Saturday, January 31, 2015

Compassion Joys: January

Yay! First Compassion Joys post of 2015!!

 Compassion Family


We received 12 letters this month!! We heard from Kajal, Patricia, Sandier, Sharifa, Caleb, Angelina, Marc, Barry, Mishel, Kevenel, Julian, and Eduardo! And the letter from Marc was a first letter!


We had lots of birthdays this month! Mishel turned 14, Marc turned 18, and Nkoyio and Cristobal both turned 17! Since I knew about Nkoyio last month, I was able to get a birthday folder in the mail for her as well. I got Cristobal two days before his birthday, but since he is graduating before his next birthday (and has only received two letters in the ten years he's been in Compassion's program!) I am going to put together a fun folder for him, too!

New Kids! 

We gained FOUR new correspondents this month!

Fatuma in Kenya

Thanakan in Thailand

Estha in Togo

Cristobal in El Salvador


We had the opportunity to send out a quick, last-minute gift to my mom's sponsor child in the Dominican Republic! I also found out that I am going to be able to send gifts to Peru and Honduras in the spring and summer. I'm so excited about getting them together!


We celebrated several sponsor anniversaries this month. As of January 2015, we have been writing to Brendita in Mexico for two years, and Caleb in Uganda and Eduardo in Honduras for one year! I'm so glad they're all a part of my family!

Photo Updates! 

Elifagason in Tanzania got his photo updated this month! Interestingly enough, Tanzania does photo updates every 18 months- but Elifagason looks almost exactly the same as he did in the first photo we got of him last fall (and his previous one, too!) I'm not sure how frequently his photos were updated, but it doesn't look like 3.5 years has passed since his previous photo! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sweet Greetings from Peru, Haiti, and Colombia

Happy Mail Call Monday!

We received three letters this week! The first was from Mishel in Peru.

Mishel shared some answers to my questions in her letter! She's pretty good about providing at least one answer in each of her letters (but I write lots of letters, and therefore, I end up asking lots of questions!) In this one, she told me about what she cooks with her mom. She specifically said they "saute" fried chicken, fried eggs, fried fish, French fries, and more! And she reminded me that she likes cooking with her mom. I think that Mishel's family's diet sounds pretty similar to that of people where I live. Mishel also said she received a notebook and card from me, and she is doing well in school. She asked for prayer for her dad, who is a little sick, and asked what kind of animals live in my area! She closed her letter with "a big hug and many kisses."

Next, we heard from Kevenel in Haiti!

I really like the fact that Kevenel's letters are written by his dad. His profile actually says that he does not live with his dad, so I'm glad that even if that information is current, his father is involved in his life, and hangs out with him at the center! Kevenel's letter was a form letter about going to the dentist. One problem though: he's never been before! Basically, in that portion of the letter, I just learned that when Kevenel does go to the dentist for the first time, he wants to go with his aunt! He also said that is family is doing well, and asked about our family. He said that his family grows "lots of fruits and vegetables" such as mangoes and plantains. Kevenel claimed in his letter that it is cold where he lives, but Haiti never gets that cold! I have had a fun time telling Kevenel and Marc about how cold it is where I live right now! He also said that he has heard of baseball, but has never seen a "baseball stick." This is in response to a letter I wrote about my city, in which I described the Louisville Slugger Museum and factory.

Finally, we got a letter from little Julian in Colombia!

I was glad to hear from Julian a little over 2 months after his last letter. It took so long to hear from our Colombian kids after we received them for correspondents- I'm looking forward to hearing from them more regularly! Julian told me he likes to hang out with his family in his free time. He also wants to be a pilot someday! I'm excited about that- I have a Disney Planes sticker book I'm going to send him soon! He said that cats and dogs are his favorite animals, but he would like to have a pet rabbit, and he would name it Bebe! Julian's tutor Elena wrote the letter for him, and she said that Julian was enjoying his holiday, and that Julian sent a hug and a kiss with his letter, and he loves me very much!! He also picked a very interesting Bible verse to send: "Do not envy the wicked; do not desire their company." From Psalm 24.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what this week brings to my mailbox. For one, Mishel's letters usually arrive within a day of Carlos', but we haven't heard from Carlos yet! We are also right on the 2 month mark since our last letter from Victor and Mary, which means that we should be hearing from them at any moment! I've also seen that several folks who received Kenyan correspondents recently have started getting letters that were written shortly before the kids were sponsored, so it would be neat to get something from my newest six girls soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Getting to Know You: Mary

