Monday, February 29, 2016

Sweet Greetings from India, Honduras, Peru, and Mexico

Happy Mail Call Monday- leap year edition! :)

We got a few more letters this week, which is always lovely! The first was from Amisha in India.

I was so excited to see that Amisha wrote her letter herself!! We haven't heard from her much since we sponsored her, so this really helped me feel more connected to her! She filled out a form letter about a visit to the dentist, and then filled up her free space on the back. She called us aunty and uncle (which made me so happy!) and responded to my letter about names, saying that her name meant something (I couldn't make it out) but her parents didn't pick it for a special reason. She also said that she keeps all our letters safely, and her family is praying for us! It was also neat to see that she wrote her letter in English!

Next was a letter from sweet Anahi in Honduras! 

I always get a little giddy when I see Anahi's letters! I've come to recognize her momma's handwriting. Anahi's mom said that she was finished with school and was now on Christmas break. They got to borrow a relative's car and go visit some family in Olancho. They had a lot of fun (Anahi played a lot and ate a lot!) but they got into a car wreck on the way back home! Everyone was ok and the car was easily fixed, which is a big relief. Anahi's mom also said she loves us very much and my name is in her heart forever, and she loves looking at my pictures! They also drew a little house with a snowman, and a picture of me and Anahi holding a little heart. So cute!! 

We also heard from Brenda in Mexico! 

Brenda's letter was about her dreams! She wants to be a teacher when she grows up, and she really wants to come visit me- and she wants me to visit her! That was basically her whole letter- asking when I was coming to see her! I hope that I am able to someday! 

The same day, we got a special letter from Carlos! 

Carlos' letter was about his birthday gift! He got a t-shirt and shoes with his gift, and we got an extra picture (which I will post later!) He also told me that he wants to be a civil engineer, his mom works as a childcare worker, and his dad is a driver! It was neat to learn more about Carlos' family! 

We also heard from Kajal in India! 

Kajal's letter was about her favorites! She likes the color green and playing hide and seek, and her favorite time of year is her birthday! Her helper at the project said that Kajal can see our love from our letters, and she is praying for my grandparents. She asked that we pray for a little boy at her center who has a stomach ache! She also shared about her upcoming Christmas program at the project; apparently it was keeping all the kids really busy! Kajal also responded directly to a letter I sent about the honey festival we went to back in September- she really liked the photo of the Amish baskets I sent to her, and the picture of my Pappaw's cousin's dog! I sent the picture of the dog because she was wearing a little yellow dress with bumblebees on it, in honor of the festival! I'm glad that Kajal liked it! 

Then we got our first letter from Kevin in Peru! 

Kevin sent a form letter about his day! He gets up at 6 in the morning and prays, has breakfast, and washes up! He attends school every weekday, and goes to the project on Fridays and Saturdays. In the afternoon he does his homework, and he has dinner in the evening. I thought it was cute that he said he goes to bed at 9:10 pm. What a specific bedtime! :) Kevin said he is doing well and he likes the picture of Gimli that we sent to him! He said he has never been to a zoo, but someday he will go, and he said "I am praying for you too, trust in Him because He loves you!" Then he drew some tiny green mountains and some semi trucks. :) 

We also got a quick letter from Mishel in Peru!

I know that there are two letters on the way from Mishel- and hopefully one has a photo attached, with the gifts we sent her over the summer! This letter must have gotten lost along the way, because it was written back in September, and our Peru letters usually get here very quickly! Mishel said that the weather was very hot where she lives, and she really liked all the photos we were sending. She wanted to know what sport I like and what my favorite color is, and she is praying for me and all the people I love! 

Then we got a lovely letter from Ruth in Honduras! 

This was our first "real" letter from Ruth, as her first letter was a form letter filled out before we became her sponsors! It was so sweet! She shared about her friends, including her best friend, Dayana. She said she likes her personality! She asked about my friends and why I like them- that was a fun letter to respond to! She said she would like us to pray that her family lacks nothing, and she said "I will be praying for you and your family. I send you hugs and kisses, and a beautiful drawing!" She drew a cute little house with Christmas lights, and a Christmas tree! 

Finally, we got a surprise letter from our Manna 4 Lempira girl, Zoila! 

