Monday, December 31, 2012

Letters to My Kids: December 2012

Each month, I like to share the letters that I send to my sponsored children.

This month, I wrote two letters to my kiddos. I wrote one about how God cares for the birds, based on the bible verse and I wrote one about Easter. The Easter one will probably get there early, but I'm really okay with that. Here are the letters:


Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

I wanted to share this verse with you because I read it recently when I was reading the bible. I really like this verse because it teaches me that God is always watching over me and is in control of my life.

Sometimes it is hard to trust that God will give us everything that we need. Sometimes we have to learn what the difference is between things we would like to have and things that we really need. I believe that God will provide everything we need in life to survive, especially if we pray for it If we pray that God wil lprovide us food, water, and other things we need, I believe that he will watch out for us.

Like the bible verse says, God gives the birds a place to live and food to eat and they don't have to ask or to worry. The birds know that God will provide for them. The verse says that people are much more important and valuable to God than birds. God loves us very much and always wants for best for us.

Lately, God has been been providing for me and my family. My stepfather is no longer working at his job and my family has been worried. Through prayer, God has been providing everything my family needs and we are not worried anymore.

How has God been providing for your family?

Is there anything I can pray for you or your family about? I always like to pray for you.



I greet you in the wonderful name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope that when you read this letter you are happy and that your family is doing well. I pray for you, your siblings, your father, and your mother everday. I also pray for the staff at your project and the other children.

Today I want to write to you about Easter. I know that you will learn all about Easter at your project, but I want to tell you what Easter means to me and how I celebrate it with my family. To me, Easter is one of the most important holidays for followers of Christ. After peforming many miracles and helping many people, Jesus was arrested because people did not believe that he was the Son of God. AfterJesus was arrested, he was beaten and sent to the cross to die. It makes me very sad to think about Jesus dying. But, after only three days, Jesus rose from the dead! A true miracle! I believe that Jesus died on the cross to forgive us of our sins. Sins are mistakes that all people make. No matter what mistake we make, we can ask God to forgive us and he will. Jesus made all of our sins better when he died and rose again. Do you believe that Jesus saved us all?

In 2013, Easter is on Sunday, March 31st. On Good Friday, March 29th, I will read Mark 15. This is the passage that talks about Jesus's arrest, death, and burial. This is the sad part of the story. However, on Easter Sunday I will read Mark 16, which tells about how Jesus rose from the dead and talked to people, before going to heaven. After reading that passage, I will spend the morning at church, hearing my pastor talk about Jesus's ressurection. There will be much happiness and celebration on that day! After church, I will get together with my family to have a special meal to celebrate that Jesus died and rose again to save us all.



Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Year With Kalpesh

I was assigned Kalpesh as a correspondence child, one year ago today, on December 30th.

I am beyond in love and oh so very proud of this 10 year old boy from India. He write brilliant letters, in fact, he's written 27 letters to me in the last year. He loves to write as much as I do. He answers every question that I ask him and he always asks his own questions. We truly have a wonderful pen pal relationship going. It's wonderful. Kalpesh has truly become like a member of my family. I have already decided that if his financial sponsor ever drops him, I will pick up the sponsorship and then pray about the money later. I just can't imagine letting him go if I don't have to.
Like I said, Kalpesh is a wonderful writer. I would like to share some memorable quotes of his from over this last year:
"I heard the verse "I am the way, the truth, and the life," but didn't understand it, now I realize what it is."
"First of all, thanks to the Lord for his goodness because he is keeping me safe in his holy hands"
"In my life I never celebrate birthday but this year with all the parents of our project children we celebrated very enthusiastically at our project."
"I like it very much, because few months before my dad is passed away and my mom is only bread winner and we are four siblings, so I can't expect more from my mom. We are living happily with which we have."
"Last year, when our project field trip at Aurangabad that time I saw lot of wild animals at zoo like tiger, lion, elephant, leopard, fox, wolf, and various kinds of birds and snakes."
"In last month, I received a school bag, uniform, sandals, notebooks, and other educational materials from the project."

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A HUGE Surprise!

Yesterday, I was assigned two new correspondent children with Compassion, the beautiful Khushi and the ever handsome Karanja.

