"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, March 29, 2012

Thursday's Child: Bolivia Edition

With Bolivia just on the horizon, I have been looking at all the beautiful Bolivian kids on the website just to get a taste of what I will see in a couple of days. I was excited when I found some children from the centers we will visiting next week. It is so neat to think that I may be hugging these kids and seeing their smiles so very soon! And here they are:

Edson from BO416
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This handsome young man is 8 years old and he has been waiting 180 days for a sponsor! He lives with his mom and dad and 4 siblings. He loves playing with cars and he helps out around the house by cleaning. He lives in an area of El Alto where the average monthly income is $85. If you are interested in sponsoring Edson, click here.

Lizeth from BO588
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Isn't Lizeth just adorable! This 4 year old lives with her mom and dad and 4 siblings. Lizeth loves playing with dolls and playing group games. She is a big help around the house- washing clothes, cleaning, and running errands. Lizeth lives in an area of Cochabamba where the average monthly income is $60. If you would like to sponsor Lizeth, check out her page here.

Ariana from BO383
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This 4 year old cutie lives with just her mom and 1 sibling. Ariana hasn't started school yet. She loves playing with dolls and she helps her mom with cleaning. Ariana lives in an area of Santa Cruz where the average monthly income is $114. If you feel led to sponsor Ariana, you can check out her page here.

Mariel from BO383
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5 year old Mariel goes to the same center as Ariana. I wonder if these 2 little girls are friends? Mariel also just lives with her mom and 1 sibling and she is not in school yet. She loves playing with dolls and helping her mom clean too. I can just picture Ariana and Mariel playing dolls together! If you feel led to sponsor Mariel, click here.

I really hope that I have an opportunity to hug these children in Bolivia and tell them that they matter and that they are loved! It would also be pretty neat to get to tell them that they have a sponsor who is so excited to be a part of their life. Maybe that sponsor is you!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Five. More. Days.

Can you believe it? 5 more days till I'm in Bolivia! I can't believe it.

When I signed up for this trip in August, it felt like something that would never come. Something exciting to look forward to, but would never really happen. And now the moment has almost arrived! I don't even know how I am going to make it through the next 5 days. I can't concentrate. I can't eat. Everything seems so surreal right now.

I have been working on packing today, and I think everything is actually going to fit! Which is surprising. I'm feeling a little unprepared, and nervous, but the excitement is outweighing everything right now.

In about a week, I am going to be holding this beautiful girl in my arms! It doesn't seem possible.

I can't even really think right now, ha ha!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mail Call: Brazil

It seems that my mail drought is over! At least for this week any way. I have been getting letters from my 3 times a year writers which gives me such joy. Sometime I think that the best letters come from my 3 times a year kids- Uganda, Dominican Republic, Brazil. Probably because I get so excited to hear anything from them.

I got such a sweet letter from Rodrigo in Brazil today. I was having a frustrating morning, and it just brightened my day to see a cream colored envelope in the mail. Then when I ripped into and saw that it was from Rodrigo, my first ever sponsored child, I just couldn't stop smiling. He is such a sweetheart. I just love him to bits :D.

Dear Sponsor Ms. Hilary Hopkins,
It's good to write to you once again. How are you? My family and I are all fine. I liked very much your letters and to know news from you. I'm grateful to you for all the affection and dedication from you. Thank you for all the pictures, drawings, stickers, cards, and mainly the presents, mainly for the Christmas one that was a pair of shoes and for the birthday present in the value of R$32.11 that I've won some clothes. I'm doing well at school and I hope to get good results and to go for the 5th grade and soon I'll be on school vacation. Well, I'd like to be a professional soccer player or a lawyer, as you said, God will decide what will be better for me. I wish you a great Christmas and a wonderful 2012. I love you.
With love, Rodrigo

Isn't that such a cute letter? He is such a boy! I love how he loves everything I send him, but mainly the presents. And how fun that he wants to be a professional soccer player or a lawyer! Wouldn't everything be so much easier if we could all have that attitude that God will decide what is best for us. I also hope that he moves on the the 5th grade :). I'm sure he will, he's one smart 10 year old!

Rodrigo also shared Psalm 37:29 with me: "The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever."

