Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Big Plans (Prayers Needed!)

Alright, I told you all a few days ago to stay tuned for some big life news. Well, it's time to hear it.

This summer, July 11th-25th, my church is going to the Philippines on a mission trip. Usually I don't go for mission trips much because my church seems to pick trips that are medicine involved (which I know nothing about) or house building/labor intensive trips (which I would be no help with). However, this time is different.

This trip is to go and work with Little Children of the Philippines. I would be spending two weeks spending time with preschoolers (teaching them and playing with them), elementary school aged children (taking them out to lunch and playing with them) and high school/college aged children (teaching them English). I would also spend a couple days visiting sponsored children of church members and friends we know. If I go, I would have a very special child to visit.

Sounds great right?!

Well, here's the catch...

I just started working at my job less than a year ago. For the first two years that I work here, I get, at most, 50 hours of paid leave at a time. To go on this trip, I would need to have 100 hours off of work. For a week, I've beens stewing and worrying about going into my supervisor and asking her if this trip will be possible. I've been praying for understanding, for God to move mountains in my, sometimes not so positive and willing, supervisor.

Today, I asked her. First, she said no. Flat out no. I pushed her a little bit and asked why not. She told me that unless I work 37 hours a week, I would lose my benefits plan for the whole year and she wouldn't want that to happen to me. Well, then I informed her that I am not currently enrolled in the benefits plan (I am only 22 and I'm still milking my family insurance plan for awhile until I become more financially stable. Also, this may have been God's plan, having me drop my benefits.) Anyway, after I told her this, she responded with, "Well, this might work."


She is going to discuss the mission trip with her supervisor, the director of the school. They will then go discuss it with HR to see if this would be possible.

I'm pretty terrifed to be rocking the boat like this the very first year of my "big girl job", but I'm feeling confident in God's will at the same time.

If you could join me in praying for God to move mountains, I would appreciate it.

I would love for this to work out.

A Sunday school class at The Little Children of the Philippines. I want to lead this class!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Next Round of "Letters"

Each of my sponsored children got a Mother's Day themed letter this week. I gave each child a blank card to write their mother a special message of their own.

Abu-Bakarr's 10th birthday is on May 10th. I put together this package together for him. Two shirts, a hat, socks, a mini Connect 4 game, and two cups.

I'm also sending a package to Xhuliano just  for the fun of it. I recently found out that he has two younger sisters and I couldn't help but go out and buy mini baby dolls for them. I also bought Xhuliano a green shirt becasue green is his favorite color. I also bought two pairs of socks for each child. Excited to send this one along!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Letters From My Sponsored Kids

I decided, more for my own use, to post the last time I received a letter from each of my sponsored children. I'm doing this in order to start calculating how often I get letters from each kiddo.

Abu-Bakkar: I last received a letter from him on October 12th, 2011. It's been over four months. 

Xhuliano: I last received a letter from him on February 23rd, 2012. Yay! I am already ready for the next one.

Meena: I last recieved a letter from her on February 25th, 2012 (Today). It was a beautiful letter. It's been three months between her first and second letter. Maybe three months will be the norm.

Eric: I last recieved a letter from him on January 29th, 2012. This was the first letter I received from him.

Kalpesh: I last received a letter from him on February 8th, 2012. This was the first letter I received from him.

So, I got letters from Kalpesh, Xhuliano, and Meena this month. Eric's letter was recieved less than a month ago too. And while I'm praying for a letter from Abu-Bakarr, correspondence with him goes through spurts of no communication for 6 months-A Year. I'm hoping this is not one of those times.

From the other four kiddos, it may be awhile since I hear from them, even though I hear that once the first letter is received from an Albanian kid, letters start pouring in.

Here's to hoping!

Merry Christmas from Meena!

Another letter this week. That makes this two letters in only one week. That's a record for me! Yes, I know that people have like 6-8 letter days, but seriously, having two letters in one week just thrills me.

I went to the mailbox today and saw that wonderful cream colored envelope. I knew it was a letter from Meena before I opened it, since I just heard from my other two Compassion kiddos last month. I was so happy when I opened the letter.

