Saturday, June 25, 2016

October Birthday Bash!

Yes, I realize it's June and not October. But when you're a Compassion sponsor/correspondent, you tend to think 3-4 months ahead in terms of birthdays, because that's usually how long it takes for birthday cards to reach your Compassion child. 

Five out of the eight members of my Compassion family have birthdays in October! So I figured I'd write their cards tonight and get them on the way, just to make sure they arrive in time. Normally I really struggle with what to write and send with the birthday cards, but this year I made a special collage for each child/teen and I think they turned out pretty well! I am sharing all of them here in the hopes that I might inspire you to do something creative for future birthday cards!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Just Wait

It’s strange how one song can bring back 1,000 memories. Or 1,000 specific details of one memory. It’s strange to look back and see how different your world was at that time, compared to what it is now, and yet also how it is the same. That is the theme of my post today.

Today, the song that took me back to the past was Butterfly Fly Away by Miley Cyrus (yes, I did have a Hannah Montana phase).

Whenever I hear this song, I think of my friend and I sitting on the concrete at camp in 2009, taking in an outdoor coffee house. It was a rough week. I won’t go into details because it does sound rather stupid and petty now, but at the time I felt like my world was falling apart and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt unwanted. Unloved. Not special in any way whatsoever. I thought I would never find a place where I would fit in and feel like I truly belonged. The one friend I was with seemed to be my only ally in a sea of cliques. It’s rough to be a teenager.

One of the groups that performed at the coffee house sang this song. My friend and I sang along. It made me feel sad because of my situation, but also a tiny bit hopeful:

Caterpillar in the tree, how you wonder who you’ll be, can’t go far but you can always dream. Wish you may and wish you might, don’t you worry hold on tight, I promise you there will come a day, butterfly fly away.

And I did dream of being in a better place, with better friends, where I felt like I belonged. But it was nothing more than a distant dream. I felt hopeless. How could my situation get any better?

Knowing what I know now, I can only imagine what God was thinking as He looked down on me in that situation. I can imagine him longing to take my hand and say “child, don’t worry, I promise you, there WILL come a day when your heart won’t hurt as much. In just over two years from now you will literally fly away—you will get on an airplane for the first time with a stranger who will become a dear friend. You will find your home at a Bible College in Saskatchewan. People there will love you for who you are: you won’t have to jump, scream or perform some crazy stunt for them to notice you. I know it’s hard, dear child. Please be something patient. I have something better in mind.”

Looking back on these type of memories, that now have a hopeful ending, is a good reminder to keep trusting in God even when it’s hard. When you’re in a seemingly hopeless situation, remember that you have no idea what will happen a year or two from now. God has been working behind the scenes the whole time. He can see the whole picture while we can only see a small part at a time. I am saying this to all of you as much as I am saying it to myself: I do struggle with waiting, and am in a bit of a discouraging situation right now myself. But this reminds me to look forward with hope. As another song, “One Step at a Time” by Jordin Sparks says,

It’s gonna happen and it’s supposed to happen that we find the reasons why, one step at a time. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Introducing Malathi!

She's finally here! The correspondent child I requested months ago and have been checking for almost every day. Awhile ago Compassion Canada expressed a need for more correspondents and I said I'd be willing to add one more to my family. So today, I would like to introduce you to Malathi:

Malathi is 12 years old and lives in India with her family. This picture was taken in 2013 so she is way beyond due for a photo update! If I do not see anything soon I will contact Compassion about that. Her birthday is in October, which now makes FIVE October birthdays in my Compassion family (next month is Birthday Card Writing Month for me)! She goes to Sunday School, church and vacation Bible school. At home her chores include cleaning, carrying water, buying/selling in the market and kitchen help. For fun she likes group games, hide and seek, reading, art/drawing and listening to music. I hope she will draw some pictures for me in her letters!

In school as of 2013 she was in the U.S. equivalent of Grade 5. Her performance is average and her best subject is Tamil (local language). She lives with her parents and one brother. Her parents both work as laborers.

She has one other previous sponsorship picture, taken in 2011 (so she would have been 8 years old then):

I am excited to get to know this sweet girl. I shall be writing my first letter to her tonight!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Misgana's Update: Part 2

It just occurred to me that I did not share Misgana's updated information with you when her picture updated! Here is what I know about my beautiful friend in Ethiopia:

Misgana is 16 years old now, turning 17 in the fall. She goes to church, Sunday School and Bible class. She is in the U.S. equivalent of Grade 8 and her performance is average. Her best subject is math. Awhile ago she asked me to pray that she would be promoted to Grade 9 and I am still praying for that! Her completion date is October 2021 so my friend and I should still have 5 years with her.

At home her chores include washing clothes and child care (I'm guessing younger siblings?). It looks like she has 3 brothers according to MyCompassion. For fun she enjoys swimming, singing and story telling. I would love to spend a day with her and hear her stories!

Her parents both live with her and work to support the family.

Kaveri's Update 2016

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful relaxing weekend, and one much less eventful than mine. This weekend found me in the hospital having my appendix removed, which is why there weren't any blog posts last week. I am slowly recovering and able to use my computer a bit, so I wanted to take a moment to share the latest photo update I've received from Compassion:

This is Kaveri at six years old. She is my correspondent child from India (my parents sponsor her). I wasn't expecting her picture to update until July so this was a nice surprise! Her project has been open for about two years now.

Along with an updated photo comes updated information! Kaveri goes to Sunday School and church. Her chores at home are making beds, cleaning, carrying water and kitchen help. She has 1 brother and 1 sister. For fun she likes to play hide and seek, play with dolls, run, jump rope, listen to music and play with toy cars (she sounds like a very active kid!). She is now in the equivalent of Grade 1 in school and her performance is average. Her best subject is Marathi (local language). Her parents are both living with her and are working to support her. 

I am looking forward to learning more about Kaveri in the years to come!

As far as I know, her project is still under suspension. Please pray for the children and staff at her project during this time. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Photo Update #2!

It finally happened today. After 2 years and 3 months (but who's counting?) of checking, hoping for a new photo, Misgana's picture finally updated today! This is my beautiful friend in Ethiopia at age 16:

I love what she does with her hair! She always looks so cool :)

Here are some of her past pictures side-by-side to show how she's grown and changed since my friend and I started sponsoring her!

As seems to often be the case, her other information probably won't update on MyCompassion for at least 24 hours (so now that will be after the weekend). I am excited to share what I learn about her progress in school, etc with you as soon as I find out!

I will probably always remember the day that Misgana became my first sponsored child. She is definitely an important part of my life, and I am still hoping to meet her in person someday.