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Monday, April 13, 2015

Enatenesh's New Photo!

Today, I got a beautiful photo update of Enatenesh, who lives in Ethiopia. I love her skirt!



Monday, April 6, 2015

Longest Waiting Indian Boys

I know that I have been sharing a lot of children that need sponsors lately, but that's the main point I want to get across in this blog. Yes, I like to share about my children and the letters that they write, but I always hope that I'm sharing the joys of sponsorship with my readers and hopefully lead them to sponsor a child themselves.

For those that have been around my blog for any period of time, you know that I have a heart for boys in India. There is just something their cute faces that I just love. I often search specifically for boys from India on the Compassion site to pray over them. This time around, I found so many boys that have been waiting around a year, some of them even longer! I've been told by a few Compassion workers that, on average, out of all of the Compassion children in all 26 countries that they work in, Indian girls are sponsored the fastest and Indian boys wait the longest. I am over the moon happy for those beautiful girls, but my heart breaks for the boys. Especially the older ones, that wait the longest out of all of them.

Today, I am going to share six Indian boys that have been waiting a long time for a sponsor. If you can end the wait for one of these boys, or know of somebody who would love to sponsor one of them, I think that would be just fabulous!


After a 13 month wait, Parthiban found a sponsor! 



Sivanand is 7 years old. His birthday is January 29th. He lives with his parents and one sibling. His father works as a laborer and only earns about $25 a month. His mother does not work. Sivanand has above average performance at school. For fun, he likes to walk, run, and play hide and seek. The hillside community where he lives is very crowded and diseases such as fevers and infections spread quickly. 

Sivanand has been waiting 8 months for a sponsor.




I think this guy is so handsome. His name is Netaji. He is 7 years old. His birthday is August 11th. He lives with his parents and two siblings. His parents work as laborers when they can find work and together only earn about $80 a month. Netaji helps his family earn money by selling in the market. For fun, Netaji likes to play hide and seek and other group games. The most common health problem in his community is malnutrition. 

Netaji has been waiting 13 months for a sponsor. 




Meet Aditya. He is 8 years old. His birthday is December 5th. He lives with his parents and two siblings. His father works as a laborer, but only brings home about $40 a month. Aditya has to carry water for his family. For fun, he plays marbles and hide and seek. Aditya lives in a filthy, overcrowded slum with over 200,000 people also living there. Health issues in this slum include drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, illnesses caused by dirty water, and illnesses caused by mosquitoes/rats. It's a very dangerous place to live. Homes in this slum are often thrown together with tin sheets, plastic, and cardboard boxes. 

Aditya has been waiting 12 months for a sponsor. 




This light in the darkness is Kiran. He is 9 years old. His birthday is May 14th. He lives with his parents and one sibling. His parents both work, but only earn about $50 a month between the two of them. Kiran enjoys singing, telling stories, and art. He lives in a crowded community where diseases like malaria and dengue fever are rampant. 

Kiran has been waiting 13 months for a sponsor. 




Pal has been sponsored! 



I know that I shared some heartbreaking details in this post. I did not do this to guilt you into sponsoring one of these boys. I shared these details so you will know exactly how life is for these children and their families. If anything, it's to make you aware of the real-life conditions that exist in India. Compassion is working to save children from these conditions, one child at a time. Sponsors provide the funds needed to save one of these children and give them a hope for their future. 

Can you give hope to one child today? 





Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Final Days of Jesus: A Photo Journey


The Triumphal Entry


Jesus Washes his Disciples' Feet


Jesus Predicts His Betrayal


Judas Betrays Jesus for 30 Silver Coins


The Last Supper


Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial


Jesus Weeps in Agony and Fear in Gethsemane


Jesus is Arrested


Jesus Before the Sanhedrin


Peter Denies Jesus Three Times


Jesus Before Pilate


The Soldiers Mock Jesus


Jesus is Sentenced to Death


The Crucifixion


Jesus Dies on the Cross


Jesus is Buried


I try to think about how the disciples felt as they buried Jesus. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the person that was supposed to come and change the world. Jesus was supposed to be their Savior. But, Jesus was dead and they were burying him. Had they wasted all those years following Jesus? Were all of those parables and miracles in vain? What were they supposed to do now? I can only imagine the confusion and the sorrow that lasted from that Friday evening to that wondrous Sunday morning. The pain must have been unbearable. Saturday must have been the longest day of their lives.  

Christmas in Colombia

I received letters from my two boys at project CO-384. They both shared with me how they celebrated Christmas at the project, among other things.

Here is Caleb's letter. He is 7 years old. He wrote his letter on February 10th, 2015.

