Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TH-982 ~ Waking up at a Compassion Project!

After our evening with the Karen people at the idp camp in Burma, we returned to Thailand and the church where we had previously dropped off all out stuff. There were about 30 of us who would be sleeping here, and amazingly, they had room for all of us! Some slept in hammocks, some slept in a large house with several rooms, and my family had a little house all to ourselves.

We woke up very early, thanks to the resident rooster who would not stop announcing the new day. The girls were outside walking around and then mentioned they had seen a Compassion sign. Folks....I had been trying to figure out how in the world we could get to a Compassion church project while we were in Thailand. I had tried to arrange our meeting with Orm at a Compassion project in Chiang Mai, but it didn't work out. 

God is good....He provided in a way I could not have imagined. We slept at a Compassion church project! Right on the border of Thailand and Burma. This is one of two that Dave has encountered in his work with FBR. I think it's so neat that Compassion and FBR overlap and minister to the same people!

Consistent with what I saw in Peru, Compassion takes the back seat to the local church. This was the only indication I saw that this was a Compassion project. Of course, once I knew, I started seeing evidence...but Compassion does not plaster their name all over the buildings. It's all about the local church and letting the local church take the lead.

Here is the actual building where the church service is held.

And this building appeared to be where a lot of the Compassion related stuff takes place.

They had display boards that had what appeared to have been an art contest. 

And another had what appeared to have been a writing contest.  

This building was locked up, but I'm guessing there are project offices in here. The blue sign has the Compassion project number on it.

This is Dave with Night Flower - the wife of Pastor Edmund who is pastor of this church. We did not meet him, as he was away from the village. But Night Flower is just as much a partner in the ministry of Compassion as her husband is. Dave told us some wonderful stories of how she is a powerful force of evangelism and faith in this community.

In addition to the church, the project building, the offices and the houses, there was this building which appeared to be new. In it were some classrooms for a Bible school (and likely the Compassion children use these classrooms as well). 

My heart was so, so happy to have made this connection. The only thing that would have made it better is if it had been full of children. If I ever go back, I want to take my violin and spend the whole day (Sunday) at the Compassion project, then spend another day or two in the Karen idp camp just across the border.

Here's the water supply....I'm sure on Sundays the kids are lined up getting water to drink.

It appears that this church is used to hosting groups - they have the accommodations for large groups and this was where we ate our meals.

Do any of you sponsor a child at TH-982?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Compassion in Tanzania - a letter from a CDSP director

I recently received 5 letters from 5 different Compassion center directors around the world. As much as I love letters from my sponsored children and letters from pastors, these letters are a gold mine!

If you want to know how each Compassion project is run, then this type of letter will give you all that information. Each Monday for the next few weeks, I'll be sharing one of the letters I received.

I don't know for sure, but I would guess that most Compassion projects within a country operate in a similar fashion. So even if your child doesn't attend this particular project, chances are he or she experience a similar thing in their Compassion project. I know that it varies greatly from country to country, but within a country...probably not so much.

And now, letter from Tanzania...

TZ 807 FPCT Chamwino Student Center

Dear Kevin and Jill,

My name is Stanley Mwailah. I am the Project Director of FPCT Chamwino Student Center where your child Joseph attends. This project is located in Dodoma region of Tanzania. I thank God for your support and sponsorship. May the Lord our God abundantly bless you for your kind heart.

Our center conducts programs at the center every Saturday. Children are divided in classes by ages and we use the Compassion curriculum which focuses on four areas of development: spiritual, physical, cognitive and socio-emotional. The children lear the love of God, understand their community, social interactions and have good relationships in community, hygiene and body cleanliness. At the project we are able to purchase for scholastic materials, health screenings and medical treatments, social care and spiritual care.

The adolescents learn self-management, being a responsible person in the community, becoming a servant leader, youth challenges, malaria and HIV/AIDS awareness. In addition, they learn extra curriculum activities like sports and games, tailoring, carpentry, mechanics, masonry, choir singing, computer practice, tutorials and camps.

The center also conducts parental meetings and trainings where they learn income generating activities like micro-business, entrepreneurship and how to become a good caregiving to their children.

We hope that you will continue to write letters. The children feel so good when they receive letters and photos from you. The letters enable them to build a strong bond between themselves. This bond has brought many blessings to our children. Sponsor visits bring blessings to the whole family because the sponsor know the environment of the child, talks a lot with family members, share the Word of God with family and they pray together and this creates a strong bond between child, parents and sponsors.

