Friday, September 30, 2016

Compassion Joys: September

It's the end of the month- that means it's time to reflect on our Compassion Joys and share them here!


Letters really seem to be picking back up! There have been several days when we received four or five letters from the kids, and in one case, a letter arrived about a week after it was written! That's amazing! This month we heard from Mary (twice), Edmundo (twice), Jeferson, Festus (three times), Sukumar, Jayid, Pitchaya, Eyo, Marc, Thanakan, Ruth, Christine, Frainelyn, Abdias, Rachelle (who we lost as a correspondent this summer, but apparently there was a letter waiting for us in the backlog), Merlyn, Motempa, Vandana, Kevin, Milder, Laura, Nkoyio, Bijay, Reine, Jaki, Mary A., Sandier, Teresia, Jeannette, Brian, Barry, Prayer, Rose, Patricia, Celestine, Amelia, Caleb, Bonifas, Emmanuel T., and Kajal! Some of those were first letters, and others were from kids we hadn't heard from in eight or nine months!


We only had a couple of birthdays this month! Jeannette in Rwanda turned 14, Edwing in Nicaragua turned 15, Elisha in Tanzania turned 10, Eyo in Burkina Faso turned 12, and Carla in Bolivia turned 9!


We celebrated two anniversaries this month! We have now been writing to Angelina for two years, and Kevin for one year! I'm so thankful that these sweet kids are in our life!

Photo Updates! 

Several of our kids had photo updates this month!

Caleb and Reine

Edmundo and Emmanuel

Jayid and Isac


Amitie and Mary

Christine and Amisha

New Kids! 

We got a new correspondent this month, too! Little Yarianny in the Dominican Republic is turning six next month! I asked to be added to the list for a child in the DR since our Laura will be graduating soon, and Yarianny showed up! She's so cute. :)

We also got a new correspondent in Uganda! Jowan has been in Compassion's program for three years, and has never received any letters. I'm so glad that we get to write to him now! 

Special Photos!

Two special photos came in this month! We got a gift photo of Milder in Peru, who is holding the pencil bag full of presents that I sent with Marissa when she visited Peru this summer. She also took gifts for Kevin, who mentioned a photo in his letter, but it must have become separated from the letter, because there was no photo attached. Compassion is checking up on that for me, and I hope to see his photo soon! Manna 4 Lempira also did some updates recently when the kids got new shoes and our letters, so I got new photos of Zoila! I can't wait to meet her soon!

Upcoming Trip! 

As of today, my trip to Honduras is three weeks and one day away! I am so ridiculously excited, I can't stand it. This week I received my itinerary for the trip, so I know exactly where we are going and when. I know the hotels and the restaurants (restaurant food! We didn't have that in Tanzania!) and I know which centers we are visiting! We will be going to HO229, HO341, and HO409! We will actually spend two days with 409- the first day is a focus on the child survival program, with visits to the homes of some of the moms. And the second day we are going in the afternoon and will do a VBS type session with the kids! It's extra exciting because Marissa, one of my sponsor friends who is also going on the trip, sponsors a girl at 409, so she will get to spend extra time with her! That's so cool! I have heard that there is another sponsor who has a child at that same center, which is just great! I can't wait to get to spend time with my kids and learn about the great work Compassion is doing in Honduras!

Monday, September 26, 2016

26 Days

I'm not going to do a mail call post today. I am having trouble loading my letters this morning, so I can't tell you what they said, but I don't think my heart is really in it, anyway. I've got a lot on my mind, and I would like to share a prayer request with you instead.

I don't feel quite as prepared for my upcoming trip to Honduras as I would like to be. And in no way does that mean that I am not excited about it. But I don't feel the way that I thought I would. I think that I've figured out why that is.

