Thursday, February 28, 2013

Touching Thursday: Teenage Boy Edition

It's Thursday. These are three of the kids who have touched my heart this week. I want these three boys to find loving sponsors to see them through the last 3-5 years of their time in Compassion. My heart just goes out to these handsome boys.

Can you find it in your heart to sponsor one of these boys? Wouldn't they make a great addition to your family?

I've had my eye on this boy for a few months now. I just love the mohawk paired with the cowboy outfit. He's so handsome!
*Special offer. If you sponsor Nery, I will save a spot in my suitcase to take a gift for him when I go to Honduras in August.
Name: Nery
Age: 15
Birthday: July 29th, 1997
Country: Honduras
Guardians: Mother & Father
Number of Siblings: None
Chores: Gathering Firewood, Making Beds, & Running Errands
Hobbies: Soccer, Bicycling, & Hide-and-Seek
School Performance: Not Currently Attending School
Compassion Activities: Bible Class
Isn't he so handsome?! He looks very nice in that light blue shirt.
Name: Melaku
Age: 16
Birthday: April 5th, 1996
Country: Ethiopia
Guardians: Mother & Father
Number of Siblings: 6
Chores: Carrying Water, Washing Clothes, & Running Errands
Hobbies: Soccer
 School Performance: Average in Middle School
Compassion Activities: Church Activities
Last, but not least, is this handsome guy. I love the little smirk on his face.
Name: Akhil
Age: 16
Birthday: May 8th, 1996
Country: India
Guardians: Mother
Number of Siblings: 1
Chores: Buying/Selling in the Market, Running Errands, & Cleaning
Hobbies: Soccer, Playing Ball Games, & Bicycling
School Performance: Average in High School
Compassion Activities: Church Activities & Vacation Bible School


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: When Poverty Meets Compassion 6

Nutritious Meals in Guatemala

A Cool Down on a Hot Day in Ecuador

Happy, Sassy Girls in the Dominican Republic

School for All in Togo

Healthy Kids in Burkina Faso

Cooking Classes in Honduras

Clean Water in Togo

A College Education in the Philippines

Celebrations in Indonesia

Bible Study in the Philippines

Best Friends in Tanzania

Teamwork in the Dominican Republic

*Credit for all of these photos go to Compassion International and can be found on their blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Letters to My Kids: February 2013

Each month, I like to post the letters that I wrote to my sponsored and correspondent children. I do this for a couple of reasons.

One, because I am forgetful and I didn't post them I would never remember what I wrote about. My kids would probably end up with the same letter 3 if I didn't have a record of what I write. It also helps when I get a response letter from one of the kids talking about something I wrote, I can look back to see when I sent that letter and get an idea of how long mail take to get to and from my kids.

Two, writing letters can be hard. Coming up with new and creative ideas can be a challenge. I love looking at other people's blogs and finding letter writing ideas. I hope that by posting the letters that I'm writing, other sponsors can get ideas of things to write about to their kids. I really enjoy the community of sponsorship bloggers there are online and how we seem to constantly be sharing ideas with each other.

Here are the letters I wrote to my kids this month:


To my younger kids, I wrote a letter about Daniel and the Lion's Den

Has anyone ever gotten angry at you for something you believe in? Do you sometimes do what other kids tell you because you want them to like you? I want to tell you a story about a man who did not give in to those around him. he did what he believed in and God protected him.

A long time ago, there was a man named Daniel. He lived in a city called Babylon. Daniel was good friends with the king of Babylon. Some men in the city were jealous of Daniel because of this friendship. They watched Daniel to see if he did anything wrong, so they could get Daniel in trouble. But, the men didn't see Daniel do anything wrong. They only saw Daniel pray to God every day.

 These men made a wicked plan. They wanted Daniel to get in trouble. The men went to the king and told him to make a new law. This law said that anybody caught praying to God would have to be thrown in the lion's den. Daniel heard this new law but he didn't stop praying to God. Daniel knew that if he got caught praying, he would be thrown into the lion's den. But, Daniel loved God very much and knew that it was important to pray to him everyday, so he continued to pray. Daniel was caught praying and he was taken to the king. The king liked Daniel and didn't want to hurt him, but he had to follow his new law. Daniel was thrown into the den with the lions.

Daniel was very scared! He prayed to God all night to keep him safe. He prayed that the lions wouldn't hurt him. God heard Daniel's prayer and closed the lion's mouths so they couldn't eat Daniel. God protected Daniel! The next morning, the king went to see Daniel and was surprised that Daniel was alive! The king saw that God was good and he chose to believe in God too.

God will keep you safe too. Always trust in God and do what is right.

I included this picture with the letter


With my older kids, I shared with them the Parable of the Sower.

Today I want to tell you about one of my favorite parables that Jesus taught, the Parable of the Sower. You can find this parable in Matthew 13:1-23. I encourage you to read these verses in the bible and pray about them on your own time.

We are the seed. God has called us to spread the seed of His word throughout the world. The question we must answer is, "What happens to us after the seed (the Word of God) is sown into our hearts. Look at the what happened to the seed in the parable.

Some seed was sown by the wayside. The wicked one came and snatched the seeds from the very heart of the man before it could even take root.

Some seed was sown on stony places. This represented the one who received the Word of God with great joy. However, when troubles came, the seed was not rooted in the truth, and the person stumbled. We could say that this is an example of the person who is guilty of hearing without obeying.

Some seed fell among the thorns. This represented the person who heard the Word of God, but the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choked the Word, preventing the seed to grow and mature.

Some seed is sown on good ground. The person who received seed on the good ground is the one who hears the word and understands it, who bears fruit and produces more fruit.

As a Christian I ask you, which seed are you? As you are entering the world of adulthood, this is one of the most important questions you should ponder.

When you are dealing with problems, I pray that you represent the seed sown in the fertile field of God's Word.

I included this picture with the letter


Monday, February 25, 2013

Xhuliano Has Absolutely Melted My Heart

I got another letter from Xhuliano today. Just amazing! This letter made me melt into a big puddle of Kayla topped with happy tears. Seriously. I melted right off the couch that I was sitting on. I just got done mopping myself back up.

I want to explain some of the things in this letter before you read it, just to add some clarication to some of the things he said.

I am a preschool teacher. I explained to Xhuliano about my job and my students. I told him some of the things that we learn and do in my class. I told him that I like my job a lot, even when the children are loud or are fighting over things. He responds to my letter about my job towards the beginning of his letter.

A while back, I told Xhuliano about my friend named Kristin who is currently serving in the Peace Corps in Nicragua. I told him that she's been gone for over a year and I miss her very much. Some error in translation happened somewhere and in a response letter, Xhuliano talked about how he is happy that I have a husband named Kris and he hopes that Kris treats me well and that we are happy together. I responsed back to him and told him that I do not have a husband, but I would love to get married someday, if God brings the right man into my life. In today's letter Xhuliano is talking about my future husband and wedding.

Like the last letter, this letter was written a very long time ago, before Augsut and appears to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. More recent letter from Xhuliano were written in November and December and I've already gotten those. Again, I'm very grateful that these letters have found their way to me somehow.

Here's the letter:


Dear Kayla,
I am very happy that I got your letter again, but not only me, but my family as well. And I, my friend, I'm very happy when I write these letters and I think about your family, your sister everyday, just like you think about my sisters. And you, my friend, how are you? I wish for your relatives and your friends good health.
I, my friend, was so happy when you wrote about your job as a teacher because, I, my friend, when I was in kindergarten and I was 5 years old, just like your students, we did a lot of noise to the teacher, but she never got upset. Instead, she smiled just like you smile to your students because you are a wonderful and smart girl.
The words that you write are very beautiful and when I read them I get very happy. I am so happy that I got the possibility to have such a wonderful friend. Your parents should be thanked too for bringing up such a good girl and how they are very proud of you as you are an educated, smart, and loving person with everyone.
Sorry for what I wrote to you. I did not understand the handwriting very well. My friend, I hope that during this beautiful season, you will know your husband and I hope that he will be as good and sweet as you are. My friend, I pray for you everyday and I wish you luck in life. My friend, we are on summer vacations, close to the sea as the sea breeze, the waves, and the sound are good for the health. My wonderful friend, on August 5th, my uncle is getting married. We will have a wedding in the house. I am looking forward to having some fun, to sing and to dance for the bride on the day that she will come. It is beautiful. My friend, I hope that you will soon become a beautiful bride with a white dress and I will love to see you on that day with the bridal dress. My wonderful friend, on that day I would love to send you a bouquet of flowers with much love.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Long, Lovely Letter from Xhuliano

I just love that World Vision orange in the mailbox!

Even more than that, I love Xhuliano so much. He is just a sweetheart. With World Vision, letters are sent directly from the country. But, this letter was not. It was mailed from the main office in Washington. I'm guessing this letter has been lost in the mail for a long time and somehow made it to the main office, where it was passed onto me. It's written in Xhuliano's handwriting and it's not a copy so I'm not exactly sure what happened. But, I can tell it's an older letter because Xhuliano is mentioning gifts and and paper things that I sent him last February/March, which he probably received in April/May.

I am so grateful that this letter made it's way to me. I am always so happy to hear from Xhuliano. He's just a wonderful boy. Here's his letter:


Dear My Friend Kayla,
I was very happy when I received your letter again. Not only me, but my family too. I like the photos that you sent to me, my friend, and the presents too. Even my two sisters were very happy. Marsela took the two dollas and she keeps them in her hands. She hugs them until she falls asleep. (I sent his two sisters dolls. It looks like his younger sister has taken control of both of them. Haha.)
Even for me my mum is like my friend, like my sister, and I express everything with her. (I wrote a Mother's Day themed letter and told him about how much I love my mom).
I wish to your sister and her boyfriend to always be together and God bless them both.
Even I have a grandma that talks to me everyday, kisses me, hugs me, and I love her, like you love your grandma.
Kayla, you will always be in my heart and my family's too. I like to write letters for my amazing friend. It's not a boring thing for me to do, because your conversations are beautiful and sweet and I'm very happy. Even I love the way you write. My family sits at the table and my sister reads it and they like your thoughts that you had expressed for me and my family. My family thanks you and wishes you good luck. Stelina (his 10 year old sister) is a lively child, while Marsela (his 2 year old sister) is a little girl, but smart. On April 5th, she turned 2 years old and we celebrated it. My mum prepared some delicious things. Marsela has started to dance, because she likes it and Stelina teaches her.
I loved the green shirt and it fits me. Thank you from my heart. When I'll have the chance, I'll send a picture of all my family, because I didn't have one the day I received your letter. I wish a happy 13th May day to your family and I hope you'll enjoy the time. Even we celebrate a feast in this month, which is on the 1st of May. We cook some food from home and we take a walk with the family on the seaside. I wrote something for my mom in the card with butterflies that you sent. I love her like all the world.
Thank you and God bless you!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Touching Thursday: U.S Presidents Edition

In honor of celebrating President's Day this week, I have four boys to share with you today. These boys all have names of past U.S presidents. How wonderful would it be to sponsor one of these boys and to tell them that they share a name with a past president of the United States? I think it could be a fun story to share with them.

Can you open your hearts and homes to one of these boys?

Sweet Jackson has been sponsored!
Handsome Jefferson has been sponsored! I hope those sad eyes are happy very soon!
Name: Wilson
Age: 15
Birthday: November 28th, 1997
Country: Guatemala
Guardians: Mother
Number of Siblings: 2
Chores: Caring for Animals, Washing Clothes, & Running Errands
Hobbies: Soccer, Basketball, & Swimming
Comapssion Activities: Youth Group
School Performance: Average in High School
Mr. Smarty Pants, Kennedy, has been sponsored!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Birthday May Babies!

I realized today that these birthday posts will pretty much be a monthly thing. With all of my sponsored and correspondent children, I will be celebrating birthdays in all months except October.

