Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Feature! - Fernando, Lizzy, Suraj, Cika, Carole, Emer, Jaaziel, Helen

Happy Friday!

The following children have been waiting for sponsors for over six months! End their wait today! :)

Meet Fernando:
Age: 10
Waiting for: 347 days
Location: Masaya, Nicaragua
Lives with: stepfather, mother, two siblings
Parent job/income: laborer/$94 per month
Responsibilities: making beds, running errands, cleaning
Enjoys: playing musical instruments, art, soccer
Change his story today!

Meet Lizzy!
Age: 8
Waiting for: 316 days!
Location: San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Lives with: father, mother, two siblings
Parent job/income: laborer/$157 per month
Responsibilities: cleaning
Enjoys: playing with dolls, playing ball games
Change her story today!

Meet Suraj!
Age: 5
Waiting for: 408 days!
Location: Delhi, India (an area with risk of child rights violations)
Lives with: father and mother
Parent job/income: laborer/$50 per month
Responsibilities: helping in kitchen, running errands
Enjoys: hide-and-seek
Change his story today!

Meet Cika!
Age: 8
Waiting for: 316 days!
Location: Intai Melyan, Indonesia
Lives with: father, mother, three siblings
Parent job/income: plantations/$110 per month
Responsibilities: cleaning
Enjoys: jumping rope, bicycling
Change her story today!

Meet Carole!
Age: 6
Waiting for: 286 days!
Location: Bobo-dioulasso, Burkina Faso (area prone to child rights violations and AIDS)
Lives with: father, mother, two siblings
Parent job/income: farmer/seller in market/$22 per month
Responsibilities: running errands
Enjoys: singing, playing with dolls, listening to music
Change her story today!

Meet Emer!
Age: 8
Waiting for: 408 days!
Location: Chiclayo, Peru
Lives with: father, mother, one sibling
Parent job/income: farmer/$195 per month
Responsibilities: running errands
Enjoys: playing with cars, hide-and-go-seek
Change his story today!

Meet Jaaziel!
Age: 10
Waiting for: 408 days!
Location: San Sebastian Rio Hondo, Mexico
Lives with: father, mother, four siblings
Parent job/income: farmer/$146 per month
Responsibilities: running errands, carrying water, cleaning
Enjoys: soccer, playing with marbles, reading
Change his story today!

Meet Helen!
Age: 15
Waiting for: 198 days!
Location: Managua, Nicaragua
Lives with: father, grandmother
Parent job/income: factories/$115 per month
Responsibilities: running errands, cleaning
Enjoys: swimming, singing, playing house
Change her story today!

If none of these children speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. If you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray over these children and that they find loving sponsors soon!
San Pedro Sula
Masaya
Masaya

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Message to Myself as a Child

It hasn't been very long since I was a child - I'm only 21-years-old. In many ways, I still consider myself to be partially a child. I certainly don't see myself as a full-fledged adult yet :) I think we're all still somewhat in a state of being a child - at least we should be. Many people shy away from this idea. We want to be bold and courageous and independent free thinking adults. I'm not saying that's bad - but there's something unique about children. Children are learning, and children are growing. I think we should all be in a state of learning and growing.

When I was a child, I was afraid to get in trouble. I was afraid of what others thought of me. I was shy. I was reserved. When I was a Daisy Scout in Kindergarten I didn't play the games with the other little girls, I sat at a table and colored with my friend.

It hasn't been until these last few years of college that I've learned how to change that view. I've learned to get out of my own way and simply be myself.

If I could go back and tell elementary school Carly something - I would tell her to speak up. I would tell her that your ideas matter, that you're smart, that you're able, and just because you prefer reading to playing tag, doesn't make you any less than anyone around you. Being the first to raise your hand in class and honestly enjoying school isn't a bad thing! At all! Just because you wear glasses, don't always match your clothes, and sometimes forget that it's important to brush your hair - doesn't mean that you are any less than anyone else around you. Just because you're not a Disney Princess - doesn't mean that you're not a princess to God.