For one, I'm not really nervous. I am an anxious person, and feel anxiety about just about everything from time to time. I was very anxious about my trip to Tanzania, because that was my first time traveling alone (or with strangers,) first trip to another country, first trip across the ocean, etc. And now that I've done that, I don't think I'm as anxious about the trip as I thought I would be. Plus Honduras isn't that far away. It's a two hour plane trip from Miami, and I've been to Miami before. To get to Tanzania, I had to fly to Charlotte, then New York (never been there), then to Amsterdam (same) and THEN to Tanzania. And the last two legs of the trip were over seven hours EACH. So Honduras seems easy peasy compared to that, honestly. Because what would have been the scariest aspects of the trip are not "new" to me anymore, I'm not really afraid. And since I'm ALWAYS feels weird not to be. When I was a kid, I used to make myself anxious when I wasn't anxious, or make myself sick with worry when my stomach didn't hurt, because the feeling was so unfamiliar, I figured it had to be an indicator that something was wrong. Isn't that sad? Maybe that's part of what is going on here.

The other thing is that I feel I don't have a lot of support. Two years ago, when I was preparing to head to Tanzania, I was part of a Bible study group that met every week. I had a lot of people praying for me all the time, and I knew it. They prayed over me when we were together in person, they texted and emailed when we were apart. Even when our group dissolved a few months before the trip, and I found out that some of those people were not as nice as I thought they were, I knew that they were still probably praying for me. And the nice ones that I wasn't seeing with any frequency definitely were. Some of my friends wrote cards with prayers and well wishes for me to open on different days of the trip. My friend Pat wrote a prayer for each day, based on my itinerary. And everyone knew when my trip was, and they were excited for me and with me. But now, I've completely lost touch with the people from my old study group. I don't have a new one, because small groups at my church always meet when I'm working (a hazard of working two jobs, I guess.) My friends are excited for me, but it doesn't really feel the same. I had prayer warriors before. A small army of people supporting me and backing me up. Now I have a few select friends that are excited to hear about my trip and see my photos. I don't even think my mom knows exactly what day I'm going. I don't mean that I want people fawning over me or that I'm desperate for attention, but my travel is kind of a big deal to me, and the fact that even my own family has kind of a "meh" attitude about it (at least that's the vibe I'm getting) makes me sad. Instead of feeling loved and supported, and feeling like all these people believe in me (because me going anywhere is a big accomplishment) I feel like I'm doing this on my own. It's lonely. And it bums me out sometimes. A part of me is worried that this trip won't go as smoothly as the Tanzania trip did, because maybe all those prayers were what made it go so well. What does an international trip with a minimal amount of prayer coverage look like? Will I get sick? Will I have anxiety issues? Will I struggle to make my connecting flights on time? I don't know. This is the excitement of anxiety.

So my prayer request is this: will you please pray for me to have peace about my trip? And possibly more importantly, pray for me to not notice, or care, about other people's reactions or whatever you want to call it. I would feel a lot better if I wasn't sad about that. Pray that I will be focused and sure-footed and that my joy and excitement about the things to come will completely overwhelm any fluttery, worried feelings that may try to pop up in the next three and a half-ish weeks. I am over the moon that I will get to spend a half day with Zoila at the start of the trip, and a half day with Sandier, Anahi, and Ruth at the end. There are so many good moments on the horizon, and I don't want anything taking away from my excitement about that!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Outgoing Mail: Sacagawea

Attaching extra pages to our letters is allowing me to get a little more creative with the things I send our kids! This week I'm sending out a letter about Sacagawea.

I had been collecting some ideas for letter subjects for a while, including biographies of people I enjoyed learning about when I was younger. Since Brandon and I visited a Lewis and Clark exhibit at our local museum a few weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to put together a letter about Sacagawea! Basically, when I am writing one of these letters, I type up some information straight from children's non-fiction books in Microsoft Word, edit it for clarity, and copy/paste that into an online letter. If it's too long, I might take out some of the letter. In this case, I put my last paragraph in a word document, took a screenshot, pasted that onto another page, and added photos. Then I used that entire page as a single photo and uploaded it to my letter! I added a painting of Sacagawea, a picture of the dollar coin on which she was featured, and a little map about their route across the frontier (which I didn't plan on including, but a really good one came up in my Google search!) I even found a Sacagawea coloring page to send. I hope that the kids enjoy learning about her as much as I did when I was younger. I've placed the text of my letter here- the last paragraph was what I used as a screenshot. You are welcome to copy the information and send it to your own sponsor kids!

