Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just For Kids

When I logged into my Compassion account the other day to write some letters on line, I noticed there was a  link to a crafts for kids page. Curious, I clicked and found several craft ideas that would be a lot of fun to do with my kids.

Some of the crafts would lend themselves to teaching your kids a bit more about poverty and life in other parts of the world. To see a full list, simply go HERE.

In fact, there are lots of ideas RIGHT HERE for your kids to be more involved and more informed about the work of Compassion. Get your kids and start looking around THIS SITE to see what interests them. My kids are usually more eager to learn when they choose the topic.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Write Your Letters On Line

When it comes to writing letters to your sponsored children, the easiest way to get it done quickly is by using the on-line letter writing tool. It's been around for a couple years now, and it's just gotten better. They've changed the format a bit and added new templates.

It's so easy, in fact, that my 7 and 9 year old girls can do it! They LOVED typing out letters to their birthday buddies and then choosing what template to use. And adding photos is a breeze.

To use this amazing resource, simply log in to your account on Compassion's website (if you haven't set one up yet, DO IT NOW!) Then click on "write my child" and you'll find step by step instructions.

Do you have kids? Let them try it! My kids were very excited about it and were amazed that the letter was directly sent to Compassion's Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What to Write ~ Praise and Adoration

It seems that praise and adoration have been a recurring theme in my life the past couple months. It all started with the last "what to write" post when I wrote about prayer. You see, I ended up using the five finger method of praying as a springboard in my 4-5 year old Sunday school class. I realized that the concept of praise and adoration is not as easy to grasp as the concept of thanksgiving.

It was about the same time I was teaching my own girls and my Sunday school kids what praise is, that I discovered this instagram account and fell in love with the daily adoration posts.

(And then I was asked to be the featured photographer for the July adorations posts.)

I'm learning that praise and adoration is an art, and a wonderful way to soak in truths of who and what God is. It's a way to take a moment and tell God what we like about Him and his ways.

So this month, I'm writing about praise and adoration - specifically how God is using this to teach me more about Him.

Dear ......

How are you? We are doing well. 

Do you ever take time to think about who God is and praise Him for it? It's easy to thank God for what He does for us, but praising Him is a little bit harder to understand. Praising someone is telling that person what you like about him or her. 

For example, if you came to see me here's what I might say to you to praise you....

"'s so good to see you! I love to see the sparkle in your eyes and you always make me smile. You give me the best hugs and make me feel loved. I love how you always have a kind and encouraging word for me. You are so much fun to be around. You are a great friend and I know I can count on you."

That's very different than saying...."Thanks for coming and giving me a hug."

The Bible tells us so many things about God and we can take Scripture verses and turn them into praise. 

Here are a couple examples:

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, 
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11


"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior 
and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope."
 1 Timothy 1:1


"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24


So what do you think? Can you give it a try? I've started making a list and I write down one praise to God each day. Sometimes it's based on a Scripture verse and other days it's just me telling God what I like about him. I've even praised God for bringing you into my life!

I look forward to receiving your next letter. Please give your family my greetings.

Have you written to your sponsored child yet this month? If so, I'd love to hear what you wrote about. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fighting Modern Day Slavery (teaching kids how to)

For the third year in a row, I was asked to head up the missions part of our VBS. Two years ago I presented Bite Back, last year I presented Water of Life, and this year we talked about modern day slavery.

You see, the theme for our VBS was Wilderness Escape - how God led the Israelites out of slavery, so I thought it would be cool to raise money to fight modern day slavery that affects so many children in the world today.

This can be a tricky subject to introduce to kids because there is nothing straightforward about it. And there is that whole sex-trafficking industry that makes up a huge percentage of modern day slavery. Probably not appropriate for me to talk about.

The past two years we raised money for issues that Compassion directly addresses. And although sponsorship is a great way to address the issue of modern day slavery (I believe that sponsorship is a great way to prevent modern day slavery for many kids), I needed an organization that was directly involved in the fight.

I decided to use the Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign from International Justice Mission.

I downloaded the toolkit and used it as my starting point. I also created a pinterest board with ideas I found on line.

In the past I've put on a Bite Back t-shirt or Water of Life t-shirt for my presentation, so this year I made a shirt with a big red X on it. I also put red X's on the children's hands each night to help them to remember to bring money the next night.

