Friday, April 29, 2016

Project Letter: TZ-851

Here's a letter from Bonifas' project in Tanzania! All the pictures came from Compassion's website.

Dear Jessi,

I am Martin M., the project director of (TZ-851) attended by your sponsored child. We are part of the International Evangelism Church in northern Tanzania. Thank you for sponsoring Bonifas.

I thank you and our other child sponsors for your precious heart of assisting children in need. Thanks to being sponsored, our 276 children are able to attend school and receive health services. They also receive spiritual guidance which includes Bible studies to help them know the Word of God and become responsible Christians.

Every Saturday, all the children come to the center and meet with the center workers and Bible teachers for different activities. These include Bible lessons, praying, praise, and worship, health education, and socialization activities like sports and games, song singing, and choir training. All these activities bring unity, peace, and love for each other. The children also engage in skill training for income-generating activities like sewing and growing garden flowers, vegetables and fruits. We emphasize knowledge of other activities which help them grow up with the ability to be independent.

Our sponsored children age 3 to 11 demonstrate a good understanding of God's word, his purpose, and the gospel message. Upon knowing Christ as savior, the children also have the opportunity to grow in Christ through practicing spiritual disciplines.

The teens work with the life-planning tool called My Plan for Tomorrow. Most advance successfully in formal education by completing primary school and advancing in secondary school and possibly college or vocational training. Our teens understand basic principles of managing money, small business management, and income-generating activities.

The center has brought a big impact to the children. The community appreciates the big work to make sure they get education, healthcare, and learn the Word of God. This brings a great difference to society as they become good Christians.

Last year we received a Complementary Intervention to build a more efficient and sanitary kitchen. It really helps food preparation in the rainy season and on dusty days.

Children love to get letters from their sponsor. They are eager to hear how their sponsor is doing and to get their prayers, advice, and encouragement. Letters remind the children to put in more effort so their sponsor will see good progress. Communication through exchange of letters is a very important thing. As you can, please write.

I am committed to continue to work at this center as I recognize the importance for each child to be loved, cared for, and helped to grow and reach their God-given potential. I interact with children, pray for them, and deal with obstacles that can keep them from escaping poverty. Without this center the children would not go to school, there would be no health services and treatments, and there would be no life skills training. Also the word of God would not reach them. But with the center our children are healthier, they are doing well at school, and they are good ambassadors of Christ.

Please pray for our center, that it will do better to assist the children in fulfilling their life goals, that they have good health, and that God will use them as agents of change in their community. On behalf of the children, their parents, and the community, receive our gratitude for your significant assistance in your partnership with us. I wish you all the best in life, and may God make a way for you where there seems to be no way.

If you are interested in sponsoring a little boy in Tanzania, please consider tiny Ibrahim! He looks so handsome in his little suit. Read more about him here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sweet Greetings from Haiti, Tanzania, Colombia, Peru, Togo, and Ethiopia

Happy Mail Call Monday- the last of April!

I can't believe this year is going by so quickly. It's already a third over! We received several letters this week. The first was from Amitie in Haiti.

This was our first letter from Amitie since I took over writing to her for my mom. She is really sweet and she wrote a lot! She said she thinks we are doing well and it is nice to respond to my letters. :) She said she is happy that her name is written in my prayer journal and that we have her picture, and she sent us Isaiah 43:1. She asked if I have free time to read my Bible, and said she prays for God to bless us abundantly!

Next we heard from Elifagason in Tanzania!

Elifagason said that he and his family are in good health, and his family is raising chickens and growing maize, sunflowers, and peanuts. He is also learning about respect and self control at the center!

We also got a letter from Elisha in Tanzania!

Elisha said he and his family are doing well, and he is enjoying the letters we send. He said that right now, he likes studying art best, and he is learning to draw people, trees, and "other things." He asked what I like to draw!

Then there was a letter from Julian in Colombia!

I was surprised to hear from Julian, since we usually hear from Michel the same day that we get his letters- and we heard from both of them recently! Julian said that his school year started in February and he's in the 2nd grade. His favorite subject is social studies, but he's not enjoying learning English. He said he has a lot of friends and he enjoys playing with them and spending time with them. He also wrote that he would like to learn more abut tigers! And he drew a snowman and some snowballs!

We also *finally* got a letter from Mishel in Peru!

I say finally because I have been waiting for this letter a long time! Mishel wrote that she received the gifts a friend dropped off at the Peru field office last summer. The letter was basically just a list of the items that we sent, but a picture was included. Unfortunately the picture was damaged, so we are going to do an inquiry to see if the field office can send another copy.

Another letter that came in this week was from Rachelle in Togo!

Rachelle said that she loves getting our letters and she and her family are well. She said she is praying for my brother in law and that she wants to learn more about sheep! On the prayer section of her letter, she said she is praying for God to lift Brandon up "every time, everywhere." She also drew three pictures for us: a backpack, a bike, and a flower!

