Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Compassion Centre Updates: 2016

If you need more proof as to the work that Compassion is doing all around the world, read this!

Every year, Compassion sends out update letters from the project directors that work with Compassion all across the world. Here are some highlights from the update letters I received today:

First, from the Director of Blanca’s project in Ecuador:

He says “We are very grateful for the support Compassion International and the sponsors of our children have provided for 27 years to the children and teenagers of our country who are living in extreme poverty.” In the past year they have been able to implement a dressmaking workshop where teenagers are learning to sew jackets, t-shirts and blouses, thanks to a Complementary Intervention. They have also been able to build a new playground (now I want to go visit again and check out the new playground)! He asks for prayer for his community because he wants to be able to reach more people with God’s Word. 

Next up is Saymen’s Project Director in Ethiopia.

He says that his city is growing fast. His church is doing a lot of work “to preach gospel to those who haven’t heard about Christ Jesus.” There are 250 children currently attending the project. He says “I encourage every sponsor, who is able, to visit these children and to see the impact of their support on the children” (if only he knew how much I want to go to Ethiopia!).

And next, the director of Kaveri’s project in India:

He says “Our children are from the nearby area where we do not have any basic facilities. Sponsorship means a lot to them. The children change when they come to our center. Their bad behaviour, negative attitudes, and disobedience change for the better with the help of the staff.” He says the project is becoming a center of attraction in our community”. They have a Child Protection Committee that “raises its voice on behalf of every child in the region for any injustice they endure.” He also says, get this—“Every child receives letters”! That is amazing! He says, understandably, that this makes the children and their parents very happy. He asks for prayer so the children and the parents he serves can “know God more intimately.” *Kaveri's project is still under suspension. 

Next is Jose’s Project Director in Peru.

He says that many children and teenagers’ lives are being impacted through this ministry. He hopes they will become “mature Christians, responsible and upright, ready to transform society.” He asks for prayers for the growth and holistic development of our children, teenagers and youth so they can be the instruments to take the gospel to their families and to bring a change in their homes.” He also asks for prayers for wisdom for the church leaders and congregation.

And last but certainly not least, the director of Rosalie’s project in the Philippines!

He says that “This year 80% of our children ages 3-11 already know how to pray independently. Changes in their behaviour towards other children are also visible.” Complementary Intervention funds helped the project this year by providing an opportunity to renovate their learning areas and kitchen. This project had visitors from South Korea last year! He says “continue to pray for all of us, especially our physical and spiritual state so we can continue ministering [to] our sponsored children and our community.”

Please remember to keep your sponsored child and the staff that care for them in your prayers!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

"Part of her Family"

Today I got not one, but TWO letters from Kaveri! It was a wonderful surprise, as I have not heard from her much in the past year. In her letters I learned a lot more about her and her family. 

The project worker writing on her behalf says Kaveri is sweet, shy, and smart. Her favourite day is the monthly birthday parties at her project. She likes to help around the house, especially making beds and washing clothes. She is now attending school regularly and her favourite thing to do at school is arts and crafts. 

The project worker also told me more about her family. They said "This family nature is good. Her family [living] condition is not good but they are happy in her life. Her family is unbeliever family but they like Jesus songs and Bible stories. Her family understanding is very well. Her family atmosphere is so sweet and so calm...Her family is small but so sweet. They are so happy because you are part of her family."

Wow. I hardly even know what to say! Sometimes I forget what a powerful influence a sponsor working with the Compassion project can be in a family's life, and letters like this really drive it home. Please join me in praying for Kaveri and her family, that they will all come to know Jesus as their savior.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On Being a Correspondent

I'm sure by now you have seen me refer to being a correspondent sponsor through Compassion. I talk about my sponsored kids and my correspondent kids and how they are all a part of my Compassion Family. But what exactly is a Compassion correspondent? I realized that I have never taken time to explain this. So today, I want to give you some details on this ministry opportunity.

This is a message directly from Compassion Canada that I received via email earlier this week:

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land (Proverbs 25:25).

Most of us can remember a time when receiving a personal note from a friend or family member brought joy and encouragement--especially if that person lived too far away to visit personally! Even though technology and social media have changed some of the way we share news and encouragement with out loved ones, the value of personal notes and letters is huge! In fact, in a study on the impact of letter writing, we found:

Children feel a greater sense of joy, love, encouragement and belonging when they receive letters.

They feel more motivated at school and church activities.

They consistently demonstrate greater confidence.

They keep these letters forever, regularly reading them, particularly when they are discouraged.

The message is clear: receiving letters is a really big deal for Compassion kids! But did you know that roughly 30 per cent of Compassion children do not receive a single letter in a year? Though there are many reasons for this, it means there are a lot of children who are missing out on the benefits of receiving a letter. 

I currently have four correspondent children: Edison, Jose, Saymen and Kaveri. Their sponsors cannot write for many reasons: maybe they do not enjoy writing letters, or are too busy to find time to write, or perhaps the child is sponsored by a corporation that sponsors many children and cannot dedicate time to encouraging each individual child. Whatever the case, these kids need encouragement too. It is an amazing opportunity to step into the life of a child living in poverty on the other side of the world and get to know and encourage them. If you love encouraging others by writing, and either already have sponsored kids or cannot afford to sponsor a child, this might be an opportunity for you!

Compassion Canada is currently in need of more correspondents to write to Compassion-assisted children. For more information, email Tracy at volunteer@compassion.ca.

I cannot end this post without a warning though: being a correspondent can be tough. It might take awhile to connect with the child, and you might not hear from them very often. One day you might receive the sudden news that the sponsor has dropped the sponsorship, or wants to write on their own. If a sponsorship is dropped and you do not have the money to take them on as your own sponsored child, it can be heartbreaking--especially if you have formed a close friendship with the child. My warning is this: make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. Not because they are "cute", or because you want an even/odd/whatever number of Compassion kids, or because having another person sending you letters will somehow boost your self-esteem. If you do it out of a genuine desire to let God use you to encourage a child who needs it, He will give you the strength to overcome any challenges you face along the way. No matter how long you are involved in that child's life, you will be a blessing to them.