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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Favorites from my Colombian Boys

Man, I love my little Colombian guys. In the past, I always said that I would never want to have two kids at the same center, but it turns out, I love it! My two boys know that I write to both of them and while they haven't mentioned it before, I hope that they talk to each other and spend time together at their project.

I always receive letters from them on the same day, of course, as they both write on their project's letter writing day. One of my boys is young enough to still write on templates and the other one isn't, but they both write on the same topics. It's interesting to see how that works out. I wonder, as they both get older, if they will be given more freedom in their writing, or if they will still write on a specific topic, set by their tutors.

Anyway, I'll share Jonatan Caleb's first. He is 7 years old. He wrote this letter on May 26th, 2015.

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Dear Kayla, 

Best greetings! 

My Favorite Bible Story: David's 
What I Know to Do Best is: Playing
My Favorite Sport Is: Soccer
My Favorite TV Shows Are: Samson & Delilah, Joseph, Daniel, The Creation (I don't think he understood the question)
The Month of the Year I Like Best Is: April 
Because: It is the children's month, our month. 

Jonatan writes to you and greets you! I am very well! I know you will reach your dream! Someone told me about a child who had an accident and it was so sad. I want to thank you for the clothes that you sent me. I thank you for your letter with the photos. It is so lovely to learn from you and it is something really special! 

I would love you to help me to pray that God blesses my entire family and that God keeps protecting me and helping me. I say goodbye with lots of hugs and kisses. I am fond of you! This is the bible verse I have to share with you, Psalm 128:4. Blessings! 

Jonatan Caleb

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Now, a variation on the same letter from Daniel. He is 10 years old.

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Hello my dear sponsor! I write to you and greet you! 

I want you to know about my preferences. My favorite bible story is Daniel in the lion's den. What I know to do best is singing. My favorite sport to play is soccer. My favorite TV channels are TNT and Animal Planet. The month of the year that I like best is June because it is my birthday month. To answer your question, yes, I accepted the Lord into my heart! It was when they took me to a service in the center. At that time, the pastor was praying for people and called people to give their heart to the Lord and I went in front and since that time, God received me. I want to thank you for such lovely letters that you have sent me and such a lovely present. I send you a verse with great fondness, Psalm 34:7. I say goodbye with lots of fondness and hugs. 

Daniel

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Monday, August 3, 2015

First Letter of the Year from Abu

Mail from Abu has been super slow, recently! But, honestly, that was to be expected. Abu lives in Sierra Leone, which I'm sure you've been hearing about in the news lately. Sierra Leone was the country hit the hardest by the Ebola epidemic. Governments instated curfews that people had to be home by each day and schools were closed, indefinitely. All children in Sierra Leone, essentially, are an entire year behind in their education now. As you can imagine, mail delivery was greatly affected, as well. I have been sending letters to Abu, of course, but with no idea if the letters had been getting to him. After reading Abu's letter, it seems that he wasn't getting all, or even most, of them.

Abu is 13 years old.

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Dear Kayla, 

Abu-Bakarr, with his family, thanks you very much for your support. It's been so long without seeing your letter. Ebola has gone and they are now attending school. All schools have opened again. 

His birthday party was alright and he has good health. They have started classes and he said that you are very special to him and his family. May the Lord bless you, Kayla. 

The 10th of May, 2015 made him 13 years old and his very proud to start Junior Secondary School very soon. Thank you for all your support given. 

Your Child, 
Abu

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Letters from East India

During the last week of July, I have received several letters, but had several other posts scheduled at the time. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up on posting, a little bit this week. This week, I got three letters from East India, two of them from my girl Nandini, and the other letter from Swapna. Awhile ago, I asked all of my kids if they had accepted Jesus as their savior. The answers are beginning to trickle in. I'm glad to hear the good news in these letters! I will share them now:

Nandini's letters are written a month apart from each other. Nandini is 9 years old. This first letter is dated April 18th, 2015.

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Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus. I am fine here and I hope and pray that you are also fine over there. Thank you very much for your love, prayers, and support. I am regularly going to school and the child development center. We had an awareness program on swine flu. Thank you very much for the sticker and card. We have three colors in our flag. Our National bird is the peacock. Our capital city is Delhi. August 15th is our independence day. Our house is made of mud and tiles. I sleep in a bed. We have electricity. We have water boring near our house. 