Name: Mary Mbari
Age: 19
Birthday: November 25
Country: Kenya
Sponsored since: December 2012

How we got her: After Compassion lifted the limit of 3 correspondence kids, we received a little girl named Annet in Uganda. Her sponsor dropped her after we received one letter to her (which was mistakenly sent to another sponsor!) It was really sad, but we were blessed to receive Mary shortly after that! If we hadn't lost Annet, I might have waited a while to ask for another correspondent, and therefore might have missed out on being matched with Mary!

About her family:  Mary's letters are always incredibly detailed and wonderful, but oddly enough, I don't know much about her family! The only thing I know for sure is that she lives with her parents, and she definitely has a mom- I've seen two pictures of her!! In her first letter, she named her parents and two siblings, but she has never really said much about them or their personalities, what they do, etc. In 2013, her family was able to purchase firewood and sell it as a business because of a generous gift from her financial sponsor- I don't know if they are still selling firewood, but I know they did at one time!

Hobbies and interests: Mary really likes to sing! She also loves attending church activities, and she's very outgoing and social- she spends a lot of time with her friends! And as you will see, she is incredibly wise. I love getting her letters because there are usually some pretty awesome little sayings in there!

Here are some quotes from Mary's letters throughout the past two years!

"As for me, I like socialising and making new friends. I love singing and I love my country Kenya."

"I would request you to pray for my family, country, and I, for God to open te doors for my dream of singing."

"Our country is fine and has enough peace."

"My family and I are praying for you that He will shower you with blessings."

"It is more encouraging in our life today knowing each other, even if we can't meet....I am glad that I can be able to see you. It's even beautiful looking at your city and it looks like paradise." (She liked the first photos we sent to her!!)

"I like socializing  with my friends, and also hanging out. We also talk about the challenges in life, that encourages us."

Mary's photo got updated shortly after we got her as a correspondent! 

"The Bible is one of my best books in life that encourages and gives hopes."

"Thank you for the gift you sent me, it's great knowing that there is someone who cares for me."

"As you know, this is the time of music festivals, and I know that music is part of me."

"My family and I are all fine. We pray for you each and every day because you are part of us."

"We praise and worship Him because he is the provider of all."

Mary posing with the firewood her family bought with a gift from her 
financial sponsor! 

"We were taught about God's word and it was so encouraging. I learnt many things like it's better to listen more than to talk much."

"When I am in need I usually read this verse, Psalms 121: 1-2. It says I lift my eyes to the Lord where my help will come from, my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth."

"At school I am doing great because it is a golden opportunity."

"We are lifting His name high because we have seen His mighty hand upon our lives.

"I will pray for her and also her family because God makes a way when there is no way. I also pray for you because you are such a great friend in my life and I also treasure you."

"Thank you very much for the book because it gives me hope. The book also strengthens my faith whenever I feel desperate."

"You also have a great name. When you take the first letters it becomes J^2 and also when you take my first letters it becomes M^2."

"Thank you for the support you have been giving me and may the Almighty bless the work of your hand."

Last January, we got this wonderful photo of Mary and her mom! They are holding a tuition check for Mary's schooling, which they got with a gift from her financial sponsor. 

"Remember that you are a friend among a thousand and I treasure you because I can't measure the support you give me because of the pleasure you give and compassionate."

"May our mighty provider expand your territory and bless the work of your hands."

"With God's grace, nothing is impossible."

"I love reading about the temptation of Jesus in the Bible because they help me to overcome temptations whenever I am tempted."

"I come to realize that no one was born a fool and anyone can pass exams- I have given myself a motto: if others can achieve their goals, why not me."

"I am also glad to read about the weather in your country because I h ave never seen snow, but due to your care, you sent me some photos."

"My family and I are fine and we are proud of you. I am glad for having such a caring pal. Remember, even if we never met my spirit will always be there to watch over you, to give you comfort, to give you kind heart and also to cheer you."

"I would like to thank you for your great concern about me. I believe that prayers without faith cannot move mountains. All this is connecting my prayers for you because you are a great person."

