Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Collina in Kenya

 Collina Mkambe Pole
December 19, 2008

Collina is one of our correspondent children and we've been corresponding with her since January 2015. So far we have received 7 letters.

Collina lives with her parents and siblings. One letter says she has two sisters, Nelly and Judith, and another letters lists two other siblings, Naomie and Glender. They live in the coastal community of Kilifi Township, home to approximately 50,000 residents.

She attends Good News Church and the AIC Kilifi child development center (KE 622). According to her letters, Collina attends the Compassion project on Saturday. Her school is Malezi Academy and is a 100 meter walk from her home.  She says she enjoys both school and church.

Miscellaneous info from letters:

  • wakes up at 7:30 am and goes to bed at 8 pm
  • favorite game - in and out
  • favorite song - Halleluja Hosanna
  • favorite food - pilau and ugali
  • favorite subject - language and math
  • favorite story - Hannah
  • favorite color - orange and red
  • favorite animal - cow
  • favorite sport - soccer
  • washes utensils at home
  • comes from a Christian background
  • special needs - shelter
"through your letters, Collina is now inspired and growing spiritually"
"receive Calvary greetings" 

Letter from the center director...

The Kilifi area is predominantly dry with short spells of rains which can hardly hold crops until maturity. The community is generally poor with the majority earning less than a dollar per day. The people lack formal education, permanent employment and good housing. Both Muslim and Christian ministers are constantly struggling to win the hearts of the community. Most people are believers in their cultural gods. 

Children in the community face all sorts of challenges. Some are living positively with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Others are already into child prostitution while others have dropped out of school to work and earn food for the family. The scourge of poverty is widespread, stealing hope and the future from our children. 

Now many children know God. They are in school, can eat a balanced diet and show a sense of self-worth. Their candle keeps shining because of what Compassion is doing in the Kilifi community.

The center has enrolled 257 children with over 100 confessing Christ as their personal Savior. Today many can make own sweaters, plait each other's hair while others can sing songs and recite memory verses of the Bible. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Compassion Joys

advocating at Tenth Avenue North concert

We started out the month with an opportunity to work the Tenth Avenue North concert as a family. 
What a joy and blessing to serve together as a family. 

Joseph in Tanzania, Lian in Colombia

Compassion Sunday - April 24th
my mom did two different presentations and saw 12 kids sponsored as a result of her efforts!

CSP "graduation"
I don't really know what to call it, but the CSP we've been supporting for many years (Hope Survival in India) was released from Compassion's support because the women and children are thriving. It's a wonderful thing to see the ministry working and families being released from poverty.

Winfrey in Kenya turned 9 on April 16th. 

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!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Homeschooling With Compassion

Several years ago I started this blog with the intent of making sponsorship a family venture. I can honestly say that sponsorship is something we do as a family, and the ministry of sponsorship is truly woven throughout our daily lives. 

We are homeschoolers and from the beginning I've wanted to give my girls a global education. Here are some of the ways we've pulled the ministry of Compassion into our educational pursuits.

We start our morning with some sort of Bible lesson. Often we'll read a devotional from He Walks Among Us by Richard and Renee Stearns. Mr. Stearns is President and CEO of World Vision, and this devotional is a beautiful resource for understanding some of the needs around the world. The photographs are beautiful, and the stories and lessons are so good. After our Bible lesson, we'll choose a child that we sponsor/correspond with to pray for. Currently I keep bookmarks for all our children in a recycled plastic container. We choose a child's bookmark, pray for that child, then remove the bookmark. We go through all the bookmarks and then return them all and start over. 

There are so many books that help us understand what life is like in other countries, and we've found so many gems in our local library system. From picture books to chapter books, there is a resource for almost every country where Compassion works. 

My girls and I love to do "free writes". Usually we choose our own topic, set a timer for 5-10 minutes and write freely until the timer goes off. Sometimes I choose a broad topic like "Compassion" and then we brainstorm all the different ways we can narrow the topic and find something to write about. Recently our list looked something like this...

  • my birthday buddy
  • writing letters
  • where Compassion works
  • what sponsorship looks like
  • persuade someone to sponsor a child
  • what does the Bible say about poverty
  • meeting Orm in Thailand
  • Compassion Sunday at our church
  • what is Compassion
  • my trip to Compassion headquarters in Colorado
  • our Compassion family

Also, letter writing is a great writing exercise for kids. My girls each write to three kids every month, and although I had to help them for quite a while, they now do this on their own. 

This is "homeschool central" for us....if you look closely you can see the bookmarks that serve as prayer cards, and the three fish are named Kenya, Peru and Inda (for India and Indonesia)

We have a big map hanging above our school desks, and as we talk about our Compassion children (or where Compassion works), I ask my girls to point out where that country is located. It's become second nature to them by now, and often they race to see who can find the country first. When they were little, we had a different map hanging in their playroom, and I taped our Compassion kids' photos to it near the country where they lived. 

We also enjoy reading the brochures Compassion sends us about each child's country.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A Compassion Daybook

In my closet....I recently treated myself and my girls to some new Compassion t-shirts. They have great color options for reasonable prices in the Compassion store. We all needed some new shirts for warmer weather and why not advertise something we believe in.

Praying for... Compassion Sunday!! Officially this is Compassion Sunday weekend, but really it's a season because advocates and sponsors will be holding their presentations for many weeks to come. My own Compassion Sunday isn't until June.

Advocating for...I received three new child packets in the mail this week.

Sweet Lucia in Kenya

Isaac in El Salvador

Oknis in Indonesia

In the news...There was a pretty big earthquake in Ecuador this past week. Please head to Compassion's blog to read more about how they are responding to the crisis. If you sponsor a child in Ecuador, please leave a comment with your child's name and I'll pray for them specifically.