I don't mean to say that I was a self-conscious, unhappy little girl. I wasn't. I was comfortable with myself, but I was also very aware that I wasn't like a lot of the other girls. I wasn't athletic. I wasn't popular. And those things probably weren't going to change. But maybe if I had that push of self-assurance - that everything that I am is okay, that there is nothing wrong with the way that I am, and that it's actually a Good thing that I'm not like every other girl. Maybe I would be different now.

Then there is middle school and every little thing is a big thing and the smallest things might be the end of the world entirely. A poorly planned outfit or a pimple could be complete and utter deal-breakers. Being friends with anyone of the opposite sex meant you were dating and was filled with awkward prying, gossip, and embarrassment.

If I could go back and tell middle school Carly something - I would tell her to not be afraid. I would tell her that you're not weird - you're you, what other people think about you shouldn't affect how you choose to live, that your interests and goals are awesome - and to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF because nothing is impossible. I would tell her to be bold and unafraid, because the weird waters of middle school don't last forever and you are perfect the way you are.

Come high school a girl may no longer seem like a child in the same way she was as a little elementary student - but she is. There are still challenges abound and lessons to be learned. The path of self-discovery is far from over, and the battle to deeply and truly love yourself is far from won.

If I could go back and tell high school Carly something - I would tell her to get out of her own way. I would tell her to cherish the friends that make her feel good, and forget the ones that don't. Because if they don't challenge you, if they don't encourage you, if they don't support you, if they don't love you, if they don't inspire you, they aren't it - and you can do better. I would tell her how amazing she is - that her heart is HUGE and that she should learn to use it. I would tell her that she can do anything, that none of her dreams are too big, and that she should shout them from the rooftops. I would tell her that she is perfect because she is God's, and anyone that doesn't see that or turns her away from that isn't it. I would tell her that the opinions of others DO.NOT.MATTER. What matters is God. That you love God. That you love others. That you love yourself. Because you are amazing.

These lessons came to me slowly since being at college. I can finally say that I've fully embraced who I am, that I whole-hardheartedly love myself, and I would change nothing about who I am. I can finally say that I don't care if someone doesn't like me for who I am - because there is no use trying to change to please somebody else. I've learned to not be afraid to say what I feel and express who I am. I've learned to not be afraid to dream big and follow God in every walk of my life. I thank God every day for the person that He has made me, and I constantly look for opportunities to spread His love. I tell all three of my beautiful ladies these lessons I've learned with the hope that they can learn them, and embrace them when they are still children.

And guess what - you can do that for a child too. Take a look at these kids that are waiting for your love and guidance. You can change one of their stories today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Feature - Fernando, Abi, Mutesi, Ovensnel, Edilson, Ronald, & Megan

Hello and welcome to my Friday Feature! The following seven children have been waiting for sponsors for almost a year and today you can become their sponsor! What's more - it's their birthday, so help make this one extra special.

Meet Fernando:
Age: 8
Location: Barrio La Guardia, Honduras
Lives with: mother, two siblings
Parent job/income: factories/$210 per month
Responsibilities: making beds, running errands, cleaning
Enjoys: Soccer, playing with cars, bicycling
Change his story today!


Meet Abi!
Age: 6
Location: Tondano, Indonesia
Lives with: father, mother, two siblings
Parent job/income: day laborers/$111 per month
Responsibilities: running errands
Enjoys: soccer
Change his story today!


Meet Mutesi!
Age: 7
Location: Kigasha, Rwanda (AIDS-affected area)
Lives with: father, mother, four siblings
Parent job/income: day laborers/$25 per month
Responsiblities: carrying water, gathering firewood
Enjoys: jumping rope, playing group games
Change her story today!


Meet Ovensnel!
Age: 7
Location: Deschapelles, Haiti
Lives with: father, mother, three siblings
Parent job/income: market sellers/$53 per month
Responsibilities: carrying water, buying/selling in the market
Enjoys: soccer, playing group games
Change his story today!


Meet Edilson!
Age: 7
Location: San Antonio, Bolivia (area with high risk for child's rights violations)
Lives with: father, mother, two siblings
Parent job/income: day laborers/$150 per month
Responsibilities: running errands
Enjoys: playing with cars
Change his story today!


