Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Compassion Joys: May

It's time once again for our Compassion Joys post!

Here's what we have to be thankful for this month:


Things are still wonky with our letters (we finally got like, one in the mail) but some did come through this month, in email form. We heard from Beatrice, Brian, Caleb, Carlos, Emmanuel, Fatuma, Francisco, Geison, Gloria, Jeferson, Juan, Julian, Laura, Michel, Nkoyio, Purity, and Sukumar!

New Kids! 

A few new correspondents joined our family this month as well! We are now writing to Yisleidi in Ecuador, Nehemiah in Rwanda, and Mary Amoah in Ghana!

                                         Nehemiah                                                    Yisleidi

Mary Amoah

Photo Updates!

A few photo updates showed up this month, too!

Julian in Colombia

Yekersew in Ethiopia

Bonifas in Tanzania

(my baby! *sobs*)

Rachelle in Togo

Extra Photos! 
We also got an extra picture of Jeferson in El Salvador! We had to do an inquiry for his first letter, as we had him over six months and hadn't heard anything. We have now received two letters from him, including this picture! 


A few packages are on their way to some of our kids! We have a sandwich baggie going to Zoila in Honduras- and we also packed a bag for an unsponsored child, for one of the volunteers, and bags for the sponsor kids of two of my friends who live overseas!  We also have a bag of gifts on their way to Maribel in Bolivia! 


We had TONS of birthdays in May! Christina in Tanzania turned 6; Jaki in Togo turned 5; Jemal in Ethiopia turned 19; Nejat in Ethiopia turned 4; Barry in Burkina Faso turned 10; Michel in Colombia turned 8; Sukumar in India turned 14; Bonifas in Tanzania turned 11; Emmanuel T in Rwanda turned 16; Eduardo in Honduras turned 18; Fatuma in Kenya turned 10; Tasya in Indonesia turned 14; Benji in Haiti turned 21; and Purity in Kenya turned 6! Also, since Eduardo is now 18, he will be graduating from Compassion's program and leaving very soon. I will miss him so, but he and his mom are on facebook, and I signed a contact release form! Hopefully we can keep in touch. 


We also had four sponsor-versaries this month! As of May, we have been writing to Anahi in Honduras for two years; Julian and Michel in Colombia for two years; and Vandana in India for one year! Yay! 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Project Letter: CO-384

Here's a letter from the project director of CO-384, which is where our little Michel and handsome Geison attend! 

We greet you in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ! My name is Libia G. I am the center director of the child development center (CO-384.) We are located in the Orinoquia region, which is located  in Colombia where your sponsored child attends. Thank you for sponsoring Michel. 


I thank God for sponsorship, friendship and affection for our children. It is a great blessing to hear a child say that it is very good that someone from a distance cares about them who is far but their heart is close to them. The community has several problems such as parents abandoning children, extreme poverty, both economically and mentally. Through the center there is more contact with the community to present Christ as our savior. Most of the children lack affection. They also lack spiritual and cognitive orientation.

The sponsored children have begun to discover that they have talents and ministries that we are beginning to uncover. The center has caused and continues to cause a great impact on the neighborhood. Many testify about the positive changes in their children and others long to enroll their children. It is also being recognized by the Christian work of its social activities such as lunches for children, community kitchens, and evangelist marches. All who are part of this beautiful work tutors, insurers and cooks, have shared very valuable and beautiful experiences working with children. Children feel the change in their lives; they express this with words and others only with facts. We also see the fruit because children come to Bible classes on Sundays.

Campaigns have been conducted with children where God continues to support each activity carried out with the kids. We have had the privilege of having the visit of sponsors to our center where the experience was very beautiful. Eighty children receiving the group of sponsors dressed as soldiers and singing and sharing with them very happily. The center has a great sponsorship which has been a great blessing.

During the year the children have approximately received four deliveries of letters. For each child their letter is of great importance amid the lack of time with their parents. Children who do not receive letters are very sad. For this reason we encourage sponsors to write to their sponsored child. Sponsors are always in our prayers. We pray that God will continue working in their lives and bless them abundantly. Again, thank you for sponsoring Michel!

If you are interested in sponsoring a little girl from Colombia, please consider Ingrid! This little cutie is just 3 years old. She will have her birthday on September 29 and she likes art! Read more about Ingrid here.

Sweet Greetings from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Peru, and El Salvador

Happy Mail Call Monday- the last of May!

We still aren't really getting letters in the mail (one very, very late one showed up this week) but a few more rolled in through email, so that's good! The first was from Emmanuel in Kenya!