________________________________________________________________________________


Dear Kayla, 

Caleb greets you with love. At the CDC we celebrated Christmas with a field trip, we swam, played, and shared there. We had a meal of stew, rice, and chicken in the Christmas celebration. I received a toy truck and a ball as my Christmas presents at the CDC. The activities that I did on my break from school were riding a bicycle and playing hide and seek and other games. My favorite fruits are apples, pears, bananas, and mangoes. Both of us like apples. My family and I are fine. I haven't been in any wedding yet. I like the story of the birth of Jesus so much. I thank you for the letters, stickers, and coloring guide that I received from you. I want to tell you that I really like the ball and games that you sent to me on Christmas time. I had a lot of fun playing with my friends and brother. I send the verse 1 Peter 3:15-16 to you. 

Jonatan Caleb 

_________________________________________________________________________________

Daniel is 9 years old and wrote this letter on February 13th, 2015. I was interested to see that it was written on a different day than Caleb's letter. I wonder if different age groups attend the project on different days of the week. 

________________________________________________________________________________



 Dear Kayla, 

Daniel writes and greets you (he wrote this himself in the 3rd person). My family and I went to a farm and a swimming pool and I ate delicious chicken and masato (a drink made of rice) there. I got a multi-game table as my Christmas gift. I thank God because my family is united and we all love each other. I'd like to give my heart, life, and time to Jesus because this is the most precious. I'm happy because you liked the drawing that I made for you. I thank you for the nice photo and beautiful words that you sent to me. Which is your favorite sport? Do you have cousins? What are their names? I want to know this. I thank God for you. I thank you for all that you sent to me. I want to share the beautiful verse Psalm 46:1. With love and care, wishing that you like it. I close with love. 

Juan Daniel

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Last Letters of March

I received two more letters before the end of March, but forgot to post them, for some reason. I was responding to letters today and realized that I hadn't shared them on my blog, so now is the time to do it.

First, a letter from Ernest. He is 9 years old, but is only in 2nd grade. He is not yet able to write on his own.

Ernest lives in Ghana. This letter was written on January 20th, 2015.

_________________________________________________________________________________


Dear Kayla, 

Ernest says he thanks you so much for your sponsorship and also loves the pictures and the letters you sent to him. He says his family is fine. He says he did not attend any weddings recently. He says they grow vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and garden eggs. They also plant cassava and maize. He says the have fruit trees like mango and orange trees in Ghana. Ernest says he was given a shirt, a pair of sunglasses, and boxer pants for his birthday presents. He says the project also organized a party for them. He says the weather conditions here are dry and wants to find out whether you are experiencing the same. Ernest says the family and the project will always pray for you, for God to bless you and to give you strength, to take care of the children. Ernest says pray for him to be intelligent and perform very well this academic year. Memory Verse: Isaiah 9:6 "A child is born to us, a son is given to us and he will be our ruler. He will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace." 

Ernest and Patrick (Person Writing)


Garden Eggs. I had to look them up. :)


________________________________________________________________________________

I also received a letter from Nikko, one of my best and most consistent writers. 

Nikko is 16 years old and lives in the Philippines. He wrote this letter on January 7th, 2015. 

________________________________________________________________________________


Dear Ms. Kayla, 

Hi! How are you? Me, I'm fine with my family. Thank God. 

I would like to thank you for the Christmas gift you gave me. I bought shoes and a shirt. I was able to celebrate Christmas with new things I bought. I am thankful to you. On September 22nd (Nikko's birthday) I celebrated with my family, eating food and in November me and my family visited my grandmother in the cemetery. 

In our church, we had activities. We had a coastal cleanup and it was enjoyable. We also had our Christmas party. There were a lot of games and prizes and also presentations. Our class presented caroling. I really had a great time during Christmas and New Year. There were lots of fireworks here. It was nice watching them. How about you? How did you spend your Christmas and New Year? I hope that it was awesome, too, like mine. 

In the last part of this letter, please help me pray for my family's protection and blessings and I will help you pray for your protection and that's all, thank you and God bless. Merry Christmas and happy New Year! 

Love, 
Nikko

Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." 

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Palm Sunday: Not Such a Celebration

Before you read the title of this entry and close out of my blog, shaking your head, I ask you to stick with me for little while.

I have been a Christian for 11 years now and I have attended a Palm Sunday service for 11 years. I thought I knew the story of Palm Sunday, about how Jesus entered into the city, riding on a donkey, and everyone cheered and welcomed him. That's the story you know too, right?

