Saturday, December 22, 2012

Melany knows my name!

Today is an exciting day for me because I received an email from Compassion informing me of an important event in Melany's life - that she was recently told she has a sponsor and she knows my name! Therefore I should be receiving my first letter from her shortly! *cheer*

I was also provided the link to this great blog post that explains how the children learn they have a sponsor. I had no idea it was such a long process!

1. Melany's parents signed her up to be in the project.
2. Staff in the Columbia country office and her local church partner pray for her and that she finds a sponsor. 
3. I see her adorable picture and sign up to sponsor her at an event.
4. My information is mailed to the Compassion offices in Colorado.
5. They process my information.
6. The Communications Department in Columbia receives a list of new children that have sponsors.
7. That department prints the list out and gives each child an age-appropriate letter template and puts this in "pigeon holes" for each project in the country.
8. The individual center workers then visit the country office to pick up this information and take it back to the center to inform Melany and her family.
9. The center worker files the information at the project.
10. The center worker goes to Melany's home to inform her and her family of this great news!
It might look something like this:
11. The center worker then gathers information about the family so Melany can write her first letter to me (which will probably be written on behalf of her by a center worker because she is so young).

We can talk about the journey letters take another time.

It's cool to think that this is happening right now all over the world and it just happened for this sweet little girl! Can't wait to get my first letter from her and from Melina!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Feature!! - Hendry, Chlief, Andre, Lia, & Fina

There are currently hundreds of children that have been waiting for sponsors for 477 days. That is means they have been patiently waiting for one year, three months, and 22 days!! Please end the wait for one of these children today and give them the best Christmas present ever, the gift of hope.

There are 99 children in Indonesia alone that have been waiting for 477 days so I am going to focus on them.

Meet Hendry! Check out that little smile of his :)
Hendry is six-years-old and lives near Bitung, Indonesia. He lives with his father (sometimes employed) and mother. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn the equivalent of $52 per month. Hendry helps his family by running errands. For fun, he enjoys bicycling and playing with cars. End his wait and change his story today!


Meet Chlief! Turn that frown of his upside down today!
Chlief is seven-years-old and lives near Bitung, Indonesia. He lives with his father (sometimes employed), mother, and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $56 per month. Chlief helps his family by running errands and caring for children. He enjoys rolling a hoop and running. End his wait and change his story today!


Meet Andre! I love how tall and straight he's standing!
Andre is eight-years-old and lives in Tondegesan, Indonesia. He lives with his father (sometimes employed), mother, and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $67 per month. Andre helps his family by caring for children and running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing with cars and playing group games. End his wait and change his story today!


Meet Lia! I love the little smile on her face too!
Lia is nine-years-old and lives in Musaima, Indonesia. She lives with her mother (sometimes employed) and three siblings. Most adults in this area work on plantations and earn about $42 per month. Lia helps her family by carrying water and washing clothes. She enjoys playing with dolls. End her wait and change her story today!


Meet Fina! And turn that frown upside down today!
Fina is nine-years-old and lives in Batu Putih, Indonesia. She lives with her father (sometimes employed), mother, and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $22 per month. Fina helps her family by carrying water, helping in the kitchen, and cleaning. For fun, she enjoys singing, playing house, and playing with dolls. End her wait and change her story today!


As always, if none of these children speak to your heart, I invite you to please find one that does. Like previously stated, there are currently hundreds of children that have been waiting for sponsors for nearly a year and three months. Make this the best Christmas ever and give them the gift of hope this year.

If you are unable to sponsor a child, I invite you to pray over these children and that they will receive loving sponsors soon.



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Compassion Success Story: Enrique

I apologize for the blog silence. The last couple of weeks have been crazy with dead week (which is the week before finals when everything is due), finals week, and then taking some much needed rest and relaxation time at home.

As I read through some of my old Compassion magazines as the first real snowfall blows around outside, I wanted to share some amazing true stories of how lives have changed through Compassion.

This story comes from the Spring, 2006 issue of the Compassion Magazine and was written by Ovetta Sampson.

"Lima, Peru - As a young boy, when Enrique Reyes knelt down on the dirt floor of his home to pray, he didn't ask God for money. Riches would have been a righteous request for this child who lived with his mother, father and three siblings in a one-room lean-to perched upon the sandy hills in the slums of Lima.

"Money would have been the practical plea of a child who missed meals each week because $14 a month just isn't enough to feed six people all the time.

"But when Enrique took the precious moments he had to pray, he asked for peace instead.

"In 1999, Enrique was a five-year-old boy terrorized by turmoil.

"'He was a child who cried all the time,' says Blanca Misayauri Grandos, Project Director at Solidaridad (PE-400) in Lima.

"That's because Enrique's father Walter thought escape was his peace and he found it in alcohol. His mother, Paulina, sought peace by moving with her husband from a desolate mountain village in the Andes to the city slums of Lima.

"Enrique glimpsed peace intermittently - each day he went to the Compassion project. Peace filtered in the way Blanca and other project staff nurtured him, offering him meals each day. Peace flickered in his project tutor's encouragement, spurring Enrique's interest in math. Peace floated from the pages of his sponsor's letters, a blessing he says other children in his neighborhood missed.

"But just as every day he went to the project to gain peace, each evening he came home to turmoil.

"At home there was fist against face as his father abused his mother. At home there were tears on cheeks as he and his siblings hid from their father's anger and their mother's desperation. Enrique's time at the Compassion project was a welcomed escape from turmoil, but still the litle boy prayed for peace at home.

