Saturday, March 30, 2013

First Letter from Francis Karanja!

The first letters from my December correspondent children seem to be coming in now. I'm still waiting on 3 first letters from this group of kids, but today I got one from my boy, Francis Karanja in Kenya.

Karanja is 13 years old and he wrote this letter in English, completely on his own. Go man, go!

My Parents:
Eluid - Father
Agnes - Mother
My Brothers & Sisters:
Hannah Wambui - 29 years old
Esther Watun - 28 years old
Mary Hanjiru - 24 years old
Joseph Gachoya - 21 years old
Jescina Njeri - 14 years old
Ruth Klangui - 12 years old
My Best Friend:
Moses - 13 years old
My Favorite Things:
Best Game: Football
Best Song: I Am in the Race
Best Food: Chicken and Chapati Bread
Best School Subjects: Math and Christian Religious Education
Best Bible Story: Story of Joseph
Best Colors: Black & Blue
Message for my Sponsor:
Dear Kayla,
I am Francis Karanja. I go to primary school. I am in class 7. I am doing well in my studies and I wish to improve. I go to church at Universal Church Kenya. I thank you for being my sponsor and pray that God will bless you. Pray for me to succeed in my exams.
He drew this picture. I wonder if that's a picture of his school, or maybe his project. I'll have to ask him.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Good Friday Child

Today, I sponsored a new child.

For a couple weeks now, I have been watching this little boy. I've been checking the World Vision website to make sure nobody else sponsored him to see his picture and to pray for him. His adorable face just imprinted on my heart.

Today, at naptime in my class, I zoned out a little bit and daydreamed about sponsoring this cutie. Right then, I took out some paper and wrote down everything I spend money on throughout the month. Then, I scratched something out completely. With this one thing gone each money, there will be more than enough to sponsor my new little guy.

Welcome Domenik from Albania:

Domenik is 6 years old. He lives with his parents and 1 sister. He is not yet in school. He enjoys playing soccer and "He helps at home by being good." How cute is that?

This is the day we remember that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I think it's pretty fitting that Domenik is wearing a cross necklace.

This boy is already so loved.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Beautiful Pranali is Gone

Yesterday, I logged onto my Our Compassion account and my kids' pictures wouldn't load.

Generally, most people wouldn't worry because O.C has all kinds of glitches with pictures. However, I have never had a problem and the only time the pictures haven't loaded is when one of my kids was missing.

Sure enough, I signed onto my Compasson account and where Pranali's photo once was, I saw the dreaded "Photo Unavailable."

I immediately emailed Compassion and asked them what was up. Here is the response they gave me:


"Unfortunately Pranali's project has closed. I can share with you the information we have:

Since there was a change in leadership in the partner church, there were some concerns that had come up in adherence to agreement. Therefore this was discussed with new leadership of the church but the agreement could not be reached to our partnership requirement. Thus it was agreed on consensus to end this partnership.

There was series of discussions that took place with various levels of leadership of the church but the current new leadership was not in agreement on meeting all the partnership requirements. The church partner has requested us to end the partnership. Since the partner is not interested to continue partnership and his found local funding to continue the program, they do not encourage further correspondence. The church partner has found local resource to run the child development program in the village.

Because the project has dissolved there is no way to get Pranali a final letter."


It's sad that there were disagreements that couldn't be solved. It's a shame that the children have to suffer because of problems in leadership.

However, I am very happy that the church has found local funny to continue to run their own child development project. I really feel like Pranali and the other children in her community are going to be well taken care of.

I was only assigned as Pranali's correspondent sponsor at the end of December and only received on letter from her. But, I was excited about getting to know her. Too bad I can't send her a final letter to let her know how wonderfully loved she is by God. I pray that she knows that and continues to find strenghth in Jesus.

God bless you, Pranali!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blessings from Florenci

Oh my goodness, my Albanian boys are such a blessing in my life.

Today, I received two letters from the handsome Florenc.