I want to tell you about an interesting person from my country's history. Sacagawea was a Native American girl famous for helping Meriwether Lewis and William Clark explore the western United States. Sacagawea was born around 1788. Her father was a Shoshone tribal chief.When she was about 14, she married a French fur trader named Toussaint Charbonneau, in the year 1804. He was hired to interpret for the explorers Lewis and Clark. They were going to study the land of the American West, which was unexplored by white people at that time. Lewis and Clark were on a mission from president Thomas Jefferson. They were to travel across the frontier, writing in journals, drawing the plants and animals that they saw, and sharing about the new things they encountered. They needed someone to translate their words for the times they encountered tribes of Native Americans. Sacagawea was chosen to travel with the company, too. Unfamiliar tribes would not be threatened by these travelers because they had a woman with them. Sacagawea gave birth to a baby boy just before beginning the journey with the explorers in the year 1805. She carried him on a special board on her back. The baby was named Jean-Baptiste, but everyone in the exploration group called him Pomp. In addition to helping the explorers speak with the tribes of Native Americans, Sacagawea acted as a guide for the group. She knew the trails of the frontier better than the explorers who had never been there before. She could also show them which wild plants were safe to eat. The explorers would not have survived the journey without the help of Sacagawea. The winters on the frontier were very harsh, with cold weather, strong winds, and tents as shelter. They also struggled when crossing through the mountain range called the Rocky Mountains. But Sacagawea helped them stay safe, and they survived! On the trip, only one man died of a disease that required surgery. The fact that almost everyone survived the journey was a miracle. Finally, after many long months, the company reached the Pacific Ocean. Sacagawea had never seen the ocean before, and that was her one request- that she was allowed to visit the sea. The explorers then traveled back across the country to their original homes. Their effort was so appreciated by President Jefferson, who was always eager to learn new things- and he learned a lot from the journals the explorers wrote!
Not much is known about Sacagawea after the trip was completed. It is believed that she had a daughter and then died when she was a young woman, not long after returning to her home. Sacagawea is one of several famous Native Americans that American school children learn about in their classes, and the United States government even honored her contributions to history by putting her image on a special coin. Not many women have been featured on American money, so this was a great honor. I have enjoyed learning about Sacagawea and reading about her story since I was a little girl! The explorers traveled through my state, Kentucky, at the beginning of their journey, and our local history museum has a special exhibit right now featuring information about the Lewis and Clark journey. They have recreated items like the Native tents, called tipis, and the long boats the explorers took up and down the rivers. Brandon and I had a lot of fun looking through the items at the museum. We really learned a lot!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sweet Greetings from India, Kenya, Haiti, and the Philippines

Happy Mail Call Monday!

We got several letters this week, which was very exciting! I'm going to post them here in the reverse order that we received them, since that's how I have them listed in my "keeping track" document." :) So first, at the end of the week, we heard from Vandana in India!

Before sharing the letter, I would like to ask you to pleas pray for our kids in India, for a variety of reasons. One is that unfortunately, we are going to be losing several of our kids at the end of this month due to the fact that the family member who pays for their sponsorship cannot keep making payments. This includes most if not all of the girls in India. Please pray that the transition will be easier on everyone and that all the kids that get dropped find new, loving sponsors very soon. And that I find the right words to say in our final letters. Also, please pray that we quickly resolve a situation in which some paperwork was filed incorrectly- I found out this weekend that the staff member I spoke to about doing inquiries for the girls after Shelley took gifts for them did not actually do so, and sent another kind of inquiry instead. Therefore, the field office staff and project staff have been spending the last month and a half collecting the wrong information, basically, and it will be even longer before we actually find out if the girls got their gifts (Shelley definitely mailed them to the field office, but sometimes things get stolen in transit.) Losing these kids is really going to hurt and I would really like to have the special letters/photos about the mini care packages we sent to them. It would help me feel a little better when they are gone to know that they got them and maybe see some extra, special photos of them. So please pray that this situation is fixed quickly. The amazing Sarah from the social media team has already fixed the inquiries themselves, but now we have to wait to hear back about all of them.

