Friday, February 12, 2016

What to Write ~ Commandment 2

I've started a series of letters to my kids based on the 10 Commandments. My first letter was an introductory letters, encouraging them to memorize the 10 Commandments. My second letter focused on the first commandment, and this is the third letter which talks about the second commandment.

How are you? We are well. We've had some beautiful weather lately and some of the spring flowers are starting to bloom.

Today I want to write to you about the second command from the 10 commandments. Do you remember the first one? Number 1 was "you shall have no other gods before me". Number 2 is "you shall not make for yourself and idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below."

Do you know what an idol or graven image is? An idol is a symbol of an object of worship or a false god. It can also be an image of a deity other than God. There are all sorts of religions that have idols and it's common for people to worship these idols. However, God makes it very clear that we as Christians are NOT to do this. As the verse says, we cannot make idols of anything in heaven, anything on earth or anything in the waters - in other words, we cannot make any idols of any kind.

There is an account in Exodus of the Israelites making a golden calf and worshipping it. God was so angry that he struck them with a plague because of what they had done. He is a jealous God and wants our full attention and devotion. We are only to worship Him - nothing else.

Our God is a living God and He can heal us, love us, protect us, forgive us and fill our hearts with joy. And idol or false god is just a thing. An idol can't offer us protection, healing, love or forgiveness.

cross 1
I love seeing the image of a cross because it reminds me of Christ's sacrifice on my behalf. It is a visual reminder that Christ died for me and because of that my sins are forgiven. However, I don't bow down or pray to a cross - that would be idolatry. When I see a cross, I thank God for who He is and what He has done.

I hope this helps you understand the second command a little bit better. Are you still telling God every morning that you choose to love Him more than anyone or anything? I would love to hear your thoughts about this.

May God bless you and keep you - may his face shine upon you - may you know and experience his love today.

Love, the Foley family

I took the photo with my iphone and edited it on pizap. If you want to use it to send to your own kids, let me know and I'll email it to you. I five different edits, so let me know specifically which one you want.

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cross 3

cross 4
cross 5

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Preeti in East India

March 23, 2004

We began sponsoring Preeti in November 2010. I remember having her child packet  at home and my husband seeing it. He commented that she looked a little bit like our youngest daughter and suggested we sponsor her. I don't need to be told twice....

So far we have received 40 letters from Preeti. She lives at home with her parents, and has several siblings (4 brothers and 3 sisters). Preeti is the second youngest child.  Her family lives in the mountains in a home made of mud and tin. They have access to a community well for their water, and cook in a mud oven. In her letters, Preeti mentioned her family cultivating paddy, vegetables, mango and pineapple.

Miscellaneous info from letters:

  • favorite person - older brother
  • favorite animal - tiger
  • favorite fruit - banana
  • favorite story - Jesus' life
  • favorite subject - Oriya
  • threw tooth on roof and asked sparrow to bring a new one
  • loves school, especially poetry
  • sleeps under mosquito net

Preeti attends Souri Colony Child Development Center EI 410-0329

She attends the project daily from 6:30-9:30 am.  At the center she learns Bible, math, science, English, songs, dance and games. She eats breakfast there and then goes to school at 10am.

She has participated in sports meets, dance competitions, song competitions, Bible quizzes and children's retreats through her Compassion project. She has received an umbrella, school bag and sleeper from the project.

Preeti was able to receive the following gifts because of sponsorship:
  • 2012 we sent a gift bag (doll, socks, t-shirt, pens, photo album and journal book)
  • mosquito net
  • dress (more than once)
  • towel (more than once)
  • chocolate (many times!)
  • tray plate
  • steel glass
  • biscuits
  • pressure cooker
  • cup set

Preeti ended every letter with..."Please pray for my study, health and family."

message from partner of child development center...

Children enrolled in the center are from impoverished families. Both children and their parents are happy to have this center in this area. Children are getting benefit such as quality education and nurturing in their physical, spiritual, socio-emotional, and cognitive areas of development that is helping them to grow in self-confidence.  
Children attend the center in the morning. Our workers teach them from the Global Resource Curriculum where they learn stories, songs and important life lessons. After the program, we provide nutritious meal to our children. We conduct extracurricular activities like sports, development programs. Then center also provides nutritious food, hygiene supplies, and stationary to children. 
We celebrate important events like Project Day, Compassion Day, Children's Day, Teacher's Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, World Malaria Day, World HIV/AIDS day, World Tuberculosis Day, and all national days to educate children about the significance of each. 
I would like to write to you about the awareness programs we conduct in our center on issues like child marriage, child labour, and HIV?AIDS. These programs help to change the mind-set of parents. Parents slowly understand the need for these training and are regular to the parents' meetings we conduct periodically. We educate parents that they are the primary caregivers and hence it is important for them to provide a conducive atmosphere at home for the children.  
Our children are grown up, some of them are going to colleges. I could see personally that children are learning a lot of things. Now they are writing letters on their own, able to discern between good and bad. People of the community are observing what the center is doing for their children. Seeing the progress of our children, many community parents request us to enroll their children into the program.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Filling Buckets