Your Loving Child, 

Nandini

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Her next letter is dated is dated May 25th, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the sweet name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am fine with my family. Thank you very much for your love, prayers, and support. I am regularly going to school and to the child development center. We have a singing group in our church. We do celebrate Christmas with a program. Many people join us over there. Thank you for the beautiful Christmas photograph. I got a pass in all my subjects. Thank you for your valuable prayers. I have received Christ as my personal savior. My family members do not know Christ. I believe in Christ and read the bible. Thank you for the beautiful stickers. Please pray for my bright future. 

Your Loving Child, 
Nandini

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Now, onto Swapna's letter. She is 17 years old. Her letter is dated June 23rd, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you are keeping well by the grace of God along with your family. I received your beautiful letters. Thank you so much for your love and care. Now here, it is the rainy season. I liked your story. We also have many popular children's stories. I will write a story in my next letter. Yes, I received Jesus as my personal savior. He saved me from many dangers. I liked the Valentine's Day card and stickers very much. We celebrated Yoga Day on the 21st of June in our country. Now I am getting ready for B.A final exam, which I will start on July 21st. I enjoyed a lot my cousin brother's marriage. I pay for you regularly. Please pray for me and write to me. 

With Thanks, 
Your Sponsored Child, 
Swapna

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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Step Into My World: Rural Indonesia

Let's step into rural Indonesia today! From the pictures that I've seen of Indonesia, the rural setting is absolutely beautiful!

I have one child in Indonesia:


Sagitaria


Compassion doesn't work in one or two specific places in Indonesia, but instead, works all over the country, which is made up of 17,000 islands! However, only 6,000 of those islands are inhabited by people. But, that's a lot of space for Compassion to cover.




Homes in rural Indonesia are typically shanty style homes made with thin slats of wood and have iron roofs. These homes are not good at protecting the families from Indonesia's extreme rainy season. Leaking roofs and flooding floors are a normal way of life for families in these areas. These homes, generally, do not have access to running water or adequate sanitation. Some, however, do have electricity, but not all. 


Cooking in these homes is over a wood burning stove. These ovens are not properly ventilated and many people develop respiratory diseases due to constant smoke inhalation. Though, cooking in this country is a very important activity. Family members come together to cook and eat. It's an important family activity. 


The literacy rate in rural Indonesia lags severely behind the literacy rate in the bigger cities. This is due to the fact that schools are few and far between outside of the cities. Many children do not attend school at all. Those that do attend are often in for a long walk into the city to reach the nearest school. These walks can often being dangerous, especially for girls, who are can be seen as targets for abuse and exploitation. Compassion teaches children to walk to school in large groups, for safety. 


In these rural areas, farming is often the only way for families to earn money. Typically, each family has a plot of farmland near their own that they tend themselves. Families rely on their harvested crops for food. Anything extra can be sold in a nearby market. Young children that aren't old enough to attend school either follow their parents into the fields or they are left at home, to entertain themselves. Child neglect is a huge problem in rural Indonesia. 


At their local Compassion project, children are taught that they are valued, loved, important, and have a bright future. Children are taught various skills to help raise a positive self esteem. Some of these activities include: music, speech, handicrafts, art, and sports. In this photo, some girls are rehearsing a praise song together. 


Of course, the Compassion staff at each project also provide the children with tutoring and homework help before and after school. Compassion works very hard to make sure all children enrolled in the program receive a quality education, to help them secure a better future. 



Rural Indonesia has the following prayer requests for their projects and children: 

- Pray for the children who grow up away from their parents, who sometimes leave the community to find work. 

- Pray that the church will be able to teach Christian values to the children. 

- Pray that parents will recognize the value of education and support their children's academic pursuits. 



I will now share two children with you who are waiting for a sponsor. Both of these children live in rural areas of Indonesia. 


This little guy is Putra. He is 4 years old. His birthday is September 29th, 2010. He lives with his father, mother, and 1 sibling. Putra is too young attend school, but will start soon. For fun, he likes to play cars. He also enjoys attending church activities. 




