"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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Left My Heart in Haiti

Last week at this time I was in Haiti. It seems really weird to say that. I never thought that I would go to Haiti. It just wasn’t on my list of places to go. So when I did decide to go to Haiti, I vowed not to fall in love with that country. I couldn’t afford to fall in love with Haiti, when I already have my future all planned out. I was going to do mission work with children in the Philippines and spend time in Ecuador and Bolivia. And then probably start my orphanage somewhere in South America.  Haiti just didn’t make the cut. It wasn’t in the plan, so the last thing I needed to do was fall in love with the poorest country in the western hemisphere. So I would go, and I would love on the children there, but I wouldn’t fall in love. This was a onetime thing. That’s all there was to it. 

This was my mindset as our plane got closer and closer to landing in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I craned my neck to see out the window as Haiti came into view. My heart beat faster and my palms got a little sweaty as I got my first glimpse of the Haitian mountains. I didn’t even know that Haiti had mountains! I felt the heat wash over me as I stepped off the plane and breathed in my first breath of Haitian air. I was in Haiti. Only 2 hours from Miami by plane, and I was in poverty stricken Haiti. I had no idea at the time how spending 4 and a half days in Haiti would change my life. No idea that I would fall in love with this country. But I already know I have. 

I have so much more to share about Haiti and my time there, but I will leave you with these photos to whet your appetite!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Live for Little Moments Like That

I was recently talking to another sponsor about our Compassion children. She was wondering if our children think about us as much as we think about them. Most of us Compassion fanatics, think about our children every single day. We pray for them, we think of ideas for letters, we run to the mailbox hoping for news from them. But do they think of us? Or are we just someone that they think about briefly on letter writing day or when they receive letters. I wasn't sure the answer to this. These kids have a lot going on in their lives at a young age, and we are just some person that lives a world away. I began to think that maybe we aren't as special to them as they are to us. But then yesterday, I received a precious letter from 8 year old Carolay in Ecuador. Carolay is such an intelligent, confident, sweet girl, and I just love her to pieces. Every letter from her is special and full of love, but this most recent one, has to be the most precious one of all. Her words went straight to my heart and it overflowed with blessing, honor, and love. Here are the words that I have dwelled on for 2 days straight:

"I have a little room and I have all your pictures on the wall. I always talk to God at night. I talk about you and I ask Him to take care of you."

So there you have it. I think they really do think about us! How can I help, but not melt at these words! I'm so in love with this little girl, and completely amazed that I will be meeting her this coming March. Life doesn't get much better than these moments. Like that country song says- "I live for little moments like that."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Baby is Growing Up

Before I went to Haiti, I noticed that Hillary's picture had updated! They sent me his photo while, I was gone, and now I am excited to show it off. The baby of my family isn't a little baby anymore, that's for sure. It kinda makes me sad, but happy all at the same time. He has grown so much, but he still has that high forehead and sticking out ears that I love so much!

My cute and cuddly little namesake- age 3

My adorable little man- age almost 5

What an honor it is to have a little friend from Kenya! I love him to pieces!

Stay tuned this week for posts about my trip to Haiti!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Prayers for Haiti

I will be in Haiti in 3 days. I will be stepping off the plane around this time on Sunday. Stepping into a world that I have never been in before, a world where not everyone has a place to live, parents who love them, and food on the table. And I’m kinda terrified. Excited, but terrified. I always feel nervous before going on mission’s trips, especially to a place I’ve never been before. But this time, I’m feeling more afraid than nervous. I’m afraid of what I will see and what I will feel. Satan doesn’t want me to go to Haiti. He doesn’t want me to tell the beautiful children that I meet that God loves them, that they matter. He doesn’t want me to fall in love with Haiti. He doesn’t want me to become uncomfortable with the comfortable life I have been leading. Satan wants me to continue living for myself while every 5 seconds a child dies from hunger. While little boys and girls cry themselves to sleep because their mommy and daddy died in an earthquake. While children are left at orphanages because their parents can’t feed them.

And sadly, I kind of want to keep living for myself too. It would be so much easier to not go to Haiti, to fill my mind with boys, and clothes, and Facebook, rather than the thoughts of people dying day after day without Jesus. But easier isn’t always better. It usually isn’t better at all. So Satan has filled me with this fear. Fear of letting it all sink in. Fear of being changed.