Here's the line, this young man breaks my heart. His two letters today were full of sadness and heartbreak. He has so many things going on in his life and family. At 13 years old, life is hard enough without having parents without jobs, a mom who is constantly sick, and not having opportunities that you would like to be a part of because the money just isn't there.

To share a bit of background information, Florenc has nasal polyps that make it difficult and uncomfortable for him to breathe. They are not life-threatening, but are definitely probably an annoyance for him. He mentions needing surgery often, but as it's not a neccesity and his family cannot afford it, he will probably not get the surgery. His mom on the other hand, needs a kidney transplant, and that is a very serious problem because that can't be afforded either.

I wish I could give this boy the world. I love him so much.

Of course, it is now time to share the letters with you:

Dear my friend Kayla,
I am Florenci who is writing this letter. I am well, in general, but the problem that I have in my nose is not stabilized yet. I am waiting to operate my nose. My family is doing well, but my father is unemployed and my mother always has problems with her kidneys. She has a chronic illness, she does not feel well, and those things make me sad. My brother, Esati, is doing well. My brother and I go to school reguarly and we learn hard. I have taken all of your letters.
I am happy that you and your family are doing well. I wish you never have any bad things in your life.
Is your family doing well? How are they? Your grandmother, your mother, sister, and stepfather? How are you doing with your job?
The bible you sent me I read it and I like it very much. I got the present you send me and I very much like the shirt you sent. I take your photo everywhere I go.
May God bless you and your family!
We love you very much.
Dear my friend,
I got your letter and I am very happy that you are doing well. I like the amazing pictures you sent me. I want to visit those beautiful places. In Albania, there are some beautiful places but I have never visited those places because we have no money. My parents are unemployed. I like also to go in the beach but I have have never gone there.
I am growing up with economical difficulties. I hope that God will help me.
Do you want a photo from my village?
In my country, it is cold in the winter and it snows a lot. What is the weather like in your country?
I like very much to read your letters. I am waiting for your next letters because you are a part of my family.
My brother and I go regularly in school and we are going well in lessons. I like very much the English language and I want to go in private courses in order to learn well, but I cannot, I have no money.
Love and Respect,
"I am growing up with economical difficulties. I hope that God will help me"
God...please help this boy...

Two Letters from Abu!

I was so excited today to open my mailbox and see a World Vision explosion. I can't decide which color makes me happier: World Vision Orange or Compassion Cream. Who am I kidding, I love both of them!

Today, I got two letters from Abu in Sierra Leone and two letters from Florenc in Albania. I'm going to separate the letters into two posts, so each boy can have his own space. We wouldn't want them to get jealous, would we? :)

Here are the letters:

Way back, I got a letter of Abu with a picture of how he spent the gift money that I sent him. Some of the things in the picture were hard to see and I had questions about some of the other things. In this first letter, Abu is answering some of my questions.
I made a copy of the photo, decorated it a little bit, and sent it back to Abu and his grandma. They mention the picture too.

Dear Kayla ,

Abu and grandmother received the photos and letter you sent for them. They were very surprised to see Abu's photo again in different colors. They really like that you are rapidly changing them in better ways.

The goat in the photo you saw is a female one, but it has no name. It is funny, not so?

In the red bag in the photo were some wearings for Abu since Christmas was drawing nearer, he asked for new clothes, so some were bought for him and he was pleased to get them.

Once again, Abu and grandmother say many thanks to you and your family and pray that God continues to protect and provide for you all.


This second letter is referencing a letter that I sent out at the end of the summer. I went to a baseball game and sent a letter telling about baseball and how the game is played. I sent some pictures of the players throwing, catching, and batting.


Dear Kayla,

Abu and grandmother received the letter and the photos of the baseball players, for which they say thank you.

Indeed, it is wonderful to see the player in action, they commented. They say they have never seen baseball nor the players with their eyes, but they asked where such a game could be seen. The answer was in the capital city - Freetown. Abu loves to play football, but has never heard of baseball and is happy to look at the photos always.

In Abu's community, people celebrate only one festival - Harvest, every year, apart from the other Muslim and Christian celebrations. During the Harvest Festival, they dance eat a lot and give thanks to God for their harvest and wait for the other year's harvest.