Love this kid!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday's Child

I love having the opportunity to share kids who need sponsors on here. I get so excited to see other people get excited and decide to take that leap of faith and bring a child from halfway around the world into their life. It is an awesome experience! So I want to share a couple kids who have been on my heart lately :D

Introducing: J Marient Lenold

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I have been watching 6 year old Lenold for over a month now. He has been on the website since they added the Sri Lankan kids to the website. I can't understand how this boy with such a beautiful smile hasn't been chosen yet. But I know that in God's perfect timing, the right sponsor will be found for Lenold. Lenold lives with his mom and dad and 3 siblings. He loves singing, reading, and telling stories. If you are interested in sponsoring Lenold, his page is here

Introducing: Miriam Pinto

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I have been looking at the beautiful Bolivian girls this week thinking about how I will be in Bolivia soon, and 10 year old Miriam jumped out at me. I think she is just gorgeous with her dark skin and pink dress. I think she might be a little sad though, by the look on her face. Miram lives with her mom and dad and 2 siblings. Like most little girls, she loves playing with dolls. If you would like to sponsor Miriam, her page is here.

And Last, but not least, Introducing: Maria Clara De Souza Brandao

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What a big name for a 4 year old girl! Maria is from Brazil and she has the same birthday as me. I have always wanted to sponsor a child with the same birthday as me so I am having a hard time not pushing that "select this child" button! Maria lives with her mom and 4 siblings, and her mom doesn't even have a job! Energetic Maria loves to walk, run, and play with dolls. If you would like to sponsor Maria, her page is here.

Please sponsor a child today!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Maria Grace

Maria Grace. Such a beautiful name for a princess of the King. I don't know Maria Grace. I don't know anyone with that name actually. But for some reason I woke up this morning with her name on my heart. I decided to pray for her. I didn't know what I else I could do for this beautiful person that I do not know. I don't know why God put her name in my mind, but I've been thinking about her all day. Someone Maria Grace doesn't even know has been praying for her and thinking about her all day. How cool is that. I may never know who this girl is, but some how I have been a part of her story from afar. If you happen to know Maria Grace, please introduce me to her. I would love to meet her :).

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mail Call: Uganda

I love Uganda letters! They are always so sweet and full of life that sometimes I wish that they came more than they did! I got letters from both of my Ugandan sweeties today- 15 year old Carolyne and 5 year old Babita. Carolyne's letters are always short, and I sometimes wonder if she is burntout from having sponsors who didn't write and correpondents who have dropped her in the past. It just makes me want to write her even more and include a big hug to soothe her spirit. Babita must have the bubbliest personality because her letters are always so long and she says the funniest things! I would love to see her in person and listen to her chatter away.

Carolyne's letter was written on January 10th:
Dear Hilary Hopkins,
I am greeting you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. How are you over there. I want to thank you for the Christmas gift you sent to me worth 40300F and out that I bought the following items: cloth of 15000F, shoe of 10000F, meat of 70000F, and I enjoyed that money with our family. I pray that the almighty God bless you. Good bye.
Akumu Carolyne

Straight and to the point, but cherished never the less. I am so glad that she was able to share her Christmas gift with her family.

Babita's letter was written on January 6th:
Dear Hilary Hopkins,
Zubeda is saying that with lots of joy sends her warm greetings to you and your family in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. She is saying that she feels blessed to have a loving, caring, and encouraging sponsor like you. Zubeda says that thanks alot for the letters you send her full of words of strength, encouragement, and comfort. She is saying thank you for the letters you sent her recently and she says that really she loved them and that thank you for the verse you shared with her in Jeremiah 29:11. She is saying that she really feels comfortable for God to know of her future.
Zubeda is saying that thanks alot for the monthly support that you send her and that she was happy for the Christmas gift you sent her. She is saying that she enjoyed so much the Christmas party which was organized at the center and she says that really you missed it because there were lots of food and drinks like cakes and sodas.
Zubeda says that she was helped by her mother to buy the following items from the gift you sent her.
1. Dress- 15000F
2. Shoes- 10000F
3. Meat and Rice- 10000F
4. Bread- 3800F
5. Photo- 1500F
Total- 40300F
Zubeda says that her memory verse is in Psalms 31:14. "My trust is in you oh Lord; you are my God." She is saying that she wishes you and your family a happy and prosperious new year and that she will continue loving and praying for you and your family every day. God bless.
Babita Zubeda

Isn't that the cutest letter! Her birthday is on Christmas so I wonder if the gifts her and her mom shopped for together were from that money. And see how one of the things she got with her gift money is a photo...well I think I got that photo!

Look, she has hair!!!

It looks like a backdrop that she is standing in front of. I hope that she got to keep a copy of the photo, but I'm going to send her a copy just in case :D

Great Mail Day!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Dream for Neha

I got the sweetest letter from 13 year old Neha in India today.

I shared my dream of wanting to start an orphanage someday with my kids and I asked them what their dream for the future was. I was excited to hear about the big dreams Neha has. She is a smart, sweet girl, and I know that she will achieve this dream with God's help!