"Sometimes in death there is new life. When Enrique was eight years old, he learned that difficult lesson. It was May 5, 2002, and the turmoil that reigned that day enveloped his teenage brother. Enrique's brother decided to go to work with his dad at the tire repair shop. There was an accident. The teen fell, hit his head and died. But in death, hope was born.

"Enrique's father, Walter, craved solace after his son's death. But the drinking buddies, with whom he spent more time than his family, disappeared. Walter's other so-called friends in his world walked away. In the end, it was the care and encouragement from Blanca and others at the Compassion project - from paying for the funeral, feeding the children, offering clothes, to praying - where Walter found his comfort. 

"'The Lord touched my heart,' Walter says. 'The people from the church just started helping a lot. People in the world, in the streets, they don't help. When my son was in the hospital, nobody went to help except the Christians.'

"Walter realized the Lord, not alcohol, offered him the comfort he desperately desired.

"'In all, in every way, I changed a lot,' Walter says, after accepting Christ into his life. 'The way I live, the way I do things, my behavior...now we are Christians...now we live in peace.'

"Today Enrique is a 10-year-old dynamo - smiling, engaging, playing soccer with his newfound friends, getting good grades and dreaming of becoming a lawyer. The one-room home is now three rooms, including a kitchen with a new refrigerator - all results of Walter's new economic and social commitment to his family.

"'Everything changed when my father received Jesus in his heart,' Enrique says. 'He began to take care of us, not to drink alcohol. Now he doesn't do bad things. We are happy now...everything is improving...everything is better.'

"But having a healthy family relationship - mother talking to father instead of crying, son helping father at work instead of avoiding his wrath, loving him without dread - these measures of peace the family will treasure for a lifetime.

"'Sometimes money i snot enough to be happy,' Paulina says. 'To have a good husband, to have a good father for my children...only the Lord knows that we have these needs. He is the one who gives us peace.'"

If you would like to help a child in a similar situation as Enrique, please click here.
There are currently a dozen children in Peru that have been waiting for a sponsor for over a year. Help one of them today!

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Thanks for reading!
 
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Feature!! - Kader, Kwaku, Mubarek, Daniel, Dushimimana, & Francisca

Compassion is working hard to lower the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa. Read this blog post about the work Compassion is doing in Ghana to help with education, prevention, and treatment.

Have a heart for Africa? The following children live in AIDS-infected areas and have been waiting for sponsors for over a year! Save these children and end their wait today!


Meet Kader!
Kader is six-years-old and lives near Bobo-dioulasso, Burkina Faso, an AIDS-infected area and an area prone to exploitation and abuse. He lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed) and four siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as day laborers, farmers, market traders or in domestic services and earn about $40 per month. Kader helps his family by caring for children and running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer and playing with marbles. Change his story today!


Meet Kwaku!
Kwaku is six-years-old and lives in Assin Odumasi, Ghana, an area infected with AIDS. He lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed as farmers) and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $33 per month. Kwaku helps his family by carrying water and running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer. Change his story today!


Meet Mubarek!
Mubarek is six-years-old and lives in Goba, Ethiopia, an AIDS-infected area. He lives with his father (who is employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $23 per month. Mubarek helps his family by carrying water and running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer. Change his story today!


Meet Daniel!
Daniel is seven-years-old and lives in Maralal, Kenya, an AIDS-infected area and an area prone to exploitation and abuse. He lives with both parents (both of whom are sometimes employed) and two siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn about $20 per month! Daniel helps his family by carrying water and running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer and group games. Change his story today!


Meet Dushimimana!
Dusimimana is seven-years-old and lives in Nyabinaga, Rwanda, an AIDS-infected area. He lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed as farmers), and six siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn about $38 per month! Dusimimana helps his family by gardening. For fun, he enjoys playing group games. Change his story today!


Meet Francisca!
Francisca is seven-years-old and lives near Mwanza City, Tanzania, an AIDS-infected area and an area prone to exploitation and abuse. She lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed) and four siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work in domestic service, as day laborers or market traders and earn about $60 per month! Francisca helps her family by washing clothes. She enjoys playing jacks, singing, and telling stories. Change her story today!

And if none of these beautiful children speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. Have a heart for Africa? Sponsor a child in an AIDS-infected area.

As always, if you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray for these children and that they will find loving sponsors soon.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Letter Tips - The First Letter

This month, in addition to sending a letter to Isadora, I had two new girls to write to, Melina and Melany so I thought this would provide a great opportunity to give some tips for what to write about in that first, important letter.

Compassion may send you a template for a first letter when you receive information about your child and it's great to follow that template but you don't have to. You can always write on your own stationary if you so choose. However, if you do, it's crucial that you write your sponsor number and the child's number on the letter to ensure that it goes to your child. It is also worth pointing out that anything you send with letters (stickers, pictures, bookmarks, etc.) should have your sponsor number and the child's number on it as well.

Important things to cover in that first letter:
1. Your name
2. How old you are (if you feel comfortable sharing)
3. Where you live (not exact address, state, country, maybe city)
4. What you do (occupation/school, I don't give the exact name of my school just that I'm in my third year of college and studying psychology)
5. Names of spouse/kids/parents/siblings (whatever is most pertinent) with ages (if comfortable) and occupation/school if applicable

Other than that, everything I currently know about the child I like to provide the same information for them because they don't know a thing about who I am.

Other good things to include are:
1. What I like to do for fun
2. What my favorite food, color, and animal are (and ask the child what there's are)
3. Share my favorite Bible verse or story (ask if the child has a favorite)
4. Share what I want to after school (and ask the child what he/she wants to be when he/she grows up)

Even though you probably want to know everything you possibly can about this child right away, refrain from asking more than three questions per letter. This can become overwhelming for the child and you have a better chance of getting your questions answered if you don't have as many and keep them in one area of the letter (like at the end). Some people highlight them to make them stand out.