Another letter out of Tanzania was from Said!

Said said thank you for the letters we have sent, and he hoped that we got his letter soon. :) He also shared that he is getting good grades and is doing well with his home chores and his activities at the center. He also said that he wants me to come back to see him in Tanzania, and if I come for a visit, I can see the mountains and national parks. :)

We also heard from Yekersew in Ethiopia!

Yekersew's letter was a form letter about his project. I think he misunderstood one of the questions because he said that only three children go there. :) He also said that he visits the project 5 days a week, which is awesome! He likes playing with the kids there, and he said that his favorite thing about the project workers is that they "greet and love" him. Yekersew said that he bought a mattress with a recent financial gift, and he shared the sad news that Yekersew's father has abandoned his family. My heart hurts for this little boy and I so wish I could give him a hug. I will try my best to send an encouraging note to him and his family, but I can't imagine that anything I have to say would be all that comforting. Please join me in praying for Yekersew, his brothers and his sister.

And finally, rounding out the Tanzania bunch was a letter from Zalifina!

Zalifina shared that she and her family are doing well. She is enjoying school and she is praying that God will help her with her exams. She also asked me for my prayer requests. She told us that right now, farmers are planting their crops, and asked about the seasons in our country. She said she likes getting our letters and said that her friends Amisa, Aisha, and Fatuma send their greetings- I thought that was really sweet! She shared Psalm 120:1-2 with us.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Project Letter: ME-927

Here's a letter from the director of Brenda's project in Mexico! All the photos are from Compassion's website. 

I greet you in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ! My name is Veronica R., center director of the child development center located in Chimalhuacan, Mexico, where your sponsored child attends. Thank you for sponsoring Brenda!

I want to share with you the testimony from a child who entered the center with problems, since he came from a dysfunctional family with serious problems between his parents. He was hit by Christ, went to a retreat and surrendered to God. Later he formed part of adolescent servers that headed and ministered in the meeting. He invited his parents who also attended the church retreats, they surrendered to God. Today the entire family attends church.

Another cheerful young boy that is always serving, he and the family have come forward not only spiritually. His dad who didn't have a job has gotten one. The young boy looks happy and attentive in the center. His life and his family have changed radically.

We start the center activities with prayer. They have their classes according to the area that corresponds already to be spiritual, cognitive, socio-emotional, or physical. The children participate in activities while at the center for a better development, a time to relax either reading or play. They also receive their food and their oral hygiene.

Adolescents have different activities, such as music, teachings in plays, art as mimes, choreography, and artistic expression activities. In addition they go through a teaching called My Plan for Tomorrow, so they have expectations about their future.

This year we had the opportunity to take several parents to spiritual retreats to heal and restore their lives of these families. They are already part of the congregation and are part of the majority of collaborators within the center. Young people attended a youth camp accompanied by young people in the region; ;it was a time of learning and ministering. There have been celebrations of the day of the child, pools, spas, horseback parks and birthdays, among others.

We appreciate sponsor support for which we have improved rooms and baths as well as teaching materials, and other materials for the teaching of the sponsored children. The impact in our community has been strong since many adolescents have had a great commitment to be better.

Children feel very happy when they receive letters from their sponsors. It is gratifying to see them so excited, smiling and telling their friends about their sponsors. The news about sponsors is so important for the children so we encourage them to continue to write the children. They feel very happy to know they have a sponsor somewhere in the world that cares for them.

The partners of this center are grateful for sponsor support and we pray for them that the Almighty God to fill them with blessings. Thank you again for sponsoring Brenda.

If you are considering sponsoring a girl in Mexico, please consider Leymi! She looks like such a sweet little girl! Leymi is 5 years old and her birthday is May 31. You can read more about Leymi here. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Outgoing Mail: Gorillas

This month, I am sending another animal letter to my Compassion kids! This animal was on my list of creatures to write about for a while, but there is a very special reason I am writing about them now: our local zoo recently welcomed a baby gorilla! Her story starts out sad because the baby was delivered by emergency c-section, and the mother did not survive the surgery. I decided to go ahead and write my gorilla letter this week when the zoo announced an update on the baby's progress, and shared that she has a name. They were going to do a contest for naming her, but named her in honor of her mom. Mia Moja, the mother, was affectionately called "squirrel" by her keepers, so they named the baby Kindi, which is Swahili for squirrel! I think it's so precious, and the pictures are ADORABLE.