Dear Sister, (Hilary Hopkins)
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I am very happy after knowing your dream. It is a good thing to help the orphans. Thank you for telling me about your dream. May God give you succed for your dream.
I want to be a teacher. My dream is to teach/help the poor children so that they can become a part of our developing country. And they may have a bright future. Thank you.
Your Loving, Neha

I am so proud of my Neha!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

17 Days

I got my tour guide for my Bolivia trip today!! And it is suddenly becoming very real to me. I am heading to Bolivia in 17 days with 33 people I've never met! How cool is that? And a little bit terrifying. I feel so privileged to have this opportunity. The team gets to visit 3 child development centers, a child survival program, visit with leadership development program students, and of course meet our precious kiddos. What a blessing! It is amazing to think that I have this opportunity to meet my beautiful Rosa in person and to hug her tight. I am also excited to hug as many other Bolivian children as I can! What a trip this will be!! 17 days to go!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Haitian Friend All Grown Up

I got an updated picture of 18 year old Olibris today. Look at how tall and handsome and grown up he looks! He has become a young man of God, and I am so proud of him!

Olibris, age 18

Olibris, age 16

So glad that I have this Haitian friend in my life!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Saddle Up Your Horses

Steven Curtis Chapman is in the house! Ok well not really, but he is in Clearwater which means I am going to his Songs and Stories concert tonight. I'm wicked excited because his songs bring back such great childhood memories. Some of my favorites are...

The Great Adventure


For the Sake of the Call

and of course: Let Us Pray
To this day whenever someone says "Let Us Pray", I just have to break into song :)

But my all time favorite was always....I Will Be Here

I was pretty convinced this was the most romantic song ever, and I was going to have it played at my wedding....maybe I still will!

Who doesn't love Steven Curtis Chapman: The Legend :D

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dominican Republic??

I haven't even gone on my first Compassion tour yet, but I'm already rearing to go on the next one. And then I got this in the mail....

They are having another trip to the Dominican Republic!!! When I signed up for the Bolivia tour, I almost decided to choose the Dominican Republic trip instead, but I knew I was meant to go on the Bolivia trip. I so want to go to the Dominican Republic and bless those beautiful children. And of course meet my Mariela!

8 Year Old Mariela

Mariela and Her Family

I'm praying that maybe, just maybe, this November I will found myself in the Dominican Republic!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Little Bit of This and That

Somedays I just can't think of a whole lot to say, and today has been one of those days. It has actually been one of those weeks. So I guess that I will just share a little bit of this and that, that has been going on in my life. Let's see....
  • Today I got my Bolivian Visa so I am pretty much set for April 1st and sooo excited! I just realized that I am going to be in Bolivia for Easter. How awesome will it be to celebrate Easter with the Bolivians :)
  • I am settling in at my new home and loving Florida! I love my sister's church and I am now the one year old Sunday School teacher so that is fun. I have also been helping in Awana and doing a lot of babysitting already with the cutest kids. Everyone has been so sweet and friendly.
  • I got to see the Christian comedian Tim Hawkins last Friday and that was hilarious. Needless to say I have become addicted to watching every single one of his videos on You Tube. They just don't get old. This Friday, my sister and I are going to see Steven Curtis Chapman. How fun will that be?
  • Oh I have started the process of applying to be a missionary with Biblical Ministries Worldwide. It is a big process, but I think it will be worth it in the end. I had been having a hard time finding a mission's agency that I felt completely comfortable with, but I really like BMW.
  • I'm excited for American Idol's top 13!!! I am really liking Colton Dixon, Jeremy Rosado, and Shannon Magrane <3
  • Last of all I want to share a Carrie Underwood music video...when I saw this video for the first time on American Idol's Idol Gives Back night, I knew once again that working with children overseas was exactly wht I was meant to do :D

Hope you are having an awesome week!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Togolese Princess

This is Lala Latifa Ali-tagba
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Lala is 10 years old and she lives in Togo with her mother. She helps out her mother by selling and buying in the market, carrying water, and gardening. She loves to play jacks, sing, and jump rope. Lala is above average in school! Lala is beautiful, but she has sort of a hardened expression on her face. She is 10 so she has probably had a sponsor or 2 by now. I wonder if they wrote her any letters or let her know that she is a princess of the King!

Lala goes to the same project as my 6 year old Winner. They even have matching dresses and Winner's last name is Ali too.

This is my Winner. I bet that Lala and Winner know each other. I wonder if Lala ever looks at all the kids with sponsors and who are getting letters and pray that she will have a sponsor soon too. One that will write her letters full of love and joy. Lala goes to a great center where they reply to every letter you send and they send pictures of your child with any gifts that you send them. I pray that Lala can have a sponsor soon too! She looks like she needs to see the love of God in action in her life. Pray with me that Lala has a sponsor soon too! If you are thinking about sponsoring her you can check her profile out here.