Saturday, May 28, 2016

May Compassion Joys

Yoselin, Veronica, Collina (2), Collins (2), 
Jerry, Marlon, Duncan, Mwanzia


Orm, in Thailand, turned 13 on May 19th

Jackson, in Kenya, turned 17 on May 27th

Jazmin, in Peru, turned 15 on May 30th

Mwikali, in Kenya, turned 10 on May 30

photo updates
It's always a joy to see how the kids are growing

Esther in Uganda

Kendry in Nicaragua

Noel in Kenya

Veronica in Dominican Republic

Yoselin in Dominican Republic

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, May 25, 2016

Embracing Change

I have to admit that when Compassion first announced the changes to letter writing, I was a bit disappointed. For many years we've been able to send extras and I loved looking for special postcards, coloring pages, stickers and more. I know we can still send those things, but the idea that they are scanned and not actually sent to my kids took some time getting used to.

But guess what...I'm loving the changes. It has simplified my life and letter writing process and that's a really good thing!

This morning I opened my email and saw this...

I clicked on the link and was taken to a digital copy of the letter. I loved being able to read the letter in such a quick, easy manner. I'm in the process of going through over 20 years of letters that I've kept and I love that I now have the option to receive these digitally (you can still print them out if you really want to). This letter was dated April 20, so the new process is definitely faster.

Another thing I'm loving...the Compassion app. When I was in my Compassion account I noticed a few photos had been updated. I quickly opened my Compassion app so I could download the updated photos (no more bugging Compassion about sending me updated files).

Here's what it looked like...

a message telling me there was outdated data

I clicked OK and then saw the new photo

Then I clicked on the box with the arrow pointing up 
(under the CENTER tab)

and I got this message....

I clicked Yes and the new image was saved to my phone...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Emanuel in Peru

February 11, 2005

My sponsorship story of how Emanuel came to be part of our family is one of my favorites! In August of 2010, I traveled to Peru on an advocate tour with Compassion. This was my first Compassion trip and I actually didn't sponsor any children in Peru prior to the trip. I corresponded with two, whom I would meet on sponsor fun day, but didn't sponsor any. When my husband dropped me off at the airport, he said something along the lines of, "make sure you find a child to sponsor while you are there!" I had ordered a few child packets from the centers we'd be visiting prior to the trip, and took them with me in hopes of being able to meet these kids and then advocate on their behalf.

Our first morning in the country, we attended a church service at PE 427. As all the kids were leaving the service to go to children's church, I grabbed a Compassion staff worker, showed her Emanuel's photo and asked in my broken Spanish if she knew this boy. She looked at the photo and then at me...."This is my son!"

Someone set off to find Emanuel, someone else set off to find a translator, and soon I found myself surrounded by the entire Silva family.
I began explaining that I wanted a photo of Emanuel and that I would share his story and photo with my friends and family, in hopes of finding him a sponsor. And then I remembered my husband's words - his blessing for me to sponsor another child - and realized what an incredible opportunity this was. I committed to sponsoring Emanuel right then and there.

When I returned to my hotel room later that evening, I realized that I had brought along and extra backpack filled with shoes and gifts that were perfect for a 5 year old boy! I was able to give them to a Compassion staff person the next day and they were later delivered to my new boy.

Here are some more blog posts that I have written about that day:

Emanuel lives on the coast in Lima. They live in a brick house that is located near the school, hopsital, church and park. Their home does have phone, water, toilet and electricity. His father is Ronald and his mother is Elisa. His older brother is Pablo, and his sisters are Alexa and Kristy.

Filadelfia Student Center
PE 427 

greeting our bus as we arrived

the wonderful staff of PE 427

top left - with the backpack, shoes and gifts I had brought with me to Peru / top right - used $ we sent to buy a desk
bottom pictures - with gifts and supplies we were able to send

Other gifts he has received because of sponsorship include: shoes, clothes, bedspread, school supplies

food - quinoa, ceviche, chicken
color - green/blue
sport - soccer
story - Solomon
holiday - Christmas
place - beach

At one point we received this "photo album" from Emanuel. It was a collection of photos from his early years. How fun to see him as a baby and really young child! We've actually received several extra photos throughout the years.

a family photo

Miscellaneous info from letters:

  • wakes up at 7am / goes to bed at 8:30 pm
  • goes to school Monday - Friday / goes to project Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday
  • attends and ecological school and learns to care for the environment
  • wants to play guitar
  • shares his outgrown clothes with other kids who have less than him
  • at the project: sings, reads Bible, does homework, plays with friends

So many of Emanuel's letters have beautiful, colorful drawings on them. As I went through them all recently, I noticed that he would often draw a similar picture for several letters.