Zoila isn't a Compassion kid, but I'm counting her as one because I never would have known about her or Manna if it wasn't for Compassion and the friends I've made through that community! Zoila's letter was a surprise, as the folks who work at Manna weren't expecting letters for the sponsors, but the kids apparently wanted to go ahead and respond to the letters we sent them around Christmas! Zoila said she was really happy we were her sponsors, and called us pretty. :) She said we have lots in common, like our love of books- Zoila shared that she read 35 books last year! Wow! She also said sometimes she reads slowly so she can absorb more information! That is so cool- I'd really like to make her some kind of reading chart!! I'm really proud of her! She said we also both like "bright clothing" and rabbits. She wanted a pet rabbit, but the rabbit that she wanted to keep was gone by the time she was ready to bring it home. She is just SUCH a sweet girl- I adore her. She is perfect for our family. I am mailing out her next letter, along with a folder and some photos, tomorrow! 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sweet Greetings from India, Kenya, Togo, Rwanda, Honduras, Bolivia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, and the Philippines!

Happy Mail Call Monday!

We were very blessed to receive quite a few letters this week! The first was our second letter of the year from Bijay in India!

Bijay is such a nice young man! I must say I'm really impressed with his project- it took a long time to get his first letter, but we have heard from him once a month for the past three months! And on top of that, he fills every bit of writing space, and always draws a lovely picture. Bijay told us about his activities at the project this time, mentioning the classes and training that he takes, and that he likes learning new worship songs. He also told us that he wants to be a pastor when he is older!! That's so wonderful! I appreciate that Bijay always takes time to mention the things we have sent to him, including letters, photos, and cards, and he always encourages me, too! This time, he told me he is "so proud" of me! How sweet!

Next was a letter from Eduardo in Honduras!

As Eduardo's time in the program comes to an end, I've noticed his letters are a bit shorter- he must be very busy! But they are still very loving and sweet. In this letter, Eduardo shared that he enjoys going to church on Sundays, and swims with his family in the afternoon! He asked that we pray for his mom and his brother, and included an extra piece of paper with a large drawing of a pretty flower!

Next up was a letter from Jeannette in Rwanda!

We are still getting to know Jeannette. I've gathered from her letters that she has a strong faith in Jesus, which is so wonderful! She asked how we are doing and said she was enjoying her school holidays. She and her family were already praising God about 2016 even though it was still a few weeks away when she wrote her letter! She was happy to get all of our letters and said that she loves us "so much!"

We also got a letter from Maribel in Bolivia, whom I sponsor with my friend Stephanie!

Maribel is so cute! She responds to a lot of what we write in our letters, and she always has extra to share, too. Maribel took a trip with her family recently, and she shared that she had a lot of fun and ate some yummy food! She also told us that her favorite story is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which is so cute! I'm going to have fun finding some Snow White coloring pages and things to send to her!

We also got a big, lovely letter from Mary in Kenya!

I always love reading Mary's letters! This time she shared that she has been having fun borrowing her friend's pet cat, since hers passed away, and she hopes she can get another cat soon. She responded to my card about her name being written on my wall (a reference to a story my pastor told in one of his sermons) and said that she carries the photo album I sent to her in her handbag, so she always has it with her! She said she wants to learn more about penguins, as she thinks they are beautiful and interesting, and she loves all birds because they are loving and friendly! She talked about my job and that she is happy that I am still happy, and said that Lilly is growing up to be so beautiful, and she liked seeing her in her tiger costume! Mary also mentioned that she is going for "training" soon and she knows that our time together is drawing to a close (her projected graduation date is still more than a year away, but sometimes the kids leave a little early.) She said "I hope that one day we will meet, when I am grown up, and maybe I can come to the US to look for you. You are such a lovely friend and the one who cares about my closeness to I pray that God will bound you into prosperity for what you are. I am lucky to have someone like you who is loving, encouraging, and God-fearing. YOur name is written in my heart, though I have never met you, but I believe that what God's plan is putting people together because God is love. I may have never met you but what God puts together no man can separate it and there is a reason that you are my distance friend." I love her to pieces! I so hope that Mary and I are able to keep in touch after her graduation. I do check on facebook sometimes to see if she has an account, for future reference, but I haven't found her yet. I hope that I do someday!

