Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back to School With Compassion

It's that time of least here in the US.

Yellow buses roll through the neighborhoods, picking up kids who wait at the corner with their new backpacks and lunch boxes.

Moms wake up early, pack lunches and get everyone loaded in the car to make it to school on time.

Homeschoolers return to a schedule that includes math books, science experiments and more.

Kids everywhere go to school, if they have the opportunity.

That's one of the great things about Compassion. Being enrolled in Compassion's project at the local church gives kids the opportunity to go to school. Compassion is not the school, but Compassion provides support and extra help for kids who might need it.

As a homeschooler, I love all the opportunities Compassion sponsorship provides us in our education. It throws open the doors to a global world view and serves as a very practical way to put our faith into action.

Homeschooler or not, you can also incorporate sponsorship into your child's educational experience.

Here are a few very practical ways to combine sponsorship and education:
  • Geography - locate your sponsored child's country on a map and know where it is in relation to where you live
  • Writing - teach how your child how to write letters to your sponsored child (the art of letter writing seems to be dying in this world of emails, tweets and texts)
  • Reading - check out books and stories about your child's country from the library to read (you can check out my country expert posts for book ideas)
  • History - learn the history of your sponsored child's country
  • Language - learn how to say a few words or phrases in your sponsored child's native language
  • Cultural  - learn about the customs and traditions of your sponsored child's country. (holidays, lost teeth, art, music, religion, dress and so much more)
  • Culinary - if possible, try eating food from your child's country. Better yet, learn how to cook a traditional meal from that country and let your kids help.
  • Spritual - memorize Scripture, pray for your sponsored child, encourage your children and teach them to "love their neighbor"

Compassion has some great resources for kids that will help you  - just click HERE

What other ideas can you add to this list? Please share with us in the comments (click on the title of this post if you need to).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Correspondent Sponsors

When I first became a Compassion Advocate 3 years ago, we learned about being a Correspondent Sponsor. My daughter was 11 years old at the time and was excited about the possibility of writing to Compassion children in other countries.

Have you not heard about Compassion’s Correspondent Sponsor Program? I took time to interview my daughter, Kelsey, who is now 14 years old, to share a bit about her involvement as a Correspondent Sponsor:

1. Give me a simple explanation of what a correspondent sponsor is.

Kelsey: A correspondent sponsor is someone who writes letters to a sponsored child whose sponsor has decided to not write to the child. (Note from Yvonne: sometimes a corporation will sponsor a large number of children at one time and they turn over the letter writing responsibilities to people on the Correspondent Sponsor waiting list)

2. Tell me a little bit about your correspondent kids.

Kelsey: My correspondent children are very fun.  They have told me that they are glad to write and are doing very well where they are. My correspondent children are: Mamata and Kawllian from India, Alesi from Uganda, and Andres from Colombia. (Note from Yvonne: Kelsey also writes to her own sponsored child, Alfredo, in Mexico)

3. How often do you write to your correspondent kids?

Kelsey: Every time my correspondent kids write to me I write back

4. What do you love about being a correspondent sponsor?

Kelsey:  I love being a correspondent sponsor for the personal relationship with my kids. I love sending 
letters to them and asking questions and hearing about what they want to do when they grow up.

5. What would you say to encourage more people to become a correspondent sponsor? 

Kelsey: If you enjoy writing and/or writing letters this is the perfect thing for you to do. Or if you can’t afford to sponsor a child but would love to write. I have enjoyed writing letters to each of my kids for the past three years. I would definitely  wouldn’t give it up for the world. I would pray that if it is on your heart to do so, please do it. These kids get so much joy from hearing from someone that they don’t know. To know that I could be changing a child’s life in a small way through a letter is so encouraging. I pray for each of my kids every day in hopes that they might do the same for a child in need one day that is where they used to be.

So what do you think? Are you ready to be a Correspondent Sponsor? If so, call Compassion at the 800# (1-800-336-7676) during their regular business hours and they can put your name on the waiting list to become a Correspondent Sponsor.

About Yvonne Reynolds...Yvonne is very active when it comes to sponsorship and advocacy for Compassion. She maintains Compassion's Second Friday Letter Writing Pinterest board. Yvonne is a homeschooling mom who likes to read, bake and take photographs. You can find her blogging at Our Little Corner of the World.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Beautiful Video

I just loved this video....enjoy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On Releasing Our Kids To Fly...