So, in the true spirit of being a sponsor, I have to think three months ahead of time. It is February, so it's time to send gifts to my kids with May birthdays.

Do any of your sponsored children have birthdays in May?

On May 8th, my littlest kiddo, Dafyne, will turn 5 years old. I am sending her a princess themed package. Along with the things you see in the picture, I also sent her a picture of herself, that I decorated as a princess. I don't have a picture of it anymore, but it's super cute.

I am sending her pink birthday paper, coloring pages, sparkley stickers, and stickers that she can color herself.
On May 10th, my love, Abu-Bakarr, will turn 11 years old. I just cannot believe he's already turning 11. He was only 5 (almost 6) years old when I sponsored him. It's been a wonderful 5 years. Because I sponsor Abu through World Vision, I am able to send him pretty much anything I can think of.
I am sending him an outfit (shirt, pants, shoes). I am also sending him some dog tags that I had custom made for him. I think he's going to love his gift.
I sure hope these clothes fit him, I got him clothes that are a size 10/12, so I imagine that they will. It's always so hard to tell if things are going to fit. I would love to see a picture of him wearing them, but I have never gotten "just because" pictures from him before, so we'll have to see.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Touching Thursday (On Friday): Longest Waiting Kids Edition

Due to me sharing my Valentine's Day story yesterday, I wasn't able to post my weekly Touching Thursday. Since we are all flexible people (haha) I decided to just mix it up and post these sweet kiddos with you today. Welcome to Touching Friday.

If you are on my blog for the first time, every Thursday (mostly) I post three children that are currently waiting for a sponsor. I call this day "Touching" because these are children that have truly touched my heart for one reason or another and I would absolutely like to see them find a loving sponsor. This week, I am sharing children that have been waiting a long, long time for a sponsor.

Will you end the wait for one of these children today?

Sweet Angel has been sponsored!

Juan has been sponsored!

Look at that face! She has been waiting 189 days for a sponsor.

Name: Luana
Age: 5
Birthday: June 7th, 2007
Country: Brazil
Guardians: Mother
Number of Siblings: 2
Chores: Running Errands
Hobbies: Singing, Playing House, & Playing with Dolls
School Performance: Average in Kindergarten
Activities: Bible Class & Vacation Bible School

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day Started It All

February 14th is Valentine's Day! But to me, this date is much, much more important to me. It's a great day!

My freshmen year of high school, over a 3 day weekend, I went on winter retreat with the youth group at my church. I had just recently started going to church and this was the very first event I did with them. On Saturday night, after a day full of sledding, snow tubing, broomball, snowball fights, freezing cold, hot chocolate, and layers upon layers of clothing, we met up with the other youth groups at camp for "session." Essentially, this was a time to listen to a worship band and hear a speaker. I couldn't tell you what this speaker's name was or what he looked like, but I can remember what he said:

He talked about the great sequoia trees and their unique root system. I learned that sequoia tree roots stay just below the surface of the ground. Instead of growing down, they grow out, intertwining and connecting with the roots of other sequoia trees. In strong winds and flooding, the sequoias hold each other up and keep each other grounded. He talked how we need to keep our roots like this too. We need to stretch out, grab onto Christ, and not let go. Without him, we would be knocked down and flooded out.

At 14 years old, this hit me. My roots were in a home broken by divorce, dishonesty, bad habits, and struggle. I was flooding out.

Oh my goodness, this is actually me at that age at winter retreat! Cool!
You know, high schoolers are kind of weird...

At the end of his talk, he encouraged us to open our hearts and let Jesus in. I did. Let me tell ya, I wish I could share one of those instant gratification moments that people talk about all the time, but I can't. I didn't have one. I told Jesus to come into my heart and then I sort of felt like a little confused child because I didn't feel anything and didn't really know what to do next. I thought I had maybe done something wrong and I didn't share what I had done with a single person in my youth group.