This week, we also got another letter from Rachelle in Togo!

I think this is our second letter from Rachelle, so of course we are still getting to know her. She said that she and her family pray for us every day, and she hopes we are praying for her to beome a "responsible person tomorrow." How cute! She also mentioned that she is praying for my great great aunt Dolly, for God to "fortify the legs." :) On the back of her letter, she drew a ball, a bicycle, and a satchel! She is a good artist!

We were also happy to hear from Mjay in the Philippines this week!

Mjay's letter was short, but it was good to hear from him! He said that he is praying for us, and he was really glad to get our letters. He said he is happy to read that we have a library and that I enjoy working at the child care center, and he liked the pictures of the animals that I send to him. He asked what they were, but honestly, I have sent so many animal pictures that they really could be anything! :)

Then we got a letter from Pitchaya in Thailand!

Pitchaya shared that things are going well at the university and he really enjoys our letters! He is so sweet! He always mentions things from our letters, like saying that he enjoys seeing the pictures of our little cousins, and that he thinks our zoo sounds like fun!

We were very happy to get our first "real" letter from Sithum in Sri Lanka this week!

It had been six months since our last letter from little Sithum, and it was a pre-written form letter for his new sponsor. It is good to finally get to know him better! He said he really liked our pictures and the cards that he received. He said we are all looking beautiful! He shared that it's raining in his place, and his father is a fisherman. They make their living by selling fish, but it's not quite enough to support their everyday life. I will be praying for success in his work, and that he can find a job that will provide for his family! Sithum asked that we give his greetings to all of our friends! He drew a pretty picture of a tree-lined river. The river was purple!

Finally, we got a very special letter from Yekersew in Ethiopia!

I say the letter was special, but it didn't really say much. It was a form letter (Yekersew is only six!) He said his favorite food is injera and wat, and he likes the color green and loves playing soccer. He also likes cats! He drew some doodles for us, and said that he is happy to get our letters. The letter was so special because it came with an extra photo of Yekersew, his brother and his sisters!! Wow!! What an unexpected gift!! Yekersew's family is so cute- his sisters are beautiful and his brother is handsome!! Yekersew is the one with the biggest smile. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Correspondence Changes, and a Guest Post!

There are some exciting changes coming to the way that Compassion processes our letters. I heard a bit about them in 2014 when I visited Tanzania, but they will finally be implemented over the next few weeks! To state it very simply, most of our correspondence with our children will be transmitted digitally now- letters will be scanned and sent to the country offices, then printed (the prints are gorgeous) and distributed to the kids, and vice versa. Not only will this mean faster letters for us, but I imagine that eliminating most of their postage costs will save Compassion thousands and thousands of dollars, to distribute in other ways in the ministry!

My friend Hannah shared the text of some facebook posts talking about these new changes, as well as my thoughts on ministry in perspective. We have chatted several times recently about things that are happening in the sponsor community, and how they relate to us- but reminding each other that no matter how we feel about what happens, good or bad, the most important thing to remember is that God has called us to minister to these children, and that may not always follow the plans we have in place for ourselves! Hop on over to her blog to check out the full post. :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sweet Greetings from Bangladesh, India, Honduras and Indonesia

Happy Mail Call Monday!!

We didn't receive any letters until Saturday this week, and I was so thankful that some finally showed up!! The first one was our last letter from Sharifa in Bangladesh. 

I say this was our last letter because about a week ago, we found out that Sharifa and her family had moved away to a new city which did not have a Compassion center. I'm sad to lose this sweet girl, even though we hadn't had the chance to get to know her very well. We've had Sharifa for almost two years, but for the past year haven't heard from her because of some program issues in the country. Now that everything is back on track and the children are returning to activities at the project, it stings a little to lose Sharifa after not hearing from her for so long! Sharifa did tell us that her family is well and that she got all the letters, stickers, and cards that we sent while the projects in Bangladesh were closed. She said "Because of your support I am doing my study nicely." She said that she is always praying for us. 

Next was a letter from Jayid in India! 

