Monday, September 30, 2013

Long Letter from Sandesh!

I love hearing from all of my kids, of course, but there is a special place in my heart for my boys from India. They always write such great letters.

Here is the one I got from Sandesh today:


Dear Kayla,

Greeting to you in the name of almighty God Jesus. I am writing this letter on behalf of Sandesh. 

Sandesh is very happy since he came in project. He is enjoying a lot in this project. He was very happy about you and your letter when he read about you. 

He regularly comes to the center. He likes this project because he came to know about you in the name of Jesus. He always thankful to God. 

Sandesh is studying in 5th standard. He goes to school everyday. Sandesh family is very happy and blessed by you. He has received everything you have sent for him. 

He really miss you. Lovely regards from his family. How are you and your family? He also wish you a happy anniversary and thanking you for your prayers and support and being a part of his life. 

Sandesh is ready to answer the questions joyfully. He is very happy to see photos of your class students, how they are writing their names, building with blocks, and putting together puzzles. He is also taking interest of the students in the photos. 

1. Sandesh's grade is 5th
2. Classrooms in his school: 15
3. Sandesh wear a uniform to school
4. Sandesh school has a library 
5. Cricket Team 
6. Physical education, yes
7. Yes, computers in school
8. Boys and girls sit separately 
9. Children start school at age 4
10. They graduate at age 20

Thank you for all your support and help and also for your prayers. On behalf of Sandesh, thanking you with love. Your's in Christ! 


Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Letter from Dafyne!

I was beyond excited to see this letter today! As Dafyne is only 5 years old, all of her letters to me so far have been form letters, and they will continue to be form letters for a few more years. However, this time, along with the form letter, there was also an attached piece of paper with answers to questions and other facts. How cool is that?! She also drew quite a cute picture and I just couldn't love it more if I tried.

First, I will share the form letter part of the letter:


The Weather in Brazil

In the city where I live, the weather is usually: Hot all year round

In the winter (June, July, August) my city: Is hot and it doesn't rain

I prefer: I like all types of weather

When the weather is sunny, I like: Other activities 

When the weather is rainy, I like: To sleep

As I write this letter, the weather is: Hot and sunny 

Questions for my sponsor: What's your favorite weather? What do you like to do when it's raining? 

Dear sponsor Kayla,

Hello! I am Vanda and I write on behalf of Dafyne. She's always so happy when I read her your letters, with the affection and dedication you show for her. She showed everybody her photo as a princess. (I edited her photo to make her look like a princess). She put two stickers to represent you and her as princesses. She made a drawing of the two of you. Answering your questions: She has trouble to read and write. She likes mathematics. School is three blocks away from her house and she goes there on foot. She wear a uniform. She stays in school for four hours, from Monday to Friday and she has a 30 minute break each day. She comes to the project from Monday to Thursday for four hours with a 20 minute break. She has classes of ballet and copoeira. Her school teacher's name is Noelia. 

A kiss from Dafyne


If you're like me, you went "What is copoeira?" Well, I looked it up. It's a physical activity that combines dance, acrobatics, and martial arts. It's pretty fun to watch. I can't believe my baby girl does this!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Honduras Tuesday: New Experiences

Okay, I know, I'm a day late for this post. But, it's not because I was lazy. It's because yesterday was my last day at work and I spent Monday getting my classroom ready for a new teacher/thinking about missing my kids and coworkers/freaking out about life.

Anyway, this week, I planned on writing about some new experiences that I had on my trip to Honduras. There were quite a few things that I haven't experienced before that caught me off guard a little bit. Again, this will be a simple post.

Picture. Caption.

Pictures say it all anyway, don't they?

Armed guards everywhere! I mean everywhere. Airport, restaurants, outside hotels, etc, etc. These guards weren't just armed with little guns, they carried big machine guns. 

The nicest hotel I've ever stayed in

My first taste of Honduran food. Also, my first taste of some kind of orange sauce that about burned my entire tongue off! 

Soda in glass bottles. I knew that it existed, of course, I had just never seen drank one before. 

Kids worshiping with abandon. I know that I've shared this with you before, but I still can't get over it. I don't even hold my hands up like this when I sing at church. 

Stray dogs just wandering in and out of places

Fried tacos. For good. 

Mothers, fathers, children living in cardboard and tin shacks

Children walking around without pants or shoes

Power Chicken. The greatest "fast food" restaurant in all the world! 

Plantain chips. Why didn't I know about this before? 

I ate a whole fish. He has eyes and teeth! 

Lychee fruit! It looks crazy, but it tastes delicious! 

Honduras money is so pretty! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

First Letter from Nikko!

