near the top of one of the buildings at the project, her home was just beyond a hill we could see clearly from there

·         She likes to sing, especially worship songs


       I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, we had never met and I hadn’t even written her a letter yet! I thought maybe she’d be shy, or bored, or not want to speak to me. But I had barely said “ola” and she gave me a hug. It was a little awkward at first, trying to think of good questions to ask, but Liz (the translator) did a great job and as soon as we were outside playing everything was fine. We went down the slide, Blanca showed me a flip-type thing she likes to do on the monkey bars and then I did it, went on the swings, somewhat participated in a baking workshop, sang a Spanish action song, saw Blanca’s classroom, met some of her friends and even her best friend who’s name is Nicole, Blanca showed me the church and a Sunday school room, we went to the top of a building and she explained where her house is, she showed me where she eats lunch at the project, we counted to 10 in Spanish taking really big steps and then in English while jumping down the steps, played tag, had a race and took lots of pictures. A very full day! And a very good one.

Blanca is really not much different from other 7-year-olds I’ve met and worked with: trusting, energetic, and wanting to do something different every 5 minutes! The difference in language is the only major difference. It’s great to know her outside of seeing her formal picture on the sponsorship package because that picture doesn’t look much like she did today! Now I can authentically tell people that these are REAL kids! And they like playing a lot of the same games that young children in North America do. And sponsorship means a lot to them. 

                               


I am only just starting to get to know Blanca, but I hope we will have many more years of getting to know each other through writing letters. I also hope to go back to Ecuador to visit her someday!

A drawing from one of Blanca's most recent letters:


To reach out to a child like Blanca today, go to www.compassion.ca to see pictures of kids who are waiting for loving sponsors. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Meet Meron!

Happy first day of March, everyone! I just checked Compassion Canada's website and Dagim's picture and information are no longer showing up, which hopefully means she has a loving sponsor! So it's time to introduce you to another child in Ethiopia who is waiting for a sponsor. Today on Compassion Canada's website I found a picture of this adorable girl.


Her name is Meron and she is 5 years old. Her birthday is March 29. Wouldn't it be wonderful if she had a sponsor by her birthday? She lives with her father and mother and there are 2 children in her family. Her chores at home include running errands. For fun she enjoys playing hide-and-seek. She is in kindergarten where her performance is average. If you would like to sponsor this sweet little girl, just click this link and it will take you directly to her information:

There are lots of children from Ethiopia waiting for sponsors. To check out their pictures and information go to www.compassion.ca