I'm guessing the letter was written in December sometime. It's on beautiful Christmas paper. The letter reads:

Dear Auntie,

Praise the Lord. How are you and your family? I and my family are fine by God's grace. Thank you for the Christmas gift. I have received red color chudidhar. It was very beautiful. I am to wear it that chididhar during family occasion. I have received 1 kg of cake as a family gift and food packets. The cake was delicious. I shared my gift with my family members. I wore that dress during Christmas day. Please pray for me and family. You are always in my prayers. Thank you so much for your love and support. I wish you a happy and prosperous new year 2012 for you and your family. Thanking you.

Yours Lovingly,

I am just in love. Such a sweet young woman.

Also, I had to look it up because I had no idea what a chudidhar was. This is along the lines of what Meena bought with her Christmas money...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pretty Or Ugly?

I went onto the internet today and on my homepage (MSN) there was a link to a story about preteen and teenage girls.

These girls (thousands of them) have posted youtube videos asking the world if they think they are pretty or ugly. Most of them talk about how they think they are ugly, fat, eyes not right, hair not right, etc.

Here are a couple examples:

Now don't get wrong...I am indeed a young woman. Many times in my life (like most girls and women), I have woken up in the morning and been unstatisfied about how I look. I've disliked my size, my acne, my eye color, and my boring hair. However, most days I feel really good about myself. I am certainly not the best looking girl out there, but I know that I am created by God, in his image, exactly the way I am. I am exactly how God wants me to look. He created me exactly how he wanted me to be.

I am feeling awful for these girls. They are insecure enough about themselves to make a video of themselves and ask complete strangers to tell them how they look. People on the internet (and especially youtube) are cruel! Of course people are going to tell them they are ugly, call them horrible names, and make their self esteem even worse. It's certainly going to be hard to fight cyber bullying if these girls are going to set themselves up to fail like this.

Can you join me in praying for these girls? 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Letter From Xhuliano!!!

Letter day is always the best day ever! Especially the day you get your very first letter from a child. Amazing.

What's even more amazing is how fantastic sponsorship in Albania is. My friend Kelly told me about how great it was. She told me that the whole family gets invovled, the letters are FULL of details and love. She told me how much I would feel loved and feel love from and for this family. She was absolutely right!

What's even MORE amazing is that Albania is a recipricol letter writing country. I will get a letter for every letter that I write him. I write him a lot, so we're going to be pen pals!

Without furuther ado, here is the letter. I will bold the parts that I like the most.

Dear Friend!

It's Xhuliano writing this letter to you. I was very happy receiving your letter. Even my family and my cousins got happy about your letter. We sat down around together and read it. We liked all your thoughts and the sentences there that were written with great sweetness towards me and my family. I'm very glad to have now such a nice friend like you. I like your name a lot, Kayla. I even like the place where you live, your family, and your younger sister.

I live in a coastal country. It is full of greeness and the fields are planted with olive, orange, and lemon trees. I really like your profession and I like to become a doctor. Green is the color I like most. Lion is the animal I like a lot. My favorite food is grits with turkey that we eat celebrating New Year's Eve.

My family is composed of five people. My mother is unemployed, but she cooks, cleans, and washes our clothes for us. My father works in construction. I have got two sisters; Stelina is attending the third grade or school and likes to become a teacher. My other sister is named Marcela and she is two years old. She spends most her time playing with her toys.

I like that your younger sister is spending her free time playing sports. I enjoy playing sports in my free time too. We have got two pets. My cat is named Gisika and my dog is named Tom.

Hope to receive a letter from you very soon! I wish you luck in your life.

Your friend,

Touching Thursday

It's my favorite day again! I show you three of the children that are on my prayer list. I hope these wonderful children can find sponsors this week!

Little Aaron is no longer sponsorless! I hope Aaron and his new sponsor have a wonderful journey together.

Hope has been sponsored! I am so excited for whoever got to sponsor her. Her favorite activity is to tell stories. I bet those letters will be great!

Pravin also has a sponsor! Praise God! I feel like I will need to continue praying for this dear child. I really felt connected to him and I was worried that if nobody sponsored him, I was going to end up doing it myself, even though I can't afford it.

I can't believe all three children were sponsored one day after I posted this! God is so good!