Anyway, it was really nice to get a letter from Vandana, even if it was sort of received by mistake (they sent an inquiry saying she hadn't been writing, when in fact it wasn't time for that yet!) Though we have had Vandana for about a year, we have only received one or two letters from her that weren't generic introductory letters, so it was really nice to get to know her a little better. She said she was always happy to get our letters, and that she was shocked to learn that "sister Amisha" from her project is sponsored by my mom! Well, so was I, when I figured that out after coming home with her completed sponsorship packet! :) She said Amisha is a "nice girl and an active girl" and that they are friends. She also said she had recently finished her first written test of her final exams, and asked that we pray for her results and her education. She also asked that we pray for her sisters Divya and Kajal, saying that Kajal is sick. And she said she is thankful the Lord provides for her family, and talked about Psalm 23!

Next was a letter from Motempa in Kenya!

Motempa said that in June, her project had a "games day" which sounded a little like the Olympics! She said she was the best volleyball player AND football player and she won a prize! She also asked about the weather and said that she hoped we are praying for her.

The same day, we got a letter from Merlyn in the Philippines!

Merlyn said she was excited to get all our letters, and she did receive the sparkly purple folder we sent before the letter guidelines changed- and she keeps all her letters in there! Merlyn also mentioned that she enjoyed the letters she received about sheep, and Hannah's letter about "God in the trees" as she had never seen those trees before! She asked how Brandon is and what he is doing, and asked that we tell all our friends and family that she said hi. And she said that she got a new school uniform and school supplies from the project! That's awesome!

Earlier in the week, we got a nice letter from Abdias in Haiti!

It's nice to finally be hearing from our Haitian guys again! They are all older and we haven't heard from any of them in several months. Hopefully we'll hear from the other guys soon! Abdias said that he finished the school year well and next year he will start the 10th grade. He's really enjoying spending summer vacation playing soccer and running around, and he goes to the project on weekends. He said that he started taking music lessons, and that when his church had a revival, he played with the worship band! There was also a concert near his home with several artists performing, and he really enjoyed that. He said "I've never stopped saying thanks to God for giving me all the talents to praise him." He shared that he got some new clothes with his birthday gift, and he shared Matthew 3:2 with us!

Finally, we got three letters from Festus in Kenya!

We went about eight months without hearing from Festus, and then got a letter from him last week, so it was a surprise to get three from him in one day! They each only had a paragraph, though. :) He said that his family plants groundnuts and beans, and he wants to know if we like eating those, and if we practice agriculture. He also said that they got some new teachers and social workers at the project, and they also got new musical instruments! He told us that he has three sisters and four brothers that all live at home, and he asked that we pray for his "challenges" and said that he needs some new school books. I hope to be able to send a small gift at the end of the month so he can hopefully get some of those!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Project Letter: EI-623

Here's a letter from the director of Jayid's project in East India! The photos came from Compassion's website.

Greetings to you! I am L. and I serve as project manager of the Compassion child development center in Madhya Pradesh region of India, attended by your sponsored child. We are very thankful to you for your support towards Jayid. Your partnership is helping us to meet needs and usher hope for the future. Thank you for understanding the needs of children and supporting them. We are here to create holistic awareness among children and their parents about education, hygiene, and health; but nothing of that would be possible if you are not by our side. So thank you.

One of our girls is particularly grateful for being enrolled in the center. She belongs to a poor family. Her father is a tailor who doesn't get work at times. She is an intelligent girl. She has learned computer and English at the center. She says that she is grateful to her sponsor whose support has enabled her to study in an English speaking school as she studied in a public school before joining the center.

