Thursday, February 26, 2015

Faces of the Dominican Republic: Para Vivr Student Center

About a week ago, some Compassion Bloggers (people like me who use their blog to tell people about Compassion's ministry) went on a trip to the Dominican Republic and wrote about their experiences there meeting children and their families living in extreme poverty and how Jesus is changing their lives. They came back with some incredible stories!

Tonight while I was on Compassion International's website, I saw a BUNCH of children from the Dominican Republic who are waiting for loving sponsors. In fact, there are 48 young children (mostly 3 and 4 years old) waiting to be sponsored from the same project! They must have registered a bunch of new children lately, which is incredible! Their pictures are beautiful, and really give you a glimpse into some of their personalities.

Before I share some of their pictures and stories with you, I'll tell you what I know about the project (from Compassion's website): the project is called Para Vivr Student Center. It is located in San Pedro de Macoris, which is home to about 20,000 people (much bigger than where I live!). The main language they speak there is Spanish. Most adults in this community work as day laborers. The project provides many awesome things for the children who attend, including Bible teaching, medical care, sports competitions, special celebrations, a library (wow!), uniforms, and reading and writing training. Also, if you look at the background of these children's pictures you'll see that they have a pretty awesome space to play in!

Maybe you could help Para Vivr Student Center out by supporting and encouraging some of their newest, youngest members <3 Click on their names to see their full profiles on!

This little guy's name is Drei. He is 3 years old and lives with his mom, dad and 2 siblings. At home his chore is to run errands. Playing with cars is his favourite activity, and he goes to church and Bible class regularly.

This is Treysi. She is also 3 and lives with her grandfather, mother, and 5 siblings. Her chore is running errands. Treysi likes art.

Miguel looks like he's in the middle of telling a story! He is 3 years old and lives with his mother and 2 siblings. His mom works as a laborer. He also runs errands as a chore. He loves playing with cars and goes to Bible class regularly.

This is Yadiel. He is 3 years old and lives with his mother and 1 sibling. He also runs errands. For fun he likes to play with cars. He is in pre-school where his performance is average.

This is Arlenys. She is 4 years old and lives with her mom, dad and 1 sibling. She also runs errands. For fun she likes playing with dolls, and her performance is average in pre-school.

And last, but certainly not least, this guy with the adorable smile is Yohanner. He is 3 years old and lives with his aunt and 2 siblings. His chore is also running errands. He loves to play with cars and goes to Bible class regularly.

Please pray that these kids will all have faithful, loving sponsors for their time in Compassion's program!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sponsor Tips 101: Happy Birthday!

I just received an email from one of my friends who recently started corresponding with a Compassion-sponsored child in Indonesia. She was struggling with what to write in her child's birthday card, and it made me realize that for many sponsors, myself included, writing birthday and Christmas cards to our sponsored kids can be one of the most difficult things to do! For some reason that small blank space in those cards seems more intimidating than writing a letter. We don't want to write the same thing every year, and we want to make it personal, but how do we do that?

I shared some birthday card-writing tips with my friend from my own experiences, and she found them really helpful, so I thought I'd share them with you too!

Before I get started, here are the links to my previous Sponsor Tips 101 posts if you want to check them out:
Picture Update Day...For Me!

First of all, don't feel bad if you don't write a super long message in your child's birthday card. Even a short message from you will make them smile! Here are a few simple ideas I often use in birthday cards:

  • Tell them how excited you are to get to know them better in the next year
  • Remind them how special they are to Jesus and to you
  • Remind them that you love them and are praying for them
  • Ask them how they celebrate birthdays in their country
I've also started something new this year: for Blanca's 10th birthday I sent her a couple pictures of my friends and I at my 10th birthday party and told her what kinds of things I liked to do at her age. Blanca's birthday is on March 7, so it will be awhile before I hear back from her. 

You can include fun items like stickers, bookmarks, and little activity books with your birthday cards as well (especially for younger children). 

Whatever you do for your Compassion child's birthday, know that you are making a huge difference in their lives and just knowing you are thinking of them on their birthday means so much to them!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Smile 3.0

Hello Compassion friends! For those of who you are unfamiliar with my Smile! posts, I'll give you a quick overview:
It is understandable that many kids look serious and/or nervous in their Compassion sponsorship pictures, as the situations they live in are often quite discouraging and many of them haven't seen a camera before or had their picture taken before their sponsorship picture. But every once in awhile, we see pictures where a child's personality shines through a bit, either through a goofy facial expression or a smile. These blog posts highlight some kids waiting for sponsors who have beautiful smiles, or facial expressions that will make you smile :) If you want to learn more about a particular child featured in these posts, just click on their name and it will take you to their profile on Compassion International's website.

This is Birtukan. She is 4 years old and lives in Ethiopia.

A smile and a wave from Viviana in Bolivia!

This is Brayner. He lives in the Dominican Republic. 

A big smile from Manzi in Rwanda!

And last but not least, this is Idelmis from the Dominican Republic. 

These are just a few of the beautiful faces of children waiting for sponsors through Compassion right now. Bring a smile to one of their faces by adding them to your Compassion family!