"I will pray for Denise because she is part of my family and I believe in the Lord who lives, protector, provider and a great doctor or healer that she will be more healthier than before." (She sent this after my mother in law was diagnosed with kidney cancer.)

"I received your letters and I greatly appreciate them because they motivate my attitude. I am also happy because you appreciate my letters and that we learn new ideas from one another."

"I love you Jessi and I also pray for you and I know that God showers you with much blessings and that He will expand your boundaries. Remember in every success there must be boundaries, valleys, rejection, wind blocks or breaks and even drought."

"I am glad to have received your letters and knowing there is someone who cares for me as my second sister. I am glad to have met you as my sponsor because you are so caring and you are like an angel sent from heaven by God to give me comfort."

"I would like to do catering and music because I love cooking and especially delicious meals and I love Gospel music."

"I am sorry for losing your friend Betty and may God rest her soul in peace. I will pray for her soul which I know is in heaven, and I will also pray for you to regain your strength and know that there is only one great friend who never departs and that is Jesus. I will also pray for her friends for God also make them regain their strengths. Remember that all challenges you pass through are not temptations but are there to regain your faith and make it stronger."

"I was taught in the project how to walk in a firm foundation. This is by targeting your goals and having a mission and a vision to achieve them."

"I will pray for Brandon's uncle Dennis because God is sooo just to his people and always comes at the right time." (Brandon's uncle was very sick and in need of a liver transplant. Mary's letter arrived the day after he got his new liver!!)

"I am doing all my best so that I can achieve my target and I am also dedicating my work to the Lord."

"I thank God for making each new day seem bright to my family."

"I hope your family is fine because God is not so unjust to forget his people. Jessi you are a great friend to me and I am not afraid to say this to the crowd. You are a friend in a million and may God never set us apart. You care so much for me like I am your sister."

"Remember, success is not a journey, it is a destination."

"Thank you for your letters because when I read them I usually feel great and that I have a friend who cares."

Pretty Mary's most recent photo! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sweet Greetings from Bangladesh, Uganda, Ghana, Haiti, and Burkina Faso

Happy Mail Call Monday!!

This week, we received five letters! Three even came in one day! It was very exciting.

The first letter was from Sharifa in Bangladesh!

Sharifa was given a letter prompt of writing about her school, but she basically had a big blank space in which to write. She told me that she goes to school and the project every day, and she has her lunch there. She's learning dances and songs at the project- I have seen pictures of Bangladeshi dancers, and they are stunning! Sharifa also said she likes to sing and play with her friends, and when she wrote the letter, her country was experiencing autumn. One neat thing about Sharifa's letters is that they are written in her language, Bangla (which is very pretty) but she writes "Dear Sponsor Jessi Jones" in my language! It's interesting because her English letters still have some subtle style resembling Bangla. It's so cute! :)

Next we heard from sweet Caleb in Uganda!

Caleb's letter included a description of what he got with the birthday money we sent: they got a mattress, soap, and cream! Caleb shared that his parents are busy gathering ground nuts, and the people are planting and harvesting. His family grows maize and cassava. He must live in a very agricultural community, because he talks about farming in all of his letters! When telling me that he is now in 6th grade, he said "how I wish God gives me wisdom!" He also said that in the project, they are "enjoying life," and he liked the little prayer book I sent to him. He also shared a few Bible verses, and said "it is so nice to see how God has cared for us!"

Next up, a letter from Angelina in Ghana!

We found out for sure that she prefers to be called Angelina- that's what she asked her project worker to write in one of the sections of her letter! She also said that she has never heard of walruses (I remember writing about them in some letter this summer!) She asked how we were preparing for Christmas, and said she is praying for God to shower blessings on us. She asked that we pray for wisdom and prosperity for her family, and shared a verse with us, Proverbs 8:13.

Later in the week, we got our first letter from Marc in Haiti!

Marc's letter was written a couple of months after we received him as a correspondent, so my first letter may have just been arriving in Haiti for him. This letter was addressed to his financial sponsor. He opened it by saying "it is with much smile that I am writing to you." He asked a lot about our health, activities, and how things are going here (or rather, asked his financial sponsor!) and said that his family is doing well and he passed his first trimester exams. He also said that he wished we/his financial sponsor had a nice end of year celebration! Hopefully we will get another letter from him soon, and see his responses to my questions and stories. :)

Finally, we heard from little Barry in Burkina Faso!