Today, I signed onto my account and was absolutely shocked at what I saw. TWO MORE CHILDREN. I checked my email for an explaination and sure enough, Janna had sent me an email. It seems that ONE amazing person has sponsored 200 children on their own, under one condition. That condition was that all 200 children were given a correspondent sponsor. God bless this person. They clearly understand the importance of children getting letter, even if they cannot write to the children themselves.

I got two children added to my account because I essentially told Janna that I am always willing to write to more kids. But, now that I have 17 children to write to, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, honestly. However, I have already sent two letters to each of these new kids and I am so excited to get to know them. Without further ado, here are my two new "children."

First, meet Melaku. He is from Ethiopia. He will turn 20 years old on January 2nd. He only has one more year left in the Compassion program and I intend to make this year one he will remember. I am going to send him more letters than he knows what to do with, haha.
Melaku lives with his father and mother, both of whom are employed as builders. Melaku is attending school, but appears to be out of high school. I'm guessing he's attending university or vocational school or some sort. He helps his parents at home by cleaning and carrying water. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer.
And secondly, this lovely lady is Pranali. She is 15 years old and from India (Yes, I was given another child from India! Okay, God, what's your plan with me and India?) Her birthday is June 26th.
Pranali lives with both of her parents, who are both employed as day laborers. Pranali helps at home by cleaning, watching dishes, helping in the kitchen, and gardening. For fun, she enjoys jumping rope, walking, running, reading, and playing hide-and-seek. She is also in 8th grade with average performance.

Xhuliano's 12th Birthday

Today is the handsome boy from Albania's 12th birthday. He's turning into quite the young man. I am so excited to watch him continue to grow and mature as the years go by.

Dear Xhuliano,
Happy 12th birthday handsome boy! I hope you are having a truly fantastic day! I wish with my whole heart that I could be with you today to celebrate your special day. I would bring you flowers. I know that flowers are girly, but you tell me all the time you would like to give me flowers so I can put them on my teacher's desk. I want to do the same for you, so you can put them in your room. I hope you get to enjoy some special time with your family today. I love you very much.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Two New Correspondent Children!!!

You might be getting tired of hearing about me and my new correspondent children, but you know, I don't care, haha. Just kidding, of course, but I am so excited whenever I am assigned new correspondent children. I've said it before and I will say it again. I will always, ALWAYS, have room in my heart and time in my life to write to more children.

A couple of weeks ago, Compassion announced that there were 300 children who needed correspondent sponsors. I asked for two new kids, a boy and a girl, to be added to my account. Today, I was blessed to "meet them" I would like to introduce them to you.

This beautiful girl is Khushi. She is 9 years old and from India. She is from a community that is actually IN the Himalayan mountains. Cold!!! Her birthday is September 24th. She is in 2nd grade. She lives with her mother, who is unemployed, and her father, who is a laborer. Khushi helps at home by making beds and buying/selling in the market. For fun, she likes to play hide-and-seek and play house.
I am already in love with her. It's like a match made in heaven. First, her shirt says Target on it, which is my absolute favorite store. And! She's wearing Converse low tops, which are the only types of shoes I wear. I plan to tell her all about how I wear the same type of shoes.
Also, I'd like you to meet Karanja, from Kenya. I have always wanted a child from Kenya, but have not been called sponsor there. I am so excited to get to know this guy! He is 13 years old and will turn 14 on July 6th (Just like my Florenc!). Karanja is in 6th grade, with average performance. His guardian is his mother. His parents are separated and his father is no longer supporting or living with the family. His mother works as a farmer. Karanja helps at home by cleaning, caring for animals, and carrying water. Hard work for such a young man. For fun, Karanja likes to run, play hide-and-seek, and play ball games.
I am so excited to get to know these two beautiful children!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Around the World

Today, I'm thinking about Christmas. Since today is Christmas, that's not a very odd thing to think about, haha. Christmas day for my family, is not really a big deal, as we do all of our traditions and celebrating on Christmas Eve.

It starts in the early afternoon with cookie baking, which last for hours as we roll out dough, cut out shapes, wait for them to bake and cool, and then decorate them with multicolored frosting and sprinkles. During the whole cookie process, we listen to Christmas songs and sing them terribly off key, making up our own words when we don't remember them. Occasionally, we throw in a random dance move or two to liven up the party, haha. After cookeis, we order our traditional Christmas Eve pizza, which we devour too quickly, because, even though we are all adults now, we still wait to open presents like 5 year old children. Presents are opend and happiness is spread. Happy tears fall when we think about how blessed we are as a family. It's a very nice night.