This morning my girls and I were reading from the devotional He Walks Among Us by Richard and Renee Stearns (CEO of World Vision.).

This particular reading was about changing our perspective on how we view poverty and our contribution towards making a difference. It leant itself well to an hands on demonstration, and so we gathered the necessary supplies.

We can view poverty as one big problem - one big bucket that needs to be filled OR we can view the individuals living in poverty as tiny buckets that need to be filled.

I gave each girl a glass of water (not big by any means) to represent the resources God has given them.

When they poured their water into the large bucket, it hardly made a difference. It would take a lot of water to fill this bucket. Much more than the one cup they were given.

Then I let each girl use their water to fill the three smaller buckets - representing children we sponsor through Compassion. 

Each girl was able to fill each smaller bucket to the top, and they had water left over. 

I love how easy this demonstration was. And although I'm not one who usually takes the time to do things like this, I think it made a lasting impression on each of us. I also really like the visual of pouring ourselves out to do the work God has equipped us to do.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hondy in the Dominican Republic

March 27. 1998

Hondy started out as one of our correspondent children in late 2007/early 2008. Our first letter from him was dated January 25, 2008. Somewhere along the way (I can't remember exactly when), his financial sponsor dropped and we were able to pick up his sponsorship. So far we have received 29 letters from Hondy.

He lives in the eastern part of Dominican Republic with his mother (Yajaida Altagracia), step-father (Marcos Ramirez) and two siblings yodaris Madrid and Joan de Jesus).

In one of his first letters Hondy told us that his mother had a baby in January 2008, but sadly the baby died 19 days later.

Miscellaneous info from letters:

  • Bible hero - David
  • real life hero - mom
  • favorite month - March (because of his birthday)
  • likes baseball, soccer and basketball
  • favorite foods - rice and beans, fried chicken, fried potato
  • sleeps with mosquito net
  • attends Compassion project 3x week
  • threw his teeth on the roof when they fell out
  • hometown is historic - was the first to be independent in national independence

Used extra $ from gifts for the following:
  • pants, socks, sandals, underwear, pencil set, trousers, t-shirts, polo shirts
  • In 2010 we were able to send a gift bag to Hondy - ball, soap, t-shirt, crayons, photo album (in one letter to us he mentioned asking his mom for an album to put all the stickers and letters we were sending him)

letter highlights:
"I want to tell you about the hero in my life. It is my mom because she works to feed me and my siblings and she is hardworking, brave and gives us too much love. "
"Thanks for the letters because I liked them a lot, as well as the verses that are in it, which give me and my friends from the center a lot of learning, and they like your letters a lot. Thanks! Thanks for being my sponsors."
"I get very excited every time I read your letters, since I know I have another family in another country and they worry about me. Sometimes I imagine what the day in which we meet each other will be like. We will talk about so many things and will laugh. I know it will be very special if it happens. I'm going to pray so that this happens."

message to Wess Stafford on his retirement:
"I would like to thank him for all the things he has done for many children. God bless him a lot."

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Compassion Joys

we received 9 letters this month
Orm (Thailand), Rayson (Kenya), Gabriel (Kenya), Jerry (Indonesia), 
Preeti (India), Jackson (Kenya), Joylyne (Kenya), Esther (Uganda) and Emanuel (Peru)

Joseph in Tanzania was 10 on January 1st

My daughter, Sydney, and Yoselin in Dominican Rebuplic 
both turned 11 on January 9th

Jerry in Indonesia turned 15 on January 28th

Antoni in Dominican Republic turned 13 on January 28th

compassion experience
We had the wonderful opportunity to go through the Compassion Experience as a family. I've been waiting for a couple years for it to come close enough for my family to go and it finally did!

I encouraged many friends to go and quite a few did, including our youth group at church. One friend at church sponsored a little girl from Peru (who happens to be a birthday buddy with her youngest daughter) before going to the Compassion Experience. 