Another child's father works as a day laborer and cannot provide for the needs of his two children. After joining the center, this boy's life is changing as he is able to enjoy the opportunities that his parents cannot afford. Our center is helping him to progress in life and have a better understanding about life and his purpose. He loves music and so he has been given training in guitar lessons at the center.

We are grateful to Compassion for the complementary intervention support through which we have been able to set up clean water facility at the center. When we started this center we struggled a lot for water. Many times the government taps are not given to the public. The center workers would bring water for cooking food and washing the utensils from so far or we had to purchase water from the private tankers which was expensive. Now we have sufficient drinking water and our children and cooks are all happy. We have also constructed a children's park with the complementary intervention funds we received. Children are happy that they can play without restraint and so they come to the center much ahead of their activity time so that they can spend some time in the park with their friends. This is a new experience for the children.

We are happy to know how much you desire to learn about your child so that you can better pray for needs and development. The sponsor and child correspondence is very important in establishing a strong relationship. We are thankful for each letter, photograph, and gift. The children really look forward to them. Children wait eagerly to receive their letters from sponsors. Encouraging words mean a lot to the children as they are filled with the love and care expressed toward their needs. I hope you can write often.

I am inspired to work at this center because I can see the visible change in their lives through the activities of the center. Please pray for our staff members so that they continue to serve the children with the same passion they had when they first started out. We request you to pray for the children, their parents, siblings, and the community at large. We heartily thank God for your love for children, your commitment to them and concern for their lives. I would like to thank you so much for your prayerful support and encouragement to Jayid. May God bless you!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sweet Greetings from Kenya, Honduras, Thailand, Haiti, Burkina Faso, India, and El Salvador

Happy Mail Call Monday!

I'm glad that I'm now able to regularly share letters we are getting throughout the week! Sometimes,because the letters arrive in email form first, it feels like I'm still not getting very many- there isn't a stack of letters waiting to be answered on my kitchen table. But when I look at the google doc where I'm keeping track of my letters and saving their individual links, we are getting about the same number of letters each week now that we did back before the system change, and that's GREAT NEWS!

First this week, we got a letter from Jeferson in El Salvador!

Jeferson is doing great with his letter writing- to get his first letter, we had to do an inquiry, and when we did, we got some neat photos of him with all the letters he received from us. Now that he is writing, he fills up a whole page! Jeferson shared that Ruben and Bernardo are his friends, and Ruben is his best friend because they have many things in common "and they are that we are playful, we like to play with marbles and I met him at his house. We started to talk and we felt well and we became good friends." That is so cute. He also said he like sharing smiles and games with his friends, and that they have a children's day celebration, where they have a lot of fun! Jeferson then said he got the Christmas stuff we sent him, and that his family celebrates New Years by having a nice dinner and sharing their wishes for the year to come. Jeferson wants to know how many family members I have, as well as how many friends, and he shared that he was going on vacation in August! His family invited his friend along, and they were going on a hike. Then Jeferson drew this little dude. 

The next day, we got a letter from Festus in Kenya! 

Festus' letter was a bit confusing, and in figuring out, I learned a little more about Compassion's processes. We recently had to do an inquiry because we had not heard from Festus since the beginning of the year. When we heard from Festus this week, his letter was a bit short (still very friendly) but was more like something he would send to a new sponsor, telling a bit about himself. My name was also not on top of the letter, and he addressed it to "dear sponsor." There was one instance a while back where one of our correspondence kids was accidentally and very temporarily removed from our account, and immediately added back on, but that changed how her "sponsored since" date appeared in the computer. I emailed and asked if maybe something similar had happened with Festus. I was told that when the field office is notified that a child needs to write a letter, they basically tell the staff at that project, and it could be that they don't have any pre-printed stationery with the child's name and sponsor's name at the top. So Festus may have been given a fresh piece of stationery without this info, assumed that he had a new sponsor (which has happened to him several times before) and just written a letter like it was to a new sponsor! I am sure he will be very relieved to know that we did not leave him (he is sponsored by a corporation, so hopefully we will have him and our other Kenyan kids until they graduate.) I am sharing this to encourage other sponsors who may have received short or vague letters after waiting so long to get one in the mail- it could just be a situation like this, where they wanted to get the letter out as quickly as possible, and in the process there was a tiny bit of miscommunication!