Barry's letter was a form letter about his medical check-up. He went to the project for a check-up, and walked there with some of the workers from the project. The doctors said he is doing well, and he learned that "if I don't wash my hands before eating, I will have a stomach ache." Smart! This is something that all the projects were working with the kids about in Tanzania- we offered to share hand sanitizer as a time saver one day, but they explained that it would be best for the kids to continue practicing the habit of washing up with soap and water! Barry also told me that he has an ox and a chicken, and he asked that we pray that he will be first in his class!!

I'm sad that we don't have any mail coming today, but hopefully there will be more letters coming tomorrow!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Getting to Know You: Jayid

Our third sponsor child profile is about my little buddy Jayid!

Name: Jayid
Age: 9
Birthday: November 9
Country: India
Sponsored since: March 2012/November 2012

How we got him: We first received Jayid as a correspondence child- we were actually already at our limit of 3 (in addition to Said, we had Joane and Tae in Haiti and Thailand, but they've left the program.) Someone from Compassion posted online that they had so many kids who needed correspondents that they would bend the rule and allow people to have one more! After some confusing phone calls (not everyone who answered the phones knew about the special circumstances at first) we got Jayid! And unfortunately, about 8 months later, his sponsor decided to drop him. We prayed about it and decided that we would take on his sponsorship. So that's why we have two dates for sponsorship for him!

About his family: Jayid lives with his mom and dad, and he has two siblings, a brother and a sister. His mom and dad are in their 30s, and they have been sick off and on during our sponsorship of him. The health of Jayid's family is a special and frequent prayer of mine!

Hobbies and Interests: I definitely learned more about Jayid in his first year of letters than I have in the letters since. His favorite color is black, and he likes chess. He is also a good artist, and he is learning English. In one of his first letters, he wrote out the English alphabet and the numbers 1-100 to show me his progress! Now he mostly keeps me up to date on what's going on at his project. Last year they did a few months of martial arts classes, and he seemed to enjoy that! He also likes to sing "action songs" at the center.

Here are some quotes from his letters throughout the past few years!

"He is very intelligent in studying. He is a good boy. He likes eating bread and milk."

Jayid's first picture!

"He also gives thanks of your giving information about world famous horse race and air craft show."

"He comes to school cheerfully."

"What I like most about my community is: social work and cultural dance."

"You are saying about tigers so he also says our teacher studied about tigers. My teacher says in our state (is the) highest number of tigers living."

"When I grow up I want to become: a teacher because he can teach to all illiterate people." 

Our second photo of Jayid! 

"Someday I would like to meet my sponsor because: he wants to see them with her two lovely eyes."

"When I grow up I would like to help my family by: making their wishes come true."

"He likes Abraham's faith story."

When my mother-in-law went to India on business, she took a bag and mailed it for Jayid! The postal service returned it, but her colleagues took it to the field office and delivered it in person!!

I never found out who this lady was, but apparently they had a little party to celebrate Jayid getting his UK bag full of gifts! And in his thank you letter, they listed them all out (including things like the brand name of the pencils I sent!)

"He says so much thank you for your gift, stickers, bag, and for so many things, and for precious prayer."

Our most recent photo of Jayid, updated this fall! 

"He says that he is very glad to learn some English words and sentence."

Monday, January 12, 2015

Outgoing Mail: Valentines

I'm heading to the post office this week with a big box for Compassion!

Last year when I sent out Valentines, we only had 12 kids!! We picked up 3 more in the first few months of the year.....but now we are up to 36!!!  I went to several stores to find everything I wanted to send for Valentine's Day. 

The basis for any box of Compassion mail is letters, of course! Several countries throughout the world celebrate Valentine's Day, but not all of them do. In my letter, I explained that it's a holiday which celebrates love. I told my kids that it started out as a holiday for romantic love, but now we also use the day to remind friends, family, and classmates that we care about them! I explained a little about Valentines cards, and told them that school children hand them out to their classmates, but I like giving out Valentines, too. : ) I also said that people decorate things with hearts, and some people even wear pink and red, which are colors associated with the holiday. I also shared that many people get married on Valentine's Day, and that includes my parents!