Well, as it turns out, most churches don't focus on the whole story. Sure, I've read the passage in the bible that is titled "The Triumphal Entry." I've most likely heard sermons about the whole story. But, apparently, I have never really grasped or paid attention to how the passage ends. Yesterday, Pastor Sarah, at the church I attend, focused her sermon on parts of the passage that I had never heard focused on before. Maybe it's just me, but I've always thought of Palm Sunday as this day to celebrate. But really, it's not.

To spare you having to look it up yourself, I'm going to share the entire passage with you. This is Luke 19:28-44.

"After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'" 

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just has he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' They replied, 'The Lord needs it'. They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glorying in the highest heaven!" 

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I will tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!"

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and will hem you in on every side. The will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you". 


The beginning of the passage certainly looks like celebration, right? Does an image like this come to your mind? 



Pastor Sarah described this scene as a bit of a mob mentality. The people were there because they heard that the Messiah was coming to their city. Some people believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but others did not, and were basically gathering to see for themselves. Pastor Sarah said, "Everyone loves a parade". However, the people that weren't sure that Jesus was the Messiah were disappointed. The prophecy that existed said that the Messiah would come into the city shining brightly and riding on a big white horse. The prophecy also stated that the Messiah will ride in on that horse and completely overthrow the government, bringing peace. This Jesus was not riding a horse, he was riding a stubborn mule. He did not ride in and save the day, he simply came in calmly. However, the people, not wanting to ruin a good parade, cheered and waved palm leaves anyway, even though they doubted that this was the true Messiah. Most people simply just did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. 

In the words of Pastor Sarah, "The people at the parade who shouted, "Hosanna!" were the same people who, five days later, yelled "Crucify Him!" 

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, after hearing these people shout praises to God, he did not react in joy. He did feel worshiped and loved. He was sad. Desperately sad. And he wept for these people, for us. He wept because these people did not recognize peace when they saw it. 



Jesus did not come to bring peace by overthrowing the government. Jesus was the peace. Jesus is the peace. 

It was the doubt of the people that lead to the death of Jesus, just five days later. The same people who shouted praises through their doubt, were the same people who condemned Jesus to die. 

Palm Sunday is not a day of celebration, not really anyway. People celebrated because they felt like they should, not because they truly believed. And that had dire consequences for our Messiah. 

Thankfully, we can learn from that mistake. We know now that Jesus is our Messiah and we have a real reason to celebrate, to wave those palm leaves, and shout "Hosanna!" to our God. In the future, when you wave those palm leaves, mean it, truly mean it, because now we know just have much damage doubt can do. 



"Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers"



***Foot note: I realize that there are probably many, many people who know about the end of this story and this post doesn't teach you anything new. You may even be shocked that a Christ follower of 11 years is so shocked by the end of this passage. But, like I said, it seems like in past years, I have completely ignored the sad part of this story and just celebrated Palm Sunday has a happy occasion. This post is simply me sharing my thoughts on the matter.****


Sunday, March 29, 2015

India has Babies!

I was looking at the Compassion website today and saw that there are now babies (really toddlers) up for sponsorship in India. Oh be still my heart. It's taking every ounce of willpower I have to not sponsor all of those little cuties. (Who needs electricity, right?)

I can't sponsor one of these babies right now, but I can do the next best thing, share about them. I chose six of these cuties (some of the youngest on the site) and made a pretty cool collage, if I do say so myself. I assigned each child a number and I will share their info that way too. If you decide to sponsor one of these cuties, let me know, so I can celebrate with you.

Side note, some of these kids are stated as being in kindergarten. Kindergarten in India is like our preschool. Kids can start attending kindergarten at age 2, if their parents wish, and continue until they are 5 years old.




1. This little guy is Kartik. He's 2 years old. His birthday is June 24th. He lives with his father and mother and is an only child. His favorite activity is walking and he attends church activities with his family. He is in kindergarten and has average performance. You can sponsor Kartik here. 

2. Labanya has been sponsored!

3. This sweetheart's name is Nisha. She is 2 years old. Her birthday is June 13th. She lives with her father and mother. She doesn't have any siblings. She helps run errands with her parents. For fun, she likes to play house and play with dolls. She is not yet attending school. You can sponsor Nisha here.

4. Anjalina has been sponsored! 

5. This handsome guy is Sidharth. He is 2 years old and will be 3 on June 6th. He lives with his parents and one sibling. He enjoys walking and attending church activities with his family. He is in kindergarten and has average performance. You can sponsor Siharth here.

6. Mr. Grumpy here is Aryan. He is 2 years old. His birthday is May 30th. He lives with his father, mother, and two siblings. For fun, Aryan likes to sing and run. He is in kindergarten and has average performance. He also attends church activities with his family. You can sponsor Aryan here.