Our next letter of the week came from Sukumar in India! 

Sukumar is such a sweetheart, and I love getting his letters. We also hadn't heard from him since earlier this year, and it was encouraging to get a letter from one of our Indian kids- we hadn't heard from any of them all summer! Sukumar says that he is "quite fit by the grace of God" and he is studying hard to get good marks in every subject. Sukumar said he is growing in his spiritual life, and he is going to church every Sunday! And he really likes when his church has songs in English! He also shared that the project recently had a camp for teens, and he learned new songs and Bible verses. Then he asked how our climate is, and what season we are having. He then asked that we pray for his community, the Malto people, because "many people are suffering from diseases and also child marriage." Sukumar also said that for his birthday he got new jeans and a shirt! At the end of his letter he said "Thank you for your remembrance and prayer. I am from a poor family and by God's grace I got the wonderful opportunity to study (through) your Compassion sponsorship. Thank you for your supporting and loving to me." Sukumar is such a blessing to our family, and I'm so glad we get to write to him! Oh, and he also included this beautiful drawing! 

The same day, we got a letter from Jayid in India! 

Jayid's letter didn't have much to say. It was written by a project worker, and shared that he is doing well and is learning new action songs (as usual.) They asked us to pray for his grandfather, who has a fever. 

Next was a letter from Pitchaya in Thailand! 

I always love reading Pitchaya's letters- he has such cool stuff to wear! Pitchaya first listed all the letters and pictures he has received since he last wrote, which I thought was cute. Pitchaya said that it is really hot where he lives, and when it's hot, he likes to go to the farm house. He said it's not very big, but the weather is cooler, "and there are trees to give me places to hide from the sun." Apparently his family meets there during holidays and they listen to music, eat together, play games, and other fun stuff. It sounds a lot like the Jones family farm, honestly! He said they raise ducks, chickens, and squirrels there, too! Pitchaya said that his college is about to start up again, and that makes him happy because he misses his friends and they didn't get to talk much during the summer holidays. He also shared about the Songkran festival coming up, which I first learned about from our first Thai correspondent, Tae. Pitchaya told me a little more about the activities, like bringing gifts of fruit to the elderly who may not have much food and live in a nursing home. Pitchaya also responded to a letter I sent about peace by saying "I share peace by making people around me laugh!" I love this guy! He made this super cool drawing, too! 

Our next letter was from Eyo in Burkina Faso! 

Eyo is such a sweetie, and I was really happy to see we had another letter from her so quickly! Eyo sent her greetings and said that her family is grateful for our relationship. She said they were preparing for the rainy season by "cleaning the farms." Eyo also said that she is praying for my mom and my pappaw, and she wants to know more about winter in our country, and what we do with all the snow. She also asked what problems I face so she can pray for me, and that was so sweet!

Then we got a letter from Marc in Haiti! 

Marc is another one of our kids that we hadn't heard from in about five months, so it was really nice to hear from him. He said he was really glad to get our letters, and asked what our activities are and what people like to do in our country. He asked about my grandparents and said that he is always praying for me and my job, which is really sweet. He also thanked me for sharing about my friends, and for sending a photo of Hannah's new baby. "I love that baby so much!" How cute! I always love it when I get to share about my every day life- including my friends and family- and when the kids take an interest in that. 

A few days later, we got a letter from sweet Thanakan in Thailand! 

Thanakan sent a form letter about what she likes best. With her friends, she likes drawing and coloring. Her favorite game is skipping rope. Her favorite class at school is Thai, and she likes to visit waterfalls! Thanakan always writes quite a bit in her letters. She opened with "I am very glad to receive your 17 letters." :) She said she likes reading all the details in my letters, and she gains knowledge through them when I write about animals and other countries! She also said she liked the picture of the blanket I made for a friend, and that I have a good ability. I thought that was adorable. Thanakan said she is in the rainy season and wanted to know about our weather. She also said her family doesn't really like coffee, but they do like tea, and she likes when her mom makes her breakfast. She also said that her dad was in a bad scooter accident and he can't walk. He had an operation and now he's resting. I'm glad he was able to get the medical help he needed! Thanakan also asked if I can send a letter about rabbits so she can learn more about them. She included this pretty drawing- I like the cake! 