I then went on to tell the kids that there are many ways we can show someone that we love them, all year long. Some examples I gave are helping our parents by doing our chores, sharing a toy with a sibling, or giving part of our lunch to someone who doesn't have enough to eat. I asked them how they thought they could show more love to the people around them. I closed with a reminder that I love each and every one of my kids tremendously, and shared a Bible verse- "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35.) I printed out coloring sheets to go with the letters as well. I just found them online, but if you click on one of the pictures below and save it, you can print it out as a coloring page, too! 

Coloring page for younger boys

Coloring page for older girls

Coloring page for older boys

Coloring page for younger girls (which I realized after I printed it that it doesn't actually have hearts on it. Still cute, though!) 

Then I got to work putting together gifts to send! I kept it simple for this holiday because I also needed to send several birthday folders and anniversary gifts (more on that in a bit.) Each of my kids will be receiving a photo of me and Brandon (which I took on our anniversary- he hates having his picture taken, so I took advantage of the opportunity!) and a Valentine's card. I thought about buying packaged greeting cards, but I couldn't find that many designs I liked, and each pack was $5 for six cards. After I bought one pack, I decided to find an alternative. A few retailers have some cards for 50 cents or $1 mixed in with their greeting cards, but I found the most success at the Dollar Tree! They have tons of cards from last year for 50 cents each, but the retail price is $2 and up! I picked out a ton to buy, and the sales clerk asked if I had left any for the other customers! 

I also wanted to try to send some stickers or something along with the cards, so I found some sparkly heart stickers at Walmart, 8 sheets for $1.97. They also had some robot and owl stickers that I sent to the younger boys. Lastly, the Dollar Tree had some little party favors in their Valentine's section. I found tiny little heart-shaped notebooks that are wrapped in heart-printed foil (think of how the foil sticks to the paper on a stick of gum), and there were 8 notebooks in a pack! That's pretty good for a dollar! So all the girls got shiny heart notebooks, too! 

After the Valentines were finished, I got to work on birthday folders. One of our new Kenyan girls has a birthday at the end of January, and I wanted to send her a gift, even though she'll be getting it really late (that would be Nkoyio.) Then in February, Christine has a birthday (I already sent Sharifa's birthday gift last month) and Victor's birthday is in March! Our "sponsor-versary" with Sandier is also in March, so I put together a gift for him as well. 

Sandier's gift: a Spanish picture book, "thumb war" tattoos (from Walmart! So cool!), Planes stickers, and a card

Nkoyio's birthday gift: a folder, coloring pages and puzzles, stickers, a little notebook, a planner, a birthday card, a scripture card and a pretty picture taken by my mom, with a Bible verse on it! 

Christine's birthday gift: a bright folder, coloring pages and puzzles, a Minnie sticker book, a fun book about space, more stickers, a scripture card, another picture from mom, and a birthday card.

Victor's birthday gift: a folder I decorated with soccer stickers, a paper airplane kit, puzzles coloring pages, a birthday card, stickers, a math activity book I found at Half Price (Victor talks about studying a lot) which incorporates Bible stories, and another picture from mom. 

I already started working on April's gifts, since we have some early birthdays that month, but they're not quite ready yet. Even if I get them out this week, I will save the pictures for next time. : ) 

If you have sponsor kids, what kinds of cool extras and fun things have you sent them recently? Are you sending Valentines? I love hearing about what other people are sending out! 

Sweet Greetings from Honduras

Happy Mail Call Monday!

This week we just got one letter, from Sandier in Honduras!

When I went to my Google Doc where I keep track of when I receive letters, I saw that we just got a letter from Sandier a month ago (almost to the day!) so this was a nice surprise! Sandier's letter was about his family. He has one sibling named Hayki, and he spends most of his time with his mom. He said that his grandmother, who lives with them, is still sick, and asked us to pray for her. Sandier also said that he has enjoyed all the little paper goodies I've been sending with his letters- he must have received the birthday folder I sent, because he mentioned the word search puzzle and coloring book! Sandier said he has never been to a zoo or a museum, but he's still pretty little- hopefully he will get to go soon! And he assured me that there are no crocodiles where he lives! I don't remember writing about crocodiles, but it's still good to know! : ) Sandier had a few questions, too. He wants to know who makes the food in my home, and if I ever go out with my family! 

I hope this week brings many more letters- we haven't heard from some of our regular writers in about two months, which means we should hear from them pretty soon! 