Letters to My Kids: March 2013

This month, I wrote one letter to my sponsored children. I was extra busy this month and I usually write an email and a handwritten letter. This month, it was just an email.

I wrote an email about my typical daily schedule, including what I do with my students at school. Here is the letter I wrote:


Hello, my friend! I greet you in the wonderful name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope God has been blessing you greatly and that your family is doing well. Today, I want to write you a letter telling you about what a typical day is like for me.

Each day, I wake up at 5:00 a.m. After waking, I bathe and I eat breakfast. While I eat, I like to listen to music to get my heart and mind ready for my day. After I eat, I brush my teeth and leave for work. At 6:00 a.m, I arrive at work and prepare my classroom for my students to arrive. I spend time preparing my lessons for that day and getting the classroom organized. My students arrive at 7:00 a.m. When the children arrive, they have time to play with toys for about an hour. After the children work together to clean up their toys, I serve them a healthy breakfast. After breakfast, I help the children to brush their teeth. I teach my students that brushing their teeth is very important for their health. Next, we spend time working together to learn as a group. I teach my students about the days and months, colors, the letters of the alphabet, and numbers. After learning, my students have time to play outside if the weather is nice. When we return to our classroom, I serve the children a healthy lunch and then the children lay down to take a nap for two hours. When the children wake up, they eat a snack and their parents come to take them home. My teaching day ends at 3:00. It's a very busy day!

When I return home from work, I like to rest and relax for a little while. Sometimes I take a nap and other times I relax by reading a book or reading the bible. I also like to watch TV or listen to music. Around 6:00 p.m, I eat dinner. My favorite foods to eat are chicken, rice, vegetables, fruit, bread and water. After dinner I spend some time preparing my lessons for my next day with my students. At 10:00 p.m, I wash my face and brush my teeth. I spend time praying to God and then I go to bed.



I encourage you to write a letter like this to your sponsored children. They will probably love to hear what your typical day is like. Who knows, your child may feel inspired to write to you what their typical day is like.

Honestly, I thought that I had asked my children to share a typical day with me, but now that I've copied and pasted the email, it looks like I didn't. Sad.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My June Birthday Kids!

It's March!

You know what that means? It's the month to send birthday gifts to any of your sponsored children who have birthdays in June. Depending on the country, these gifts may arrive early if sent this early, but for most countries they will arrive right around the child's birthday. In fact, both of my kids with birthdays in June are from India, so I'm worried the gifts may actually arrive late. Well, better late than never, right?

First up, my beautiful boy, Sandesh, will turn 10 years old on June 1st. I sent him this:

I tried to send things with an animals theme. I sent him sparkley wild animal stickers, 4 sheets of Curious George papers, and a piece of paper with jungle animals on it. I wrote him a little note inside the happy face card. Like all of my birthday kids, I decorated Sandesh's picture with a birthday theme.
On June 26th, my beautiful Indian princess, Pranali, will turn 16 years old. I admit, it's sometimes hard for me to think up fun things to send to teenagers, but I think I did alright:
I sent her sparkley heart stickers, two pieces of flower stationary, two pieces of flower memo paper, a birthday greeting in a flower card, and a decorated picture. I hope she likes it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Drop of Rain!

Today my letter drought ended with one drop of rain.

I opened my mailbox with a pretty bad attitude. It was a very rough week with my class, I was absolutely exhausted, and every time I've opened my mailbox lately, it's been empty. I admit, I wasn't very hopeful.

But, tucked in there were two letters from pen pals and a cream colored envelope!

Inside, was a letter from my wonderful Ugandan friend, Eric. Since I started corresponding with him, I've gotten a letter almost exactly every 3 months. I last heard from him on December 24th. It's nice to see a pattern in his letters, so I know when to be looking out for a letter from him. Check back in June for another one, haha.

His letter wasn't very long, but it was still full of kind words from a great young man.


