Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Blogging from the Dominican Republic

Every once in a while, Compassion takes a trip that's just made up of the regular helpful staff and a group of Bloggers. It's a great outreach tool, for lack of a better term, because for the duration of the trip, popular bloggers dedicate all of their posts to what's going on in whatever country they're visiting! So many different types of people have gone on these trips- bloggers who post about organization, homeschooling, small businesses, faith....one time I even learned that the author of a cookbook I like was a Compassion sponsor and would be going on one of these trips!

This week, the Compassion Bloggers are in the Dominican Republic. You can follow along with their posts on Compassion's website. You can also check out the posts by individual bloggers. Here are some sneak peeks at their recent posts! 

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” Henri Nouwen I thought I was safe. I exhaled a breath of laughter with two little girls who stuck to me, the moment we stepped out of the Compassion van, like two graham crackers melted into a marshmallow s’more. The girls drew a circle of beautiful children to follow me, children who make a home among shacks of tin-rusted roofs and walls made out of metal sheets, huddled along the polluted waters of “The River”. This is not a river you go stand in to go fly-fishing, but rather used as sewage and garbage that runs through the neighborhood’s backyard. 

I knew in my head Compassion would never take bloggers anywhere that risks our safety.  But, as our van moved into the “City Belt” — the most dangerous strip of land in the Dominican Republic — I noticed we stopped.  A policeman who holstered a metal pistol climbed on, to sit alongside me. - See more at Faith Barista by Bonnie Gray

"I’m not quite sure what I was expecting today, but I know it wasn’t what I found. As we made our way through the snarled traffic of Santo Domingo, and the neighborhoods slowly devolved from the upscale business district to the down-and-out neighborhoods closer to our destination, my heart slowly sank.  
I took it all in, sheltered behind the tasseled teal blue curtains of our mini bus–in the barred windows, the graffiti, the litter. The vacant stares on the faces that we passed. The dirty river, the razor wire on top of cement block walls, the unattended children running through the streets in nothing but their underwear.
And I wondered how my heart would bear the despair I was about to encounter."
See more at Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

"Today in the Dominican Republic, Our Compassion team leaders took us to visit a CDSP {Child Development Sponsorship Program}. This is the flagship program for Compassion and probably what they are best known for. You probably already know that you can sponsor a child for $38 month. Steve and I sponsor Joeli and we can’t wait to meet her later this week. I expected the kids to be friendly and affectionate–and they were. So fun! I didn’t expect to be so moved by one mama I met. I didn’t expect to see Compassion so directly changing individual lives."
See more at Lisa Leonard Designs by Lisa Leonard

"I met a God-sized dreamer in the most unlikely of places today. Her name is Carla and she lives in a tin roof house with curtains for doors in the Dominican Republic. At the end of our time together, she apologized for not having a grander place to share with us. Through the Compassion International translator I told her, “This is a house of love. And that is worth more than anything else.”"

This is just a sampling of the amazing writing by the wonderful people who are on this trip! And the really neat thing about Compassion Bloggers trips is that many kids get sponsored during this time. At least one of my mom's sponsor kiddos got picked up during a Compassion Bloggers week (that would be Jessika in Ecuador!) This week, we have a goal of getting 300 children sponsored. They don't all have to be in the Dominican Republic. If you feel like you've been tugged in the direction of sponsorship, I encourage you to read the blogs above first, and see what God is trying to tell you between the lines of these websites. You don't need me telling you to sponsor a child, or tell you how awesome Compassion is, or what these kids' lives are like before and after Compassion is a part of them. I do that all the time! Let someone else, who is visiting the front lines this week, tell you what Compassion is doing and show you the precious faces of the children whose lives are being transformed by these centers.

And just in case you feel like you're being called to sponsor, here are some sweet kids who are waiting. Are they waiting for you?

Eudis is 3 years old, and his birthday is March 7. He lives with his mom and dad, and he likes playing with cars. 

Damarisell is 3 years old, and her birthday is September 5. She has epilepsy and is receiving treatment for her condition with Compassion's help! She loves playing games like rolling a hoop and playing with dolls! 

Bleikin is 3 years old, and his birthday is July 26. He lives with his mom and dad in an area where many adults, if they can find work, are employed as subsistence farmers or plantation workers.

Esteisy is 3 years old, and her birthday is October 10. She likes playing house and playing with dolls. I don't know about you, but I think Esteisy is super cute and I'm a little obsessed with her. 

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