Conduits of Hope.

Five years ago, Haiti was rocked by a massive earthquake. Catastrophic is the best descriptive word that comes to mind. It would have been bad enough if this earthquake had happened anywhere else- it was incredibly destructive. A quarter of a million homes and apartments collapsed, along with 30,000 businesses. Over fifty aftershocks measuring 4.5 or higher occurred over the next two weeks, and those are still pretty good sized earthquakes.

We don't know how many people died in the earthquake, because the Haitian government issued some inflated casualty numbers in the aftermath. Outside sources agree that the number is definitely over 100,000, maybe up to 160,000. Morgues were inundated with the bodies of those who died. Tent cities were constructed to house the displaced.

Five years is a long time,  by some measurements. Remember the Christmas Tsunami from five years ago? The southeast Asian nations affected by that disaster have made tremendous progress since then. Yes, the poverty in that area has slowed some of the rebuilding efforts, but in some ways, they are doing pretty well. But Haiti, not so much.

Haiti has a very complicated history. The Haitian people have so much to be proud of. In the 17th century, they were the richest colony in the French Empire. Haiti was known as the "pearl of the Antilles." At the beginning of the 19th century, Haiti became the world's first black republic, after ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture led the colonialists in revolt. Haiti's home to gorgeous beaches and stunning mountains, an incredibly interesting history and culture. And yet, for a variety of reasons, it is such a hard place to live. Some organizations consider it to be the poorest country in the world- it is definitely the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Government corruption is out of control. Haitians are fleeing the country, either going to their neighbors in the Dominican Republic (which has resulted in some harsh anti-immigration laws) or risking their lives in makeshift rafts and boats, trying to make it to the United States or another country across the waters.

Because of the poverty, the government corruption, and other tremendously sad factors, Haiti has not recovered well from the earthquake five years ago. Despite billions of dollars in foreign aid, and millions of those donated by ordinary citizens, people are still living in tents. Family members are still unaccounted for. People are still looking for jobs, after losing theirs five years ago. And impoverished conditions are a breeding ground for more problems like disease malnutrition, a bias against's a cycle of tremendous sadness.

Haiti has a very special place in my heart. I knew a little about it before the earthquake- my favorite professor in college loved Haitian and Dominican history, and frequently traveled there. He taught about those countries in just about every class, whether you'd think they were relevant or not. The earthquake happened right after Brandon and I got married- I remember waking up that morning and hearing about it, and my stomach just sunk. Natural disasters are scary enough, but I knew about how hard life was in Haiti before the quake, and it made me sick and sad to think of how hard things were going to be after. The next week was full of heartbreaking stories- some with happy endings, some not. So many people were lost. It is still so sad to think about. The following year, we received Joane as our first correspondence child. She didn't live in one of the cities most heavily affected by the disaster, but she had lost friends and family members. Haiti started to take up more room in my heart. And then my friends adopted my little buddy A from there, and I was won over. I love that kid so much. My heart is heavily invested in Haiti now. I had been working on fundraising to go there with Compassion (that's on hold  at the moment, but I still hope to go someday, whether with them or my church.) And Brandon and I want to adopt from there when we meet the age requirements set by the Haitian government. We have friends who have recently started the process, and while I'm excited for them, I'm also super jealous! We have a few years to go before we meet the minimum age requirements set by some agencies. Life is full of waiting. But, Lord willing, it will happen someday!

Life in Haiti is hard, but not hopeless. There will always be hope as long as people are willing to help. One way you can help Haiti is by investing in the life of a child there. It sounds cliche, but children are the future. They're the ones who are going to grow up to be doctors, teachers, and politicians. They're going to be the world changers. They're the conduit for hope. I would have written this post even if I didn't advocate for Compassion, but I do want you to know that there are precious little ones waiting for a sponsor in Haiti, and you can change their lives. Getting a sponsor is such a joyous occasion for these families. There's assurance that their children will get the assistance they need to grow up healthy and strong, in a nation with the highest percentage of orphans in the world. A nation where only half the adults know how to read and write, and only 10% of students make it through high school. Where one in 10 children doesn't make it to the age of 5. Where over 80% of all people live under the poverty line, and half the people live in abject poverty. Sponsorship means tutoring, nutritious meals at the center, emergency assistance, clean water, medical and dental check-ups, encouragement from the staff and from a loving sponsor, and most importantly, it means sharing Jesus with these kids and their families. What better source of hope can they have?