Later that day, we got a new letter from Ruth in Honduras! 

Chances are that this is the last letter I will get from Ruth before I go meet her in LESS THAN SIX WEEKS! Crazy! Ruth said she is happy to write to me and hopes we are all in good health. She said "I am glad we will communicate often- and that way I will be able to know you better." She also said she is happy to see me, even if it's just in a picture. By now, she probably knows I am coming to see her in person!! Ruth said she wanted to tell me about her school, and shared that she gets there in a taxi. Her school is by a forest. It is a 20 minute ride from her home. She wants to know how long it takes me to get to work. She asked to learn more about my family and what I do each day, and she hopes we can communicate again soon. She asked that we pray for her family, that they will not lack anything. She also sent a pretty drawing! 

Lastly, we got a letter from our lovely Christine in Kenya! 

Christine's latest letter took about six weeks to get to us! That's pretty quick! She asked how we are doing "over there" and she and her family are doing well and they are really happy. She said she loves learning more about our friends and family, and that she's doing well in school. She said her best subjects are science and Swahili, and she hopes to be promoted to the next grade. She then shared Romans 12:1 with us. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Project Letter: BF-259

Here's a letter from Eyo's project in Burkina Faso! All photos come from Compassion's website.

I am Jean Baptiste B., team leader of the child development center attended by your sponsored child and run by the Baptist Church in Koudougou town, Burkina Faso. Great is my joy to say thank you for your different supports on behalf of Eyo in order to contribute to her success, well-being, and blooming. Thanks to your assistance, there is regular participation at the center on Thursdays to take part in the different activities such as singing in the choir with friends. That has brought a positive change in life with good behaviors toward friends in the center and at school. Church is also attended regularly. May God bless you richly for your support.

Recently we received the Complementary Intervention funds which are used for teaching the children and their parents on malaria, hygiene, and sanitation. We also received water filters which enable them to drink pure water.

The meetings of information that we organized have had some positive changes on people. We see them practicing hygiene in order to avoid diseases such as malaria. The use of the water filters has also contributed to the reduction of some diseases linked with dirty waters like stomach-ache. Parents can now save money because they no longer spend their money on medicines to always treat the children.

The letters that the children receive from their sponsors always bring them great joy and mainly when they find photos or drawings inside. It is easy to feel a member of your family because your name becomes familiar and the names of your family members as well. I know many children here who have memorized the Bible verses found in their letters, and some children even use those Bible verses in their own songs they like to sing with their friends. A child testified one day that he was happy because he has found that his sponsor and himself have the same last name.

I am so moved when I see the love, commitment, and determination of the sponsors always manifested toward their children in this center. That encourages me to work with more discipline and diligence in this ministry among the children.

The extra-curricular activities such as music, hairdressing, football, handball held in the center on Saturdays have a positive impact on the children. Many children really excel in hairdressing, and we see a girl dressing the hair of one another all the time. We are also happy to inform you that the children registered in our center have received a medical visit, and those who have health problems have been well treated. They are healed now. Their school results this year are satisfactory, too, because of the extra classes they have in the center on Thursdays. Additionally, the families who got gifts from their children's sponsors are now involved in income-generating activities which help them to have money to take care of their families properly.

We didn't get a dangerous disease this year in our midst thanks to your prayers and that of the center. Now we would like you to pray for the child who suffers from sickle cell anemia, and the child who is epileptic, the mother of one of our children who is sick too, and the area where the center is located so that we can have a medical center, and a secondary school. My sincere greetings once more to you. Thank you for contributing to the success and blooming of Eyo. On behalf of all the center, receive my sincere gratitude in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ.