Seriously, before you finish reading this blog entry, go to Our Compassion and sign up.
Make sure you come back though, that website has a lot to offer, but you may return after you check out what I have to say, haha.
Through Our Compassion, there are wonderful forums that you can visit to talk to sponsors all over the world. One of my favorite forums is the Sponsors Only forum. It's private between you and other people that sponsor through Compassion.
On this forum, people often talk about trips that they are planning on going on with Compassion. People going on these trips usually save room in their suitcase to bring gifts along for children of sponsors that are unable to go on the trips.
There is a trip to Uganda in Januray, 2013 and a wonderful woman named Beverly has offered to take a gift with her for my dear Eric there. I got to fill a gallon sized bag with things for this wonderful boy who lives so far away from me. She's going to drop it off at the main office and they will be sure that Eric gets it. Here's what I sent him:
An Illini basketball shirt, colored pencils, pencils, pens, a pencil sharpener, erasers, a puzzle showing a world map, a watch, two bouncy balls, two toy cars, balloons, and an apple notebook. I also sent him a toothbrush, but it seems to not be in this picture. Weird.
Here's everything packed up in the the gallon sized bag.
Yesterday, I posted in the forum and asked if anybody was going on the trip to Ethiopia in November of this year and would be willing to take along a gift to my new sponsored child, Yonas. Within hours, I got a response from a truly caring person named Hope. Without hesitaton, she told me that she was going and would be able to take gift for me. She allowed me to fill a gallon sized bag for Yonas.
Being the excitable person I am, I couldn't wait even one day to go shopping. After work today, I headed to Target to buy everything I wanted to send to Yonas and I spent a hour or so tonight packing it all up and praying that everything gets there safely and in one piece. Yonas's birthday is in December and well...so is Christmas, haha, so this will be a wonderful dual birthday/Christmas gift.
Here's what I bought for Yonas:
A t-shirt, an apple notebook, colored pencils, pencils, toothbrush, beach ball, a dinosaur puzzle, mini playdoh tubs, bouncy balls, calculator, toy cars, Cars flashlight, mini spoon and fork, pencil sharpener, erasers, Ironman/Batman socks, ring pops candy. Whew!
I had to try a few different packing arrangements and then I worked very hard to get the bag closed, but it's all in there! I just pray it doesn't burst open on the trip there.
I'm just constantly blessed by the people on Our Compassion. There openess to embrace strangers and bring gifts to children they don't even know just amazes me. I hope to do the same thing for others when I go to Honduras next summer.