I am looking forward to the day when Jayid starts writing his own letters again, as he did before some letter-writing changes took place a few years ago. As things are now, his project workers feel compelled to write his letters for him because of his age, and because of that, we kind of hear the same thing from him in each letter! He's studying well, he's a good child, and he's learned new action songs and Bible verses at the project. :) I am glad to learn that he and his family are well. His dad struggles with TB and since there was no mention of that in his letter (they usually tell me when he is sick and unable to work) I assume he is doing ok with it right now!
We also got a surprise non-Compassion letter from our Manna 4 Lempira child, Zoila!

Zoila's letter was a short form letter. She lives with her mom and dad and has one brother, and she said that she is happy we sponsored her and she loves us very much! She also drew some pretty flowers! I can't wait to see what her next letter has to say! :) 

Finally, we got a super awesome letter from Tasya in Indonesia!

I say Tasya's letter was super awesome because it was enormous, and she included a lovely papercraft!! Tasya said that she got nine letters from me at once, dated May through August (she wrote the letter in November) and she reads them over and over again. She said "thanks, mom- among your busy days you always find time to write to me!" She also asked Brandon if it was ok if she calls him Dad, even though she has been doing this for several years now. :) She's so cute. Tasya shared that it is finally raining where she lives, which is good because when there is drought, nutmeg doesn't grow (it's apparently a primary source of income for people in her area) and there aren't many coconuts, either. She also said at night, when the ocean is calm, her family goes to catch fish to eat. She shared a lot about the income-generating activities of people in her neighborhood! Tasya said she really liked reading about our trips to the farm this summer, and she is sure she'd have fun if she could see it. She asked about our cousins and wondered if there are any cousins her age that she could play with. Tasya said there isn't a public library near her, but she borrows books from the school library and project library all the time- she loves to read! She also wrote quite a bit about a fun experience she had recently- the kids from her project had a camping trip over a weekend. They set up tents right after school, and got up at 4 am the next morning (she didn't get much sleep.) There were lots of fun activities on the camping trip, and on the last night they had a lovely devotional and prayer session. She wrote "In the evening we followed the worship where we were lead to put our plan, dream, and everything in God's hands. We sat around the campfire. One tutor was standing in the middle directing the activities and the other tutors were standing behind us and kept praying for us. We were relieved when we finished the worship. No more things burdened our minds and hearts." She also said that the preacher at the campout was very funny and they laughed a lot when he spoke. Near the end, she said "I'll always pray for you, and dad Brandon. I hope you get a baby soon so I'll have a little brother or sister." She is so precious to us and I love her so much!! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Looking for a family...

It's been a long time since I've done a post about children from our kids' centers who are waiting for a sponsor! My kids have been on my mind more than usual this week, from the fact that I know I have a ton of letters on the way to wondering why I am waking up every morning at a few minutes after 4 (who needs me? Who needs prayer? What is going on in their lives?) This afternoon, I was thinking about the other children at the centers when we got a letter from Tasya this afternoon talking about the letters that we send to her. I remember in the first year of her sponsorship, we received a letter from one of her project workers that mentioned the children at her project had received about a hundred letters from her in the past year- and I know I had written about a third of those. It kills me that there are kids out there who aren't receiving letters, which is why I have so may correspondents. But there are kids who need sponsors, too! Loving sponsors who will encourage them through letters- more than one or two a year, preferably. :)

So here are some beautiful children from the centers our kids attend. Will you join me in praying that they find a sponsor soon? Maybe it's you! :)

Crismeidy attends the same center as our little Frainelyn in the Dominican Republic (center 161.) She lives with an auntie and two other children. She's 8 years old and her birthday is November 9.

Fendri attends the same center as our beautiful daughter Tasya in East Indonesia (center 141.) Fendri lives with his mom and dad. He's too young to attend school right now; he's 6 years old and his birthday is November 3. This project is located in a very remote area of Indonesia, so the kids receive months' worth of letters at a time, and don't get to write quite as often as other centers. However, in my experience, the letters from our Tasya are top-notch, full of love and affection. They have a great center staff which plan so many fun activities for the kids, like camping trips and spiritual retreats, and they also participate in competitions with other centers a few times a year. Fendri has been waiting almost a year for a sponsor- please pray that he finds one soon! 

Atsou attends the same  center as our tiny girl Jaki in Togo (center 120.) Atsou lives with his mom, dad, and five other kids. People in his community are commonly affected by malaria and parasites, and families that can find employment earn an average of about $40 per month. Atsou is 8 years old, and his birthday is August 13.

