"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, June 30, 2012

I Miss You, I Miss Your Smile


I said a little prayer this morning as I walked to the mailbox. I really, really wanted a letter from one of my Compassion kids. More specifically I wanted a Bolivia letter- either a first letter from Cecilia or a letter from Rosa. I knew it would be way too soon to hear from either Kevin or Lucela again. I have been missing my Bolivian babies lately and wishing I could hold them in my arms again and hear them laugh. But a letter would have to do for today.  I prayed with all my heart, but tried not to get my hopes up. The letters would get here when they get here. But I wanted one today. 

And God saw fit to send me one today! My palms got a little sweaty as I pulled that cream colored envelope out of the mailbox. I tried to be patient, savoring the moment, but I had ripped into it before I had even gone 10 steps from the mailbox. And then I saw it- BO591. A smile spread quickly across my face as I realized I was holding Cecilia’s first letter! My step quickened and my heart raced as is hurried back home where I could sit on the couch and read this precious letter from my sweet Cecilia. 


I held that letter delicately in my hands like a treasure as memories of our time together raced through my mind.  I remembered laying eyes on Cecilia for the first time and how I fell in love with her immediately. How later in the morning when she saw me she ran to me and I held her in my arms till I thought my arms would fall off. How she gently brushed her hands over my hair and told me it was pretty. How she sat on my lap at lunch and I shared my rice with her. I tried to get her to eat my uncooked vegetables, but she would have none of that. How she came to find me before she left to say goodbye. How I didn’t want to her to leave, but she had the biggest smile on her face as she wrapped her arms around my neck as we said goodbye.  I remember how loved I felt that a 5 year old girl whom I had never met would choose me. Choose me to lavish her love upon. I basked in her love and cherished every moment that she was in my arms not wanting it to end. 



With this in mind, I read my sweet Cecilia’s letter:

Dear Sponsor Hilary,
We greet you in the peace of our Lord Jesus. I am Cecilia’s tutor. Cecilia and her family thank you for the help you offer her. They are so glad to know the news. She is a peaceful girl, she likes to play with dolls and being the cook. Her best friend’s name is Daniela. She likes to eat soup. She lives with her father Felipe and her mother Albertina and her siblings Cristian, Nataly, and her little brother Jhoel. Cecilia helps her mother in the kitchen and to keep the house in order. She is in 1st grade at school and she is 6 years old. Now we say goodbye with love wishing God bless your life.
Cecilia (Lixy- tutor)

Just knowing that Cecilia is mine and that she helped write this letter makes me want to jump on the next plane to Bolivia! The sweet little pictures she drew melts my heart, but even more the fact that her little brown hands have touched this piece of paper that is now in my hands. It is an amazing thought when I really sit back and think it over. Cecilia’s older sister and brother are also in the Compassion program. Cristian is 9 and Nataly is 8. I believe that I met Nataly, but I’m not sure about Cristian. I just love this little girl sooo much!!!!
 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Sister in Christ

Happy 14th Birthday to my sweet Neha!


I can't believe that you are 14 years old already! You are a beautiful young lady with an amazing future ahead of you! We are so proud of you and we love you!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Mail Call

Today, I was super excited to get 2 first letters from Bolivia! I got letters from 4 year old Kevin and 8 year old Lucela. I met Kevin and Lucela in Bolivia when I was there in April. They were both in need of sponsors, and I was excited to be able to become their sponsor!

Kevin lives in El Alto, Bolivia, and he goes to center BO416. His center was the first center that we visited on our Compassion tour. Kevin's letter is very sweet:

Dear Hilary Hopkins,
I send you greetings of blessing. I am Kevin's tutor. I am writing you to tell you that he is very happy because you are his sponsor. He wants to be in touch with you. He's going to school and he is going to kindergarten. He drew for you with lots of love and he hopes you like it. He has 4 siblings and they have great fun playing and watching TV. He likes caring for animals and he wants to have a cat. We say goodbye with a strong hug and God bless you and protect you.
Love, Kevin

I love his little truck. It looks like he worked extra hard on it :)

Me with Kevin and his little sister!