Meet Ronald!
Age: 8
Location: Poblacion, Phillipines
Lives with: father, three siblings
Parent job/income: substinence farmers/$60 per month
Responsibilities: washing clothes, running errands, cleaning
Enjoys: basketball, playing with cars, telling stories
Change his story today!


Meet Megan!
Age: 6
Location: Toladan, Indonesia
Lives with: grandfather, grandmother, two siblings
Parent job/income: substience farmers/$53 per month
Responsibilities: running errands, cleaning
Enjoys: art
Change her story today!

I hope you are able to end the wait of one of these children and make their birthday with come true! If none of them speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. And if you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray for these children and that they are able to find sponsors soon.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Updates :)

Hello! I've been pretty quiet in the blog-world but here are some updates! :)

1. I completed my junior year of college in May after writing many long papers and suffering from I'm-so-ready-to-be-done fever.

2. In May I traveled to Belize - a non-Compassion country - with a group from my school for two weeks. It was a lot of fun! We helped in the schools, so I taught Language Arts lessons to a group of 6th graders and helped out in the classroom. We also had many fun adventures including visiting Mayan ruins, hiking, swimming, cave exploring, and snorkeling (with nurse sharks and sting-rays on one occasion!) I loved seeing all of God's beautiful creations and continuing to let God use me for the cause of children. It was tough going home!

3. This summer I came home and worked for the Boys & Girls Club. I love working there - especially when the kids are behaving :) I love being able to make a difference in the lives of children and know that I am helping set them on a good track for life!

4. When I wasn't working, I was studying for the GRE. I want to get my masters in clinical psychology and in order to get into graduate programs, you have to take the GRE (which is basically a glorified version of the ACT/SAT).

5. I've also been reading books for fun - The Help! Wow what a fantastic book! And studying Portuguese through an app I downloaded on my phone. I'm taking a Portuguese class this semester (can't wait!) but wanted to get a little head start. I hope to go to Brazil again next summer to visit my lady (saving a little every month!) and I would love to have some level of proficiency in the language before I go :)

6. I'm leaving for college again tomorrow - senior year! Crazy how time flies! It should be a busy, rewarding, fun semester. I've taken on some new leadership responsibilities that I'm really looking forward to. I also am looking forward to volunteering at more Compassion events, continuing to share about Compassion, and continuing to update this blog, because the goal is always the same - I want to help change the story for kids living in extreme poverty, and I want you to help me do it :)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Water Statistics

How easy is it for you to get water? For most of us, we just turn on the sink, fill up our cup and enjoy. We turn on the shower and fresh water (hot or cold - our choice) can make us clean. We put our dishes in the dishwasher or our clothes in the washing machine, hit the right buttons, and we have clean dishes to eat off of and clean clothes to wear.

I think the majority of us take water for granted. We don't have to worry about where to get it, if it will be clean and safe.

So let's learn some statistics about water.

800 MILLION people do not have access to clean water (that's 3x the amount of people that live in the US)
3.4 MILLION people will die of a waterborne illness this year and 1.5 MILLION of them will be children
1 in 5  children worldwide DIE from diarrhea - that's more than AIDS, malaria, and measles COMBINED
Every 20 seconds a child will die of a water-related illness

Sound crazy? It's unfortunately true.

This week, I'm going to talk about water - what the reality is today and what YOU can do to make it better.

Let's change the world.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Feature!! - Marvin, Kennedy, Byringiro, Alexander, & Liul

The following young men have been waiting for sponsors for over 320 days! Let's end their wait today.

Meet Marvin!
Marvin is 12-years-old and lives in Chalchuapa, El Salvador. He lives with his stepfather and mother (both are sometimes employed) and one sibling. Most adults in this area are unemployed, but some work as laborers and earn about $50 per month. Marvin helps his family by making beds, running errands, or cleaning. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, running, and reading. Change his story today!

Meet Kennedy!
Kennedy is 12-years-old and lives near Nueva ConcepciĆ³n, El Salvador. He lives with both parents and one sibling. Most adults in this area are unemployed, but some work as laborers and earn about $100 per month. Kennedy helps his family by carrying water, making beds, and cleaning, For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, bicycling, and playing with marbles. Change his story today!