Agnes attends the same center as our wee girlie Christina in Tanzania (center 827.) Many of the families in Agnes' hilly neighborhood work as animal herders and farmers, earning about $18 per month. Agnes is 4 years old, and her birthday is August 29.

Luz attends the same center as our handsome guy Herlan in Bolivia! Luz is 5 years old and her birthday is April 26. She's been waiting over six months for a sponsor, which is really surprising! Lack of healthcare is a problem for many of Luz's neighbors, resulting in dental problems, malnutrition, respiratory illnesses, and tuberculosis. 

Daira attends the same center as our little guy Francisco. She lives with her mom, dad, and three siblings. She is 9 years old and her birthday is December 22. Daira and her family live in an area with a high rate of child abuse and exploitation. 

Gabriel lives in Brazil and attends the same center as our lovely Patricia (center 167.) Gabriel lives with his mom and dad, and he likes soccer and singing! One neat thing about this project is that the kids have the opportunity to take fun classes like karate, and learning different languages (Patricia has had some lessons in Russian!) We have also received extra photos from Patricia in the past. Gabriel is 11 years old and his birthday is August 5.

Yared lives in Ethiopia and attends the same center as our friendly guy Tamirat (center 920.) He is 18 years old and has a birthday coming up on February 27. These young men live in an area where many people are affected by HIV/AIDS. Most adults work as day laborers and earn about $20 per month to provide for their families. 

Sefofo lives in Ghana and attends the same center as our sweetheart Angelina (center 628) Sefofo enjoys singing and running, and her birthday is August 11- she is 9 years old! Families in this area earn about $15 per month, and many are affected by HIV/AIDS. Angelina writes her letters in English, which means we are able to send her a wider variety of paper gifts! 

Nicolle lives in Honduras and attends the same center as our little guy Sandier (center 353.) Nicolle is 11 years old, and her birthday is November 18. She lives with her mom and she likes playing basketball! If you sponsor Nicolle through this blog, I will happily take her a gift when I travel to Honduras this fall! 

Chrispinus lives in Kenya and attends the same center as our sweetheart Christine (center 531.) She lives with her auntie and three other children. The families in her neighborhood typically live in mud homes with dirt floors and thatched roofs. Chrispinus is 13 years old and her birthday is October 8.

Shashini lives in Sri Lanka and attends the same center as our Sithum (center 408.) She lives with her mom and dad and two siblings. She is 4 years old, and her birthday is May 13. Shashini likes singing and art. Families in her community are in need of sanitation, clean water, employment opportunities, and schools. 

John lives in the Philippines and attends the same center as our precious Merlyn (center 464.) He's 7 years old and his birthday is November 13. John lives with his mom and dad, and there are 8 children in his family! He likes playing basketball and playing with cars. John has asthma and the Compassion staff are helping him to get the medical assistance that he needs. 

Ploy lives in Thailand and attends the same center as our guy Pitchaya (center 650.) Ploy likes playing with dolls. She lives with her mom, her dad, and three siblings. We have received extra photos of Pitchaya in the past, and Thai kids write such friendly letters! 

Tiny Felista lives in Tanzania and attends the same center as our wild guy Elisha! Felista is just 4 years old and her birthday is July 13. She likes singing, playing house, and playing with dolls. Most of the adults in her neighborhood work as farmers and earn about $12 per month. Elisha and Felista live in an area with a high instance of HIV/AIDS and child exploitation. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sweet Greetings from Tanzania

Happy Mail Call Monday, everyone!

We didn't get many letters this week, but I did get confirmation that a ton of good ones are on the way!! I can't wait until they get here, as some will be first letters, some will be first *real* letters (not the form letters we received after sponsoring or receiving a new correspondent) and at least one will hopefully have some extra photos with it! Woohoo!

The first letter we received last week was from our precious Said in Tanzania!

I was so glad to get a letter from Said! He has been on my mind a lot lately. He shared that he's doing well in school and he's hoping to finish secondary education this next year. He really loved the Christmas card we sent to him, and said that I am a good artist- I believe that this was in reference to the Christmas angel ornaments we made for each of the kids!! :) He said that he is praying for me to do my work well, and that he hopes we have a wonderful Christmas. Said also said that he would like for me to come visit his center and meet all his "fellow children!" Oh, I would love to do that someday!! I adore Said and would love to travel back to Tanzania, the home of my heart, and spend some more time with him!