Lucela lives in Santa Cruz, Bolivia and she goes to BO383. We had an amazing time spending the day at Lucela's center and I just loved getting to know her and her friends. Here is Lucela's letter:


God bless you, sister Hilary Hopkins,
Lucela is very happy because you are her sponsor. Lucela likes to play with dolls and ball. She has family of 6 members including the 2 children of her older sister who is 16 years old and they all live together. Her mom's name is Tomasa, her older sister's name is Rocio, her brother Alejandro and then Lucela. This year she started to attend to the student center and she likes it alot and she goes with her brother Alejandro. Our God blesses you a lot for the support that you give to the children because by them also arrives to their family. She told everything to write to you because she has difficulties to write.
Pablo- Lucela's older cousin

She drew a sweet little picture :)

My Bolivian Princess and I!


I can't believe that I have already gotten first letters from my new Bolivian babies! Now just waiting on a first letter from my Cecilia- my Bolivian princess! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Haiti on the Horizon


Yes, Haiti is on my horizon! I have the amazing opportunity to help at the “Redemption for Haiti” orphanage the last week in July. 

It’s funny how this all came to be. Haiti wasn’t in my plan. Haiti isn’t on my list of countries that I’ve always wanted to visit. But God’s plans are definitely not always my plans.  Actually His plans are very rarely my plans. And that is a good thing. Because God’s plans are always so much better than mine!

I have always wanted to adopt. Adoption is something I have always felt passionate about. Children without parents who just need someone to love them.  I remember the Haiti earthquake and hearing about all the children who were orphaned by that. Seeing photos of those beautiful black children made me want one of my own. It was then that I knew I wanted to adopt from Haiti. I wanted my own little girl with bright colored ribbons in her hair. I ended up sponsoring a little Haitian girl with ribbons in her hair. Giberline is 8 and she is very special to me! And I also have the privilege to correspond with an 18 year old young man named Olibris who lives in Haiti. The desire to adopt from Haiti is very much still alive. 

                            Giberline Dass         Olibris Jean
                                         

This just a little of how God has put Haiti on my heart. I have always felt a connection to that country, but I had never thought about actually stepping foot into Haiti until last month. As most of you know, I am a Compassion sponsor. Compassion is something I am very passionate about, and I spend a good deal of time on Our Compassion. OC is a social networking site, kind of like Facebook, but it is all people who sponsor/correspond with children through Compassion International. It is a great little community where we share about our sponsored children, prayer requests, and what God’s doing in our lives. A fellow OCer, Lori, asked me for prayers as she would be returning to Haiti in July to work at an orphanage that her church has been helping. I shared my excitement and prayers for her trip, and told her how I have always wanted to start an orphanage and also adopt from Haiti, and of course how special Haiti is it to me because of Giberline and Olibris. 

That is when God stepped in. God put it on Lori’s heart to ask me if I would be interested in going to Haiti with her church team to help at the orphanage. She wanted some help to start up a sponsorship program to benefit the kids who live at the “Redemption for Haiti”. This was so unexpected, but it felt as if God had renewed my passion for Haiti in the span of a week. It felt like God had placed this opportunity in my lap, and there was nothing for me to do, but plan to go. "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying- Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said- Here am I. Send me!"  ~Isaiah 6:8

I’m so amazed at this opportunity God has given me. Going to Haiti scares me, but I know that God has a reason for sending me there, and there is nowhere safer than being right in the middle of God’s will!

Oh and I have to share some photos that Lori sent me of the children at the “Redemption for Haiti”! You will see why I have fallen in love with those children already, and you just might be packing your bags and hopping on a plane for Haiti today :).

Beautiful Kids!

I am already in love with Belande- the little girl in the purple dress!

Hearts of Love :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Princess Babita- Daughter of the King

Oh my goodness, I have been patiently waiting and waiting for this photo! Look at my Ugandan princess! Is she not the most adorable little girl that you have ever seen in your life? It is crazy to think that my Babita was not even 4 years old when I sponsored her and now she is 5 and a half. She is just gorgeous, and I love the beads in her hair. I don't hear from Babita often, but when I do, her letters are long and full of personality! Look at how she has grown :)

The adorable bald beauty that I first fell for- July 2010

Look, she has hair! My little sweetheart- June 2012

Oh, how I love you, my Princess Babita! You are beautiful, you are special, and you matter!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mail Call: Ecuador


Last week, I got 2 letters from Alexandra, but I haven’t had time to share them until now.