I always like to send the kids home with something tangible for two reasons:
  1. It serves as a possible conversation started between child and parent
  2. It serves as a visual reminder to bring $ later in the week

Each night I had 3-5 minutes to talk about our mission focus.

Day 1 - I simply shared what we were collecting money for and why.

Day 2 - I shared simple facts about modern day slavery and shared a personal story of a boy named Gopinath, whom was freed through the efforts of IJM.
  • slavery is illegal in every country
  • 27 million slaves around the world
  • 40-50% of those are children
  • Africa and Asia have the most slaves
  • India is the country with the most slaves
  • Gopinath's story - HERE
Day 3 - By this point we had raised $100 so we began to cut the chains off our "enslaved" child. Each chain represented $5, so I had the kids count by 5s until we reached $100. They loved this demonstration!

Day 4 - I showed this video....

Day 5 - I announced the total of donations that had been brought in - $303!! - and we cut the rest of the chains off our boy. I asked one of the kids to come up and pray over the money we had raised - that God would use it to bring freedom to some children who are caught in the cycle of slavery.

I love teaching children about some of the painful realities of our world. I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage them to see a need and do their best to meet it. I also love the conversations that were started between myself and several of the adults who were present. In those conversations we were able to talk about deeper things - like buying fair/direct trade coffee, chocolate and clothing.

My prayer is that through these opportunities, seeds are planted. In the years ahead, as these children grow up and begin to better understand the realities of this world, they will remember the seeds that were planted to help bring justice to the oppressed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creativity in Education

I came across this video this week and just had to share it here....makes me love Compassion a little bit more than I already did!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Letter Writing Photos by Hannah Hinojosa

Remember the post  about Involving Your Small Children in Child Sponsorship?

I thought I'd share some photos of our picture drawing for the Compassion kids this week! Juanito created a cute card with stickers at the local library story time. I asked him if he'd like to give it to one of his Compassion siblings and here's how the conversation went (with translation):

Me: "¿Quieres dar tu carta a un de tus hermanos de Compassion?" (Do you want to give your letter to one of your Compassion siblings?)

Juanito: "¡Si! A la princesa." (Yes! To the princess.)

Me: "¿Quién es la princesa?" (Who is the princess?)

Juantio turned to his photo book and showed me all the older teen girls (Nancy, Maria, Magreth and Maria, who are all wearing skirts).

Juanito: "Aquí." (Here.)

Me: "Ok, ¿cuál princesa?" (Ok, which princess?)

Juanito: "La princesa azul." (The blue princess.)

He pointed to Maria from Bolivia who is wearing a blue shirt in her photo.

I can't wait to tell the older girls that Juanito thinks that they're princesses! He then "wrote" in her card with a pen and purple marker.

Then he looked through the book and chose to give his tiger coloring/sticker project (also from story time) to Tresor! He then had to "write" a note to Tresor with the favorite pen and purple marker.

I just love when Juanito wants to write to the Compassion kids! What are ways that you love seeing your kids be involved with your sponsorship? I’m always open for inspiration and ideas!

About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Weekend Links to Share's been quiet here in this space lately. Sorry about that. It's not's a combination of a lack of time, a lack of inspiration and a lack of motivation. Maybe it's because the weather is so nice and summer is in full swing here. My days are FULL and that's a good thing.

Regardless, here area a few links I ran across and wanted to share. are some exciting updates concerning Compassion's ministry and growth. As you read through them, praise God for what He continues to do through this ministry! (there were shared with me directly from Compassion)

  • Compassion has earned Charity Navigator's 4 start rating for the 13th year in a row, According the the nonprofict watchdog's VP, "less than a dozen of the 7,500 charities we rate have received 13 consecutive 4-start evaluations and Compassion International is the only international charity to receive this distinction."
  • Sponsor letter writing has increased for the first time in 7 years - from 61% to 64% in fiscal year 2014. Advocates do an amazing work sharing the importance of letter writing with sponsors. 
  • In the month of April, U.S. sponsors wrote 140,000 letters to their sponsored children, the most ever in any one month.
  • In April, Compassion USA surpassed 900,000 children sponsored.
  • Compassion USA experienced its greatest month ever in sponsorships with 22,000 children sponsored in May.
  • Recently the Christian music group Casting Crowns became a Compassion band.
  • The second Mobile Experience truck will be put to use starting in September.

Do you have anything else to share with our community?

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