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!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Feature! - Yanto, Elder, Vijay, Janio, Yutthasak, & Michel

Happy Friday!! Another week successfully in the books! :) As you move into the weekend please open your heart and consider sponsoring one of the following children as they have been waiting for sponsors for a very long time.

Meet Yanto.
Yanto is nine-years-old and lives near Kupung, Indonesia. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 400 days! Please help him today!! Yanto lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his mother (who maintains the home), one sibling. Adult in his area typically work as day laborers and earn about $60 per month. Yanto helps his family by running errands and cleaning. He enjoys playing soccer. Change his story today! Or read about some other kids in Indonesia that have been desperately waiting for sponsors.


 Meet Elder.
Elder is eight-years-old and lives in Cofradia, Honduras. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 370 days! Please help him today! Elder lives with his mother (who is sometimes employed) and two siblings. Adults in this area typically work in factories or as animal herders and make about $158 per month. Elder helps his family by gathering firewood, running errands, and cleaning. He enjoys playing soccer, playing group games, and playing with cars. Change his story today! Or read about other kids in Honduras that are waiting for sponsors!


Meet Vijay.
Vijay is fifteen-years-old and lives near Chennai, India. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 340 days and lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse. Vijay lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed). Adults in this area typically work as day laborers and earn about $60 per month. Vijay helps his family by gathering firewood, teaching others and buying or selling in the market. He enjoys playing with marbles, art, and reading. Change his story today! Or read about other kids in India that are waiting to be sponsored!


Meet Janio.
Janio is six-years-old and lives in Eduardo Contreras, Nicaragua. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 331 days! Janio lives with his mother who is sometimes employed. Adults in this area typically work in construction or as taxi drivers and earn about $95 per month (although most adults are unemployed). Janio helps his family by running errands. He enjoys bicycling and playing baseball. Change his story today! Or read about other kids in Nicaragua that are waiting for a sponsor!


Meet Yutthasak.
Yutthasak is seven-years-old and lives near Prachin Buri, Thailand. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 309 days! Yuttasak lives with both parents and both are sometimes employed as sellers in the market. Adults in this area earn about $106 per month. Yuttasak helps his family by making beds and running errands. He enjoys rolling a hoop, playing soccer, and playing with cars. Change his story today! Or read about other kids in Thailand that are waiting to be sponsored!


Meet Michel.
Michel is eight-years-old and lives in Las Malvinas, Columbia. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 302 days! Michel lives with his father (who is employed), his mother (who maintains the home), and three siblings. Most adults in this area work as street vendors and earn about $205 per month. Michel helps his family by making beds and cleaning. He enjoys playing with cars, bicycling, and playing group games.Change his story today! Or read about other children in Columbia that are waiting for a sponsor!


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 that they will find loving sponsors soon.

Love & Peace

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm sponsoring a child, now what?

I'm going to assume that LOTS of people are new sponsors seeing as over 3000 children were sponsored last month. If you're not a sponsor and want to be a sponsor go here.

So now you're sponsoring a child. The picture and information about the child has come in the mail. I sent in my first payment. What happens now?

There are three main aspects of sponsorship: financial support, social support, spiritual support. Don't worry, it's really easy and really fun.

1. Financial support is perhaps the most obvious. Every month $38 needs to be paid. There is some flexibility with this. You can mail money every month (although this is not preferred). You can pay online every month (it is a very safe transaction). Or you can arrange to have Compassion take the proper amount of money out of your account for you every month (so you don't have to do a thing!) There is also some flexibility for paying every month. For example, it's easier for my family to pay quarterly (once every three months, or four times a year) so we pay a larger sum then instead of individually each month. This does not harm the child in any way.

In addition to the monthly payments there are other ways you can help your child and his/her family as well. You are allowed to send monetary birthday gifts (gifts will be bought for them in country). You are allowed to send monetary Christmas gifts. The Christmas gifts go into a large pool of all of the monetary gifts received from sponsors and donors. This money is divided equally among every single child in the entire Compassion program (those that have sponsors and those that do not) so every single child gets a gift. Finally, you can give individual and family gifts.

If you know there is a specific need in the family (or even if you don't and just want to give them a little extra help) you can send up to $1000 throughout the year of family gifts. When you give these gifts you can indicate what the money should be used for if you have a preference (for example school supplies, clothes, a guitar, a bike, a new stove, etc.) If no preference is given the money will be used for whatever the family needs the most.

2. Social support involves writing letters and developing a relationship with the child. I will talk more about letter writing because of how vital it is but I want to try and stress right now how important this is to the child. Many children don't fully understand what a sponsor is and what their sponsor does until they get the letters. For many of the children, your letters of love and support are the only forms of love and support they receive. I don't know if that upsets people the way it does me, but I find it incredibly sad to think that there are children in the world that do not feel loved, do not feel important, do not feel supported, needed, or that their dreams can come true. You can be the one that gives them the hope and the love that they so desperately want.

Again, I'll talk more about letter-writing in the near future including tips of what to write about and the kinds of things you can send in the mail. I'll even give an example of a recent letter I wrote to my sponsor child, Isadora, and my correspondent child, Guerby.

A quick word about correspondent children and what that means. If you are unable to write for whatever reason (church/business/group sponsorship, dislike letter writing, "not a good writer", "no time", etc.) then I strongly encourage you to ask Compassion to wave your letter-writing privilege and assign your child a correspondent. You would continue to financially sponsor your child and hear updates but someone else would socially support your child. I'll talk more about this at a later time too.

3. Spiritual support involves praying for your child. Pray for them and their safety, school, health, security, friendships, family, spiritual growth, happiness, anything and everything! Rest assured that your child is praying for you too! :)

I'll go into more detail into each of these topics in the coming days. If you have any questions about sponsorship or anything related to Compassion International please feel free to ask me in the comments and I will do my best to help. Otherwise, please feel free to call Compassion representative ((800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Something very cool

As I occasionally mentioned over the course of last month, September was blog month at Compassion. The goal of blog month is to raise awareness of Compassion International solely through the internet. Compassion set a goal of getting 3018 new children sponsored over the month of September entirely through blogs and the internet community. Today the results were in...

The grand total of new children sponsored (through blogs) was a whopping 3159!! So we exceeded the goal by 51 beautiful children. What does that mean? It means that 3159 children's lives have been saved and their stories have been changed.

For anyone that began sponsoring a child, prayed for child, shared a child with someone else, or even thought about these children, thank you. We all have a voice and we all can be heard!