One again thank you for your compassionate support. It makes a great difference in the lives of your child and other needy children in a community, registered children now are able to attend school, get medication and social care compared to unregistered children in the community. Your support helped our center to make it possible for children and families with no hope to have happier and fruitful lives.

I request you to pray for the sponsored children so that they grow in the knowledge of Jesus and serve Him. Pray that they also grow in skills and knowledge in order to reach their goals and outcomes. We are praying for you, that God will bless you and your family abundantly. Once again thank you so much for your kind heart.

Stanley Mwailah

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Least of These

The King will reply, 
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did 
for one of the least of these 
brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40

Who are the least of these? I'm sure there is more than one answer to that question, but there is no doubt in my mind that an oppressed child would qualify as one of the least of these.

Children are vulnerable and needy by nature. Add poverty and oppression into the equation and you have a recipe of hopelessness.

According to this verse, Jesus is saying that when we help the poor and needy - feed them, clothe them, pray for them (i.e. sponsor them), we are serving and loving and following Him - Jesus. 

Rattikorn, Wuttikorn, Chawalit and Kannika are all still waiting for sponsors. All four of these children live in Thailand near the Thai/Burma border. Very likely, they are victims of oppression and could use a friend like YOU.

Simply leave me a comment or email me at fiddlejill(at)outlook(dot)com.

Feel free to speak up on behalf of these children through facebook or twitter - help me find a sponsor for each one!  

Joining with Still SaturdayScripture and a Snapshot, Sunday Community, Sunday StillnessWhatever is Lovely and Weekend Brew 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Evening in Burma

Because we were visiting our friends who founded and run Free Burma Rangers, one of our goals of this trip was to experience just a little bit of their mission and work in helping the ethnic people of Burma in the midst of a civil war.

We didn't enter Burma the normal way. There was no checking of passports or official border we crossed. Instead, we piled into trucks and drove on a windy, dirt road that eventually led us into Burma....specifically into Karen state.

We arrived a couple hours behind schedule and the sun was going down. We were visiting an IDP camp. IDP stands for internally displaced people and is another way of saying refugee. Several years ago there were 1000 people living in this village. Last year there were about 600. Because there is a cease-fire in Burma (which doesn't necessarily mean the fighting is done) right now, many refugees have started moving back to their home villages.

We weren't sure how many people we would find still here at this site. As it turned out, there were about 70 people still living here, and they were waiting for us.

Off in the distance of the hills we spotted a man riding an elephant!

We were a group of about 30, and we took turns introducing ourselves and sharing whatever was on our heart with these people. FBR regularly does a VBS-type program when they visit IDP camps called Good Life Club. Because our time was short, there was a shortened version of GLC - the gospel was presented, information about nutrition and health was given and then we passed out gifts.

Somehow my daughter, Sydney, was put in charge of handing out the gifts. What a blessing it was to see her involved in this way. I stood there thinking to myself, "THIS is as vacation worth remembering."

Later these three girls were in charge of handing out clothes to the children. It was fun watching them try to find the right sized child for the outfit they had to hand out.

One of the travellers had an art project for the kids to involved black paint and hand prints. Amazingly, I didn't see any black paint on the new blue and white soccer shirts all the kids got.

Listen...these people...these children are living mere miles from a Compassion project just on the other side of the border in Thailand. I know because I slept at it after leaving this IDP camp. I believe these very children are some of the ones Compassion Thailand hopes to minister to if and when they expand their ministry into parts of Burma and Laos. 

They have been oppressed by their very own country men. They are unwanted and have been driven out of their homes and villages....forced to flee for their lives. Can you imagine having to literally run for your life because you were being hunted down by your own country's army?

Stopping only when you think it's safe...and then having to build a life and home from nothing except the materials you find in nature?

I can't even begin to imagine what these people have endured.

When you sponsor a child in northern Thailand, you are very likely sponsoring a child like one of these refugees. Likely their parents have crossed the border to live in safety from the Burmese army. Compassion is right there on the border...ministering to these children. I know because I've been there.

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would experience what I'll learn more about it in my next post...but I was there and I saw.

Please, please, please....consider sponsoring one of these children....

Kannika Lahun
August 20, 2005

Chawalit Papa
November 21, 2010 

Wuttikorn Jasae (Tertoi)
June 30,2010 

Rattikorn Ja-oo (Na-ngha)
September 29, 2010 

To sponsor one of these children, please let me know in the comments or through email fiddlejill(at)outlook(dot)com.

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