The only other letter we received this week was also from Tanzania- from our pretty girl Zalifina!

Zalifina's letter was a bit short- hopefully she will be able to write more next time! She told us that the weather is lovely and the trees are growing where she lives, which is great! She is doing well in her studies and with her work at the center, and she said that her family gets food from a farm (I think I asked her if she and her family grow their own food or if they also grow enough to sell.) She also said that she has not been baptized yet, but she would like to be, and she shared the names of her friends- she has a TON of them!! I couldn't even read all the names, but I can make out Fatuma, Khadija, Salome, Jackline, and Anna! Our girl is so popular!

I would like to close this post out with some prayer requests- happy and sad news. Let's get the sad news out of the way first. This afternoon, I read a prayer request update mentioning an incident that happened in Thailand recently. A bus carrying several children from center number 811 was struggling to make it up a hill when it fell off a cliff and rolled. Two children from the center were killed, and almost a dozen were injured. As of a few days ago, all of the children who had been hospitalized due to their injuries have been released, which is good news. Please pray for the children and staff of this center as the mourn the loss of their friends, the families of the children who were killed, the continuing medical care of the children injured, and the sponsors of the kids who lost their lives. Also, I would appreciate your prayers for little Warakorn. She was our correspondent from this project who was returned to the letter-writing care of her financial sponsor at the end of last summer. We still love her, pray for her and think of her every day, as we do all the kids we have lost, and I have sent an email asking if I am able to at least know if Warakorn was affected by this tragedy, even though she is no longer our correspondence child.


And now the good news- my precious friend Shelley will be traveling to India at the end of this week! I am so excited for her as India became a second home for her heart after her visit a couple of years ago. She will be volunteering at an orphanage full of adorable children that she visited on her previous visit, as well as spending her first full day in the country with her sweet sponsor girl Riya. And she will be dropping off gifts for our lovely Indian girls as well! Please pray for safe travels for Shelley, and that her day with Riya will be blessed. I think that she is a little concerned about being exhausted from the trip on that day! Maybe when she gets back from her trip, she'll write up a guest post for me about her individual visit with Riya. :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Compassion Bloggers in Ecuador

The Compassion bloggers are in Ecuador right now! I always love reading their posts, no matter which country they're visiting, but Ecuador has some fond memories for our family in particular. During a previous trip to the South American country, the bloggers shared about a young man who had been abandoned by his family. I remember being very moved by his story, praying for him as we learned that his sponsors were being contacted to make sure that they were aware of his situation, and overwhelmed as so many members of the Compassion community stepped forward, saying that they were willing and able to adopt this young man if someone would just tell them how. It was during that trip that my mom sponsored Jessika, whom we love deeply and I now write to, who faces her own special set of challenges in her life. Blogger trips always lead us to browse Compassion's website and coo over the children waiting for sponsors, but I think we probably got the most out of that particular trip and the posts that came with it. I thought of that trip specifically in Tanzania as I heard of a young man my fellow travelers visited, who had also been abandoned by his family, just like that child in Ecuador. I still pray for him, even though I don't remember his name.

This trip to Ecuador is a bit short- it started on Sunday and the bloggers are headed back home in three days. I know that they have hit a few snags in their itinerary and have had to rearrange things a bit, but they are determined and changed plans are not going to stop them from traveling and loving and ministering and advocating. Here are some of my favorite posts so far:

"I pointed out pictures of my family and then I pulled out the spoons. I told her how they were made and all the prayers that fell from my lips. I told her how I wanted her to use them and think about how there is a God that loves her and another mom in America that believes in her. I told her I hoped when she saw them she would be reminded she is never alone." (read more at the link) 

"It's Sunday, and I have a better idea of the church I long for.
I want a church of broken people who shimmer with the glow of redemption.
I want a boiled-down, universal language of commonality, a singular thread.
I want an invitation to dance badly and hug strangers.
I want a humble house of God with a curtain for a door, flung over the jamb, covered in roses.
I want a haven, a never-gives-up hope.
But if I really want those things, I have to first be willing to be them.
We have the opportunity to live as though we believe all lives are equally sacred. We get to be part of this. As a Compassion sponsor for over ten years, this gift has never been more clearer than today, squeezed into the home of folks on the far edge of the margins." (read more at the link)