Please pray for me and the team as we head to Haiti for 6 days. Pray that our hearts will be open to take in all that God has planned for us while we are there. Pray that will be God’s hands and feet to children who are in need of so much love. Pray that Haiti will see a change in this generation. That the Haitian Christians will rise up and lead this country back to God. 

I also am hoping to meet Giberline, the 8 year old girl that I sponsor through Compassion in Haiti. Compassion is still trying to work out the details for her to be brought to wear I am staying. Please pray that if we are supposed to meet that everything will work out. 

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jesus in Disguise

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me."     ~Matthew 25:40

I heard a new song by Brandon Heath today. I don't remember how it all went, but it was called "Jesus in Disguise". Every day we pass by people who are Jesus in disguise. If we truly thought of them as Jesus, how would we treat them?

This made me think of all the beautiful Compassion children who are still in need of sponsors. They are all Jesus in disguise. Whatever we do for them, we do for Jesus. But whatever we don't do for them, we aren't doing for Jesus. When we pass them up day after day because we would rather spend our money on new clothes, or our daily coffee, or cable, we are passing up Jesus. When we let one more day go by when, one of these children feel forgotten and like they don't matter, we are telling Jesus that he doesn't matter. Maybe we would do more for the least of these if we truly looked at them as if they were Jesus.

Here are just 3 Compassion International children who are waiting for sponsors. Maybe you could sponsor one of them....

Proceed to our secure online form

This cute little guy is 4 year old Grover. Grover lives in Bolivia with his dad, mom, and 3 siblings. I visited Grover's center when I was in Bolivia in April, so I know that he lives in a poverty stricken area. The pastor at his center was so passionate about sharing God's love with the little ones, and they were so happy for our group to be there. Grover isn't in school yet, but he does attend church activities regularly. He also loves playing with cars. Grover has been waiting over 6 months for a sponsor. If you would like to end his wait, click here.

Proceed to our secure online form

Since I am going to be in Haiti next week, I wanted to feature 9 year old Ketty. Ketty is an orphan who lives with her uncle and one other sibling. She lives north of Port-au-Prince so it is likely that she lost her parents in the earthquake, but I don't know that for a fact. Ketty is in primary school and she also attends church activites and participates in choir. She loves singing, telling stories, and playing jacks. If you want to be the one that tells Ketty that she matters and that she is loved, click here.

Proceed to our secure online form

Nine year old Mariela lives in Bolivia and she goes to the same center as my Rosa. They probably know each other and they may even be friends. A while ago I saw Mariela on the website and now she is back again. That very well could mean that she got a sponsor and then she lost her sponsor. Mariela lives with her mom and 5 siblings. It must be very hard for her mother to provide for 6 children. Mariela is in primary school, attends church activities, and loves playing with dolls. If you want to sponsor this Bolivian princess, click here.

"If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward."   ~Matthew 10:42

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

They're Turning 5!

My youngest Compassion kids are turning 5 today! They aren't babies anymore. So a very big Happy Birthday to Hillary in Kenya and Kevin in Bolivia!

I love you to Kenya and back!

I love you to Bolivia and back!
They grow up too fast!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday Mail Call....on Tuesday

Yesterday I got a letter from 7 year old Gil Jr in the Philippines! His mother always writes his letters for him and I just adore this sweet family. A few months ago, I wrote Gil a letter telling him that I would love to see a picture of his family. I didn't know if I would ever get one, but I thought I would let him know that. So yesterday when my letter from Gil came in a big cream colored envelope, I hoped that a family picture was in my hands. In one of Gil's last letters, his mother had wrote that they would send me a family picture in the next letter, when they could have one taken. I didn't get just one letter from Gil, I got 4! I'll let you read his letter first!