Emmanuel sent a form letter about his project learning. He goes to the project once a week, and says that his project is 4 km from his home. He likes drawing and coloring, singing, and running races. His typical meal at the project is rice and beans with bananas. He also said his favorite thing about the project workers is that they are "loving and helping." On the back, his helper at the project said he received our letters and was happy that we told him what his name means. He also drew a pitcher for us!

We also got a letter from Purity at the same project!

Purity also sent the same form letter, and since she is the same age as Emmanuel, her answers were similar. But she said her favorite project activities were reading, singing, and reciting Bible verses. Her project helper said that Purity was so happy and excited when they read our letters to her, and she hopes to meet us one day!

The same day, we got a letter from Caleb in Uganda!

Caleb asked how we are doing and said it's the rainy season in his country. Caleb said he loved the Christmas party at the project- they ate, danced, and had a drama competition! Caleb also said he has graduated from primary school and moved on to secondary. He shared that his new school is pretty close to the project, too. Lastly, he said that recently the project had a day of HIV/AIDS awareness where they talked about prevention and treatment, and it was very informative and good for all the kids!

Our next letter of the week came from Jeferson in El Salvador.

It's so great to finally be hearing from Jeferson, since it was over six months between the time we got him as a correspondent, and the first letter we got! He is such a good letter writer- he filled all of the page! He said his relatives came to visit at Christmas, and he went to church. He said his favorite food is bread stuffed with chicken, which sounds good to me! He also said for his birthday, the project workers took him to Pollo Campero and he had a nice meal! He said he had french fries and a salad. :) And he also had a cake and smashed a pinata! He said he's praying for us and our jobs, and drew this cool birthday picture!

Also that day, we got our first letter from Beatrice in Rwanda! 

Beatrice is a pretty new correspondent for us, and she is graduating this summer. I'm glad we get to write to her for a short time, though- she went a long time without letters (she is sponsored by a company, and addressed her letter as such.) She said she and her mom are doing well and she is getting ready to graduate the program "and turn the age." She asked how her sponsor is and said she is praying for them!
Finally, we heard from Carlos in Peru!

I always love reading Carlos' letters. He shared that 2015 came to a good end for him and his family. They set off firecrackers for New Year's and the next day went on a church retreat. He also said he was happy about Brandon's new job and happy that he has a new prayer partner. He asked about the weather and when we will have our presidential elections. They had their elections on April 10 and their presidents serve for 5 year terms. And he said goodbye with a big hug! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Project Letter: TZ-243

Here's a letter from our lovely Teresia's project in Tanzania! All the photos come from Compassion's website.

I am Joshua L., pastor of (TZ-243) in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. We minister to Teresia at (the project.) I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your generous support of Teresia. This sponsorship program has touched the lives of many children and parents. In our parish, we serve a mixture of ethnic groups and the majority of people work as livestock keepers and farmers. Through this program, many of them have been brought to Christ and have been able to send their children to school. Currently, there are more than 120 registered children who attend our nearby English medium school. The main challenge faced by our community is illiteracy, as the majority of people in our community did not go to school, and unemployment. This had perpetuated poverty in our society.

Our church's vision is to release children from illiteracy and disease and to enrich them with the Word of God. At the center, we had been able to nurture more than 270 children in the spiritual, physical, socio-emotional and cognitive aspects from the age of 3-14. Our children and youth attend school, church and Sunday school, and are free from malnutrition-associated disorders, unlike the other children in the community. These children are growing healthily as we provide them with medical care and hygiene training.

Our church also ministers to the community by reaching out to the disabled and providing them with meals, the word of God, and prayer. Furthermore, our church has established a saving and credit cooperative society where members can borrow money to start businesses and then return money at fair interest charge. Our church has an English medium school named Nuru where we invite children from poor families to attend school free of school fees.

One of the most important things in the sponsorship program is the correspondence between sponsors and sponsored children. When children receive letters from their sponsors, they feel very special and it helps their relationships with the sponsors improve. They are always happy to hear from their amazing friends in another country. If children do not receive letters from sponsors, they ask the workers at the center why it has been too long since they received a letter. We encourage all sponsors to write to these children because it helps them feel loved and motivated to do their best.

Please pray with us that all sponsored children will reach completion of the program. Secondly, let us pray for them to do well in school. Let us pray for their parents and siblings, and for good health. Please remember to pray or our program so that we may reach our goals. Lastly, thank you once again for the immeasurable love you show Teresia.

If you are interested in sponsoring a young lady in Tanzania, please consider Mariam. She is 9 years old, and her birthday is October 25. She lives with her parents in an area that has a high rate of HIV/AIDS and a lot of child abuse and exploitation. Read more about Mariam here

Sweet Greetings from Colombia, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic

Happy Mail Call Monday!