Things to ask the child:
Basically, anything you don't currently know about the child that you want to know. This is probably a lot so try to keep it with basic introductory questions and as time goes on you can ask more questions and continue to further your relationship.

Things to send the child:
1. Picture(s) of yourself or your family (make sure you point out which one is you). Don't over think this or give yourself anxiety about it. The child doesn't care what you look like, the child just wants to know who you are. You know what the child looks like, he/she will want to be able to put a face to the name too.

The only word of caution with pictures though is there can be no revealing clothing (no swimsuits) and no anti-Christian messages. Also, no pictures that advertise your material possessions (the child will likely not understand and it's kind of rude) and nothing that shows where you live (for your own privacy)

2. Stickers. Children love stickers. Period.

Don't stress yourself out too much about it and most importantly, have fun as you begin to build this relationship!

Questions/concerns? Feel free to ask!

Monthly Letter Prompt - November

With Thanksgiving having just passed it seemed only natural to talk about Thanksgiving in the letters to my girls this month. For those of you who celebrated this holiday, this is a great way to educate the kids you sponsor or write to.

What to write about (some ideas):
1. The history of Thanksgiving, what the holiday is, and why American's celebrate it
2. From there you could even talk about where your ancestors came from and when some of them came over, if you know
3. The customs of Thanksgiving
4. What you did for Thanksgiving
5. Share what you are thankful for

What to ask:
After I said what I am thankful for this year, I asked what she is thankful for. Maybe you'll have some similarities and maybe you'll learn something about your child or discover new things that you're thankful for.

What to give: I almost always give
1. Current pictures
2. Stickers

The send off:
I never forget to tell my girls that I love them, that God loves them, that they can do anything they want with their life because God has an amazing plan for them and I believe in them, to dream big, and never give up.

Take time to write to your child today!
 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Feature! - Eudes, Damar, Fofo, Sameer, Manik, & and Mame-yaa

Happy Friday! As you move into your weekend, please consider sponsoring one of the following children and changing their life forever! Each has been waiting for a sponsor for 289 days!!

Meet Eudes!
Eudes is five-years-old and lives Chongoyape, Peru. (PS, head over to the Compassion Blog to read entries from Compassion bloggers that are in Peru right now!!) Eudes lives with his mother who is sometimes employed. Most adults in this area work on plantations and earn about $173 per month. Eudes helps his family by running errands. He enjoys playing with cars and playing group games. Change his story today! Or, check out some other kids in Peru that are desperately waiting for sponsors!


Meet Damar!
Damar is five-years-old and lives in Sumowono, Indonesia. He lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $77 per month. Damar helps his family by caring for animals and running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, listening to music, bicycling. Change his story today! Or, check out some other kids in Indonesia that are waiting for sponsors!


Meet Fofo!
Fofo is five-years-old and lives in Kouve Logotome, Togo. He lives with his grandfather (who is sometimes employed as a laborer), his grandmother (who is sometimes employed as a farmer), and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $33 per month. Fofo helps his family by washing clothes, running errands, and helping in the kitchen. He enjoys running and playing group games. Change his story today! Or, help another child in Togo that needs you!


Meet Sameer!
Sameer is five-years-old and lives in Bina, India. This is an area with a greater risk of exploitation and abuse (which means there is an increased risk of sex trafficking or forced labor in factories). Sameer lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $22 per month. Sameer helps his family by washing clothes. He enjoys playing group games. Change his story today! Or help another child in India that is desperately waiting for a sponsor!


Meet Manik!
Manik is six-years-old and lives in Musuria, Bangladesh. This is an area with a greater risk of exploitation and abuse (which means there is an increased risk of sex trafficking or forced labor in factories). Manik lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $43 per month. Manik helps his familiy by caring for animals. He enjoys playing soccer and art. Change his story today! Or save the life of another child in Bangladesh!


Meet Mame-yaa!
Mame-yaa is six-years-old and lives in Kissi, Ghana. This is an AIDS-infected area. Mame-yaa lives with her mother (who is sometimes employed), and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $18 per month! Mame-yaa helps her family by running errands. She enjoys playing house and playing group games. Change her story today! Or look at other children in Ghana that are waiting for a sponsor!


As always, if you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray for these children, for their safety and happiness, and that they may find loving sponsors soon. Also, if none of these children speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. Have a wonderful weekend! 






Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Compassion Bloggers in Peru

Compassion does this cool thing where bloggers for Compassion go on one of their trips and then blog about the entire experience so others can see what these trips are like. This week, Compassion is in Peru! Below is the first blog post from the trip (but more will be coming soon). It's a great post and definitely worth a read. 

I Cancelled My Sponsorship

Monday, November 12, 2012

10th Ave. North Concert

Last night I volunteered at my first Compassion event, a 10th AVe. North Concert and it was a lot of fun. I've always wanted to be behind one of those big tables full of pictures of children, telling people about my absolute favorite charity.

All of the children available last night live in areas prone to child exploitation and abuse. I learned more specifically what this means. It means that these children are at a greater risk of being human trafficking victims which encompasses some of the greatest evils of the world, human sex trafficking (children as young as three are forced into this), and forced labor (like children making the clothes you're wearing right now). Compassion literally prevents this from happening. Additionally, sponsors that have a child in such an area can choose to give an additional $7 per month. This extra money goes to the country to help with anti-trafficking in that country. You can find a kid for yourself like this on the Compassion website by looking for this symbol.