Meet Byringiro!
Byringiro is 12-years-old and lives near Nyagatare, Rwanda (an area prone to HIV/AIDS). He lives with his father (who is sometimes employed) and one sibling. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn about $9 per month. Byringiro helps his family by carrying water and gathering firewood. He enjoys playing soccer and participates in choir at his project. Change his story today!

Meet Alexander!
Alexander is 5-years-old and lives near Managua, Nicaragua. He lives with both parents and two siblings. Most adults in this area work in agriculture or maintenance an earn about $134 per month. Alexander helps his family by cleaning. He enjoys playing soccer, playing with cars, and swimming. Change his story today!

Meet Liul!
Liul is 6-years-old and lives near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (an area prone to HIV/AIDS). He lives with his grandmother (who is not employed). Most adults in this area work as subsistence farmers and earn about $18 per month. He helps his family by running errands. For fun he enjoys playing soccer. Change his story today!

If none of these children speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. If you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray over these children and that they will find loving sponsors soon.

Have a wonderful weekend!

A Compassion Success Story - Rogerio

The following story is from the Spring 2009 Compassion Brazil Magazine.

"Rogerio's story starts out like many other ones. he was just 2-years-old when his father, Jose Milton da Silva, died in a work accident. His life was turned upside down.

"Rogerio was born in Ceara State, in the northeast area of Brazil, a place surrounded by the many faces of poverty, violence, unemployment, drugs, etc. The unpaved streets were covered by dust in the summer and mud in the winter. The area was plagued with fleas. There was no hope of improvement to a better future, just pain and suffering.

"The boy grew up watching his mother, Raimunda de Souza, working hard as a daily cleaner to make a little money in order to support her kids living in a very small house, almost a hut, made of clay, and covered with asbestos' tiles. Inside it, there was no furniture, just a stove made of clay, without electricity. The family slept in hammocks, not having any beds. The house had a dirt floor, and a very small hole in the ground worked as bathroom. In other words, there was no basic sanitation.

"Rogerios's family faced many needs, a complete lack of everything. One year after the death of his father, his mother started to live with a man that became his stepfather. Antonio, the stepfather, used to drink and spend all the money Raimunda had earned to support the family. It was a hard time for the whole family - Rogerio, his mother and his three siblings.

"Up to the age of 9, he had never attended school - his responsibility was to stay home, take care of his siblings, clean the little house, wash dishes, and do the laundry - the few clothes the family had. He was just 'the boy who took care of his little brothers', so he had no dreams.

"He could never imagine he would become an excellent musician, a pastor and Delegate of Human Rights. However, God had a special plan for Rogerio and put special people into his life to accomplish it. In that hopeless neighborhood there was a woman who used to invite children of the community to go to church with her. After some invitations, Rogerio decided to accept and go with her because he had heard that there was food in that church, and he was so tired of feeling hungry. On that Sunday service, she had taken 40 children and Rogerio was among them.

"Rogerio didn't know that he was receiving much more than food, that God was working in his life: 'I will never forget that day, I ate a lot. There were biscuits and juice, for me that was a feast. What I didn't realize at the moment was that something over there caught my attention, much more than food, something I couldn't understand very well yet', he said.

"God began to surround the boy with special people. Pastor Marcos was one of them. One day, when he was going for another day of work at the Project, he saw a curious, thin, and smart boy approaching him. Shyly, that boy asked: 'Sir, may I take care of your car?' The pastor said 'yes', but he didn't realize what was behind that simple question.

"The sound of children playing together, happy, having classes and having tasty meals was all Rogerio wanted. Asking to take care of the pastor's car was a part of his plan to approach the Project, the children and the meals. He could not realize, at that moment, that everything was part of God's plan for his life, God had control of that situation.