We still haven't received any letters in the mail, and I'll be checking on that again this week. But we did get several in email form, which is good- at least the emails are keeping me going on tough days! The first email was a first letter from Geison in Colombia.

We just got Geison as a correspondent less than two months ago, and it only took about three weeks for his letter to be translated and get to us. That's awesome! Geison shared the name of his school, and that he's in 5th grade. Geison said that when he's done with school, he wants to be a military chaplain! That's amazing! He said he appreciates my "nice stories" and wants to know what I do in my free time. He said that recently he stayed with his grandparents and learned how to milk cows and ride horses!! That's awesome. I'm looking forward to telling him about my uncle's horses. He closed with "may the divine grace of God fill you with blessings."

Next, we heard from Michel in Colombia!

Michel actually goes to the same center as Geison, but she's a few years younger. When asked what she likes about school, Michel says she likes "the castle." I'm sure that's some sort of playground equipment! Her favorite class is computers, and her uniform is a red skirt and white sweater. She also takes a school bus to school each day. I'm glad that she has transportation! In response to a previous letter, Michel said she  has heard about snowstorms on TV. She shared Psalm 105:8 with us, and included this cute drawing!

Next was a letter from Brian in Kenya! 

Brian said he hopes we are well, and that his family is doing great. He said thank you for all the letters we sent, and said his favorite was when he heard that my mom had located her biological half brother and half sister, and then got to meet her brother! He said "I'm really happy for you guys. The story touched me so much." I actually thought it was pretty awesome that this happened and was interested to see what the kids thought- Brian's was our first response to that letter! He also said that he is always praying for us, and asked specifically about my brother Jonathan. 

The same day, we got a letter from Nkoyio in Kenya! 

Recently, Nkoyio has been opening her letters with "receive calvary greetings," and I like that. :) She shared that her area has been blessed with rain recently, which is great for the crops and the cattle they raise. She said she receives my letters with joy, and that she is praying that I will have good health to "work many hours." She asked that we pray for her studies and said she looks forward to hearing from us again soon!
Later in the afternoon, another Kenya letter came through- this time, from Gloria, who also attends Nkoyio's center! 

I love looking at Gloria's new picture. Her sweet smile is so cute. She was so grumpy looking in her last picture (probably just not used to having her photo taken!) and I love seeing this change in her countenance! Gloria's letter was ADORABLE. She wrote it all herself and started with "hello Jessi I think you are fine." :) Gloria wrote a lot. She said she's praying for Brandon to be a good leader for his employees. She said her mother was sick recently, but she's doing better now, and wants us to continue praying for her. She also shared that she started going to a new school, and that she was third in her class recently! She responded to a letter I wrote about breakfast, saying her family does not drink coffee, but she likes eating fruit, especially pineapple. She also said she loves our family, just in the middle of another paragraph, and that she hoped we had a nice Valentine's Day. Gloria also drew a cute little picture for us, which she usually doesn't do! 

The next day, we heard from our third Colombian kiddo- Julian! 

Like Michel, Julian sent a form letter about school. His favorite subject is Math, and he likes being in the classroom! He said his uniform is black and white, and his school is a four minute walk from his home. Julian said he and his family are doing well, and he's never seen a snowstorm. He shared Philemon 1:4 with us. 

On Saturday, we got a letter from little Fatuma in Kenya! 

Fatuma's letters are always chatty and friendly. She always has a lot to say! This time she didn't write quite as much, but we still learned that her aunt had a baby recently, and they named it Mary. Fatuma apparently thinks that Mary is very funny- but I noticed she didn't see the same about her new little brother! :) We also heard that Fatuma's grandmother was sick recently, and while she did go to the hospital and receive treatment, she still needs prayer. Fatuma's handwriting is very thin and spidery, and she has a light touch with the pencil- I am still working on deciphering the rest of her letter, but in the meantime, here is a super cute picture she drew (the first we've received from her!) 

And lastly, a letter from Laura in the Dominican Republic showed up at 2 am Sunday morning!! :) 

We don't hear from Laura very often, and she is graduating at the end of the year, so I treasure each letter we get from her. Laura's letters are basically very sweet thank you notes for writing to her. I know she went a long time without letters, and she's just really grateful to be getting some now. :) She shared that she is doing well, and ask that we pray for her as she is starting to grow up- she said that the idea of moving out and going to college is "complicated," but I think she's a hard worker and she can accomplish a lot with her life. She's just at an awkward stage where she's not a kid but not a grown-up, either. :) 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Project Letter: EC-160

Here's a letter from Jessika's project in Ecuador! All the photos came from Compassion's website.

