"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this; to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
~James 1:27

Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Sweet Girl

This is Winner, my 5 year old in Togo.

Just look at that amazing smile. You would think that her life is one filled with happiness and love. I thought that when I first saw her. I never would have expected what I learned about her just this week. She told me that she lived with her guardian, and that she never saw her mother or father. I thought that maybe her parents worked some where else making a living so she couldn't be with them. But what I learned is absolutely heartbreaking. Winner told me that her she is the only child of her mother's. And when she was born her mother dissapeared and no one knows where she is. Winner doesn't know her mother and she doesn't know her mother's face. Can you imagine what it must feel like to know your mother left you, to just be abandoned like that. I don't know how she smiles when at 5 years old you have never known your mother. I don't know how she smiles, other than the fact that she must know the love of God. Only knowing Jesus could make this sweet girl smile under the saddening circumstances she is. I am so blessed that God has given me the opportunity and responsibility to speak love into Winner's life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

They've Stolen My Heart

Don’t you love it when Compassion adds more kids to the website….I know that I do. I love to look at those precious faces and pray for them to find loving sponsors who will encourage them in Christ. But at the same time I hate it. I hate looking at kid after kid and knowing that I can’t save them all. I want to be able to tell every last one of those boys and girls that they are loved and cared for and that God has a special plan for their lives. I want to pull the poverty straight out of the hearts of those children. Each of those children may have to live surrounded by poverty, but they don’t have to live believing the lies that poverty tells them- that they don’t matter, that they will never get anywhere I life. But since I can’t sponsor all 2000 of the kids on the website, I can pray for them and introduce you to some of them in hopes one of them may steal your heart like they have stolen mine.
Here are just two of the many Compassion kids who are looking for sponsors. Autsadong and Jhenedyes have stolen my heart and I hope that both of them will soon find wonderful sponsors.
This adorable boy is 3 years old and lives in Thailand. Don’t you just love his hair! Autsadong loves soccer, singing, and telling stories. I would love to just sit and listen to him tell one of his stories. He lives with his parents in a mountain community of about 600 people and his parents are at times employed as farmers. When they are employed they live on about $76 a month.Autsadong is in pre-school and with the help of you and Compassion he can continue in his education. Pray that this boy can soon have a sponsor!
Jhenedyes is 4 years old and she lives in a desert community in Peru. Who knew that there were deserts in Peru? Like any beautiful little girl, she lives playing with dolls, playing house, and playing ball games. Jhenedyes lives with her mom and dad and her 2 siblings. Sometimes her father is employed and makes about $140 a month. Jhenedyes is just starting out in preschool, and with your help she can continue in school and learn more about the love of Christ. Pray that this beautiful girl will be paired with a loving sponsor sooner rather than later.
If one of these adorable children and their stories have touched your heart than take a moment today to check out the Compassion International website and learn a little bit more about sponsorship. Sponsoring a child is a huge leap of faith, but the blessings for you and the child is more than you could ever imagine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Quadruple Happy Dance

A cream colored envelope from Compassion with “message from your sponsor child” written on it is always good reason for a happy dance. So imagine my excitement when I found four of these rare gems in my mailbox today! A quadruple happy dance was definitely in store! I was so blessed today to receive letters from Winner, Rosa, and Gil Jr.
I got my first letter from Gil Jr in the Philippines. It took about a month for it to get to me. It listed his family members and some of his favorites and then there is a message from his mother on it. Gil has 2 older brothers ages 20 and 17 and he has a younger sister age 5. He likes the color red, fried chicken, basketball, cars, and dogs. He also wants to be a teacher when he grows up. His mother thanks me for sponsoring Gil as her husband has died and she can’t pay for her children to go to school. She also tells me that he has a lot of favorite foods. He is a boy after my own heart! It breaks my heart to think that Gil at the young age of almost 6 has already lost his father. That must be so hard!
Winner’s letter is in reply to an Easter card that I sent her. She is excited because a put a picture of her in the card. It sounds like that made her very happy. I am glad that she is excited about her picture. Little Winner never gets to see her mom or dad very much, so I want to show her just how important she really is!
My letters from Rosa were 2 of the sweetest letters I have received yet. When I first started sponsoring Rosa I was so worried about her because of how desperately sad she looks in her photos. But getting her letters is like a breath of fresh air because she sounds like such a sweet happy girl. In one of the letters she thanks me for the birthday gift I sent her. With the $15 I sent, she was able to buy a skirt, sweater, and shoes. In her second letter she thanks me for the picture of myself that I sent her. She says she will put it in a special place where she can see it every day and feel that I am close to her. She is so thankful about my sponsorship and she tells me how much she loves and prays for me. It is amazing how she is praying for me, and not just me praying for her.
I love all of these sweet kids, and I am so blessed to have them as a part of my life! Now I have many letters to write this week. Have you written your sponsored child yet this month?  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

