"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

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best Day

What would you consider a best day?
How about ice skating in the dark of night with your father? That is what my dad and I were doing the other night. I didn’t want that night to end and these lyrics from the Taylor Swift song “Best Day” kept running through my head the whole time.
“I have an excellent father
His strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother
Inside and out he’s better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house
And I had space to run
And I had the best day with you”

Love my family!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Wanna Feed the Hungry Children

When God puts a dream in your heart, he puts it there at a young age. I am proof of that.
I was going through old yearbooks from when I was in elementary school, yesterday. It was fun looking back over my school years, remembering my classmates and laughing over the hideous outfits and big perms I had as a child. But what really caught my eye, was my 8th grade yearbook. Every year all the 8th graders would share what they hoped their future career would be. I remember having to do this, but I didn’t remember what I had put down. What I read blew me away!
Career: Missionary/Compassion International
I couldn’t believe that my dreams have not changed one bit. Even back in the 8th grade, I knew that I wanted to do whatever I could to release children from poverty in Jesus name. At 13 years old, I wanted to change the world. Almost 10 years later, and I still want to change the world. Isn’t that crazy!
This song by Britt Nicole- “I Wanna Set the World on Fire”- describes my heart :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Filipino Friend

Got an updated picture of Gil Jr.....he is growing up and he's so handsome!
Gil, age 6

Gil, age 4 1/2

Gil, age 3

I <3 this kid!!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mail Call: Ecuador

When hunting for modern day treasure, you don’t have to go any farther than your post office or mailbox! Those cream colored envelopes hold something much more valuable that gold, more precious than diamonds, and more beautiful than rubies. I would take a letter from one of my kids over diamonds or gold any day! Today those cream colored envelopes held treasures from Ecuador, a country close to my heart. I received a reply letter from sweet little Carolay and….drum roll please….a my very first letter from Alexandra, my jungle baby! And on top of that, I got a letter from Alexandra’s pastor- a closer look into Compassion’s work in the Ecuadorian jungle.
Carolay’s letter was in reply to a letter I wrote to her back in June. It was written on October 14th. I love that 8 year old Carolay is writing her own letters now!
Dear Hilary Hopkins,
I hope you are well. I am very happy to get your letter and write you back. You look really cute in the picture and your sister too. Your mom is beautiful. I am doing well in school, there I am also learning some of dance and I really enjoy it. My father is working in a different city, but he comes every Saturday and Sunday. Please pray for my family. Read this very Psalm 40:1. Tell me, how are you doing? How is the university going? I help my mom at home washing the dishes and cleaning. I close sending you lots of blessings and hoping to hear from you and your family soon.
Love, Carolay Gonzales
I was thrilled to receive my very first letter from 6 year old Alexandra- the sad little girl I almost missed out on back in November. I’m excited to get to know this beautiful girl!
Dear Hilary Hopkins,
Receive cordial greetings in the sweet name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am Carolina. I am the collaborator of the Compassion Project 261. Alexandra cannot write because she is so young. She lives in the village of Santiak. She is 6 years old and studies in 1st grade of primary school. She likes drawing and swimming with her friends and her siblings. In Santiak there are beautiful views and rivers and birds. The noise of the jungle really is marvelous and Alexandra is so happy to live here. We say goodbye. Thanks for supporting her.
Cordially, Alexandra and Carolina
Doesn’t that make you want to hear the marvelous sounds, see the beautiful birds, and swim in the jungle?  Alexandra also drew this adorable picture with her letter.

The pastor’s letter gave some great insight into life in the jungle. It was a very interesting read!
“The communities that we visit are not easy to access and the only way to get there is by light plane. Each community has its own landing strip made by the people in the area. These are places where people do not have the same comfort and services most of us have….Our children get very excited every time they see a light plane landing because they know a letter from their sponsor may arrive.”
I wish I could see the faces of the kids when the plane lands in their village. It makes writing those letters all worthwhile. To know that they put a smile on my children’s faces! Has your mailbox held any treasure lately?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Needed: A Sponsor for Via

Now that I have started sponsoring a child in Indonesia, I look at the Indonesian children every day praying that they will find sponsors. Sweet little Via caught my eye.

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Via is an adorable little girl who loves playing house, playing with dolls, and bicycling. I pray that she is safe and healthy and that someone will come along and show her that God loves her. If you are interested in learning more about her or sponsoring her click here. Have a great Saturday :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mail Call: Togo

Just last week, I shared about how exciting it is as a sponsor to get the updated pictures of our children. Well, the only thing more exciting than an updated picture is an unexpected picture! Those extras are few and far between and every single one of them is absolutely cherished.
Winner, my 6 year old in Togo, goes to a project that is very good about sending “Thank You” letters and gift pictures. And this week I got a sweet photo of Winner with the things she bought with her birthday money. It is so special to see proof of how our money is helping our child! Winner’s birthday was November 14th, and the “Thank You” letter was written on November 23rd so I did a good job of getting her gift to her on time.
Winner writes:
“Dear Hilary Hopkins, May God bless you for yours favors. My guardian greets you and thanks you. I am glad to receive your gifts. Thanks to your gift, I got a 5 kg rice bag, a nice loincloth, and shoes. We pray for you and your family. Continue to pray for us. How do you prepare for the Christmas?     ~Winner”
Here is Winner with her beautiful gifts:

Wow. All I can say is wow. She is absolutely gorgeous!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crazy Love

This week I did something crazy and impulsive, and I haven’t told anyone. It was a decision made out of a moment of crazy love.
Some people would tell me it was stupid and I’m not being very wise.
Others would just smile and nod while all the while rolling their eyes and shaking their head when I’m not looking.
Then there are the ones who couldn’t care less.
Very few people would be genuinely happy and excited for me. Very few people would understand. But God does. Because He is the one who invented crazy love.
Yes, I sponsored child number 8. It wasn’t planned; it just sort of happened- thus the impulsive part of this crazy decision. It’s funny how we make all these plans for ourselves and God takes them and turns them upside down and suddenly we are doing something that isn’t in the plan. Sometimes the best decisions we make aren’t in the plan. They just sort of happen. Like this one.

Omelisa wasn’t in my plan. But she has always been part of God’s plan. From the day she was conceived God knew what her life would consist of. What she would be like as a baby, how well she would do in school, and what she will be when she grows up. God knew that when Omelisa was 8 years old, a 22 year old American girl with a passion in her heart for children living in poverty would choose to sponsor her. God knew that on January 5, 2012, a 22 year old would fall in love with the sweet smile, squinty eyes, and chubby cheeks of an 8 year old Indonesian girl. God knew that the life of a little girl living in the slums of Indonesia and the life of a young woman trying to find her way in America would be intertwined. God knew that His plan for me and His plan for Omelisa include each other. That is what I call crazy. Crazy love!
Omelisa reminds me of myself at 8 years old. One of her chores is taking care of children. At 8 years of age all I ever wanted in life was to have lots and lots of babies. (Ok that is still all I ever want.) Omelisa loves to sing and play dolls. I think I played with dolls until I was 13, and I to this day have a song for everything. It doesn’t matter what you say to me it will usually remind me of a song. And, Ome is above average in school. I remember being so excited to get all A’s on my report card in 3rd and 4th grade. Funny how God can use the experiences of an American girl who lives a very blessed life, to change the life of an absolutely beautiful 8 year old Indonesian girl.
God works in mysterious ways, and I love it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mail Call: Ecuador

With the Compassion letter writing system changing to form letters for the younger kids, I was interested to see what it would be all about. Well Tuesday, I got my first look at the form letters when I got one from 8 year old Carolay. Carolay writes the sweetest letters, so it is a little dissapointing to have her now writing the form letters, but every letter is precious no matter what.

The exciting news is that this was the first letter that Carolay wrote by herself!

The topic of this letter was: My Family

I live with: My mama Gina and with my brothers and sisters
My siblings from oldest to youngest are: I have 5 brothers and sisters- Junior 27, Joselin 19, Jose Luis 15, Paul 11, and Valentina 1
My food is prepared by: Mama
My family lives in the: Urban area
I want to thank you for: Sending me letters, gifts, and for your support
Please pray for: My father who is far away that God protects him
But I also want to say: I traveled to Ibarra with my mama to visit my grandmother. How is your family? Read Ephesians 6:15.

It breaks my heart that Carolay's father is far away from her. An 8 year old girl need her daddy in her life. I'm not sure if her parents are divorced or if he is off working, but I pray that there is some way that he can be closer to Carolay.

I'm excited that Carolay got to visit her grandmother in Ibarra! I know I love going on vacations, so I'm sure that she does too. Ibarra is about 10 hours away from where Carolay lives in Machala so that was quite the little adventure :D.

I love my sweet, beautiful, confident Carolay!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oh Darling, Don't You Ever Grow Up

As a Compassion sponsor, I love getting updated photos of my kids. We sponsors love any glimpse into the lives of our children, anything that will tell us more about our children’s lives and that our sponsorship is working, and we live for those new photos. Recently I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of 2 updated photos!
It’s amazing seeing a new photo for the first time. You get that giddy feeling in your stomach as you memorize every inch of the photo. Your little girl or boy is growing up right before your eyes. Only getting a photo every year and a half makes them that much more precious.
Whenever I get a new photo, there’s always a little bit of sadness wrapped up in that overwhelming excitement. It’s bittersweet knowing that each new photo means that my baby is growing up and getting older. It’s amazing to be a part of the life of a child in a third world country, but sometimes I just want them to stay little and mine forever. That’s where trust that God has their lives in His hands comes in!
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten updated photos for 11 year old Asha and 6 year old Winner- 2 of my beautiful girls.
I adore the radiant smile and glowing confidence on Asha’s face. That girl is growing into a sweet young lady who loves Jesus. She shared in her last letter, “Really there is no true friend like Jesus.” It’s a privilege to know Asha. What a sweetheart she is!

Winner’s photo makes me smile. She is getting so tall and gorgeous. Winner is full of personality and I have a feeling that whoever took her photo caught her on a bad day. She does not look impressed to be having her picture that day. I just love her little attitude!

I love knowing that I am making a difference in the life of a child living in poverty. You can make a difference too by sponsoring a child through Compassion International today. What a great way to start off 2012, don’t you think!