Friday, April 24, 2015

the Power of ONE

There is power in ONE.

Do you believe that?

Whether it is one sponsor, one child, one advocate, one presentation or one sacrifice, there is power in ONE.

Here are some random thoughts about the power of one....

I began my sponsorship journey by sponsoring ONE child. I love how Compassion connects one sponsor to one child. Because of this individual connection, a true relationship can develop over time. Although God has allowed me to expand my Compassion family to include many children around the world, sometimes I long for the simplicity of sponsoring one child.

As an advocate, I often want my impact to be huge - resulting in many new sponsorships. But I have learned to be content with planting the seeds. You never know when those seeds might take root and begin to grow. Compassion is releasing children from poverty one child at a time. Making a difference in the life of one child is powerful. You never know the ripple effect that will occur because of that one child.

For some, coming up with the financial support is difficult. You may have to think of ONE sacrifice you can make (coffee, eating out, cable, other subscription?) What is one thing you can go without to help a child rise above poverty?

What are some other thoughts you could add?




Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Importance of Letters ~ {part 2}

We have recently received pastor letters from almost all our sponsored and correspondent children. It's been a lot to read through and digest. In fact, I'm still working on the stack. Instead of sharing each letter with you, I thought I'd share what the pastors have to say about letter writing and how it impacts the sponsored children.

In case you missed part 1, you can find it HERE.


from Poungthong Dansongklod ~ pastor of Baan Haeng Kam Rak 2 in Thailand
The relationship that means the most to each sponsored child is that between them and thier sponsor. This relationship is established and grows through writing letters. Of course the financial support is important, but to the children, the real relationship is the most vital. Letters confirm to each child that they are loved by someone far away. This builds their self- esteem and changes their attitude about life and the future. Letters bring with them hope to the children. It is a remarkable thing to see the child's face who receives a letter. There is joy and light in the child's smile. Sadly, not all children hear from their sponsor, and these children are changed in a negative way. They lose desire to continue with the center and feel unhappy that their sponsor does not care enough to write. It is hard to comfort these children. I hope you will recognized the value of your simple words and write to Orm often. 



***the next two letters are from East India and instead of pastors, these are from partners.



from Sheila ~ partner of Ruthvadi Child Development Center in East India
I want to tell you just how important your letters are for your child. Children value the letters that their sponsors write to them because it gives them hope, inspiration and courage during their times of despair. Letters help children to build a deeper relationship with sponsor in a sense of expressing their gratitude. When children receive letters from their sponsors, they gain information and knowledge from the other side of the world. Therefore, we would request you to continue to write to your child as it showers happiness in the life of your child. 






from Pirat ~ partner of Souri Colony Baptist Church in East India
When children receive a letter from their sponsor, they get excited and feel happy. Children consider their sponsor as second parents who fulfill their needs that their parents are unable to meet. Our children are continually keeping relationship with the sponsor through letters. Through these letters, children learn about their sponsor, their country, context and culture. And these letters also help sponsors to learn many things about their sponsored child. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Compassion ABC's: P is for



P is for...

Peru









Compassion began its ministry in Peru in 1985, when the Child Sponsorship Program was started. In 2003, both the Child Survival Program and the Leadership Development Program began. Currently, more than 60,200 children participate in more than 240 child development centers. 

To learn more about Compassion's work in Peru and see children waiting to be sponsored, go HERE



Philippines


Compassion began its ministry in the Philippines in 1972 when the Child Sponsorship Program was started. In 1996, the Leadership Development Program began, followed by the Child Survival Program in 2005. Currently, more than 70,700 children participate in more than 340 child development centers.

To learn more about Compassion's work in the Philippines and see children waiting to be sponsored, go HERE



all information for this post was taken from Compassion's website
all photos are mine

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Importance of Letters {part 1}

We have recently received pastor letters from almost all our sponsored and correspondent children. It's been a lot to read through and digest. In fact, I'm still working on the stack. Instead of sharing each letter with you, I thought I'd share what the pastors have to say about letter writing and how it impacts the sponsored children.


from Garcia Fernando Vargas ~ pastor of Centro Cristiano Atalaya Church in Colombia
We are very grateful to the sponsors who send letters to their children. When receiving them, it makes them very happy and they are very excited and are looking forward to responding. On the other hand, it is something sad and painful to know that there are many children who do not receive the letters and in their innocence, they are very sad. They wonder why they do not receive letters when their friends did receive them.



from Wilfredo Galindo Veliz ~ pastor of New Life Evangelical Baptist Church in Bolivia
Children really look forward to your letters, so please write always, to keep more in touch. It is sad to see that sometimes sponsors do not write to their sponsored children, and they live in the hope of someday receiving a letter from their sponsors. I must share that a teenager sponsored student was greatly encouraged by the letters he would receive from his sponsor. They were the reason of his achievements. The words in the letters were the strength to help him to keep going since he had so many problems at home.

from Ramon Jose Vasquez ~ pastor of the Assembly of God Church in the Dominican Republic
Our children and their sponsor are maintaining a good relationship through the exchange of letters. Letters allow our children to write to their sponsors about events of their lives, about their family and about how they are doing at school and how they are doing their development in the Center. Letters also allow the sponsors to keep their sponsored child aware of what is happening in their lives. The letters are a link that connects the child and the sponsor and maintains their friendship. If sponsors would stop writing, it would break the bond between them. Because of this, I pray you will frequently write to Hondy. 