Here's a screenshot of the letter I sent:

And here is the text:

Dear Eyo, 
From time to time, I like to send letters about some of my favorite animals to my friends in other countries. Today I want to tell you about one of those animals- the gorilla. And I am going to share some interesting local news with you, as well! 
There are several gorillas that live at my city's zoo. I still remember when we got them, when I was in grade 8. We stood in a queue for hours to see them in their new habitat. I was very excited at the time, and I still enjoy coming to see the gorillas. They are very large, majestic, and curious. I am thankful that last year, my aunt brought us on a special tour to meet the gorilla keepers and see what happens behind the scenes each day: how they are fed and cared for. There are two types of gorillas: mountain gorillas, which are very endangered, and lowland gorillas. We have lowland gorillas at our zoo. They are bigger than mountain gorillas. The males can be as tall as a human being, and weigh up to 180 kg! Gorillas may look dangerous, but they do not eat meat- they eat lots of leaves and roots. At the zoo, they also eat vegetables and fruits. These animals are also social- they live in family groups called "troops." The group is led by a male called a silverback- the black hair on his back turns silver! To communicate, gorillas make noises like grunting and chirping. They are also very smart- some gorillas have been taught to "talk" to humans through hand signals called sign language. The most famous of these gorillas is named Koko. When I was a little girl, I really liked reading about Koko. I borrowed books about her from the library very frequently. 
My zoo had some exciting news recently, when they announced that one of the female gorillas was pregnant. Her name was Mia Moja. Sadly, last month, the baby gorilla was removed from the mother by surgery, and the mother died. The little baby gorilla is now an orphan who is constantly cared for by the zookeepers. They feed her a bottle of milk every 20 minutes or so. They hope that when she is bigger, she can be cared for by the other gorillas in the troop, but she is too small to live with them right now. It could be dangerous for her. This weekend, the zoo announced that the baby's name is Kindi, which means "squirrel" in Swahili. A squirrel is a type of rodent that we see in my country very often. The keepers called Mia Moja "squirrel" sometimes because she liked to hide her food, just like a squirrel hides the nuts it gathers for the winter. I am sending you a picture of baby Kindi. Isn't she cute?? It may seem strange, but will you please pray that baby Kindi grows up safe and strong? Everyone in my city wants her to grow up well! 
I hope to hear from you again soon! 

I also attached a gorilla coloring sheet to my letter! You can find it below, along with larger versions of the adorable pictures of baby Kindi!

You are welcome to copy some of the text of my letter to send your own- you could even edit it to talk about my zoo ("a zoo in my country....") if you'd like! I pulled the gorilla facts from my zoo's informational page on gorillas, which had quite a bit more info than I was able to fit in my letter. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Project Letter: KE-370

Here's a letter from the director of Mary's project in Kenya! All the photos came from Compassion's website.

My name is Maryam G. I am the project director of the child development center attended by your sponsored child at (KE-370) located in the outskirts of Nairobi City, Kenya. Thank you for sponsoring Mary.

Sponsorship has positively impacted our children and their families. Various activities help in nourishing their spiritual lives. The activities include vacation Bible school and camps, morning devotions, spiritual lessons, and reading the age graded Bible received from the center. The children are encouraged to be active in their respective churches.

Children have received medical support, nutritional support, health lessons, seminars and counseling. Some children, who are the most vulnerable, receive nutritional support monthly for them and their family. Most of the children, when they join the center, have very low self esteem. As they continue to learn Biblical truths about who they are in God and interact with other children, their self esteem improves. They can freely interact with others at the center, school, and the community.

At the center, there is a 12 year old boy who, two years ago, dropped out of school and ran away from home to collect scrap metal to sell. His mother reported this matter to us. We went searching for him. After counseling him, he agreed to go back to school. He is now reformed.

Through sponsorship, some children have been able to learn an income-generating skill at the center. One such is a youth that has been receiving gifts from his sponsor over time and his mother used this money to start rearing chickens in a small cage. From the returns, she educates her three children. His is one of many success stories we have.

The center also received Complementary Intervention funds last year. The funds were  used to pay college tuition for sponsored youths who are in colleges and the rest was used to start an income generating activity for a few center parents. The criteria used to select the parents were based on space in their homestead and the beneficiaries were required to build a pig pen. Nine parents were provided two pigs each and the rearing commenced. Some of the pigs have since delivered piglets and the beneficiaries earned profit from the same. It was agreed that the beneficiaries should give back the first two piglets to the center in order to benefit another parent.

Some children have been impressed by the way their sponsors keep writing them letters tirelessly to encourage them to work hard in school. One girl receives letters regularly that harbor messages of encouragement. This girl admits that the letters have been of great impact to her.

The ministry of working for and with children is a call from God and calls for passion, commitment, and sufficient grace. Since Jesus used to associate himself with the simple in society, I get inspired to serve children and the community where such people are, in order to give them hope.

We request you to pray for our children to grow responsibly and that God grant them the spirit of discernment of what is right. Pray that they will live holy lives and that they will excel in academics and in life. Pray for the leadership of the church, those that are charged with the responsibility of managing the child ministry, and all child development workers, for God to grand us grace, zeal, and the ability to serve. Thanks again for sponsoring Mary. May God bless you abundantly.

If you are interested in sponsoring a young lady from Kenya, please consider Joymolline! She is 18 years old and lives with her parents, who are farmers. Read more about Joymolline here. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Project Letter: BO-502

Here's a letter from Juan's project in Bolivia! The photos came from Compassion's website.

I would like to greet you in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also wish you success in what you daily do. My name is Eusebio T., and I am the project director at the child development center attended by your sponsored child, Juan. We are located in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is a pleasure to write you and express my deep gratitude for everything that you do for the welfare of Juan. In the short time I've worked in this center, I have seen how rewarding it is to see the children's smiles and joy as they know someone is giving them unconditional support so they have a better future and achieve optimal development, and above all, so they come to know and receive our Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

The center received Complementary Intervention funds which allowed us to build some rooms for the children to be more comfortable and at peace. Before this, we were working in rooms we rented from some church sisters. Because of the work we do together, we've been able to build our own premises, which are a real benefit; without the funds, we could not have built those rooms. So the church is deeply grateful and the children feel happy as they come with more confidence to the center. This year we also built bathrooms the children can use. There is no doubt that this is another reason to rejoice.

Last year and this year, some sponsors were able to visit. It was a great joy to welcome them, and the joy was even greater for the children, to the point that they could not hold their tears. The children still talk about how they were able to meet and hug their sponsors. It also moves me when I see children get a gift their sponsors have sent. This brings them much joy as they know that they have the support of someone and that at the least-expected moment they could receive something special. The same thing happens when they receive letters, through which they can communicate and share what they feel.

This really makes an impact on the lives of the children. One, a seven-year-old girl received a birthday gift from her sponsor, with which she brought several things so that she could do her homework and also some food supplies. Her mother says that her daughter feels very happy and is always praying for God to bless her sponsor so that he lacks nothing. The church had a reach-out activity in August, and the girls' parents accepted Jesus Christ at that opportunity. She feels God has helped her family a lot.

Another testimony is related to a 12 year old boy at the center. His mother says that through the sponsorship program, she is able to buy clothes for the children she couldn't afford otherwise; the income she gains from selling ice cream is enough only for food. Because of this, the mother feels deep gratitude for people who are so generous to help families far away.

The center helps children a lot with the nourishment and spiritual teaching. They say that they learn Bible verses and this makes them think things different. It is a joy to accompany the children in this phase of their lives and to work with them and contribute towards their comprehensive development.

Finally I would like to thank you again for all your effort to help Juan. The Bible says that what we spread we will reap. I am certain that our Lord Jesus Christ will reward you for what you are doing. We will be praying for you all, as I am sure that you also pray for each of the children here.

If you are interested in sponsoring a boy in Bolivia, please consider little Anderson!!! I just love his chubby little face!! He lives with his mom and dad, and he is the only child at home. Read more about Anderson here. 

Sweet Greetings from Tanzania, Peru, and Honduras

Happy Mail Call Monday!

Not too many letters came in this week, but they were good ones! First we heard from Bonifas in Tanzania!

Bonifas said that he loves getting letters from us, and called us "his great comfort" which was unbelievably sweet. He also said that he was praying for my grandma to get "another good dog," which I had written about in a letter around Christmas. My grandmother's dog passed away right before the holidays, and she was so discouraged in the search for another one. She did bring home a new puppy in January, but the day before Bonifas' letter arrived, she actually adopted a second puppy!! I can't wait to meet him in a couple of weeks when we go over there for Derby/birthday festivities! :)

We also got our first letter from Milder in Peru!

We have been writing to Milder for several months now, and it was good to finally hear from him! We learned that he lives with is mom, dad, grandma, and brother Denis in the highlands, and there is a school near his house! He also likes eating guinea pigs and rice.

Finally, we got a letter from Zoila, our precious Manna girl!

Zoila's letter was packaged in a construction paper envelope she made herself! She glued up a red piece of paper into an envelope shape and added some stickers. She shared some fun information about herself! She said that she loves to read (which I already knew) and her favorite thing to read about is princesses! I'm so excited to be sending her a paperback copy of "A Little Princess" with my next letter, going in the mail next week! She also wrote a paragraph about her hair! She said her favorite hairstyle is "the tail" and she usually wears hair on the side. She said her hair is a little curly and she wants to straighten it, but her mom and dad don't like that. :) She also said she likes jump ropes, jacks, and soccer, and asked what I like to play, and she said that she loves me very much and that I am special to her family! That was so sweet!

Also, last night we got an extra photo of Zoila with the letter package we sent in March! She's holding her sparkly folder filled with photos, stickers, coloring pages, and her letter! :)