I also want to encourage anyone who sponsors these children to please write to them. Write to them at least 1-2 a month. Writing to your sponsored children is one of the best ways to let them know that you care about them and love them. You'll develop a wonderful relationship with your sponsored child and you'll get to see exactly how much difference your sponsorship is making. However, if you are not able to write to your child, you can tell Compassion to set up a correspondence sponsor for you. This is somebody that will write in your place. Letter writing is that important.

Also, I'll throw in that if you're looking for a correspondent sponsor, I would love to fill that place for you and to keep you updated on your child. I absolutely love writing to my kiddos and I always have room for more! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Praise

I am having a great Sunday! I would like to share a video with you of a song that I've been loving a lot lately.

Also, I have a plan in the making of something that could be a big exciting thing in my life. I'm not ready to share about it yet until I have prayed about it a little bit more, but stay tuned and you'll learn more.

God bless you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Correspondence Kit Giveaway

Seriously, before I say anything else, I must tell you how much you want to win this giveaway. If you sponsor any children, these correspondence kits are just amazing!

If you win, you get 13 pieces of stationary to write a letter on. You also get a ton of extra goodies like stickers, bookmarks, or just anything else that the creator of the kit can imagine.

I am hoping for a win (haha) but I would still like to share it with you.

Head to this site to check it out and to enter.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Touching Thursday

I know that I'm still an hour away from it actually being Thursday, but I just couldn't wait anymoreto post three lovely children that I am hoping to find sponsors for this week. I've been thinking about these three kiddos since my last Thursday post and I would love to see them find a loving sponsor.

Little Jeremy has found a sponsor! I'm so ecstatic! I've been checking back on him multiple times a day. Have a wonderful life, Jeremy!

It took quite a few weeks, but sassy-faced Gabriel has found a sponsor. I am so happy for him. My heart still reaches out to this young man.

Isaac has been sponsored!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Another Round of Letters

I can't seem to slow myself down in the letter writing process. However, I think that's a good thing! I absolutely love to write to my sponsored children and I am hoping that they enjoy receiving, reading, and learning from my letters as much as I like writing them.

This time, I chose to tell each of my sponsored children about my trip to Chicago to visit my friend. I told them all about ice skating, taking pictures in the giant "bean", and about Lego Land. I included pictures of all of all these songs.

That Batman, Woody, and Giraffe are made out of legos! I can barely make a car!

This month, I am also sending Kalpesh a special collection of things for his 10th birthday.

He will be receiving a letter, stickers, paint pages, a birthday card, and a postcard that lists all of the names for Jesus in the bible. I am excited for him to receive this. I hope it gets there by April 24th!

Monday, February 13, 2012

See Your Impact: February 2012

For the month of February I chose to donate my money to buy a girl in India two school uniforms, a set of winter clothes, and a pair of shoes. Seriously, I did all of this for only $18. It really does amaze me how much so little money can do for a child in need.

My gift was combined with the gift of another to woman, who provided this wonderful girl with computer training, to give a 7th grader the best education she can have.

Meet Sonya.

Dear Kayla and Lauren,

Thank you for supporting Sonya.

Twelve year old Sonya is a 7th grader, living in the village of Khalor. Her father, Ravjeer, is a farmer and her mother is a housewife. Sonya's favorite subject is General Knowledge and she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

Thank you, Lauren for providing an entire year of computer training and spoken English classes to Sonya. This will give her the much needed confidence to seek a job outside of the village where she has grown up.

Thank you, Kayla, for donating two sets of school uniforms, one set of winter clothes, and footwear to Sonya. She wears her uniforms with pride and considers them her "best" clothes.

Because of your generosity, Sonya is on the road to economic and social independence.

Thank you! 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Touching Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone! This week I have three more lovely children that I want to direct your attention too.

This week my heart has been taken two different places. One, to India, to little girls without shoes and dark hair that is turning light due to malnutrition. And two, to the "longest waiting" children.

Kavita has found a sponsor! She was the last of these three children to be selected. God is so good! Leading another three children into the hands and hearts of loving sponsors.

Beautiful, barefoot Ramila has been sponsored! She is the first of these three to be chosen. I hope she soon gets the nutrition and shoes that she needs. God bless her sponsor!