In an effort to eliminate some clutter from our home and participate in the ACT for Brazil fundraising campaign, my girls and I went through some of our books, homeschooling curriculum and jewelry and have sold quite a bit. I posted the jewelry here on my blog, and the books I put into this box which I took to our homeschool group that meets every week. It's been highly successful and I've raised $200 so far.

My oldest daughter saw this fish bowl when we were in PetSmart earlier this month. If you can't tell, it has the world map on it. She got excited and told me she'd love to get it and then name the fish after some of the countries where we sponsor children. She ended up getting a gift card to PetSmart and now we have three new pets....Kenya, Inda (short for Indonesia and India) and Peru.

and that, my friends, is a promising start to a great year!

If you haven't joined us before, please consider sharing your Compassion JOYS here each month. It is so encouraging and inspiring to see how God is blessing others through this ministry. 

And now it's your turn! Here are some guidelines for you to follow for this link-up:
  1. Link up by entering the URL to your blog post (make sure it's a link to the actual blog post and not just your blog).
  2. Be sure to link back here to Compassion Family and tell others you are doing so. Feel free to grab the button code for your post (it's on the right side of the blog).
  3. Set aside some time to visit the other participants and leave some comment love.
  4. Begin taking notes and making a list for next month.
I should also mention that I reserve the right to remove anyone's submission if it fails to meet the link-up requirements or is inappropriate. 

***If you have trouble linking up, simply leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit your blog.

***If you don't have a blog, share your blessings in the comments!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Building a Wall

Have you ever had to build a wall? I have. A couple years ago I was in Mexico working at an orphanage for a few days and I was given the task of building a wall. I'd never built a wall before, but knew it could be done one brick at a time. 


Are you familiar with the book of Nehemiah in the Bible?

We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work. ~ Nehemiah 4:6 (MSG)

When Nehemiah learned that the wall surrounding Jerusalem lay in ruins he was saddened and moved to do something about it. He prayed. He fasted. And he led his people in the rebuilding of that wall. They shared a vision of restoring the wall and they worked (with all their hearts) until the task was done.

When I hear about the children who are still living in extreme poverty around the world - dying of preventable diseases every day - I am saddened and moved to do something about it.

Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I fast. Sometimes I rally others who share my vision to help me rebuild God's kingdom here on Earth.

Lately I haven't worked at this with all my heart, and the task certainly isn't done.

Just like I know I can build a wall one brick at a time, I can  also help wipe out poverty one child at a time. It's not enough to want to be part of this, I must have a heart for the work. I must persevere and see it through.

I've just ordered a few child packets and am eager to advocate on their behalf - to connect them with a sponsor who will offer the support, love and encouragement they need. Will you join me?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World
How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes
by Kristen Welch

What can I say? I love this book. I love it's cover - how it looks. I love the format and how it feels in my hands. I love the mix of personal stories and practical tips. Most of all, I love the message.

"We live in a culture that is obsessed with the right to have what we want, whether we've earned it or not." 

If you believe in the concept of grace, then hopefully you understand that grace is two-fold. Grace is, first of all, getting what you don't deserve, and secondly, grace is not getting what you do deserve. Grace is the opposite of entitlement.

Kristen and her husband, Terrell, recognized the ugliness of entitlement that was rearing its head in their family and decided to call it out and wage war against it. Being grateful is an art that needs to be cultivated and nurtured daily, so that it can be practiced in all areas of our lives. Living gratefully is living counter-culturally, and it's increasingly difficult to practice in our current society.

"Society has shifted truth by bombarding us with an idea until its normalized. "
As I mentioned before, this book is full of personal stories in which Kristen shares what she and her husband have tried with their 3 children. It's also full of practical tips. Each chapter ends with a section called "Going Against the Flow" and includes ideas and suggestions for all ages: parents, toddlers/preschoolers, elementary, tweens/teens.

I've already implemented several ideas into our own family life. If you need encouragement in your own journey to raise grateful kids, or even in your own effort to be more grateful, then this book is for you.

So much of what Kristen shares in this book stems from her wake-up call after seeing poverty first hand on a Compassion trip. Not only does Kristen's family support the ministry of Compassion through sponsorship, they have created their own non-profit ministry in Kenya - Mercy House. The ministry is run locally by Maureen, a former Compassion child and LDP graduate from Kenya. The fruit of this ministry and this book are deeply rooted in the ministry of Compassion. 

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