from Florentino Corporan, pastro of Iglesia de la Christianizacion in the Dominican Republic
You can't imagine the happiness on the faces of these children, and their families, when they receive the special letters from the sponsors. The bond between each sponsor and the sponsored child creates a feeling of great gratitude. Please believe that you are considered to be a special aunt or uncle, and a gift from God for the family of Antoni. It is wonderful to see the joy on the face of each mother when we tell her that there is something for her child at the Center. 




from Arturo Klee ~ pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church in El Salvador
When children get letters from their sponsors they are happy that someone cares about them and thinks about them. They sometimes read their letters many times and read them to their parents. This brings everyone great joy. They express such happiness when they receive correspondence and letters. For this,I ask that you please bless your child by writing letters often.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Step Into My Shoes ~ Our Experience: Steps 6 and 7

Today I'll wrap up sharing about our experience going through the new resource for families called "Step Into My Shoes".

In case you missed my earlier posts:



STEP 6



After reading the Bible passage and talking about it, we watched the video "Enough Education". The activity was to think of ways you can bless others at school, but we are a homeschooling family. So instead we made some love notes for our friends and cousins (it just happened to be the week of Valentine's Day so it was perfect timing!) 


We also read the story of Jesus blessing the children in Mark 10. I got this idea from the other (earlier) version of the Step Into My Shoes journey guide. They suggested either acting it out or drawing it and my girls chose to draw it.




And then we reviewed the memory verse -

"'Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?' 
 Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sate down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish." - John 6:9-11

STEP 7



We started off by reviewing all we had done in the previous steps. None of this was really new to my girls, as we've done many activities like this before, but it was interesting to see what was significant to them about this particular experience. When we started this journey, I had just returned from my trip to Nicaragua and the girls were very eager and excited to hear about my experience there.

After reading the Bible passage, we watched the video "Enough Food".

We talked about the ways our family is already sharing our "more than enough" with those who have less. And then we talked about how we still have more than enough - even after we share. So we set a timer and gathered items we were willing to give away. I love decluttering so this activity was right up my alley!

We also went over the final memory verse -
"Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made and opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" - Mark 2:3-5

Friday, April 10, 2015

What to Write ~ Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

It's the second Friday of the month...the unofficial designated day to write to your sponsored kids!

I am continuing with the Fruit of the Spirit series In case you missed them, you can find them here...
And now for FAITHFULNESS


Greetings dear one! How are you? We are well, and it is with great joy that I am able to write another letter to you.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galations 5:22

Today we are learning what it means to be faithful or have faithfulness. So what is faithfulness? It’s the act of being loyal, constant and steadfast. When God is faithful to us, He is always there – in every situation and in every circumstance. His love for us is constant. When we are faithful to God, we are loyal to Him in every situation and every circumstance. We are obedient to His commands no matter what.

There are many Bible verses that tell us God is faithful to us. I love the imagery of Psalm 36:5.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Can you even imagine that? Go look at the sky and then imagine God’s faithfulness reaching that high – His love reaching through to the heavens. It’s pretty amazing.

Another verse I love is Psalm 86:15

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Other verses like Joshua 24:14 tell us that we should be faithful.

Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.

And verses like 1 Samuel 26:23 suggest that we will be rewarded for our faithfulness.

The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.

Being faithful requires effort and work. It’s easy to be faithful when we are happy, but much harder when things happen that make us wonder if God really loves us. Sometimes life is hard and we are sad or angry or confused about what is happening. But God still wants us to be faithful to Him, just as He is faithful to us.

I’ll leave you with my favorite verse about God’s faithfulness – this one is good enough to memorize, so I encourage you to hide this in your heart.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Because God is faithful to us, we need to be faithful (loyal, constant and steadfast) to Him.




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Step Into My Shoes ~ Our Experience: Steps 4 and 5

I've been sharing about our experience of going through Step Into My Shoes - a new resource for families from Compassion. 

In case you missed my earlier posts:



STEP 4



After reading the Bible passage and talking about it, we watched the video "Enough Hope". 

We talked about what our specific "callings" might be in terms of how God has gifted us and how He has given us certain talents and interests that are unique to us. We then brainstormed about ways we can give of ourselves to God by giving to others. We gathered items to represent our ideas.

We can give money to others in need and to causes like Compassion. We can draw or make cards for family and friends. We can pass down our clothes and toys to others. We can share our music with others. We can write letters and share God's love with our sponsored children. We can donate food to others. 

our alternate offering

And we reviewed the suggested memory verse...
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39


STEP 5


The big activity for this step is to mark off a 10x10 area and sleep there as a family. We did NOT do this. We've done this before and I just wasn't up for it. The girls have even slept under mosquito nets before so we just talked about and looked at our photos from Thailand.



We watched the video "Enough Safety" and then prayed that God would use what we have enough of to help others. We traced our open hands to show that we want to be generous and then each girl chose 5 of our sponsored children and wrote their names on each finger.


Our family also helps out a local family shelter and we talked about how what we do there is helping homeless families have a safe place to live and sleep.

Then we worked on the next suggested memory verse -

"'Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?' 
 Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sate down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish." - John 6:9-11
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