"In that afternoon, Pastor Marcos returned and offered some money to Rogerio, but, to his surprise, Rogerio rejected it and left, happily. The pastor was a little bit astonished because, in Brazil, millions of children 'take care of cars' just to get some money for food. But that wasn't Rogerio's case - he was hungry, of course, but he had his own 'strategy' to be part of the Project. Pastor Marcos invited him to enter and have lunch with the other children. Rogerio was so thankful and happy! Finally, he would have a nice and warm meal.

"The next day, when the pastor came to another day of work at the Project, he found the same boy there, anxiously waiting for him. 'Sir, may I wash your car?'

"For some days, he took care or washed the pastor's car, rejecting the money, and having lunch with the kids. Pastor Marcos was just observing that boy - his attitude of rejecting money was odd.

"Day after day, Rogerio repeated his strategy. But one specific day, when he made the usual question, the answer was a big NO. Rogerio was surprised. So, the pastor said, you are forbidden to take care or wash my car. Just enter, go play a game with the other boys.

"Rogerio smiled, his dream had come true! The pastor invited him to participate in the Project. Now, that thin and clever boy was part of the Project! His dreams did not stop there. He had another objective: to be sponsored. But he had a problem: he was 9-years-old, the age limit at that time in Brazil for it. Pastor Marcos never forgets the image of the boy in front of the Project. 'He was persistent', says the pastor. Due to his persistence and because God had a plan for that courageous boy, Pastor Marcos was determined to fight for it and get Compassion's registration for Rogerio. Finally and against all odds, he was sponsored.

"Rogerio got a sponsor. It was another dream that came true, however his sponsor never wrote a line to him and some of the children used to mock him saying that his sponsor didn't exist because he never received a letter. Rogerio felt hurt, but he knew that his sponsor was real.

"The impact of the Word of God touched so deeply into his soul. In the first week attending the Project, when he hard Edileuza, Pastor Marcos's wife explaining about Proverbs 14:12 (There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death), God opened his mind and heart: 'I will never forget those words, something real changed inside me', remember him. Two years later, Rogerio was baptized at the Baptist Church in Edson Queiroz.

"The boy started to attend school and receive all the support at the project to overcome his difficulties, in order to learn how to read and write very fast, because he needed to make up for lost time. It was also at the Project he met the instrument that would change his professional life: the guitar. The first chords were taught by Maria Aparecida Monterio, Project's coordinator.

"'I taught him the first steps, the basics', she says. But for Rogerio, it didn't matter if she was a specialist in guitar or just knew the basics. He just wanted to play. 'I remember his smiling face. Every time he learned a note, he smiled, excited. Because of his enthusiasm, many children can learn guitar at the Project', she said.

"This was a long time ago. Today, Rogerio is a musical producer - he studied vocal and guitar techniques in a conservatory - and he's also a gospel minster, a worship leader. His ministry is called 'Ministerio Chamar de Louvor e Adoracao' (Calling Ministry of Praise and Worship) and he has already recorded an album. Rogerio composes gospel songs and edifies the life of millions of people through his own story. the inspiration for his art comes from God. 'I can't compose anything if my heart isn't connected with God'.

"Rogerio got married to Ana Aldenira when he was 19. The couple has a handsome 10-year-old boy that dreams to be an engineer. The family has a stable life - different from his childhood - because he was set free from poverty in all of its forms. He is a fulfilled Christian adult. In spite of being an adult, his dreamer boy still lives inside: 'my dream is to be an influence to my generation, always'. The gratitude in his eyes and heart is visible: 'People didn't believe that one day I could become a musician. But my first guitar teacher, Maria Aparecida, always dreamed my dreams and I dedicate my victories to her, to pastor Marcos and to my sweet and hard working mother!'

"Pastor Rogerio is a man of God, a real servant leader. He teaches music at the Project and shares with the kids how God changed his life. He declares humbly and happily that his life was transformed by God: 'I praise the Lord because one day he reached me and gave me much more than I even could think or imagine. I always praise him because He used Compassion's Ministry to help me in my holistic life, and showed me Jesus, the might God the only One powerful to release everyone from poverty and makes us free for his glory.'"

There are currently four nine-year-old boys in Brazil that are waiting for sponsors. You can change their story today. Who knows - maybe he grow up to be like Rogerio! You can be that person in a child's life today!