Dear Kayla,
Eric is greeting you in Jesus' name. He says that how was the first day of January this year.
Eric says that he is thanking you for the gift which you sent him during Christmas days.
He also says that he would wish that one day you may come to Uganda to see him or to see how Uganda is looking like. He continued and says that you come with your children so that he may see them.
He says that many people are thanking God because they have reached to the great new year of 2013, so that they may also finish it well with no problem.
He says that pray hard such that this year may end happy.
He is also thanking you for the letters which you always send to him.
From Your Child,
So...I'm still confused how his name is supposed to be spelled. He always signed it as "Eric" last year, but now he's signing it as "Erick". The translator always writes "Eric." I guess it doesn't matter, it's all pronounced the sams way. Maybe I'll ask him.
I'm confused on what children Eric wants me to bring if I come visit him. Perhaps he means my students? I'll have to ask him about that too.
The letters I always send to that. I probably write too much, but I don't plan on stopping now!
I will definitely "pray hard" that he reaches the end of the year with no problems! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Touching Thursday

This week, I would LOVE to see these three beautiful children get a loving sponsor.

Beautiful Wilasinee has found her sponsored!
He has such a sweet smile!
Name: Siba
Age: 7
Birthday: October 8th, 2005
Country: India
Guardians: Father & Mother
# of Siblings: 2
Chores: Running Errands & Cleaning
Hobbies: Ping Pong, Playing with Cars, & Playing with Marbles
School Performance: Average in Primary School
Compassion Activities: Church Activities
Sweet Angel has been sponsored!

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Miss My Kids

I am officially in letter drought mode, you guys.

The only one of my 20 children that I've heard from recently is Xhuliano, who I got a letter from earlier this month.

I heard from Kwizera, Sandesh, and Dafyne in February.

I heard from Celeste, Sagitaria, Kalpesh, Pranali, and Sagar in January.
It has been over 3 months since my last letter from Abu (5 months), Eric, Florenc, and Sadiya (6 months for her)

And, I'm waiting on first letters from: Solomon, Jhon, Khushi, Karanja, Melaku, and Wendjy.

I didn't share Fongwin, since I was just assigned him a few days ago. Of course, I'm not expecting a letter from him yet.

I'm just missing my kiddos. I hope that I hear from them soon.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hearts at Home 2013

Have I mentioned lately how much I absolutely love volunteering with Compassion?

Well, I have a new favorite. It's volunteering with Compassion at the Hearts at Home conference that happens in my hometown. This is an annual conference that is directed at Christian mothers. While I am not a mother, I will never pass up an opportunity to volunteer with Compassion and help find children sponsors. I worked this event last year too and had so much fun.

You can read about last year's conference/experience here

This year, I got to hang out with the same amazing Compassion rep, Eli, along with two wonderful Compassion employees, Julie and Olivia. It was especially nice to meet Olivia, because she is the one that orgazines all of the volunteer events. I've gotten several emails from her and it's nice to put a face with the name. After spending many hours with these three people, it has confirmed my dreams: I will work for Compassion someday. I hope it's someday soon.

I took my volunteering to a new level this weekend. On Friday night, I volunteered from 6:00-10:30 and on Saturday from 11:00 a.m-5:30 p.m. They were long, very busy days, but I feel absolutely blessed.

One of the first amazing things is that there were large screens set up in the expo/shopping center so I got to see some of the sessions, I got to hear the praise music, and I got to experience an hilarious hour of stand-up with Anite Renfroe. Did I mention that I didn't have to pay the price of the ticket? Plus, as a thank you, Compassion bought all of us volunteers lunch on Saturday. As an early childhood teacher, I never turn down a free meal, haha. Volunteering has some awesome perks!

Here are some pictures of this conference:

This busy, busy room is where I spent my hours. Compassion had a booth set up amongst all of the vendors selling t-shirts and amazing fair trade art, jewelry, and bags. You can actually see the big, blue Compassion banner in the far back of the room.