To be honest, it took me around 2 years to make any true changes in how I was living. I still struggled with my own personal demons, but that was mostly due to teenage angst, you know how it is. But over time, I was changing. God was continuously at work. Always chipping away with his chisel.

Fast forward to my freshmen year of college. I was celebrating my 4th year as a Christian. This is the year that I was finally learning to read the bible, pray daily, and was figuring out what it meant to me to follow Christ. Once I started to do this, it was like God turned up the volume. He called me to sponsor a child. And you know what, I didn't really question it. I was an adult, 18 years old, I had a job, I had the money (most months) and I was going to do this. Every question I came up with, God had an answer to. What organization? World Vision. What country? Sierra Leone. Gender? Boy. Who? Just look. The 2nd child I came across was a little boy with a round face, pouty lips, and a blue shirt that I could tell was too for big him even though all I could see were his shoulders. The closer? His name was Abu, like the monkey from my favorite Disney movie, Aladdin. (I sure hope that's not offensive to anybody, because seriously, I love his name and I love this boy).

I sponsored him.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Happy 9th anniversary Jesus! Happy 5th anniversary, Abu-Bakarr!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First Letter from Kwizera!

First letters are the best. That feeling never gets old. After sponsoring or being assigned a new correspondent child, you send letter and you wait. Then you send another letter and wait some more. You know how it is.

Then that lovely day arrives. You get that first letter in the mail from that precious child and you get to learn a few things about them.

The relationship has begun.



Name: Kwizera Yves
Age: 8
Favorite Food: Rice
Favorite Sport: Football
Favorite Activities: Cleaning & Fetching Water (Wow!)
Favorite Color: Blue
Favorite Friend: Boaz
Favorite Animal: Cow
Favorite Hero: David (Bible hero? David who fought the giant? King David? I wish I knew!)
Dear Kayla,
Kwizera Yves greets you in God's peace. He is good and his family is wishing you happy new year of 2013. Be blssed in all what you are doing. Nice moments. (Yeah...I have no idea.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

First Letter from Sandesh

I was so excited to open my mailbox today and see a first letter from the wonderful boy that is sponsored by the wonderful communities of bloggers and O.Cers. Isn't a first letter so great?!

Here's his first letter:


Hello, I am: Sandesh Sunil
My Family
Mother's Name: Maya
Father's Name: Sunil
Brothers: Sagar
Sisters: Pratiksha
My Favorites
Color: Red
Game: Bat Ball
Food: Milk-Bread
Friend: Sharon
My house is made of: Bricks
Dear Sponsor,
I am Sandesh Sunil. My father's name is Sunil. In my family are 5 members. My father is worker and my mother is housewife. My project name is Astha Child Development Center, IN-866. Our center to my staying distance is 1 km. My community is Shantipur in Maharashtra, India. These communities belongs to slum area. In this area there are a lot of Christian communities staying together. Thank you!
Your Loving Child,
I am sad to hear that he lives in a slum area, but I am very happy that he lives in an area with many other Christians. It's nice to have religious support from your neighbors.
After reading this letter, if you feel led to donate towards his sponsorship, you can do so using the Chip-In box at the top-right of my blog. The current funds that have been donated will run out in April. I would love to see him continued to be supported by this wonderful online community. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Letter from Xhuliano!

Today, I opened my mailbox and saw the wonderful World Vision orange in there. Yay!

Xhuliano wrote a simple letter and shared a few things from his life.


Dear Kayla,

I was very happy receiving your letter again, my family also.

Like you, I like so much traveling, but I think this is very expensive.

I like very much your photos, but I would like to see you personally.

On the 23rd of December, I'll take my winter holidays. On the 28th of December, I turn 12 years old. I will celebrate it with my family, cousins, and friends. I hope you will remember me that day too.

New year is coming and I've decorated the tree. Mom has started the preparations. She's cleaning the house and cooking good food for us, traditional things.

I wish you a happy new year, a blessed year, and a wealthy one.

Lots of Love,


Ouch! I better send him some pictures of me soon! He certainly knows what he wants, huh?