Dear Hilary Hopkins,
First of all I would like to ask how are you, if you ask about us here with God's mercy were okay. Ma'am we received your letters here in response to our letter. We know now that you are in Florida. Is the climate there okay? Here in Philippines it is too hot now. Ma'am Hilary, we send you pictures on Gil's Recognition Day and he have award of Most Trustworthy only because his grades on 4th grading is a bit low. Ma'am Hilary thank you so much for your letters even if you are so busy you have time to write for Gil. Ma'am Hilary, Gil was asking if do you have work there in Florida? Ma'am Hilary, thank you so much for your monthly support and for everything. Ma'am Hilary we will pray for you every night before we go to sleep that God will give you good health and divine protection so that you can help more kids. Ma'am Hilary please help us to pray that Gil will not get into sickness. Until here up to our next letters. God bless you always. 
Ludivina- Gil's mother

I just love this letter! I'm proud of Gil for getting Most Trustworthy even if his grades are a little low :). It is such an amazing thought that Gil's family is praying of me every night. It is a very humbling thought. I take to heart what they say about me helping more kids. I want to help more kids for them! Please pray for Gil, because his mother is always asking for prayer that he doesn't get sick. I'm not sure if he gets sick a lot. It worries me though. 

And here are the pictures!!!

Gil doing a dance with his classmates

Gil's Family and Gil and his mom at his graduation ceremony

Monday, July 9, 2012

My Indonesian Model

I've been watching my Compassion account lately hoping to see some updated photos of a few of my kids. Today, when I signed onto my account, I immediately noticed a new photo of 8 year old Omelisa! I wasn't expecting a new photo from her until the end of this year so it was exciting to see how she has grown since her last photo. She is just the cutest, sweetest little thing. Well she really isn't that little anymore. She looks so much more mature and grown up in her new photo. But I absolutely love how she has the same exact pose in each photo. And she always has on the cutest dresses. She has got some style. I call her my little model! Here is Ome over the years:

Ome, age 5
Ome, age 7
Ome, almost 9
Isn't she just gorgeous!!! Love this sweet girl :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Before You Came Into My Life I Missed You So Bad

I’ve been thinking about my Rosa a lot lately. Reliving our day together, and trying to remember all the little things about her that make her, well her. It amazes me how close I feel to Rosa when I’ve only had her in my life for 17 months. And I realized something. God chose Rosa for me. From the very moment I was born he knew that Rosa would be a part of my life. And not just any part, but a huge part, an important part! God chose to weave the strands of my life into the strands of the life of a beautiful 12 year old all the way in Bolivia. Who would have thought? Only God, I guess! I didn’t choose Rosa on my own.  With many of my others, I saw their face and knew that they were meant to be mine. Their eyes drew me in or their story broke my heart or I just knew. But none of this happened with Rosa. I didn’t choose Rosa. God chose her for me. I knew I wanted to sponsor another child back in January of 2011. I knew I could afford it and I wanted to share God’s love with another child. I looked at all the children on the Compassion website. Then I looked at them again. And again. I looked at the boys. I looked at the girls. I looked at the kids from India. Then Ecuador. Then Bolivia. And on and on it went. Every day I looked at those children knowing they all needed love and hope and a sponsor who would be a role model for them. But none of them were mine. I could have sponsored any of them. In fact I wanted to sponsor all of them, but I knew that God hadn’t chosen any of those children for me. Finally, I had settled on a girl from Bolivia between the ages of 10 and 14. I felt the Lord lead me towards this. Yet still none of the children on the website were “mine”. God told me to wait. None of them were my girl. I decided to let Compassion choose my girl for me. I knew that God would lead them to my girl. Four days later I my girl’s packet. I held it in my hand, not knowing them what a blessing she would be to me. I didn’t even really know then the significance of letting God choose for me instead of choosing myself. I saw her name first- Rosa. What a beautiful name for a young lady. Then I saw her face. I was startled by the sadness in her features. This was my child. God had to have chosen this child because I would not have chosen her myself. But I loved her, oh how I loved her! This was a child that God had chosen before time for me to love, nurture, and care for. Our relationship was meant to be. Meeting Rosa in person just solidified this truth for me. I can’t even explain it in words. We didn’t need words to share our love. It was just being there, being together. It’s like our hearts were back together again because we were together. I can’t even image what life was like before Rosa. It’s like she has always been there- showing me the same love that I’m showing her. God is using Rosa in my life just the same if not more than the way He is using me in her life. I see Jesus in Rosa. I love her with every breath in me. There are moments where my heart aches from missing her. But I’m thankful, so thankful that God saw fit to choose me, ME, of all people to be in Rosa’s life. What a blessing, as I’m sure all you Compassion sponsors out there know. We have been blessed by our sponsored children. I know I have been!

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” ~Philippians 1:3