Lucky number two. It appears that this handsome young man, the one who has waited over a year (a whole year!) for a sponsor, has indeed found one. Mark, your long wait is over. Enjoy your new life!

Show some love to these children!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mail Call!

I received my very first letter from my adorable Kalpesh today. I was assigned as his correspondence sponsor on December 13th, so it's taken less than two months to get a letter from him. I think that's a pretty good rate! There wasn't any personal message written at at all in this letter, but I did get some basic information from him.

Name: Kalpesh
Age: 9
Mother's Name: Aushi
Father's Name: Bharat
Brothers: Pravin & Rutik
Sisters: Sheela
Favorite Color: Yellow
Favorite Sport: Cricket
Favorite Food: Mutton
Best Friend: Vishal

His house is made out of straw/hay. He lives in West/Central India.

I am going to write him a letter asking about the ages of his siblings, because I am very curious as to wear he falls in the number order of them.

Isn't a first letter always such a blessing? 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bracelet Giveaway

The wonderful lady over at Hopeful Hez is having another fantastic giveaway.

She's giving away two beautiful bracelets.

If you are interested in winning these bracelets, go over to this blog post and leave a comment.

Monday, February 6, 2012

World Vision + The Super Bowl = New Clothes

I bet we all know that both teams that play in the Super Bowl mass produce t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, etc saying things like "Super Bowl Champs" before the Super Bowl game is actually played.

They do this so if their team wins, they can instantly start selling these items after the game, online, and in stores the next day. Make sense, right?

However, if you're like me, you may be wondering where those 10,000 extra shirts go for the team that didn't leave the game "Super Bowl Champs". I thought, "Surely they don't just throw those clothes least I hope not."

Yesterday, while I was at a Super Bowl party, I was informed that those 10,000 extra shirts and hats go to people in 3rd world countries.

How great is that?!

These guys think it's pretty great!

When I did some further research this evening, I found out exactly who heads up this process. For the last 15 years it has been none other than World Vision who does this. They collect all of the extra merchandise from the losing team, not just for the NFL, but also for the MLB, NBA, and NHL in the United States, and they donate them to villages across the world that need new clothing.

It doesn't take much to make me happy, and this certainly does. I think it makes this little guy happy too....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Is It Easter Already?, it's not. However, it is in two months. That makes this week the perfect time to get those Easter letters sent out. Even though I'm sending them out two months early, my kiddo in Sierra Leone probably still won't get it in time. Mail seems to take about three months each way, which can get a little annoying, I must admit. It's so hard to develop a relationship when we're still talking about Christmas in March, Easter in June, and the start of school in January. You get the idea. are the letters I'm sending out.

Abu and my Compassion kiddos will be getting these things. I've since altered a little bit, I cut the stickers down a lot so I could fit them in the envelope and use them to decorate the paper I wrote on, but can get the idea of everything. That coloring page is also fuzzy. How fun is that?! I love Oriental Trading Company. Things for every theme you can think of, and for such good prices. 

My Xhuliano lives in Albania, which is a sensitive country. Most of the people are Muslim and I am not able to send anything related to Christianity until I figure out if my child's family is Christian or not. Even then, I have to be extra careful as to not put Xhuliano and his family in danger. So, I sent him a letter about the secular side of Easter. I told him about dyeing eggs and hiding them throughout the house for the kids to find. I told him about the Easter Bunny leaving candy. I think it's a fun letter! I hope he likes it. 

Are you sending Easter letters this year? If so, I would love to hear about them. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Touching Thursday

It's that wonderful day again. The day where I post three children who are looking for sponsors. I choose three children that have most touched my heart during the last week or so. I hope you or somebody you know will step up to sponsor one of these children.

Beautiful Heidy just received the best 5th birthday present ever. A sponsor! Happy Birthday little one.   

Next is Charles. This handsome young man is 7 years old and he lives in Togo. He lives with his mother and father and he is one of six children. Six children! He has also been waiting over six months for a sponsor. If you would like to sponsor him, here is his page.

This adorable little girl has the best smirk ever! So cute! Her name is Evelin. She is 6 years old and lives in Mexico. She also lives with her mother and father and she is one of three children. If you would like to sponsor Evelin, click here.