All of this celebrating and fun got me thinking about how Christmas is celebrated in other places. How do my sponsored children celebrate Christmas? What are so of the traditions in their country? I decided to look it up!

In Bolivia, Christmas is deeply religious. A few weeks before Christmas, each family sets up a large nativity scene, either inside or outside the home. Some families are adapting the tradition or decorating their homes or Christmas trees with lights and other colorful decorations. Around midnight on Christmas Eve, large bells ring at churches and call everyone to mass. Mass lasts into the wee hours of Christmas morning. After mass, a large meal is eaten, as everyone is hungry after such a long mass. After the meal, gifts are often exchanged.
In Honduras, Christmas is the most important celebration of the year! Christmas is celebrated at exactly the stroke of midnight, as soon as it is Christmas. A few minutes before midnight, the family gathers around to read the bible passages that tell about Christ's birth. After reading, the family prays together. When the clock strikes midnight, family members exchange big hugs and "Feliz Navidad!" with each. After that, a very large meal is served. This meal often takes several days to prepare. After the meal, Christmas gifts are exchanged.
In India, Christmas is a relatively small celebration, as the large majority of people are not Christians. The celebration of Christmas mostly revolves around midnight mass. Families walk to the church service together. The service lasts for several hours. Churches are deocrated with candles, poinsettias, and a nativity scene. After church, famlies enjoy a large feast, consisting of different types of curry. After the meal, a small gift exchange occurs between family members.
Christmas in Indonesia is not considered a religious holiday, but a public holidays, as most people in the country are not Christians. Christmas in this country puts an emphasis on shopping and buying extravagant gifts for family members and friends. Christmas carols are sung and Santa brings gifts to children. Christmas parties are a big part of the celebration and fireworks are often set off to make the celebration big and loud.
Christmas is a very important celebration in Rwanda! All business and schools are closed so families and can have large celebrations together. For Rwandans, Christmas is considered the time to eat meat, so famlies that can afford it, buy enough meat to feed their family well. Famlies attend a church service where hymns are sung loudly and happily! Homes are not decorated with lights or Christmas trees, as those things are seen as wasteful and expensive. However, small gifts are exchanged between family members and friends.
People in Uganda prepare for Christmas by cleaning their homes well and deocrating them with colorful ribbons and strings and stars cut out of paper and other materials. Christmas trees are becoming more popular in Uganda and are decorated with lights, if the people have electricity, or with stars and other materials that are found throughout the home. On Christmas morning, small gifts are exchanged and then famlies attend church together, where candles are light and hymns are sung. After church, families share a big meal together and pray.
Christmas, for Christians, in Sierra Leone, is considered the most sacred day of the year. Families celebrate by first decorating their homes with what they can. On Christmas Day, families get together to sing, dance, chant, pray, and attend church services together, more more singing, dancing, and praying occurs, as well as readings from the bible. After church, a large meal is shared amongst friends and family. Usually, gifts are not exchanged.
Christmas in Albania is celebrated much the same as in other Western cultures. Christmas is celebrated by both Christians and people of other religions, as a secular holdiay. Christmas trees are doecrated and Christmas gifts are given. For Christians, midnight mass is popular and then families also attend church on Christmas morning. Large meals are shared and gifts are exchanged. Christmas is all about being together with family in Albania.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Most Wonderful Christmas Eve Present Ever!

Today, I woke up late, grateful for a Monday that I don't have to wake up at 5 a.m. Don't get me wrong, I love my job, but isn't it so nice to sleep in and to know that it's Christmas time?

I opened my mailbox today and saw a large envelope from Compassion! I felt around in there and I felt a staple! Only us sponsors can get so excited to feel a staple, haha. Needless to say, I tore into that evenlope the minute I set foot into my apartment, hadn't even closed or locked the door yet.

Inside, was a letter from Erick! I just heard from him two weeks ago! Included in this letter was a written page from Erick and attached to the written page was a typed page. On this page, Erick's tutor had helped him answer every single question that I had asked him in the last 9 letters that I've written to him. I'm just amazed. In bold, they typed the question I had asked. Then, they typed out whatever Erick dictated for the answer.