15 Pieces of My Heart

This week I was able to have my first interview for becoming a Compassion advocate. Being a Compassion advocate means that I have the privilege and responsibility of speaking up on behalf of children everywhere who are living in poverty. I get to raise awareness about the issues that are affecting children all across the globe and show Christians how they can be a part of releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.  Children in third world countries need to be not only released from physical poverty, but spiritual poverty as well. Compassion International’s ministry is one way that we can “speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 31:8). I am excited to share my passion for missions and children in poverty with others around me.
Now I think it is time that I introduce you to the 15 children who inspire me. I wouldn’t have the passion for children in third world countries that I do if it wasn’t for them. I wouldn’t be speaking up for children in poverty if it wasn’t for them, and I wouldn’t be becoming an advocate if it wasn’t for them. These kids have opened my eyes to the needs around the world, and I love and admire them for it. I sponsor 7 children and correspond with 8 more through Compassion International’s child sponsorship ministry. I am sure that I have mentioned some of them before as they are constantly in my thoughts, but I want to officially introduce Rodrigo, Babita, Rosa, Mariela, Winner, Hillary, Giberline, Olibris, Carolay, Gil Jr, Betty, Neha, Asha, Carolyne, and Sargo to you all.
Rodrigo was my first sponsored child, and he is why I have such a passion for Compassion! He is 9 years old and he lives in Brazil. Rodrigo loves playing with cars and he always sends me a Bible verse in each of his letters. The best thing he has ever told me is to stay with God.

Babita was a Christmas present to myself. She is my African princess and she was born on Christmas day! She is 4 years old and she lives in Uganda. She loves to read and to swing and she wants to be a nurse when she grows up. Babita comes from a Muslim home so I hope that through my sponsorship she can learn to love Jesus.

Rosa is my beautiful 11 year old from Bolivia. Bolivia has always been a country of interest for me so I decided that I would like to sponsor a child from Bolivia. I asked Compassion to choose a girl for me, and I am so happy that I have Rosa now. She looks so sad, but I hope to someday see a smile on that pretty face.

Mariela was my first correspondence child. She is 7 years old and she lives in the Dominican Republic. She is so happy that I get to be her special friend now and I am so happy about that too! Mariela loves to play with dolls, play ball games, and play with her friends. She loves to learn so she loves going to her Compassion center.

I wasn't planning on sponsoring another child when I saw Winner on the Compassion website. But that adorable impish smile let me know that she was meant to be mine. Winner is 5 years old and she lives in Togo. She doesn't see her mom and dad very often, but she lives with her tutor who loves her. Winner loves to play soccer.

One day I thought about how cool it would be to sponsor a child with the same name as me, and I decided that if I ever found a child with my name I would sponsor them. That very same day I found Hillary. Who would have thought that a 3 year old in Kenya would have the same name as me! Hillary loves playing soccer!

Giberline is my 7 year old from Haiti. She has such sad eyes and a scared expression on her face. It was like she was asking me to love her and show her that she matters. So that is exactly what I am going to do! Giberline loves dolls, but her favorite thing to do is carry water.

Olibris is my oldest correspondence child. He is 17 and from Haiti. I never expected to have a child as old as him, but I am excited to get to know this young man. Olibris has been part of Compassion’s program for 7 years and he has never received a letter. I am so excited for him to start getting letters from me. Olibris likes soccer and math.

Carolay is my Ecuador girl! She is 7 years old. I have been on 2 mission’s trips to Ecuador and I love it there so much so I am so excited to have a little girl in Ecuador. Carolay loves to tell stories and play ball games. She is an above average student in school, and Compassion has given her so much confidence!

Gil Jr is 5 years old and he lives in the Philippines. I wanted a child from the Philippines because my best friend is going to be a missionary there. Gil lives with just his mom because his daddy died. He loves playing basketball, cars, and marbles.

 Betty is my second Bolivian princess. Since sponsoring Rosa, Bolivia has been heavy on my heart, so now I have 8 year old Betty. Betty loves to play with dolls and she has 6 siblings! She is my newest sponsored child so I don’t know much about her yet, but I’m excited to have her as a part of my life!
Neha is actually my mom’s sponsored girl, but I get to write letters to her too. She is going on 13 years old and she lives in India. My mom wanted to sponsor a girl in India because our pastor adopted a little girl from there and she is beautiful. Neha loves art, and she has 2 siblings.

Asha just turned 11 on June 5. She is from India just like Neha is. She loves walking, art, and playing house. She is a big help to her family by selling and buying things in the market. She is also one of 4 children in her family.  I just love Asha’s sweet smile.
Carolyne is my second girl from Uganda. I have been thinking of doing some missions work in Uganda so I wanted a correspondence child from Uganda along with my sponsored child. Carolyne is going to be 15 this year and she is just beautiful. She loves volleyball, singing, and art. Carolyne’s dad died so I bet she helps her mother with her 6 siblings.