It's interesting to hear that his family also decorates a tree and makes good food to celebrate the winter holidays.

I can't wait to write him back!

Pastor Letter from Wendjy's Project

New correspondent child, new pastor letter. Yay!

Cool news! Wendjy's project in Haiti has been open since 1977! It's been 36 years! I just can't believe it! I've known that Compassion has been around that long, I just figured that some of their first projects wouldn't still be open. Just think about how many children this project has graduated. How many children who lives have been changed. The first children from this project would be in their 40's today.


Anyway, onto the letter:


Dear Sponsor,

I bring you greetings from Borgne, Haiti.

My name is Piram Nelson. I am the assistant pastor of the Eben-Ezer Baptist Evangelical Church that ministers to your Compassion sponsored child. I thank you so much for your goodness. You play a key role by means of your sponsorship, your prayers, and your love. May God keep on blessing you!

Our children live in Borgne, Haiti, where it rains a lot. The area is mountainous. Living conditions are tough here. I want to inform you that the program has a great impact on the children. The program has now 245 children. All of them have sponsors except five. Priase God.

These children are always delighted to come to the program here at our church because they are often stressed at their homes and in the area where they live. The unemployment rate is very high and those who have a job can only earn a very tiny daily income.

Most of the children live in homes that are very small and crowded. Promiscuity and sanitation problems are rampant. That's why most of them have respiratory disease, itching, and other sicknesses. Also, the children are in great spiritual need and the Christian population is very few in this area.

I am so proud of our many workers and teachers. All our Christian brothers and sisters from our center devote themselves to the holistic development of these children. We also have a group of qualified tutors that are teaching the bible and non-formal classes.

We love the children and know each of them by name. We teach them many things about health, hygeine practices, and good manners. Most important of all, we take time to teach them about Jesus Christ. During the past years, more tha 67 children made professions of faith in Jesus, and as a result, several family members have started attending our Sunday church services.

My vision is to serve the community in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so thrilled when I see children and young people come to our center and learn, many for the first time, about our heavenly Father. Lives are truly being changed through our programs.

I am happy to inform you that we teach extra classes such as chemistry, physics, grammar, and others. We always talk to them about Jesus. We pray for each of them and teach them the bible regularly. Let me tell you that there are 30 of them who are attending a bible study class and learning preaching techniques. Two of them are on the youth board, three are leading church services, and many others are ministering in the child department.

Please be aware that through your kind support, you have contributed a lot in the transformation of this child's life. Our children in the center need to know that there are people out there who think about them and love them. They feel valued and special when they receive letters and photos from their sponsors.

Please continue to pray for your child and please pray for us at the center as well. We work for these children to help them know Jesus and grow up to be healthy and better educated. Our work is very hard sometimes, but we love to minister to them.

Please know that we, at the center, are praying for you and your loved ones as well.

May God bless you!

Piram Nelson, Pastor


Friday, February 8, 2013

New Correspondent Child!

Janna assigned me another correspondent child this week and I am absolutely thrilled to get to write to him.

This handsome young man is Wendjy.

He is 18 years old and he's from Haiti. This picture is actually of him when he was 16 years old and his picture will update sometime in the next few months. I can't wait to see it!

Wendjy will graduate from the program in October, so I will only get to write to him for a short time. I hope that my letters can encourage him as he prepares to leave the project and venture out into the world.

Wendjy lives with his parents. His father is a farmer and his mother sells in the market. I'm curious to hear about what she sells. I'm always interested to here what things my sponsored/correspondent children's family does for work.

Wendjy is either in his last year of high school or he is already out of school. His last update, almost 2 years ago, says that he was in 10th grade. I'm not sure when the school year starts in Haiti, so I'm unsure of what grade he is currently in.

He has a whole slew of things that he's interested in. He likes to play soccer, ride his bike, listen to music, and tell/listen to stories. He also plays the drumset, which I think is really cool!

I've already sent Wendjy is first letter, introducing myself. I plan to write to him every two weeks, so he knows how valuable he is before he leaves the Compassion program.

Yay for new correspondent children!