Hello Compassion Family community! To say that I am excited to be here is an understatement. I have been a long-time reader of this blog... and I count it a blessing to have this opportunity to share my thoughts on here once in a while.

Most of all, I am excited to continue learning alongside all of you what it means to lead our families to follow Christ with abandon... to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.

Speaking of which... yesterday, we experienced a "first" in our family. We said goodbye to our daughter as she left for a 10-day filming trip with a film crew from Compassion Canada. They are filming the video segment for a 6-week curriculum series for youth on what the Bible says about poverty and justice. My girl will be the face and the voice of this curriculum. Such wild grace... our God's grace truly is a beautiful thing!

Here are my thoughts on this "first"... a milestone, both for my hubby and me... and for our baby girl... who really isn't a baby anymore! Why does time always fly by so fast?!?

:: :: ::

Yesterday, she flew!

Little did I know just how soon that time would actually arrive... that God already had a plan in place... for her to fly... onto Kingdom purposes and also literally, to quite a faraway place! 

And this mama's heart is not sure how to feel... 

Yet, I know this for sure... that He who promised is faithful!

My baby girl... at six months of age.
Collecting seashells on a beach in Halifax. (Summer 2006)
So yesterday this mama released her to fly... and today I am embracing turning this new page in the journey of motherhood... and holding on unswervingly to the Hope we profess... and covering her with prayers... and celebrating the beauty that is God's grace at work in my baby girl's life. 

For many years, since the day she was born... this has been, and still is today, my prayer for her:
That she will live life as "a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour."
Blogging... speaking out for those who are denied a voice.
Yesterday, her wings unfurled! 
She flew... halfway around the world, for the second time this summer and without us this time, to the country of hubby's and my birth, the Philippines. This is the longest {10 days} and farthest that she'll be away from us. 

She flew... with a film crew from Compassion Canada, to film a 6-week youth curriculum series on what the Bible says about poverty and justice. This curriculum will be made available next year as a resource for youth groups across the country! 

She flew... to be the face and voice of this curriculum series. Such wild grace to see God answering my prayer that she be used by Him for the display His splendour! It is also a way that God is fulfilling her desire to speak out "for those who are denied a voice in society. The oppressed. The impoverished. The enslaved." 

Yes, she is mine, my girl... but she is first and foremost, God's daughter! As I have repeatedly told her since she was just a wee little girl, "God loves you infinitely more than I ever can!" So with that in mind, this mama stretched out her arms and released her to fly... onto Kingdom purposes which He has prepared in advance for her to do. 

And I will learn the delicate balance of releasing and embracing... this not-so-easy, yet oh-so-beautiful new rhythm that comes with this exciting new season of motherhood... of letting go and releasing her to fly, yet embracing her with love and covering her with prayers. 
A mother holds her child's hand for just a short time, but holds their heart for a lifetime.
~ Author Unknown.
Her most favourite place to be... sitting behind the Compassion table!
Although at times I feel like I am incapable of facing this new season, I know that our Heavenly Father will give me the grace and the strength to do so. 

Although at times I feel like my heart is unraveling because she is so faraway from me, I know that God is unraveling His perfect plan for my girl's life, for the display of His splendour.
At Inspire Hope last month... introducing her social enterprise, Freedom Creations
Sharing her story at Inspire Hope.
Promo cards for the youth curriculum series that she will be hosting.
Friends, will you join us... 
In covering our baby girl in prayer as she embarks on this awesome God-assignment? Please click here for her prayer letter. 

And even though I am not a brave mama because braveness is outside my comfort zone, I *will* be brave... and I did try very hard not to bawl my eyes out when sending her off, but if y'all must know, I miserably failed! :)

:: :: ::

~ To follow my girl on this God-assignment: read her blog and follow her on Twitter or Instagram.
~ Take action by sponsoring a child with Compassion.
~ To get to know our family's involvement with Compassion Canada better, read this recently published article about us... A Family Who Loves Mercy

About Aimee Esparaz...Aimee is mother to two teens and is passionate about living out Micah 6:8 with her family. She is a sponsor and advocate through Compassion Canada and works in global marketing. She loves to read and garden, and blogs at A Mom On A Mission.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Welcome Aimee....

A couple months ago I introduced you to Crystal, Hannah and Yvonne....our regular contributors here at Compassion Family. Today I introduce you to Aimee and welcome her to our team of regular contributors. I know you will love hearing from her as she shares her heart for the least of these with us.