Sargo is the final installment to my Compassion family! Isn’t the most adorable little guy you ever did see? Sargo is 6 years old and he is from Bangladesh which is a very poor country in Asia. I have never thought much about having a child in Bangladesh, but I have heard nothing about good things about Compassion’s work there. I’m excited to get to know this little guy.

Thanks for letting me introduce you to 15 pieces of my heart! I am loving being a part of their lives, and I'm hoping that all of you will enjoy getting to know them as I share more about their lives with you! And if you want to take a leap of faith a sponsor a child you can with Compassion International!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Countdown is On

Only 55 days until I get to be in Ecuador again! It is hard to believe that I haven’t been there in almost a year. I remember how terrified I was to get on that plane 2 years ago on my first trip to Ecuador. I knew that once I got on that plane there was no turning back. I would step onto that plane in the United States, my comfort zone, and step off into a foreign land where nothing was as I knew it to be. I wanted to go to Ecuador, and I knew that God wanted me there, but I had no idea what to expect when I got there.  It takes one big leap of faith to leave what you know for something unlike anything you have ever experienced, but if you take that leap of faith God will bless you in ways that you would never have imagined. It is amazing to me how I can be homesick for a place that I have only spent a little over 2 weeks in, but I am. The people of Ecuador are never far from my thoughts and prayers. Last year while in Ecuador one of the ladies we met gave each of our team members a friendship bracelet the colors of the Ecuadorian flag- yellow, blue, and red. I have worn it around my ankle since the day I left Ecuador so that every day when I look at it I am reminded of the beautiful people and land of Ecuador. I can’t wait to get there this year, and show my Ecuadorian friends that I haven’t taken it off since then- that I have thought of them EVERY SINGLE DAY since I left them. I can’t wait to see those dark children with their big smiles just content to play with the little they have or to make up a game outside. I want to be more like these children- just happy to be alive and content with what God has given me. The people of Ecuador inspire me with their fire for Jesus and that inner joy of being completely reliable on God. I want my life to be like that- where I completely rely on God for everything, and not on myself or my material things.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Season of Waiting

In church today, we talked about waiting rooms. The service was based on the Psalm 27:14. “Wait on the Lord. Be strong, take heart, and wait on the Lord.”  That is becoming one of my life verses, because I know that I am in a waiting room in life. We all have times in our life where we are waiting on God. We pray and He tells us to wait. Wait- that is the hardest answer to get from God.  It is always exciting when God answers our prayers right away with yes. We love to get our way. Getting no for an answer isn’t fun, but at least we can move on with our lives. But waiting that is just so frustrating to us. At least I know it is for me. I would rather do most anything than wait. But the seasons of waiting are many times when God works the most in our lives. It may not seem like God is doing anything in our lives when we have to wait, but if only we could see what He is doing behind the scenes. Only years down the road may we see how He has worked in our lives when it didn’t seem like He was there.
Right now I am in a season of waiting. I am waiting for God to show me what the next step in my life is. I don’t know if I should go to Bible school or go to Uganda. Maybe I should spend time in Ecuador or just stay where I am and work. I don’t know, but it gives me such a peace to know that I DON’T have to know what is next because God knows, and when it is time for me to move, God WILL show me. We don’t have to know all the answers; that is what we have God for.  So be strong, take heart, and see what God is trying to teach you through this time of waiting. He is always faithful!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

An Indian Princess

One of my favorite things in the world is seeing other people get excited and decide to take that leap of faith and sponsor a child! This May 1st, I got the chance to witness the excitement of first time sponsorship when I was able to host a Compassion Sunday at my church. But the most exciting part for me was when my mom told me that she wanted to sponsor a child from India. We scoured the website together, but we kept coming back to the beautiful Indian girls. My mom decided that she wanted an older girl because after the age of 10 it becomes harder for the children to find a sponsor.
And that is how we found our Indian Princess, Neha. Her photo was updated this week, a couple weeks before her 13th birthday, and she is blossoming into a beautiful young lady.

The India kids have always been in my heart, and I am so glad that my mom decided that she would sponsor a child from there. And I get to help her write the letters! Neha is going to be one cherished young lady!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Little Ball of Sunshine

I got a new picture of Carolay today! Carolay is 7 years old and from Ecuador, and she is one of my correspondence children. She has a special place in my heart since I have taken a couple missions trips to Ecuador.
Here she is:

Isn’t she just beautiful! I love the attitude and confidence that just radiates from her. That is one thing that I love about Compassion International’s program, the confidence that it gives the children involved. It teaches them that to dream of the future when otherwise they might not see any hope amongst the poverty. Carolay has gone from being an average student in kindergarten to an above average little lady in the third grade. I can already tell that this little ball of sunshine is going to do big things with her life!