I am so grateful for Compassion for such a wonderful organization. I am especially grateful for UG-721 and their wonderful staff members and tutors for this wonderful letter. Erick is such a wonderful young man.

Now, I share with you this letter. As you can probably guess, it's a long one. But, if you read it all the way through, you will no doubt be blessed.


Dear Kayla,
Receive warm greetings from your friend Erick. He is happy for writing good letters to him. Erick says that he was so excited to receive 9 letters from you with encouraging message, bible verses, and stories and history of your country.
He appreciates your love towards him and for your great concern about his life. Erick adds that his life and standard of living is greatly improving because of your support and prayers. He is improving in his studies and hopes to to keep working hard. He adds thank you for wishing him a merry Christmas and the coming new year, 2013. He too hopes to work hard at school in the year 2013 and also improve his relationship with God. He will pray for you to meet your heart desire in the year 2013. You told him that you like singing and playing bass clarinet. Erick says he also likes singing in his local church that however his church does not have instruments except the drum.
On Christmas day, Erick says that he goes to church with his mother and brother an when they get back, he helps his mother to prepare food and after he goes to visit his friends. While on new year's eve, the wait outside. When it reaches 12:00 a.m, they make noise, bang drums, and sing while praising the Lord to have entered the new year. He was happy to read the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. His verse to you is John 1:1-16.
Eric would like to send his love and greetings to you and to your family members. He hopes life is going on well. He will keep you in prayer. He wishes you the best in all your endeavors. Enjoy the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and prosperous year 2013. Attached are response of some of the questions asked. God bless you.

1. Does Erick wear a uniform at school? Erick says they put on a school uniform and the color of the uniform is blue shorts and a white shirt.

2. How long does Erick spend at school? They spend 8 hours at school. That's from 8:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m

3. How does he reach school? Erick says that he walks on foot everyday to school and his school is about 3 km from home.

4. What is Erick's favorite subject? Erick's best subjects are Math and Reading. What is his hard subject? His hard subjects are English and Science.

5. What is Erick's house made of? Erick's house is made of mud, trees, and iron sheets. It was constructed for him by well wishers, Erick says.

6. Whom does Erick live at home with? Erick lives with his young brother, Moses and his mother called Lydia.

7. Where does Erick sleep? He shares a mattress with his brother, Moses. Does Erick have a bed? Erick says that he does not have a bed. Their mattress is laid down on the floor on the mat in their house.

8. Is there electricity in your home? They don't have electricity in their house because it is in the village where electricity does not reach.

9. How does Erick get water in his community? They fetch water on public water taps. They normally face a challenge with water during the dry season.

10. What do most adults do as job? Most adult people do casual laboring and farming.

11. How does Compassion help in your community? Compassion has done a great work in the lives of many children and families. It provides education, social support, medical expenses, love to the unloved, and the orphans, abandoned and above all spreading the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ because his great love to us.

12. How do people travel around in Erick's community? Most people walk on foot because they cannot afford bicycles or cars.

13. How many children are enrolled in the Compassion project? Currently, Erick's project centre there are 216 project children. The project is allowed to register 280 children. However, some of just graduated from the program due to completing 22 years and others have completed their education and are now in the field working.

14. What do you like most about Compassion? Erick says that he likes having fun with other project children, having good meals, reading the bible, picnics, social talks, and health talks.

15. What foods are typical in your community? Erick says their typical food Irish potatoes, beans, cassava, bananas, and sweet potatoes.

16. Are there any famous places in Uganda? Erick says Uganda has got many mountains, lakes, and rivers. His place Kisoro is beautiful with hills and valleys. It has fertile volcanic soils. Kisoro district is near Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda border. Kisoro has got Mt.Muhabura which has a crater lake and it has many interesting animals like gorillas, golden monkeys, elephants, chimpanzees, and people go mountain climbing. The president of Uganda is Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, he has served more than 25 years.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Xhuliano's Home and Community

In September, I wrote all of my kids a letter where I simply listed questions about their home and community. This is Xhuliano's response to that letter. Xhuliano is always the first one to respond to my letters, and then other responses will start to trickle in. I feel like I learned so much about Xhuliano and how he lives. It gives me a better picture of what his home looks like.


