Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kids Will be Kids!

I like the new(ish) feature on Compassion International's website: the videos of some of the kids that go along with their information! It gives you a chance to get a better idea of their personalities than their pictures may show. Some videos I came across today show that no matter where you are in the world, kids will be kids! Check out some of the funny things they said in their videos. If you want more information about any of these children, just click on their name and it will take you to their profile on compassion.com:


Three-year-old Dayron in Peru was asked what he wants to be when he grows up. Translating his response into English, the response was "when he grows up he wants to be number three!"


Little miss Leidy, also from Peru, tried to convince the translator that she is older! He asked how old she is and the response was "She's saying that she's 8 years old but she's really 3 years old." Kids at work do that to me a lot!


Gabriel, also from Peru, was asked what his favourite food is. His response? "He likes to smash potatoes" :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Same Dream


Today I got a letter from by beautiful friend Misgana in Ethiopia. She will be turning 16 this year. One of my friends and I have sponsored her since 2011, and it's been a wonderful journey so far. In her letter she told me that she and her family are doing fine, that she is getting good grades in school and that she enjoys praying with her friends. But the part I found the most amazing was this:

"I have a dream to be an English teacher."

I just finished my B.A. to be able to teach English as a Second Language, and my friend in Ethiopia wants to do the same thing! Who would have known, four years ago when I saw her picture for the first time, that we would be connected by the same dream?

Well, of course, God did :)

I'm looking forward to hearing about where this dream takes her!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

An Older Child Needs You!

I was on Compassion International's website today and found some interesting changes. First, children with videos are being featured on the home page!


While this is exciting, and will hopefully lead to more sponsorships, the change I found most exciting was this feature on the home page:

When you click on this picture, it takes you to a special page featuring older children (anywhere from 10 years old and up) who are waiting for sponsors:


What this page says is very true: "Older children are often overlooked and forgotten. They are at an age where they desperately need someone to believe in them."

Let's face it--little kids are adorable! And they definitely need loving sponsors too. But they are more likely to get sponsored than these older children, many of whom will have already had one sponsor at this point. Maybe their sponsors haven't written to them much. Who knows what situations they are facing? And I don't know about the rest of you, but between the ages of 11-15 was a time in my life where I desperately needed encouragement and guidance. 

Two out of my three sponsored kids where "older children" when I sponsored them:


Misgana was 11, almost 12. She had likely had one sponsor before my friend and I started supporting her. 


Now she is 15, turning 16 this year! She is growing into a beautiful young woman. Although letters from Ethiopia seem to be few and far between, her letters are becoming more personal and I know that she loves us and is grateful for our help <3 I hope we will get to know her better in the years to come!


Rosalie was also 11 when I sponsored her. Just look at that smile! :)


Now she's 12, and she and her sister will turn 13 this year. Her mom writes the sweetest letters to me on her behalf and it's been exciting to hear how she has been improving in her writing as she struggles with a learning disability. Lord-willing I will be there to offer support and encouragement for her for years to come!

I didn't sponsor these dear girls because I thought they were "cute". I sponsored them because I firmly believe that God led me to sponsor them, and I'm so glad they are a part of my life!

Today I want to highlight two older children from this special page who are waiting for sponsors. Maybe one of them was meant to join your family! If you want more information about them, click on their name.




Ia is 11 years old and lives in Indonesia with her father, mother and one sibling. Her chores include helping in the kitchen and cleaning. For fun she likes to jump rope and play hide-and-seek. She has been waiting 244 days for a sponsor.  







Jeffry is 12 years old and lives in Guatemala with his father, mother and one sibling. His chores include caring for children, running errands and cleaning. For fun he likes to swim, play ball games and ride a bicycle. 







Some additional closing thoughts on sponsoring older children:

1) Less of a time commitment to sponsorship. Want to help a child living in poverty but not sure if you can do it for the next 20 years? Sponsoring an older child will give them lots of hope and encouragement during their final years in Compassion's program and you won't have to commit to as long of a sponsorship.
2) If you're in your teens or early 20's, you may be able to find someone to sponsor who is the same age as you! I grew up writing to my family's sponsored child who is just two years younger than me and it was an incredible experience! You might find you have more in common than you realize. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May Mail Highlights

I tried to think of some clever alliteration to continue the title with words starting with "M", but it didn't happen :P

I've received two sweet letters this month from members of my Compassion Family:


The first one was from Jose, my correspondent in Peru. He is 12 years old, turning 13 this year. He told me that he and his family went to the beach during their vacation, and he drew me this picture! I'm pretty sure it's a moose :)

The second letter was from Rosalie, also 12. She lives in the Philippines. Her mom is still writing letters on her behalf as with her learning disability she finds reading and writing difficult. However, in a recent letter her Mom told me that she can now write the letters of the alphabet, which is a huge achievement! And she sometimes writes me little messages at the end of the letters. Here's the message on the letter I got today, written on February 14:


So sweet! And, if you look closely, it looks like she tried writing it a few times. The faded version says "Happy Valentines Ate Amy". In Tagalog, "Ate" means "older sister"! I'm so proud of my little sister in the Philippines and can't wait to get to know her better <3

Friday, May 8, 2015

Moms Around the World

As you all know, Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 10. Being a mother is a challenging job, no matter where you live. They want the best for their children, but often have to make due with less than they would like to ensure the best quality of life possible for their kids. This is especially true for mothers in developing countries like the ones where Compassion works.

Compassion not only helps the sponsored children, but their entire families--including their moms! The Child Survival Program is specifically geared to mothers who need help taking care of their children in the earliest stages of their lives. When their kids enter Compassion's regular program they continue to receive financial support to purchase clothes, school supplies, and even more essential things like food and clean drinking water that their mothers may not be able to provide on their own. It takes a huge burden off their shoulders and shows them that believers all over the world care for them and their families!

Sometimes mothers are in the sponsorship pictures with their young children. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as the child being scared of having their picture taken. Whatever the reasons, it's a neat opportunity to see some of the people that stand behind these kids and take care of them no matter what. So today, I want to take a moment to honor some of these moms around the world:


This is Hugo and his mom. They live in Mexico.


Margaret and her mom live in Ghana.


Melani and her mom live in Bolivia.


Nesken and his mom live in Indonesia.


Vanessa and her mom live in the Philippines. 

This Mother's Day, take a minute to pray for the moms who are receiving help from Compassion's programs. 


Starfish


I want to share a story today that I'm sure some of you have heard before. I don't know who originally wrote it, but the version I found online is called The Star Thrower, by Loren C. Eiseley

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down to the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is you are doing?" 

The young man paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one!"

*****

As I think about this story, I am reminded of many people that God has placed in my life, both this past year and many years ago. People who stepped in at just the right moment, when I felt like all hope was lost, and, metaphorically speaking, threw me back into the ocean where I could breathe again and hope was restored. They may not have been able to change the entire world, but they made a world of a difference in my life--in drawing me back to God and seeing His goodness even in the midst of challenging situations.

It's the same with our sponsored children. If you're anything like me, sometimes you feel overwhelmed looking at all the pictures of kids who are currently waiting for sponsors. You feel as if there is no way you could ever make a significant difference.

But you are. Whether you sponsor 1 or 100, you are having a powerful influence in those childrens' lives. You are speaking hope and encouragement to them when there may be no one else in their lives doing that. You are showing them that they are loved, and that they are important. They will take that love and encouragement and share it with others in their lives who need it as well. You can't sponsor them all--and I don't think that was ever going to be part of the plan. But you are changing the story for one, and that can make the world of a difference!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

First Letter from Edison!

Today is a day I have been waiting for, for quite some time now. I finally got my first letter from Edison, my Compassion correspondent in Ecuador! Quick recap for those of you who aren't familiar with this story: I met Edison and his family in 2013 when I went to Ecuador with Compassion. I got to spend a whole afternoon with him and his family, and it was one of my favourite experiences of the entire trip. Late last year his picture and information appeared on Compassion International's website--he needed a sponsor. Someone was kind enough to sponsor him and let me be his correspondent, so I could stay in touch with his family! Edison is 19 years old and will be 20 in September. He is not in school right now because he has epilepsy and that is making it difficult for him to be in school. Here are some highlights from his letter:


"Many thanks for all the letter to me which have been an inspiration."

"Your family is what God gave to you so that you give strength and friendship to me and my family, support and trust through God."

"My family and I are happy that you are my sponsor."

And this one is for his financial sponsor (who I hope will read this post!):

"I thank you for the gift you sent to me with which I bought shoes, swimsuit, sweater and sportswear which will be useful for working out."