 

 Alexandra is 7 years old, and she lives in the jungles of Ecuador. She is so sweet, and her letters were full of good information about her and her family! Both of the letters were written on May 2nd. One of them was a letter about her family and the other was one in reply to my letters. Here they are:

Dear Hilary,
We send you many greetings in Christ and we send you many blessing from the Lord. I’m Bolivar, Alexandra’s tutor. It’s a pleasure to help her write this letter because she can’t write yet. She’s very happy to greet you and she was very happy to receive the letter that you sent. She liked it very much and she paid a lot of attention to each word on the letter. She and I thank you very much for your letter and for the loving support you give her. I encourage you to write her more often. She says that her mother is pregnant and this will be her 16th child. She had complications with her last delivery so please pray for her so everything goes well. Do you live close to your siblings? Do you enjoy to spend time with them? She plays with her siblings. Her brother Franco had a problem. Please pray for his communion with God.
With love, Alexandra and Bolivar

My Family:
Dear Hilary,
I would love to share with you a little bit more about my family. I live with my parents Santiago and Luisa and I have many siblings. My siblings from oldest to youngest are Ambrasio, Mateo, Franco, Fany, Daniel, Nestor, Cristian, Ximena, Noe, Marisol, Karina, Wilma, Romelio, Marlon, and the baby that’s on his way. My food is prepared by my mom Luisa. My family lives in the rural area. I want to thank you for all the support you give me and for your prayers and for being my sponsor. Please pray for my dad Santiago so he has the fear of God and recognizes God as his only Savior. But I also want to say that I’m pretty and intelligent. I’m learning vowels to be able to read. I love to draw. Do you like to color? We say bye with love.
Alexandra and Rosi (her tutor) 

Alexandra's Drawing- she is good for being 7!


It is so great to know the ways that I can pray for Alexandra and her family. I feel for that family with so many children and a salary of $10 a month. I’m so glad that they have Compassion in their area to help the family with expenses. This week, I also learned more about Santiak, the village that Alexandra lives in from a missionary family who lives in Shell, Ecuador and flies into Santiak a couple times a month. I learned that Santiak has about 10 extended families that live there. It is located on the Pastaza River and it is about a 30 minute flight to the village from Shell. It is neat hearing from someone who has spent time in Santiak and probably has seen my Alexandra on occasion!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A June Birthday

Happy 12th Birthday to my Indian Princess, Asha!


Asha on her 11th birthday




You are such a beautiful young lady who loves the Lord. I am so blessed to have a part in your life and it is a joy to watch you grow. I love you all the way to India and back!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Oh Happy Day!


Yaaa, today was a 4 letter day! I love those kinds of days. This was an especially special 4 letter day because one of my letters included pictures- lots of pictures! 

I went out to my mailbox wondering if the mail person even came on Saturdays anymore. We haven’t gotten mail on a Saturday in at least a month, so I wasn’t too hopeful for a cream colored envelope. Well imagine my delighted surprise when I found 4 cream colored envelopes in my mailbox! I was happy to see a large cream colored envelope, but I didn’t get my hopes up because sometimes those big envelopes just a hold a regular ole letter. 

I felt around on the envelope before I opened it, hoping to feel a staple and a picture shaped bump, and sure enough I did. I ripped into the envelope and found a letter from sweet little Gil Jr from the Philippines. And attached to the letter were a pile of little pictures. Oh what a treat! 


Not too long ago a fellow OCer who was headed to the Philippines to meet her sponsored child, offered to take a gift along for Gil. I excitedly picked out some things at Walmart- a t-shirt, a writing pad, pencils and sharpener, crayons, cars, and a necklace for mom- and sent them along to the Philippines in hopes that he would enjoy these little gifts and know I was thinking of him.

Well today’s letter was a thank you for his gifts. It is too sweet not to share:

Dear Hilary Hopkins,
We received your gift to Gil and it is 1 silver necklace, 5 toy cars, 1 box of 24 crayons, 10 pcs. Pencils, 1 sharpener, and 1 writing pad fundamentals. Ma’am Hilary thank you so much for the gift and you know what Ma’am you help a lot to your family even if as young as you are your mind is set to help those in need. Ma’am Hilary, Gil was so happy upon receiving your gift he wear the shirt right away and specially the toy cars because it is the first time he play with this kind of toy cars. Ma’am Hilary, about Gil, right now he is okay and in fact he attend on their recognition program last Friday(April 27,2012) in the APCDC Center and they have also a snacks. Hope Ma’am that you are in good health always and more blessings from Lord and Divine protection. Ma’am Hilary please include to your prayers that my family will be in good health always. Until here up to our next letters. God bless you always.
Love, Ludivina Otadoy, Gil’s mother 

How awesome, that he loved his gifts! He also sent some pictures of him and his mother receiving his gifts!


I think the man is one of his project workers


What a cutie!! I love seeing these pictures of him and his mom!!