Dear My Friend Kayla,

I always get happy when I receive letters from my amazing friend. And I'm always happy to write to you. I loved your letter. The words were very woven. (I have no idea?) The house that I'm building is with with bricks. I live with my parents and sister's near my father's mother, who has given us a room and we have enlarged it. There we sleep, eat, we have 2 sofas, a table, a heater, TV, and four chairs. Yes, my friend, we have electric power in our house. Yes, the large of the population has wells in their home, but the water is not drinkable. Even I have a well at my home. We use it for washing our clothes, dishes, but for drinking, we buy it. In our community, people travel by cars and motorbikes. When our community needs help, World Vision is always there for them.

I loved the book that you sent to me, with Jesus' history. (The bible). You'll always be an unforgettable friend. I had the chance to have an amazing friend like you. God help you and a big hug from me.



Six Word Saturday

Whew! It's been awhile...

I Got to Sleep in Today!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Touching Thursday: More Cute Indian Boys

Have you been considering sponsoring a child? Maybe as a Christmas present for your family or a friend? A way to show a child they are loved for the holiday season? A way to make a difference in the life of a poor family, as well as your family?
Perhaps you could consider sponsoring one of these sweet boys:
Kartik has been sponsored! Another sweet IN860 boy rescued!

Another sweet boy. This is Alok. He is 6 years old and his birthday is May 10th. Alok lives with his father, mother, and 2 siblings. His father is sometimes employed as a laborer and his mother maintains the home. For fun, Alok enjoys playing with friends. He attends church activities regularly and is in primary school where his performance is average.
Alok is part of the IN978 project. He lives in a area that is nothing less of a horrible slum. Even in his Compassion picture, he's in front of a piles and piles of trash. Heartbreaking. Common health problems in this area include tuberculosis, viral fevers, diarrhea, anemia and water and vector borne diseases. Your sponsorship money provides Alok with Bible teaching, nutritious food, health checkups, immunizations, health and hygiene education, field trips, leadership training, school supplies, tutoring, schools fees and vocational training.
To sponsor Alok, visit his page here.
1-24-13 Rohan has been sponsored!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Write to Your Sponsored Child!

I know, I know, you've heard this countless times (here), but this is a really a cause that is near and dear to my heart.

Yes, sending your money each month is an extremely important to be able to feed, clothe, educate, and nurture these beautiful children. But, that's not all there is to child sponsorship. On both ends of the sponsorship relationship are actual people, actual human beings with thoughts, feelings, emotions, and questions. Human beings that want to know about each other. Who is this person that lives so far away from me? Who's in their family, what do they like to do, how do they celebrate holidays, what's their favorite bible story? The questions can truly be endless.

I have been told that a study was done with Compassion children. It was proven that sponsored children who receive regular letters from their sponsors do exceedingly better in school than the sponsored children who never receive letters. Compassion says that children who receive encouragement and love from many miles away have a much higher self-esteem and higher drive to do well because they know they are loved.

Even though I was told this and I believed it, it was just hard to imagine. I couldn't picture what a child like this would look like.

Now I can.

My correspondent child, Erick, is 17 years old and lives in Uganda. When I was first assigned to him, I found out that he was only in 3rd grade. In his first letter, his tutor wrote to me that he was really struggling in school, especially with his handwriting and English skills. In the last year, I have been able to watch Erick get promoted to 4th grade and I have been able to see his handwriting improve dramatically! It's abosolutely astounding. I want to share some handwriting samples with you:

Erick's Handwriting: January 2012
Erick's Handwriting: June 2012
Erick's Handwriting: December 2012
I am a true believer that writing letters makes a world of difference! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Plea For Compassion

Every year, Compassion sends out a gift catalog into the world.

This catalog is pretty amazing. Through this catalog, you can donate to many different places and causes. Each of these donations gives somebody in this world an absolutetly Christmas present. Some of these gifts (this is not all of them) include seeds to plant a family garden, food for malnourished children, bed nets to prevent malaria, adult literacy classes, skills training, school supplies, and clean water.

All of the items in the gift catalog are things that we, people in the 1st world, don't ever have to think about going without. We head to local supermarket for food, we turn on our faucets to get clean water, we attend school from age 5-18 (some of us even longer), and most of us have good jobs that pay enough to take care of our families.