This one is Emanuel and his best friend Alex

"Thank you for teaching me in God's word."

"I say goodbye with a strong hug and kiss."

In this letter he had told me of a recycling program he had participated in,
and the drawing is representative of what he learned.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Juan David - released from poverty

My friend, fellow sponsor and advocate Michael Patterson, traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic this past week.  He posted the following on instagram and I asked if I could also share it here. There is nothing more heartwarming to me than hearing testimony of how sponsorship really does work. 

"I want to tell you about a special woman, the mother of Juan David Dominguez Galvez. When Juan David was four years old, his father died in a construction accident and she was left to provide for four children. She sacrificed and worked while living in extreme poverty.

Her youngest son, always told her that some day he would be a doctor. She told him becoming a doctor was very expensive, but he always told her that with God all things are possible. 

His mom enrolled him in the Compassion Development Center in the local church. Juan David was sponsored by Peter and Robyn Hopper, who live in McKay, Queensland. Juan David thrived in school, graduated high school with honors and was able to be accepted in Compassion's Leadership Development Program. He needed new sponsors to enter the LDP and that is why my coworkers came in. For eight years, 12 firefighters have been sponsoring Juan David. Yesterday was his completion ceremony. Sadly his mother was not able to attend because she had to work.

Now this 'child' is Dr. Juan D Dominguez. Yesterday while I was with him he received a phone call from the state ministry of health stating that he was approved to start his one year internship. At the end of the year he will have his license to practice.

As Wess Stafford might say, 'he was born into poverty, but poverty was not born into him.' 

During the past eight years I have been to the Dominican Republic three times. Prior to today Juan David's mother has had to work every time I was here, but today I was finally given the gift of meeting her! She said, 'It has been a long time since I felt like a queen.'

This woman is amazing."

"It was such an honor to witness the completion ceremony of Compassion International's Leadership Development Program. This guy, Juan David Dominguez Galvez, completed medical school - such a great accomplishment. I am honored to know him and to have been able to watch him grow these past eight years."

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

What to Write ~ Commandment 5

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)
  5. fifth letter (fourth commandment - keep the Sabbath day holy)

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

We’ve been learning about the 10 Commandments. Can you remember the first four?
1) Do not have any other gods – God wants us to recognize that He is the only true God who created all things.

2) Do not worship idols – God wants us to worship only Him.

3) Keep God’s name holy – God doesn’t want us to think, say or do anything that would dishonor his name.

4) Keep the Sabbath day holy – God wants us to set aside regular time for Him, to show others how important God is to us and to refresh our spirit.

The first four commandments teach us to love God with all our hearts. The remaining six teach us to love others with that same kind of love.

Here is the fifth commandment:  Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.  Exodus 20:12

We see this commandment repeated in the New Testament: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:2-3

I think what this verse is saying is that when we respect and obey (honor) our parents or guardians, our lives will be much happier. What does it mean to honor someone? It means to treat them as precious and valuable, to prize them highly and to obey them. Our parents or guardians are gifts to us from God and most likely they have done their best to provide our basic needs for us.

Some very easy ways we can respect and honor our parents or guardians is by speaking kindly to them, helping them, praying for them and obeying them. I guess another word for honor is love. God wants us to love Him with all our hearts and one of the best ways to love God is to love others.

my mom and I

We just celebrated Mother’s Day in our country and my mom was able to travel to spend the weekend with me and my family. We live very far apart and don’t get to see each other often, so it was special to celebrate the day together. And next month we’ll celebrate Father’s Day. Both of these holidays are reminders for us to remember how special our parents are to us, but we really need to remember that every day. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Links

Still need a Mother's Day gift? I loved Compassion's gift ideas this year....10 Unique Mother's Day Gifts That Give Back

I recently had the opportunity to review Joshua Becker's new book, The More of Less. Joshua is the founder of the very popular blog, Becoming Minimalist, and spreads a message of living with less so you can be more generous. 

He's been very encouraging and inspiring in my own journey of simplified living. I was thrilled to see a post by him on Compassion's blog this past week, and I urge you to read it if you haven't already.... The Counterintuitive Surprise of Generosity.   Also, you can read my review of his new book here.

My girls and I found about about Wordificator and made our own collage of our Compassion kids' names. You can choose a shape, then type in the names or words you want in your collage. 

Looking back

1 year ago on the blog... My Mom and Compassion

3 years ago on the blog...What to Write About ~ Write About Your Mom

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 8 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), which serves approximately 260 children. 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, Jacob
  • favorite color - orange and red
  • favorite animal - cow
  • favorite sport - soccer
  • washes utensils at home
  • comes from a Christian background
  • special needs - shelter, food (prays about God providing food)
"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. 

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