At the event, after the two opening acts were finished, a member of 10th Ave. North gave a presentation about Compassion. As volunteers, we scattered ourselves around the crowd armed with about forty packets each. Interested individuals raised their hands and we handed out packets to them. It was such an exhilarating feeling to see those hands in the air and place a needy child in their hands. I was close to a group of high school students and once the first girl raised her hand, almost everyone followed suit.

During the intermission we stood in the lobby, helping people sign up to sponsor a child and answer questions. It was so fun. So so so fun. One touching moment was when four high school aged girls picked out a child together and then took a picture with their packet. They all fawned over their child as it was now their collective baby. As the concert got over, a thirteen-year-old boy approached the table and I helped him find a child. I was immediately taken back to my first Compassion experience when I was thirteen and when I picked out my first child and begged my parents to let me do it. I'm not sure if he successfully convinced his parents, but if not, I feel like he'll be back another time.

The evening ended with me talking to my parents about sponsoring another little girl. As I was flipping through packets her picture caught my eye. She's five and lives in Columbia and has this adorable smile. As I began to read I saw that there are 10 children in her family, plus she lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse. I wanted her to find a sponsor so bad. When the night came to an end and she didn't have a sponsor I knew I had to take her so I did. I'll have another post about her later in the week because I'm so excited about her!

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday Feature!! - Luis & Andres

Happy Friday! As you move into your weekend, please consider sponsoring one of the following children, all of which have been waiting for a sponsor for a very long time.

Meet Luis!
Today is Luis's birthday! He is ten-years-old and lives in El Milagro, Peru. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 282 days! Make this his best birthday yet! Luis lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers or farmers and earn about $113 per month. Luis helps his family by gardening, caring for animals, and running errands. He enjoys playing soccer and group games. Change his story today!


Meet Andres!
Andres is ten-years-old and lives near El Alto, Bolivia. He lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse has been waiting for a sponsor for 375 days! Let's not let him wait another moment! Andres lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and four siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $110 per month! Andres helps his family by running errands and cleaning. For fun he enjoys playing with cars, playing group games, and playing hide-and-go seek. Change his story today!


As always, if none of these children speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. Have a blessed day and a fantastic weekend!! 




Introducing Melina!

I am so excited about this. I recently received information about the new child I will be corresponding with. As a reminder, being a correspondent partner means that I simply provide social and spiritual support to a child and in no way support him/her financially. Here she is! Melina Patrick Ndugai from Dodoma, Tanzania!
I could hardly contain my excitement when I found out. I'm really excited to start writing to her and developing my relationship with her.

I absolutely love lions and I have this dream to go to Africa, go on a safari, and see a real lion. One gentleman I went to Brazil with has been to Tanzania with Compassion and told me they go on a safari as a part of the trip. So since Melina is nine years old, my new dream is to go to Tanzania before she graduates, meet her, and then see a real lion :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Letter-Writing Week!

The Compassion blog just posted 20 letter-writing prompts that can help inspire a letter to your sponsor or correspondent child this week. So if what I posted the other day didn't quite inspire you, hopefully this will help!

http://blog.compassion.com/20-letter-writing-prompts-you-can-use/

Go forth and write!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cool Things in November

This is going to be a big Compassion month for me and I'm so excited. I'm finally going to work at my first Compassion event and do my first Compassion presentation. I'm a little nervous (especially about the second) but I'm tremendously excited for both experiences.

First, this weekend I'm going to be volunteering at a concert that supports Compassion and will most likely be working at the magical table with the packets and signing people up to sponsor their first child. I've always wanted to do that!

Second, I was asked to speak at my college's Wednesday night church service at the end of the month and I will be talking about Compassion. I've never formerly talked about Compassion in front of a large group before so I'm a little nervous but I think it will be a great opportunity to bring Compassion to my campus!

If  you would, please keep me and both of these events in your prayers.

Love & Peace

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Montly Letter Prompt - October

I try to write my siblings at the end of every month (it came a little late this month). This is what I wrote about.

Gift idea: print out a map of the United States and label the names of the states and their capitals. Color it or let your child color it (I colored mine because I like to color). There are multiple things you can do with this.
1. Show the child where you live (only the name of the state and city, no specifics)
2. Show the child where extended family lives (I only did the state and no other specifics)
3. Show the child past places you have lived
4. If you're a college student (like me), show where you go to college in relation to where you live
5. Show the child the states you have visited

I color coordinated. I colored the state I live in purple and outlined it in black. I colored the states where I have family in yellow and outlined in green. I colored Colorado purple and outlined it in blue to show where the Compassion headquarters are. I put a small x in all of the states I have visited.

What to write about: Again there are multiple directions you could go.
1. Talk about where you live. For example I live in Iowa so I mentioned how Iowa is known for agriculture, especially growing corn and soybeans and raising cows and pigs. I also talked about how I have family members that farm. (Including pictures of any of this is an added bonus!)
2. Talk about your extended family and the states they live in. I talked about how often I get to see my family members.
3. Talk about the states you have lived in and why you moved.
4. Talk about college and how that works (to live in one place but go to school in another).
5. Talk about a past vacation you've been on or a place you want to go.
Just be sure to not give specifics on locations in regards to addresses. Also, be sure not to talk to much about things the child may not understand or something that could make him/her uncomfortable such as the size of your home, things you own, wealth, extravagant vacations, etc. Try to keep things modest and relate-able. Also, the more pictures you can provide, the better!

What to ask: I always try to ask questions in each letter to develop the relationship. It can help if you put all of the questions towards the end of the letter or highlight them to make sure they stand out and increase the chance of them being answered.
Here are the things I asked:
1. How close do you live to your family members?
2. How often do you get to see your family members?
3. Have you visited any other parts of Brazil?

I also wish her and her family well and let her know that I am praying for her and some of the things I'm praying for (happiness, health, safety, and that all of her dreams come true). I also encourage her and say something to the effect of: "Keep working hard and never give up. God loves you and has an amazing plan for you and all things are possible through Him. I love you and believe in you. You can do anything you set your mind to. Dream big and never give up!" Then I sign off by saying "Love your sister, Carly".

Write to your child. Let him/her know they are being thought of and they are loved!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Feature!! - Monbadu, Angel, & Justice

Happy Friday! As you move into your weekend, please consider sponsoring one of the following children today! All of them have a birthday today and you could make this their best birthday yet!

Meet Monbadu.
Monbadu is seven-years-old today and lives in Darlak, India. This is an area prone to exploitation and abuse. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 275 days! Monbadu lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother, and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $42 per month. Monbadu helps his family by carrying water, caring for children, and cleaning. For fun he enjoys playing with marbles and running. Change his story today!


Meet Angel.
Angel is nine-years-old today and lives in Zapote Centro, Honduras. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 275 days! Angel lives with his mother who is sometimes employed. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $263 per month. Angel helps his family by making beds, running errands, and carrying water. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, playing ball games, and bicycling. Change his story today!


Meet Justice.
Justice is ten-years-old today and lives in Breman Amoanda, Ghana. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 186 days! Justice lives with father and mother (both are sometimes employed), and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $35 per month! Justice helps his family by carrying water, running errands, and cleaning. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, swimming, and art. Change his story today!

As always, 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 for these children and that they will find loving sponsors soon.



The Refugees of Sao-Hin

Another amazing article about the Leadership Development Program. These were kids that grew up in terrible poverty and are now ministering and helping others living in extreme poverty. 

The Refugees of Sao-Hin

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Feature! - Dainar, Francis, Kwaku, Ayu, Carlos, & Bas

Happy Friday! As you move into your weekend please consider sponsoring one of the following children. All of the children have birthdays today have been waiting for a sponsor for over 200 days!! End their wait today and make this their best birthday ever!

Meet Dainar.
Dainar is four-years-old today and lives near Blitar, Indonesia. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 268 days! He lives with his father who is sometimes employed and his mother. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn $45 per month! Dainar helps his family by running errand and enjoys playing with cars. Change his story today!


Meet Francis.
Francis is four-years-old today and lives near Legazpi City, Philippines. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 268 days! Francis lives with his grandfather and mother (both are sometimes employed) and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as day laborers, farmers, or fisherman and earn about $50 per month! Francis helps his family by buying or selling in the market or running errands. He enjoys reading. Change his story today


Meet Kwaku.
Kwaku is seven-years-old today and lives Saltpond, Ghana. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 240 days and lives in an AIDS-infected region. Kwaku lives with his grandfather (who is not employed), his grandmother (who maintains the home), and one sibling. Most adults in this area work as market traders and earn $42 per month. Kwaku helps his family by carrying water and running errands. He enjoys playing soccer, hide-and-seek, and running. Change his story today!


Meet Ayu.
Ayu is seven-years-old today and lives Tetehosi, Indonesia. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 268 days! Ayu lives with her father (who is sometimes employed), her mother (who is sometimes employed), and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as farmers and earn about $55 per month. Ayu helps her family by carrying water, caring for children, and running errands. She enjoys singing, playing house, and reading. Change her story today!


Meet Carlos.
Carlos is eleven-years-old today and lives in Santa Cruz Michapa, El Salvador. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 240 days! Carlos lives with mother who works as a laborer and two siblings. Most adults in this area work as laborers and earn about $90 per month! Carlos helps his family by making beds, running errands, and cleaning. He enjoys riding bikes and playing with cars. He's doing great in school and has an above average performance. Change his story today!


Meet Bas.
Bas is twelve-years-old today and lives near Chiang Rai, Thailand. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 211 days! Bas lives with his father and mother (both are sometimes employed) and one sibling. Adults in this region are typically unemployed but some work as farmers and earn about $80 per month. Bas helps his family by caring for children and animals, and making beds. He enjoys playing soccer, swimming, and singing. Change his story today!

As always, 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, for their happiness and safety and that they will find loving sponsors soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How do I choose a child?

With thousands of children currently on the Compassion website waiting for sponsors, it can be a daunting task to choose the one that is right for you. How can you possibly choose when all of them need help?

One way is to pray and ask God to show you who he wants you to help, or the region you are called to help, or the type of children God wants you to impact. That can be one place to start. Here is a guide to finding a child on the Compassion website.

When you click on Sponsor a Child Today, it will provide you with 16 random children and from there you can narrow your search.

1. Youngest to Oldest - have a heart for the very young? (A note, younger children are more likely to find sponsors than older children because people gravitate to the cute little kids).

2. Oldest to Youngest - want to impact someone that is older and less likely to find a sponsor? (Different countries have different ages as to when the child will graduate from the program so depending on the age you may not be sponsoring the child for long but you will still completely change their life.

3. Longest Waiting - This is where I go first. These children have all been waiting for a sponsor for over six months! They stand out because they have this symbol on their picture.


4.  Birthday Today - Make a child's birthday their best ever by giving them the greatest gift! They have this symbol on their picture.


5. Lives in an AIDS infected area - These children are at an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. They have the following symbol on their pictures.


6. Lives in an area prone to exploitation or abuse - There is not a specific page for these children but be looking for their symbol.


7. Orphaned children - There are currently no children that fit this criteria (so I can't get a picture...) but they are identified with a blue O

8. Mentally or physically handicapped children - These children are commonly looked over and forgotten in developing countries and they need extra help. There are currently no children that fit this criteria (so no picture...) but they are identified with a pink hand.

You can also look for children depending on a specific country. As a reminder, Compassion works in the following countries:
Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda
Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand
Central America/Caribbean: Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru

Choose a child by gender, age, or birthday (find one that has the same birthday as you!)

Bottom line: all of these children need help and any one of them will bless and change your life. Let God point you in the right direction and choose one that speaks to your heart. But if you're completely overwhelmed, ask and Compassion will choose one for you.

Questions about finding a child or sponsorship? Feel free to ask!

Love & Peace


Correspondent Partners

To start things off, what is a correspondent partner? A correspondent partner is someone that  writes to a sponsored child through Compassion with no financial support given. The child has a financial sponsor but that sponsor has chosen for whatever reason to not write to their child. When this is the case, sponsors are allowed to turn over their letter-writing "rights" so to speak and a correspondent partner is assigned. We've already talked about how vital letters are so it's obvious how important being a correspondent partner is. There are a couple of sides to this.

1. The sponsor side.
Are you sponsoring a child and love making an impact and love seeing your child grow and develop but letter writing is "just not your thing"? Maybe you don't enjoy writing letters, don't feel that you're good at it, don't know what to say or how to relate to a child. Maybe there is a group of you sponsoring once child or your entire church/business/organization is sponsoring one child. It can be overwhelming or confusing to a child to have multiple people writing to him/her so no one writes to keep things easy.

There's nothing wrong with not wanting to write to your child. I love writing letters, but it's not everyone's thing, that's fine. The important thing, if this is the case for you, is that you turn over your letter-writing "rights" and allow someone else to write to your child for you.

You do not lose out on anything regarding being a sponsor. You still financially support the child and can send, birthday, Christmas, and family gifts. You will still get photo and informational updates about your child. The only difference is that you will not have the personal line of communication.

If this is something you're interested in, call Compassion: 1 (800) 336-7676 and speak to a representative.

2. The correspondent side.
Would you love to impact the life of a child but simply don't have the funds to do so? That's fine and perfectly understandable. Do you love to write letters, love children, and want to make a life-changing connection? If so, becoming a correspondent partner is right for you!

You may not send any gifts financially (that's what the sponsor is for) but you may send letters, pictures, and flat items that don't change the shape of the envelope (like stickers/bookmarks/postcards, etc.) Compassion asks that you write at least four times a year (although you should write as much as you can, I strive for every month).

If this is something you're interested in, call Compassion: 1 (800) 336-7676 and speak to a representative.

As for more letter ideas, as I write letters to my siblings each month, I'll let you know what I'm writing about and that can be the Letter Idea of the Month.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments! And as always, check out some kids that need sponsors.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Feature!! - Nieser, Vicky, Zakaria, Jona, Abnet, Diana

Happy Friday! As you move into your weekend please consider changing the story for one of the following children. Each has been waiting for a sponsor for 385 days. End their wait today!

Meet Nieser.
Nieser is six-years-old and lives in Reparto San Jeronimo, Nicaragua. He lives with his mother who is sometimes employed. Most adults in this area work in factories and earn about $116 per month. Nieser helps his family by making beds and cleaning. He enjoys playing with cars, playing soccer, and bicycling. Change his story today! Or help another child from Nicaragua!


Meet Vicky.
Vicky is six-years-old and lives in Kusumdih, India. This is an area prone to exploitation and abuse. He lives with his father (who is sometimes employed as a farmer) and his mother. Adults in this area are typically unemployed but some work as day laborers and earn $20 per month! Vicky helps his family by running errands. He enjoys art, walking, and running. Change his story today! Or help another child in India!


Meet Zakaria.
Zakaria is eight-years-old and lives in Dimansa, Burkina Faso. This is and AIDS prone area as well as an area prone to exploitation and abuse. He lives with his father and mother (who are both sometimes employed) and four siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as farmers and earn about $35 per month! Zakaria helps his family by running errands. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer and playing group games. Change his story today! Or help another child in Burkina Faso!


Meet Jona.
Jona is eight-years-old and lives in Shimuljhuri Santal, Bangladesh. This is an area prone to exploitation and abuse. He lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who is sometimes employed), and two siblings. Adults in this area typically work as day laborers and earn about $35 per month! Jona helps his family by gathering firewood, carrying water, and caring for animals. He enjoys playing soccer, playing with marbles, and reading. Change his story today! Or help someone else in Bangladesh!


Meet Abnet.
Abnet is eight-years-old and lives near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This is an AIDS infected region. He lives with his father (who is sometimes employed) and one sibling. Most adults in this area work as day laborers and earn about $15 per month! Abnet helps his family by running errands and cleaning. Change his story today! Or help another child in Ethiopia!


Meet Diana.
Diana is nine-years-old and lives in Carrera, Ecuador. She lives with her father (who is sometimes employed) and her mother (who maintains the home). Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work on plantations and earn about $100 per month. Diana helps her family by caring for animals, washing clothes, and making beds. She enjoys singing, art, and telling stories. Change her story today! Or help someone else in Ecuador!


As always 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 for these children and that they will be able to find loving sponsors soon.

Love & Peace

Monday, October 15, 2012

What do I write about?

The first couple of times you write to your sponsored child it can be somewhat of a daunting task. What do you say to someone that is (in most cases) much younger than you and lives in a very different culture than your own? The key is to find things that you both understand and if you don't feel that the child will understand, explaining it.

One tip that Compassion stresses is to keep the letters simple. I usually follow this general format:
1. Ask how they are doing, say how I am doing.
2. Give praise/recognition of something from the last letter.
3. Tell him/her about what has been going on in my life or what I've been reading in the Bible.
4. Encouragement
5. A message of love to close.

Letters are a great way for both you and the child you are writing to, to grow and learn. It is a time for encouragement, support, and love. Here are some topics or ideas for what to write about in your letters (taken from the Compassion Website):
1. Describing or talking about your family (where they live, what they look like, interests, work, etc.)
2. Explaining holiday or family customs (your child may do this too so you can see the cool parallels)
3. Talking about important events (weddings, graduations, trips, new jobs, holidays, etc.)
4. Sharing dreams and daily activities of your life
5. Writing about where you live (because it's probably very different from where you live)
6. Talk about your childhood (maybe you liked to do/play with similar things as your child!)
7. Talk about someone that has influenced you
8. Talk about a life lesson you have learned or something you are currently learning
9. Talk about how you overcame a challenge or met a goal
10. Share favorite Bible stories and verses
11. Talk about prayer requests (both your own and anything the child has asked you to pray for)
12. Talking about how you include the child in your daily life (praying, sharing letters/pictures)
13. Talking about what a privilege it is to be the child's sponsor
14. Affirm that God loves them and has a great plan for his/her life.

There are a couple of topics that Compassion wants you to avoid:
1. Discussing the material aspects of your life (size of home, kind of car) because the child will likely not understand
2. Sending pictures that show your possessions
3. Sharing your address, email, or phone number
4. Using slang
5. Suggesting that the child visit or that you're going to send a particular gift 

In addition to writing letters, there are other things you can send to your child in the mail. These include:
1. Birthday and Christmas cards
2. Stickers
3. Bookmarks
4. PHOTOS
Basically anything that is flat and that will not change the shape of the envelope.
A full list of what can and cannot be sent can be found here.

This is a fairly broad overview so I'll talk more about what to say, other letter-writing ideas, and questions that come up about letter writing throughout this week as well as how to become a correspondent partner with Compassion. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comments.

Love & Peace

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Feature! - U, Yorlin, Carlos, Andrea, & Diana

Happy Friday! As you move into the weekend would you consider sponsoring a child that has been waiting for a sponsor for a long time?

This is U and today is his birthday!! Make his birthday extra special by sponsoring him today!
U is five-years-old today and lives in Balaghata Hebron Para, Bangladesh. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 194 days and lives in an area prone to abuse and exploitation. U lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and one sibling. Adults in this area typically work on plantations and earn $59 per month. U helps his family by carrying water. He enjoys playing with marbles and playing group games. Change his story today and make this his best birthday ever! Or check out other kids with birthdays today. Or other kids from Bangladesh that have been waiting for sponsors.


Meet Yorlin.
Yorlin is six-years-old and lives in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 285 days! Yorlin lives with her father and mother (both are sometimes employed), and three siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work in factories and earn $66 per month! Yorlin helps her family by running errands. She enjoys singing, playing house, and art. Change her story today! Or change the story for another child in Nicaragua!


Meet Carlos.
Carlos is six-years-old and lives on the plains of El Topacio, Columbia. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 285 days and lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse. Carlos lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and two siblings. Adults in this area typically work as street venders and earn about $205 per month. Carlos helps his family by making beds and running errands. He enjoys playing soccer, playing group games, and art. Change his story today! Or change the story from someone else in Columbia!


Meet Andrea.
Andrea is nine-years-old and lives near Teresina, Brazil. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 285 days! Andrea lives with her father (who is sometimes employed), her mother (who maintains the home), and one sibling. Adults in this area typically work as day laborers and earn about $175 per month. Andrea helps her family by buying or selling in the market, making beds, and helping in the kitchen. Andrea enjoys playing house, playing with dolls, and art. She needs lots of encouragement because her performance in school currently below average but she has the potential to do well! Change her story today! Or change the story of someone else in Brazil!


Meet Diana.
Diana is nine-years-old and lives in Jorochito, Bolivia. She has been waiting 285 days for a sponsor and lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse. Diana lives with her father (who is sometimes employed as a teacher), her mother (who maintains the homes), and one sibling. Adults in this area typically work on plantations and earn about $96 per month. Diana helps her family by cleaning. She enjoys playing hide-and-go-seek. Change her story today! Or change the story from someone else in Bolivia!


As always 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 for these children and that they will find loving sponsors soon.






Letters: They're Important

One of the most important things a sponsor can do for their child is provide him/her with social support. With oceans and countries a part, how is this possible? The answer of course is letters. Writing letters to your sponsored child is absolutely vital. Why? Let me share a true story.

I recently heard the story of a formerly sponsored child in the Dominican Republic. He talked about how his family literally had nothing to eat and how he had no money for school supplies and had to sell cornbread in the streets from the time he was five-years-old. In addition to those types of challenges poverty brings he also brought up an aspect that I feel is easily forgotten.

He called it the "no hope monster". The evil, monstrous feeling that he was nothing, his life meant nothing, he wasn't going to go anywhere in his life, he was destined to sell cornbread his entire life, and that it was pointless to dream because none of his dreams would come true. These feelings are deadly. Giving up on yourself and your life leads to nothing but more pain, more suffering, more poverty. It leads to poor choices like gangs, drugs, and prostitution. And once the monster gets in your heart, it's hard to get rid of it. The monster keeps telling you that you're worthless, stupid, good-for-nothing, and that nothing will ever get better so it's pointless to try. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions which leads to more negative thoughts which starts a terrible cycle.

This is the reality of too many kids in this world and this was the reality of the formerly sponsored child I heard speak. For him it got better and his no-hope monster was crushed. How did this happen? It happened through his sponsorship and from receiving letters from his sponsor.

Throughout his entire sponsorship he only received about four letters (which is a very, very low number) but he said that he cherished those letters and the words they carried. His sponsor told him that he could do anything, that she loved him, that she believed in him, that she was praying for him. The no-hope monster was crushed because for the first time in his life he had someone rooting for him and he didn't want to let that person down. He worked hard in school, he got good grades, he went to college, and is now living his dream of being a musician. All of this because one woman wrote him four letters and believed in him. That's powerful stuff.

From talking with other sponsors I've heard countless other stories like this. About a little boy who showed off his letters when a sponsor group came to visit and all of his letters had the corners ripped off. It was because he had tapped them all to his door so that he would be able to see and read them every day when he woke up. I've heard countless stories about how the children keep their letters in a special, safe place in their home and regard the letters as their most prized possessions.

Why? Because to these children these letters represent hope and that there is someone out there in the world that cares about them and believes in them. Without that sponsor they may never hear that message and the no-hope monster could be waiting to consume their heart.

I cannot stress enough how vital letters are, I really can't. Over the next few days I will give some letter-writing tips and ideas for what to talk about in letters as well as give an example of a letters I recently sent to my siblings, Isadora and Guerby.

Love & Peace

Monday, October 8, 2012

Other Ways to Donate

In addition to the $38 per month sponsorship there are several ways to financially support your child or Compassion International as a whole.

Gifts for your sponsored child
-Special Child Gift (including birthday): able to give $10-$100 per year
-Family Gift: able to give $25-$1000 per year
-Center Gifts (given to the center your child attends): able to give $100-$2000 per year
-Graduation Gifts (when your child graduates from the program): $10-$2000

Other ways to donate
There a wealth of options and they fall into a couple of categories. I will go into each of these programs and initiatives at a later date but for now I'll provide links so if you are interested you can learn more or donate. One quick word about donations, they are tax-deductible and are in no way binding. If you donate once you are not obligated to donate again.

1. The CSP and LDP
Do you want to help babies and mothers? The Child Survival Program is right for you.
Do you want to help young adults go to college and become leaders in their communities? The Leadership Development Program is right for you.

2. Medical Initiatives 
Do you want to help prevent, treat, and rehabilitate those affected by HIV/AIDS? The AIDS Initiative is right for you.
Do you want to give mosquito nets, educate, and treat those affected by Malaria? The Bite Back Imitative is right for you.
Do you want to help kids with medical emergencies that require additional assistance? The Medical Assistance Fund is right for you.

3. Educational Needs
Do you want to help develop and distribute appropriate academic curriculums for the projects?  The Children's Curriculum Development Fund is for you.
Do you want to help educate parents? The Health and Parenting Skills Fund is for you.
Do you want to help pay children's school fees? The Education and School Fees Fund is for you.

4. Disaster Relief and Stability
Do you want to help provide relief when disaster strikes? The Disaster Relief Fund is for you. 
Do you want to help provide clean water? The Water of Life Program is for you.
Do you want to provide teens or caregivers business training? The Microenterprise & Income Generation Fund is for you.
Do you want to repair homes or projects? The Infrastructure Development Fund is for you.
Do you want to help and give assistance to highly vulnerable children? The Vulnerable Children Fund is for you.

5. Other
Do you want to help kids that don't have sponsors yet? The Unsponsored Children's Fund is for you. 
Do you want to help people and churches that are committed to helping children at any time? The Partners of Compassion Fund is for you.

Are you overwhelmed and have no idea where to donate but want to help? 
Never fear the Where Most Needed Fund is here!

Further explanation of all of these programs and initiatives and fund will come but in the meantime, check out the Compassion website for more information, call Compassion, or ask me! 

Where does my money go?

Last week I talked about the three main aspects of sponsorship (financial, social, and spiritual support) and this week I'm going to talk about these three aspects in more depth. First off we're going to talk about the financial support and where your money goes.

It can be somewhat nerve-wracking to give money to an organization if you aren't entirely sure where your money is going and that your money is being used for the correct reasons. We all know there are plenty of fraud schemes out there and non-reputable organizations but I can attest to the fact that Compassion International is not one of them.

On the Compassion website, there is a page devoted to the financial integrity of Compassion. What does this mean? It means that Compassion puts right up front where your money goes and how the money is spent. There is a wealth of information available here including Annual reports, Auditor reports, and annual 900 forms.

As a brief overview, here's where money went in the 2010-2011 fiscal year taken directly from the Compassion website.

Every month as a sponsor you are responsible for giving $38. (There are several payment options that I discussed last week and if you have any questions please ask me or call Compassion). The obvious question then is How much of my money actually goes to my sponsored child? The answer is about 82%

You are allowed to send monetary birthday gifts and other special monetary gifts at your discretion. How much of this goes to my sponsor child? The answer is that it is given to the country office and 100% goes directly to your child and/or his/her family to purchase a gift.

You  are allowed to send monetary Christmas gifts. How much of this goes to my sponsor child? For this it's a little hard to tell because all of the Christmas gifts go into a large pool so every child in the program (sponsored and unsponsored) can receive a gift at Christmas. From my memory each child ends up getting about $20-25 to spend on Christmas gifts.

You are allowed to donate to other funds and initatives (to be discussed in the next post). How much of this goes to what I donated to? The answer is the same as sponsorship, 82%. 

Up next will be an overview of where you can donate your money (other than the regular sponsorship). Questions? Check out the Compassion website, call Compassion, or ask me!