The truth is, most people in this world just don't have these things.

Compassion is here to help.

Compassion made a goal this month to raise $20,000 through the gift catalog to help provide these gifts to children and famlies in need throughout the world.

As of today, they have only made $532, which, if I may so, is kind of sad. Don't get me wrong, that $532 will be used to do great things. But, I think we as a community of bloggers and of lovers of children can do better.

Compassion has give a challenge to us bloggers. If each blog can raise $100 through the gift catalog, we will hit the $20,000 goal. There are so many ways for you to do this! You can:

Provide Garden Seeds for $10 (I donated to this one!)

Provide Food for a Malnourished Child for $13

Teach an Impoverished Mother to Read and Write for $22

Help Build a Playground for $35

Give Medical Care to an Injured Child for $50

If none of those options above appeal to you, you can visit the gift catalog HERE to find another cause you would like donate to.

If you can spare any money, I encourage you give from your heart this Christmas. Teach your famly that on Christmas, It's About Giving.

Please help raise $100 for children and families living poverty. If you choose to donate through my blog, can you share a comment and let me know? I would love to meet you and hear what gift you chose!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

See Your Impact Results: December 2012

I wasn't able to donate to See Your Impact in November due to lack of funds/spending too much money on things I don't really need and Christmas gifts for my family. You know how it goes, right?

However, this month, while I finished buying presents for my family, I also came across some unexpected money that was a huge blessing to me. I decided that it was time to jump back on the See Your Impact bandwagon, because seriously, I love this organization.

If you haven't read my other posts about this company, I'll give you a rundown. If you click here (See Your Impact) you will be taken to the website. There, you can search through hundreds of causes. New causes are added every month and it's so fun to search through them. I am often led to the ways that I can help women and children in India, as that is where my heart seems to lie. Anyway, after you choose your cause and donate your money, the wait begins. A couple weeks or so later, you'll receive a picture and information in an email, showing you exactly who you helped with the money that you donated.

It's really qiute amazing.

This month, I donated $15 so a young woman in India could receive a six month tailoring course. Combining my $15 with three other donors, the course could be purchased. I am firm believer in teaching people income-generating skills so they can provide for themselves and their family in healthy and legal ways. Here's the story I was given this month:


Komal will soon be independent

Dear Kate, Kristin and Craig, and Kayla,

Thank you for coming together to give Komal a career.

Komal is sixteen years old and lives in Anoopshahar in India. Her father, Shahi Singh is a Serviceman, and her mother, Mamta Devi is a housewife. She has one brother.

Komal is going through a six month tailoring course at Pardada Pardadi School, at the end of which she will find employment, and be economically self sufficient.

Thank you for giving her a life of dignity.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Birthday March Babies!

Two of my Compassion kids will be celebrating their birthday in March. I love putting together themed birthday packages for my sponsored children. It's so fun to choose things that I think they will like and seeing what kinds of pretty paper and stickers I can find to send. I want to share with you want I sent them:

Sadiya in India will turn 9 years old on March 1st.
I chose to send her things that have stars and hearts on them. I found so cute paper, stickers, and a Paul Frank monkey card. Seriously, what girl wouldn't like sparkley stickers and pretty paper?
Handsome Sagar will turn 10 years old on March 3rd.
I put together a wild animal themed package for him! I bought some animal print scrapbook paper and some sparkley jungle animal stickers. The giraffe and tiger postcards were from my collection of postcards. Selfishly enough, it was hard for me to send the tiger one. It's one of the new cards in my collection and the tiger is my favorite animal. But, I decided that Sagar will love it more than I do (I hope!) and it's totally worth it to send it.
Do any of your sponsored children have birthdays in March? If so, this is the time to be sending your packages, as they'll take 2-3 months to arrive to them.
What kinds of things do you send your sponsored children on their birthdays?

Friday, December 14, 2012

What Does Giving Look Like?

I'm linking up with the other Compassion bloggers this week to talk about giving, and what that means, what that looks like, to me.

My desire to volunteer and help people in need has been with me for as long as I can remember. It's not something that my parents told me that I had to do, though they definitely encouraged it, it was just something I have always felt the need to do. Way before I learned about Compassion, I started looking into ways to volunteer and help those less fortunate than myself in my community. I want to share some of these things with you in the hopes that maybe it will inspire you to go out and do some of these things.