Reading... I'm not actually reading these yet, but they are on my list of what to read next. The Art of Compassion - (Stories of music and justice from artists such as Michael W Smith, Matt Redmand, Steven Curtis Chapman, Chris Tomlin and more) and Small Matters by Greg Nettle and Satiago "Jimmy" Mellado (Compassion's CEO)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Collins in Kenya

Collins Rapisian Ntusero
July 7. 2005

Collins is one of our correspondent children and we've been corresponding with him since January 2015. So far we have received 4 letters. 

He lives with his parents, Moses and Gladys, and his brothers, Milton and Joseph. Collins is the second born. At home he helps look after the domestic animals. 

Collins and his family live on the plains of Oloontoto, homes to approximately 10,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, adobe walls and thatch roofs. The primary ethnic group is Maasai and the language is Kimaasai. 

Oloontoto PEFA 
KE 554

letter from center director....

We are in the Lorrompoi region of Kajiado County. We greatly appreciate your support.

The climate here is semi-arid, receiving two rain seasons; long rains in March to June and short rains from October to December. But the rains are unpredictable. Some people here grow subsistence crops, which can fail due to lack of rain. The majority Maasai ethnic community largely depends on raising livestock, but overgrazing in time of drought has severe consequences on the land. 

Most residents of Oloontoto are low-income earners who work at flower farms. The area has seen an increase in people selling their land and not investing. Many get drunk and abandon their families, leaving women and children at home to face the harsh flames of poverty. Seeing this need, Compassion has joined to provide school fees, clothing and health care for children from families that otherwise could not afford them. 

In the center, children are brought up in Christianity and also received lessons like life skills. I think of several children who have especially benefited to improve their life. I think of a boy whose parents were killed in a tragic road accident. He was left under the care of an old grandmother, who brought him to our center. The staff welcomed him and saw how he was greatly affected by the accident. Now, through struggling in education as a class one child, he can communicate with others, play and express himself to staff and other people, all things he never did at first. 

Then there is a teen who has learned well in our skills classes on motorcycle repair and maintenance. After completing high school, he began a motorcycle business, providing people rides for money. He hopes to start a motorcycle garages and sell spare parts, an activity he plans to continue even after he joins college. 

In this semi-arid land, ,the shortage of clean water for people and livestock is a great problem. Over the years the community has depended on water from a well that the center had drilled through a Complementary Intervention. But due to mechanical problems, the well has ceased to work. So residents must buy water at a very high cost from water vendors, and the pastoralists have to take their livestock 10-20 km in search of clean water. 

Miscellaneous info from letters:
  • favorite game - football (soccer)
  • favorite song - Melody in my Heart
  • favorite food - ugali and kales
  • favorite subject - math 
  • favorite story - Noah
  • favorite color - pink
  • best friend - Henry

All of the letters we have received from Collins have come in what I think is his own handwriting. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Some Weekend Links

Earlier this week I used Compassion's online letter writing tool to write to my sponsored and correspondent kids. I was pleasantly surprised to see some updates and added options now that the letter writing policies have changed.

First, if you don't know about the new letter writing guidelines, here are a couple posts explaining the changes:

When you choose to write to your child, you now have the option to select a letter template (like before) or a card (new).

I also noticed that I had the option to send up to 5 photos instead of 3. As I clicked around I found more new options. First of all, there is now a record of the past 20 letters you've sent to your child. If you've written them on line, you can actually view the letter you sent. If you sent a paper copy, it will just list the date it was sent.

The other thing I noticed was what you see below.... when I clicked on this tab, it showed me that a letter was on its way to me. One actually said the letter was in the process of translation.

Also, Compassion recently wrote a post about the best ways to use their app and it has some great ideas that I hadn't thought of, so be sure to read it.

That's all friends...hope you have a great weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2016

What to Write ~ Commandment 4

I've started a series of letters to my kids based on the 10 Commandments. You can find my other letters in this series by following the links below.

  1. first letter (introduction)
  2. second letter (first commandment - no other gods)
  3. third letter (second commandment - no idols)
  4. fourth letter (third commandment - don't misuse God's name)

And now for the fifth letter discussing the fourth commandment...

Dear ...

How are you? I hope this letter finds you and your family well. Yesterday was Sunday and we had such a nice day as a family. We spent the morning at church, then ate a meal with our friend, Alex, who is visiting our country from Uganda, Africa. I met him through Compassion because he used to be a sponsored child like you, but now he is earning his doctorate in theology (the highest level of education) and is a pastor of a church in Uganda. We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around our city and taking in the beautiful spring weather we've been having. Although it was a full day, it was restful and different from other days in the week.

This brings me to our next commandment - the fourth commandment God gave Moses and the Israelites.

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor you animals, nor the alien within your gate. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

This is probably a tricky one for you to understand since you are still a child, but I think the general idea is that we need to set aside one day a week to rest from our normal work, and take delight in the things God has given us - our family, our surrounding environment, nourishment and more.

In the New Testament we read stories of Jesus healing people on the Sabbath, and the super religious people of the time didn't like it at all. They accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath commandment by doing work, but Jesus was healing people - helping them and loving them. In Mark 2:27 he saids, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." God wants to love us by giving us a day of rest and delight.

This is exactly what we did yesterday as a family. We spent the morning worshipping God with our church family, sharing a meal  with a friend, and enjoying each other by spending time together. We rested from our regular schedule of work and school, and enjoyed the gifts God has given us.

I'll include a picture of us with our friend, Alex, and another picture I took while we walked around our city yesterday. 

Much love to you and your family, 
Kevin, Jill, Sydney and Kayleigh Foley
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