Anyway, let's move onto the most important detail: Around 200 children found a sponsor over the course of these two days. That blows my mind. God is so good!
I love how many mothers chose sponsored children based on the birthdays/ages of their own children. That's love.
One woman came to the table and said, "I want an undesirable child." After asking her what she meant, she wanted to sponsor the child who had been waiting the longest. You sponsored a handsome teenage boy from India who had been waiting 13 months for a sponsor.
One woman wanted to sponsor two children. She chose a sweet four year old girl who was between the ages of her two children. Then...she chose a 14 year old boy so her daughters "can have a big brother." I love that!
Another woman came to the table with her friend. Her friend was the one who was interested in sponsoring and this woman wanted to help her choose a child. The women looked at the table, saw a boy with her son's birthday, and immediately burst into tears and sponsored him. Both women got new family members that day.
I am just so blessed that Compassion opens up these events to volunteers. I can't wait to volunteer again!

Friday, March 15, 2013

A New Correspondent Child!

Today, I am absolutely blessed to welcome a new member into my sponsorship family.

Meet Fongwin:

Fongwin is 10 years old and he's from Thailand, which is a new country for me. I am so excited to get to know him and to learn more about Thailand.
I emailed today to have Compassion email me his previous photo, if he has one. And actually, his photo and information are due to update in just a few months. Exciting! Here's a little bit more information about the super cute Fongwin:
- He lives with his mother and stepfather. His parents are divorced and his father is no longer in his life. His mother and stepfather both work as general laborers.
- His birthday is January 22nd
- He's in 3rd grade and gets average grades.
- His chores include running errands, making beds, and cleaning
- He enjoys playing soccer, riding a bike, walking, playing hide-and-seek, and playing with cars. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beautiful Ugandan Girls!

After posting the young men last week, I promised you that I would also share the lovely young ladies I have available for sponsorship.

Hope has been sponsored!

Immaculate has been sponsored!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Three Young Men from Uganda

A few weeks ago, I asked Compassion to choose a country and send me five packets of teenagers from that country. They chose Uganda! Today, I will share the young men with you. The young ladies will be posted at a later date

This is Keneth. He is 16 years old and his birthday is on August 20th. He lives with his father, mother, and 5 other siblings. His parents are both sometimes employed as laborers. Keneth is responsible for carrying water, gathering firewood, and teaching others. Soccer, playing with car, and singing are his favorite activities. In primary school his performance is average and he also regularly attends church activities and bible class.

Keneth is part of UG-700. His project provides bible studies, hygiene and health education, academic support, handicrafts training, and educational films.

This grinning guy is George. George is 16 years old and his birthday is September 4th. He lives with his father, mother, and 8 other siblings. His parents are both sometimes emploeyd as laborers. Carrying water, gathering firewood, and teaching others are George's duities at home. As part of Compassion's ministry, George participates in church activities, bible class, and youth group. He is in high school where his performance is average. Soccer, singing, and telling stories are his favoritie activities.

George is part of UG-510. This project provides bible class, health screenings, heath education, nutritious food, recreational activities, counseling, community service opportunities, cultrual programs, a foam mattress, soap, career guidance, tuition, and skills training.

Last, but not least, this serious young man is Saliko. He is 15 years old and his birthday is July 12th. He lives with his father, mother, and 4 other siblings. His parents are both sometimes employed as farmers. Sakilo helps by gathering firewood, teaching others, and gardening. For fun, Sakilo enjoys soccer, singing, and art. He attends church activities and bible class reguarly. He is in primary school where his performance is average.

Sakilo is part of UG-308. His projects provides bible teaching, health screenings, nutritious food, health education, malaria prevention and control classes, indoor and outdoor games, field trips, tuition, skills training, and tree planting opportunities.

If you would like to sponsor any of these boys you can send me an email at .

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Beautiful Rwandan Boy

For those of you who are on the site Our Compassion and spend any amount of time in the discussion forums, you have heard of and probably talked to Laurent. Laurent is a young man (same age as as me, actually!) from Rwanda. When he was younger, he was a sponsored child through his local Compassion project. He has now grown up, graduated the program, and is a dentist. Now that he is a grown man with a successful career, he has not forgotten his past and he loves to help out at Compassion projects. He even does dental clinics for some projects!