This precious girl is Princess (yes, that's her real name). She is 6 years old. Her birthday is June 24th, 2009. She lives with her parents and 1 sibling. She has average performance in kindergarten. For fun, she enjoys singing and playing with dolls. 





Thursday, July 30, 2015

Xhuliano's Progress Report 2015

It's always a pleasure to get World Vision's annual progress reports! Of course, the most important part of every progress report is seeing your child's new photo. The progress reports also include a small amount of other information about the child's past year. Usually there are some fun questions, but this year, it was all business.

First, I made this collage of some of Xhuliano's past photos. I have several of him, but I decided to choose one for each year that I've sponsored him.


The Age 14 photo is the one I received today. 



Here is a close-up of just his face. He has certainly grown into a handsome young man. 



Here is his new information: 

My Education: Second School Grade 8 

My Health Condition Is: Satisfactory 

Benefits and Training I Attended: International Day of Children's Rights, Christmas Activities, Summer Camp, Playing Games, Health/Hygiene Activities, and Children's Right Activities. 





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two Letters from Maria

Today I opened the mailbox and found two letters from my girl, Maria. Both letters were written on the same day. It'd been about four months since I last heard from her, so it looks like she may have missed a letter writing day and her project tutor made her write a letter to make up for the day she missed. That's good for me, of course, but she probably wasn't thrilled with having to write two letters instead of getting to play with her friends. :)

Maria is 11 years old and lives in Brazil. She wrote these letters on April 10th, 2015.

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Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

I enjoyed very much your letter and I'm okay at school, with good grades. Thank you for asking. My trip to the zoo was very good and we could take many pictures with my cousins. I saw the very beautiful animals, such as monkeys, lions, a peacock, a snake, a blue parrot, and a turtle. I was very nice and I love going out with the project. Hugs and kisses from your sponsored child. 

Maria 

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Hello My Dear Sponsor, 

How have you been? I hope that you are doing well. I like to receive your letters, photos, and stickers. How is your family? How are your children, G and C? They are very pretty and I loved to see their smiles. G is eating cake and C is smiling. My family and I are doing well. I'm in 6th grade and there are about 48 students in my class. My dog turned 2 years old on February 25th. Love from your sponsored child.

Maria

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sponsorship is Life-Changing

Yes, I know that if you are reading my blog, you already know about the life-changing experience of child sponsorship.

Yes, I already know it too.

But, a few days ago, I really, truly grasped that concept, in an entirely new way.

For those of you that have been around for awhile, on my blog, you may remember the boy Antonio that I sponsored for about a year. Antonio's sponsor, David, traveled to the Philippines to serve in mission at an orphanage. Before he left, he found friends that could sponsor his children. I took on his Antonio, from Nicaragua. David did not know how long he would be gone, a few months, a few years, he was truly following where God led him. David returned to Australia (where he lives) after a year in the Philippines. When he returned, we both decided that it was for the best that Antonio and David reconnect. Antonio had asked about David in every letter he wrote to me. It was clear that they had a special connection.

Until last week, I had no idea how much of a connection that Antonio and his mother made with me. Apparently my frequent letters and photos made a large impact on Antonio's life.

David traveled to Nicaragua to visit Antonio and his family.



Apparently, Antonio talked about me several times on this trip and asked about how I was doing. To David's amazement, Antonio had kept all of the letters and photos that I had sent him. Here are Antonio and his mother holding a photo of me with two of my friends.


As if that wasn't great enough, Antonio wanted to make a video for me. This made me cry and laugh at the same time. If there is anything consistent in my life, it's that I am an emotional wreck, anytime I feel a powerful emotion. I blame my mom, I inherited this fun trait from her. :) 


video




Again, as if one video wasn't enough, Antonio wanted to make another one! He ran inside his home, grabbed the photo of me and talked about some of the letters I wrote to him. Then, he even gives me advice! He's pretty wise for an 11 year old.

video


I talked to David and he agreed to say hello to Antonio from me in his next letter. He's also going to send a photo I took of me holding his photo. I still have his photos and letters, too.




Sponsorship changes lives, you guys. It really, really does.