Each picture I share with you, to me, is what giving looks like.

The first memory I have of volunteering is from when I was in elementary school. My school did a toy drive for children who would otherwise not receive any gifts on Christmas morning. To me, as a child, this was unacceptable. I remember thinking that all children should have a new toy or two on Christmas. I went home that evening and told my parents all about it. They agreed to give me $20 to buy toys for a child. I had so much fun at the store, knowing that I was buying toys for a girl my age.
There are hundreds of toy drives around the country this time of year. A lot of places have big boxes in their entryways to collect toys. If you're interested in buying for a specific child, you could check out Angel Tree. Maybe stores, like Walmart, have a Christmas with children's information and wishlists hanging on it. You can choose one of thoese children and buy gifts and clothing for them today!
I was in Jr. High the first time I helped out in a soup kitchen. A group of us from our school went to help out. While, they would not let us cook the food, since we were underage, we were allowed to help serve food to people, sit at tables with people and talk to them, and help clean up afterwards. It was hard work and it was sometimes a little scary talking to homeless people, I consider it a wonderful experience in my life.
Check out some local soup kitchens in your area.
In high school, a group of kids from my youth group joined up to help build a family in need a new house. The day my youth group went, I was actually not able to attend due to being sick, but I thought of them all day. I still think that someday I would like to try my hand at building a wall.
If you like to work with your hands, I encourage you to look into Habitat For Humanity.
In college, I joined the national co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. The goal of this organizaton is to make a difference on our campus, in our community, in our country, and in the world. One of things we got invovled in was after school tutoring. Many children in the town I lived in didn't have a safe place to go after school, as their parents couldn't afford the after school program. These children would come to our campus and we would help them with their homework and play games with them until their parents came to pick them up.
If you like the idea of teaching a child, I encourage you to check out any tutoring programs in your town. Big Brother, Big Sister is a good program too for high school/college aged people looking to help a younger child.
Something I have recently become interested in is writing letters to soldiers in other countries. While you can do this year round, it is especially important this time of year. Many soldiers are away from their loved ones over the holidays and are probably feeling quite homesick. Getting an encouraging letter from a stranger can make a world of difference.
I encourage you to check ou Operation Gratitude to write letters to soldiers.
Of course, it wouldn't right to not remind you about the Compassion Gift Catalog. Compassion has many ways that you can donate, in all categories and price ranges. Please visit the link below to see if there is a way that you would like to donate.
Basically, what I'm trying to say, is just go out there and help somebody.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Eric's One Year Anniversary

Today, December 13th, marks one year since I was assigned Eric has my correspondent child. The minute I saw his picture on my account, I knew that I had been paired up with a wonderful young man. He was 16 years old, standing up straight and tall, with a little smile on his face. Being only in 3rd grade due to his struggles with school, his letters came with very little of his own writing, but what he was writing was in English, which I think is fantastic!

Over this last year, Eric has moved up to 4th grade (I'm very proud!) and turned 17 years old. I have received three letters from Eric this year, each one wonderful, truly showing how intelligent Eric is. I don't hear from him often, but I am happy when I find a letter from him in my mailbox.

Thanks to a wonderfully generous sponsor visiting Uganda, I was able to send him some gifts. He will receive the gifts towards the end of January. I can't wait for him to receive them!

I hope we get to correspond for another year!

Memorable Quotes From His Letters

"School, You, My, Hen, Dog, Water, Name." (He was showing me words that he had learned to write at school. Love it!)

"I don't have a lot of knowledge, but I know Jesus"

"Eric says that he prays to God so that one day he will look at you face to face as well as his whole family."

"He says that he is praying that God blesses you so much and he wishes you God's favor."

"He says thank you for the special love that you have for him. He is blessed."

"Erick is requesting you to pray for him to study and finish through Primary 7 so that he can join a vocational institution."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: When Poverty Meets Compassion 3

Happy Kids in Indonesia

Healthy Babies in Peru

Successful Parenting in Haiti

Quiet Times in Ethiopia

Clean Water in Ghana

Skills Training in India

Eyes Full of Jesus in Burkina Faso
Adult Literacy Classes in India

The Secret to Happiness in El Salvador

Pure Beauty in Guatemala