These beautiful Haitian kids are all waiting for sponsors. Will you end their wait today?

Lucmanise is 3 years old. She lives with her mom, dad, and a sibling. Her parents are unemployed, and adults who are able to find work in her region work as subsistence farmers for about $33 a month. Lucmanise likes singing and running.

Roudlin is 4 years old. He lives with his mom, dad, and three siblings. He loves soccer and he's currently going to preschool. People in Roudlin's region face a lot of health problems, and they are in need of schools and employment opportunities. 

Ansica is 5 years old. She lives with her mom and dad and one sibling. She likes playing hide and seek and other games with her friends. People in her region are in desperate need of clean water. 

Wilson is 6 years old. He lives with his mom and dad and two siblings. He has been waiting almost a year for a sponsor. Wilson is struggling in school, and would especially benefit from the encouragement of a sponsor. 

Rose-Dana is 8 years old. She has been waiting over six months for a sponsor. She lives with her grandfather and her mom. Rose-Dana likes to sing in the choir.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Getting to Know You: Said

Here's my second post in my new series profile my sponsor kids!

Name: Said
Age: 16
Birthday: November 30
Country: Tanzania
Sponsored since: July 2011

How we got him: I started corresponding with kids in 2011- we got two other children earlier in the summer, and added Said at the end. At that time, a limit of three correspondence children had recently been instated, so we thought Said would be our last!

About his family: I knew when I got Said that his dad was not around. When I met him in Tanzania, I was able to ask more about his family, and learned that his dad died several years ago. He lives with his mom and his sister Moshi, and they visit his grandmother twice a year to help with planting and harvesting. He had another sister named Huba who passed away in 2013.

Hobbies and interests: Like all Tanzanians, Said loves soccer, and he's very good at it! He is also a great artist. He has drawn many pictures for me over the years, and I'm assuming he really likes jam since I've lost track of the number of jars of jam he has drawn for me. I was privileged to sit and watch Said draw in person when I visited Tanzania in March 2014! He is a quiet, gentle soul who is a really good big brother- he takes care of his family, and he also looked out for Elisha and Bonifas when we were all together for our visit day. He was also really content to just sit with me watching them play, with his hand on the arm of my chair.

Here are some quotes from his letters throughout the years!

"Said greets you saying 'shikamoo.' He says this is a greeting of juniors to seniors, and the response is 'marahaba.' So he asks you to say marahaba!"

Our first photo of Said

"I thank God for a friend from America. May God bless you for your loving heart, that you decided to choose me."

"Welcome to Tanzania, there are many animals and many national parks."

Our second photo of Said, updated in 2012

"Beloved Jessi, receive love greetings from my family and I. My mother and my sisters greet you so much together with your family."

"Praise the Lord! God is good and I hope he protects you."

In 2012, we got a photo of Said wearing the sandals and shirt he bought 
with his birthday money!

"Your letter has made me to be happy, thanks a lot for remembering me."

"Thank you for the nice letter. I am so much blessed when I get your letters."

"Receive greetings of love from me and my mother. We thank God ever here for keeping us. We also thank you for your prayers. Thank you so much for your next letter. I thank you that you told me that you had a holiday of Thanksgiving. I became very happy when I received your letter."

Representing the Big Blue Nation, all the way over in Tanzania. 

"I believe that you are proceeding well with your daily activities."

"I would like to greet you in the name of Jesus. I say, praise the Lord Jesus! My family and I hope that you are fine and getting on well with your daily works." 

"We wish to see you face to face, so we wish you to come to visit us one day in Tanzania." 

Me and my boy. He brought me a kitenge cloth from his region. 

"I greet you in the name of Jesus, praise the Lord Jesus so much. Dear friend, I am so happy to write to you." 

"God bless you so much for your lovely heart for me, I am so happy. Also my mother thanks you so much for your lovely heart. God bless you and increase you where (you) took for me." 

"Beloved Jessi, I would like to greet you in the name of Jesus. Praise the Lord Jesus. beloved, I am very happy to get this chance to write you this letter." 

Said's photo got updated a few weeks after I got back from visiting him!