Aimee Esparaz

Aimee was born and raised in the Philippines. Growing up upper middle-class, she was oblivious to the extreme poverty that existed all around her. As a teenager, she moved to Canada with her family --- to an even more comfortable first-world life.
Aimee is married to Floyd. They are deeply thankful as it is in this marriage that God would shake them out of their comfort zone and open their eyes to the plight of the world’s extreme poor. They are parents to two teenagers, Alyssa and Jon. Aside from being huge basketball fans, together they are a family seeking to live out Micah 6:8, that is to "do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God." Their family wouldn’t be complete without their Compassion LDP Student Rechelle and Compassion Sponsored Children Florianlyn, Bell Bradley, Esperanza, Happyness and John. They are also Compassion Correspondents and greatly treasure the relationships developed over the years with Junior, Frederic & Patrick.   
Aimee & her family love their local church community. They do life together by being Jesus’ hands and feet to the marginalized, such as inner-city families, refugees and street-involved people.
One of Aimee’s favourite quotes is by author and fellow Compassion Advocate Ann Voskamp: “God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.”
Aimee works for a global marketing and advertising research company. In her spare time, she loves to read and she loves to garden. She blogs regularly about her faith, her family and her favourite things at

Friday, August 15, 2014

When You Can't Say Goodbye...

It's happened again.

The phone rang and it was Compassion on the other end. I have found from experience that this is rarely a good thing. More often than not, they have news about one of our sponsored children and usually it's not good news.

A couple months ago I received a letter from Compassion informing us that the money designated for Ayon, one of our boys in East India, was being suspended because there was an issue with the local church. The letter was positive and hopeful that the issue would be resolved quickly and soon funding would continue.

I sure hoped they would because I couldn't stand the thought of losing Ayon - he's one of my favorites. (Can we have favorite sponsored children?) Ayon started out as a correspondent child, but when his financial sponsor backed out, we took him on.

And for the past six years we have had the honor and privilege of developing a relationship with this boy on the other side of the world. In six years we received 63 letters (!!), and his letters always stood out from the others because of the doodles and artwork.

Anyway, it turns out the local church that was hosting the Compassion project decided to discontinue their relationship with Compassion. Because Compassion is no longer working through this church, there is no opportunity for us to say goodbye.

(Wait a second while I wipe away my tears.)

And so I pray. I pray that the words I have written over the past six years will point him to God. I pray that he will remember the messages of love and life and hope that we have sent him. And I pray that he is strongly rooted in Christ because of Compassion, and that he will continue to mature and grow in his relationship with God.

Ayon....we will never forget you and the light you brought into our lives. I will forever remember you as my tall, skinny, child from India who always held his arms straight down for photos....

Would you join me in praying a blessing over Ayon and his life?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What to Write ~ Fruit of the Spirit

I see child sponsorship as a very practical way to carry out the Great Commission - to go and make disciples - and letter writing provides a wonderful way to teach and disciple these young ones.

This month I decided to write about the Fruit of the Spirit - to introduce them as a whole - and to encourage my sponsored children to memorize Galations 5: 22-23

This topic could easily be spread out into a series with each letter focusing on a different fruit of the Spirit.

How are you? It is with great joy that I write you this letter. My girls were listening to one of their favorite songs called "Fruit of the Spirit" and I decided I would share some of my thoughts about this teaching in the Bible.  
Do you like fruit? I do. I think it's nature's candy because it's naturally sweet and delicious. We live in a part of our country where several kinds of fruit grow in abundance - apples, pears, grapes, and different berries. I don't know if I have a favorite fruit, but I really love pineapple and mango, neither of which grow locally. Do you have a favorite fruit?  
The fruit that the Bible talks about is a bit different than the fruit we can eat. In the book of Matthew Jesus is teaching the crowds about good fruit and bad fruit - how a good tree will produce good fruit and a bad tree will produce bad fruit. We are the trees and our actions and thoughts are the fruit. If we are following Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, we will produce the fruits of the Spirit. 
Galatians 5:22-23 says "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." 
If we are following God and doing His will, others should see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives. Just as if we look at a fruit tree, we will know what kind of tree it is by the fruit it is producing. When others look at our lives, they should know we are followers of Christ by the "fruit" we are producing with our actions and thoughts.  
I'll talk more about each individual fruit in future letters, but for now I'd like to challenge you to memorize Galations 5:22-23 and pray that God would produce these fruits in your life.  
Praying for you always....

Have you written to your children yet this month? If so, what did YOU write about?
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