"When we wait and let life happen to us in our everyday lives, we are really robbing ourselves of the hope for what could be the beginnings of change. It's no different with child sponsorship. When we look away, do nothing, and think that it's all too big, we miss what is waiting for us...what we could be a part of if we just step towards it." (read more at the link) 

I can't wait to see what else the bloggers have to share during their trip! And if you're interested in sponsoring a child from Ecuador, check out little Sara below! She is impossibly cute!! 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sweet Greetings from Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Tanzania

Happy Mail Call Monday. How is it already February???

We got a few letters this week, which was lovely! The first one is another letter from Austin in Kenya!

Austin is just so sweet. He wrote a short letter, but it was very kind. He said he is "very fine" with his family, and that he reads our letters every day! He asked that we pray for his mechanics course, and he is praying for my great-great-aunt Dolly, whom I wrote about several months ago when we visited my grandfather's hometown. He also shared that he likes to go to church with his family and friends, and they encourage each other. He also said that he got to visit his great-grandmother recently, who is 82 years old! I'm so glad that Austin has one of these older family members in his life- I always thought it was really neat growing up that I still had two of my great-grandparents, and I am thankful that some of my kiddos can have that experience, too. 

Next, a letter from Barry in Burkina Faso!

Barry is so cute! He said "I wish you good healing for your tooth" because I had written to the kids asking them to pray for some dental issues I was having last summer. He also said that he was going to pray for the children who don't have sponsors, which is so awesome! He said that he liked the pictures we've been sending, and his favorite was a picture of a big butterfly I saw at my parents' house. Hew as very excited to tell me about the things he drew on the back of his letter (including a tricycle) and he wished us a happy Christmas. On the back of his letter, he asked if I knew how to dance with a djembe, which is a kind of west African drum (the answer to that is "no", but I have seen them before!) and he wanted to know if I can play the piano. He also asked us to pray for the kids in his neighborhood who can't go to school because their parents can't bring them. 

Next, a letter from our lovely Christine in Kenya! 

Christine called me "my friend" about a hundred times in her letter, which is so cute! She asked about our family and asked how my dad recovered from his surgery (it was just a quick procedure for carpal tunnel.) She also asked about my new job and the weather. Like so many of our other kids, she shared her frustration with her grades and said that she is trying harder to do better for the end of the year. She asked that we pray for her schoolwork and shared Exodus 20:4 with us. 

The next letter we received was from Motempa in Kenya! 

Motempa is lovely. She refers to herself as our child, and shared that she is working hard at school and thanks us for praying for her. She talked a bit about the weather and asked how the weather is in our country, and shared Psalm 118:24 with us. 

We also got a letter from Nkoyio, our other teen at the same center. 

Nkoyio shared her thankfulness that her region had received some rain ending a drought, and said that they are digging something for their animals (her handwriting is really tiny!) Nkoyio also said that she is praying for Dolly and asked that we pray for her mom, who is sick. She also enjoyed she liked seeing a new picture of baby Lilly, and she's praying for the kids who don't have sponsors. She then said "thank you very much for your continued support that you are giving me. I lack words to express my happiness. May God bless you so much. I thank God for giving me a wonderful friend like you. I wish to see you, Jessi Jones!" How very sweet! 

We also received a short letter from little Gloria, who attends the same center as Motempa and Nkoyio!

Gloria said that she is very fine and she hopes we are, too. She said her family sends their greetings and it is raining quite a bit where she lives. She also wished us a merry Christmas and said she is praying God will bless us. Gloria also said that she has not been baptized yet but she would like to be! 

Finally, we heard from Christina in Tanzania!

Christina was one of the kids that I recently took over for my mom. We got an intro letter from her center sharing a bit about her favorites. She has three brothers and one sister, and her best friends are named Agie, Justina and Neema. She lives in a town and she likes writing. Her favorite Bible story is the story of Adam and Eve, and she likes eating rice and beans. Her favorite holiday is children's day at her church, and she is really good at running! She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and she asked about my favorite color.