You can read more about Laurent and his work in this article: Former Sponsored Child Gives Back to His Community. It's a very nice story.

This is my favorite picture from the article. We have the very same set of teeth and large green toothbrush where I teach and the kids love pretending to brush the teeth. It's nice to see that kids are the same all over the world.

Well, anyway, recently Laurent has been traveling to other Compassion projects to visit and to spend time with the children. On O.C, Laurent shares which projects he will be visiting and he asks if anybody has children in those projects, so that he can visit with the child and take a few pictures for the sponsors.
Laurent is such a nice guy!
A couple of weeks ago, Laurent posted that he would be visiting RW-420, which is where my sweet boy, Kwizera, attends. The children attend the project on Saturdays. Laurent visited with my Kwizera and his father yesterday and he sent me the pictures that were taken on Facebook. I love these pictures!

I love Kwizera's Dad's Smile!

Best part of these pictures? Everyone is holding something that I have sent Kwizera. His picture that I've decorated, a letter written on a sunset background, and other letters on notebook paper. I love that they thought to include these things in the letter. It's just amazing to see one of my beautiful children holding something I held in my hands or created.

And since I'm a pretty huge fan of close-up pictures of just my kids faces, I cropped these:

Seriously, I don't think he could get any cuter.

I am extremely grateful to Laurent and his heart to take time out of his life to visit these wonderful children. Not only that, I am so grateful that he is taking the time to provide pictures of these children to their sponsors, when he is able to. Seeing these pictures of Kwizera makes me love him so much more than I already did. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday Sagar!

Happy Birthday, Sagar!
I am so happy to be a part of your life on your 10th birthday. You're in double digits now! You're a whole decade old. A 10th birthday is a big deal. :)
On this day, I am praying for you and your family. I pray that you feel blessed and happy on this day. I pray that you know just how loved you are. I pray that wherever you are there is love; in your home, at your project, when you're praying, and when you read my letters to you. Above all of that love here on earth, Sagar, God loves you even more than that. He loves you all the way to heaven and back.
I am so glad that Compassion started a project where you live. I am happy that God lead me to advocate for the beautiful children where you live. I am blessed that God sent me your packet in the mail for me to find you a sponsor. You certainly found one. I feel like I have known you for years and it's only been six months. I pray that we can be connected for many more years to come.
God bless you, buddy! I love you very much. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Math, Bicycles, and Music

Xhuliano is on a roll when it comes to writing letters. I am absolutely loving it. I've been responding to each letter, but I don't want to overwhelm him with so many letters in a short amount of time.

Here's the letter I received today:


Dear Kayla,
I was very happy to receive your letter. I like receiving letters from you because you always write beautiful and warm words about me and my family.
I like math. I go to school with Klajdi (his best friend).
I would ove to ride a bicyle, but I can't have one because in the winter, because of the bad and rainy weather, my dad doesn't work very much and he can't afford buying me a bicycle. (The next time I'm able to send him gift money, I'm going to request that they buy him a bike. This is the 2n time he has talked about how much he would love to have one.)
My sister Stelina had her birthday on 4th January and Marsela has started to speak more clearly. I loved the pictures that you sent. I'm sorry to hear that your student will left the class. (I can only assume that he is talking about my students leaving my class soon to go to kindergarten.)
I like the subject of music, because I like singing and recitating. I hope to hear more about you and your music.
I wish you luck and that God follow you everywhere.
With Lots of Love,

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy 9th Birthday Sadiya!

Hi Precious Girl,
Today is your 9th birthday. I hope that you feel absolutely blessed on your special day. We have only been writing to each other for six months and we don't know very much about each other, but I think we are going to grow to be great friends. I love you very much already. On your 9th birthday, I am praying that you are happy and healthy. I pray that you feel God's love for you today and know that he will always be with you and watching over you.
I hope that you have received your birthday present that I sent, as well as the birthday money I sent you. I hope that these things come as a blessing to you. I am eager to hear from you again.
Happy birthday, beautiful.