My name is Rigoberto G. I am the project director of (EC-160) attended by your sponsored child. We work along with the Baptist Church in the community of San Francisco de Oyacoto, located in the province of Pichincha, in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador. Thank you for sponsoring Jessika. We feel strengthened by your prayers and constant support for the growth of this ministry, which is transforming lives and families, not only in the community of Oyacoto but also in different parts of our country.

An example is an eight year old girl who was recently sponsored. Her family has suffered big problems since she was a little girl. Now her father is in jail, so she lives with her mother and her four brothers. Psychologically she wasn't good because of everything she had been through. She was very troublesome and she didn't want to continue with her studies. Thanks to the center she received therapy with a psychologist and she has changed her behavior and way of thinking Now she studies a lot, smiles, plays and enjoys attending the center with her friends and to learn more about Jesus. She dreams of becoming a teacher.

A 17 year old teenager had a difficult childhood, because his father abandoned him. He lives alone with his mother because he is an only child. The Biblical teaching of the center has encouraged him to keep overcoming his problems. Soon, he will be graduating from high school and he wishes to enter college. He also receives guitar lessons to enter the worship ministry in our church. God has touched his heart and he started to assist in church services, Bible study, and youth meetings. He has decided to get baptized.

Our Lord has always been faithful to us and Compassion International has always supported us when we needed the most and the church has also participated. For a year we have been receiving an emergency help fund in order to build bathrooms because ours weren't enough. Thanks to this fund, we built more spacious bathrooms with a division and each one has four toilets, two showers, and two sinks.

I am a former sponsored and graduated child of the leadership program. I know the joy and the excitement produced in the children when they receive letters or pictures from their sponsors. Letters from sponsors encourage children to continue attending the center. To see these children brings me a lot of memories from my childhood. I am grateful for my sponsors and inspired to continue spending my time, my gifts, and my profession in the service of God and to this community. Thanks to the center we have 60 people attending church, 14 of them have been baptized and 4 are about to do so. 90% of the congregation is formed by sponsored or former sponsored children who are now involved in the different activities we are implementing.

We now know and understand the great opportunity Compassion provides tot he church through sponsorship. We are being supported by Compassion in order to reach families for Christ and expand the Kingdom of Heaven. Please continue praying for our center and for the church. Thanks again for sponsoring Jessika!

If you are interested in sponsoring a girl in Ecuador, please consider sweet little Evelyn! She lives in the highlands like Jessika, with her parents and four siblings. Read more about her here.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Sweet Greetings from Kenya, India, and Bolivia

Happy Mail Call Monday!

I ran into a glitch with Compassion's computers lately and haven't been receiving letters (the ones that I missed are being reprinted and mailed to me!) but toward the end of the week, the email system appeared to be fixed, so I got a few emails announcing that I had a new letter waiting for me to read! From now on, I will be sharing my letters when they arrive in my email inbox, rather when they show up in my actual mailbox, since I can share about them quicker. :)

So here are this week's letters! The first was from Celestine in Kenya!

Celestine's handwriting has gotten so much better over the past year. :) She started her letter with "HEY!" and I thought that was really funny. She shared that she and her family are doing well, and she's making average grades in school (well, average here, but really good for her school- and regardless, I'm proud of her hard work!) She also said that she's been playing lots of sports and she is the assistant captain of the handball team at the project, and wanted to know about my favorite games. She said she is praying for us and loves getting our letters!

Next was a letter from Sukumar in India!

Sukumar is so sweet. I love his letters. He shares a lot (and he has pretty handwriting.) He wanted to check in on our health and our jobs and things like that. He said he really loved all the pictures and letters we've been sending, and he shared some fun stuff from his life. He told us about his exams and the dates they took place. They had a child protection day at the project where a speaker from the International Justice Mission's India branch came and talked to them about slavery and trafficking, and Sukumar told us that they learned how to help kids in their neighborhood and warning signs, and stuff like that. Then he said his class went on a trip to Kolkata. It had to be over a weekend or something, because they did a ton- they went to the zoo, the memorial gardens, and a bunch of other awesome things!! It sounded like so much fun. Oh, and he said they went to "Science City." I want to learn more about that, and when I wrote my response, I told him we have a science museum in our city, and told him I'd write a letter about it sometime in the near future. Sukumar also drew a great picture!

Finally, we got our first letter from Francisco in Bolivia!

It was so nice to hear from Francisco. We had been writing to him for six months and it was time to do an inquiry, and then the email showed up! Francisco said he really likes getting our letters and is glad that we write to him a lot. He lives with his mom Elena and one sister, and he likes playing soccer and drawing. Francisco's dad lives in another city for work, and he said he misses him a lot. It's so sad that some families are separated like that. We also learned that Francisco likes the story of Samson, and he wants to be an attorney when he grows up. He made a cute drawing, too!