First letters are always so exciting, aren't they?

This letter was written on June 30th, so it took just under three months to get to me. Not bad, considering it came all the way from the Philippines!


Dear Sponsor,

First of all, I would like to greet you and your family. As for me here, I'm fine in God's grace. 

We have lots of activities here in church. We had camp, but I was not able to join because I help my uncle in selling second hand clothing. On our Mother's Day we were making letters for our mother. We had our recognition day where we can eat all you can and I received award in character. 

With regards to my studies, I'm doing good and had many lessons learned. I got also new friends. You there, what are you doing? What is your families plans and developments? 

I'm hoping that you'll help me pray for my mother's protection and good health. More blessings to come. 

God Bless,

Memory Verse: Galations 6:14 "May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." 


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Abu's Progress Report: 2013

I have to start out by saying how absolutely shocked I am that I'm even writing this post. For the last two years, I have not received a progress report from Abu. With World Vision, these are supposed to come yearly, typically during the summer months. Then, at the beginning of this year, World Vision Sierra Leone completely revamped itself. They went under new leadership, started a rocking Facebook group, and have been sharing regular updates. It's really been great to watch.

With this new leadership and amazing new programs, they also mailed out progress reports. Praise God! Abu is 11 years old now.


My name is: Abu-Bakarr

My Health is: Satisfactory 

I've Received the Following Benefits from WV: Medical Checkup, Medical Supplies, Sanitation, Primary Health Care, Heath Education. 

In the Academic Year Sept. 2012-July 2013, I am in: Primary School Grace 3

Benefits/support that my family and I received from WV: Clean water, mosquito net, educational materials, training on HIV/AIDS prevention, Capacity Building training, school uniform, and spiritual nurture. 

My Best Friend's Name is: Samuala

My Favorite Animal is: Goat

My Favorite Game: Football

At Home, I Help By: Carrying Water

My Favorite Hobby is: Running & Musics

The Subject I Like Most is: Number Counting

I Filled/Was Helped to Fill This Out By: Parent or Guardian 


Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Treasure Trove from India!

Today I opened up my mailbox and saw FOUR cream colored envelopes in there! Each of these envelopes contained a letter from one of my sweet children in India. It was wonderful to read them and I want to share that joy with you. I will post all four letters here, in one post, youngest to oldest.

First up, an All About Me form letter from Solomon. It's interesting to learn his height and weight. He's certainly a tiny little guy!


1. My nickname is: Solomon

2. I am 112 centimeters tall and weight 16 kilograms. 

3. I am the third child in my family.

4. The colors of my eye is black. 

5. One thing I really like to do is play carrom board along with my sister. 

Dear Kayla,
Greetings to you in Jesus name. Since Solomon is a small boy, I am project staff Susan writing this letter on behalf of him. He is asking you how are you? Solomon and his family are doing well by God's grace. He is very happy to receive your letter and he was very happy to hear about the story of Daniel in it, how God protected him from the lion's den and the Christmas and New Year's celebrations along with your family and friends. By God's grace, he passed 1st grade and now he is going to 2nd grade. He attended VBS in our church from April 2nd to 7th regularly. The theme was "Be strong and courageous" from Joshua 1:9. He learned new songs, memory verses and he did craftwork. He enjoyed it very much and his friends. He is praying for you and for your family. Thinking of you. 


The next letter is from Khushi. I've been semi dreading a letter from her. For the past few months, there are been tragic floods in the area where she lives. I was worried that I would get a letter from her telling me something sad about the flood. It turns out, I was right. There is definitely some sadness in this letter:


Dear Sponsor,

Greetings to you in the name of the Lord. We hope you are well. Me and my family are doing well. Thank you very much for your letters and beautiful photos. I am very happy meeting you and learning from you. You have a beautiful family. Thank you very much for supporting me and having a heart for me. 

I go to project regularly. I get to learn songs that tell about Jesus, bible verses, and other important, interesting activities and stories. I go to school near my village. I am in 6th grade. We are going to celebrate our 66th independence day. We are excited about it. 

This is rainy season. People faced and are still facing lots of difficulties because of big flood that came here. Many people died and houses were washed away. Please pray for flood victims. We thank God that we can trust him in all situations. We lost one member from my family. My uncle passed away in this incident. We are sad for that. Thank you very much for supporting me. Please keep praying for me and all of us. 



Next, a letter from my Sagar. In this letter, he is responding to the letter I wrote about attending my uncle and new aunt's wedding. I asked each of my children to share about wedding ceremonies and customs from their country. Sagar went through the whole process. I loved hearing about Indian weddings. Then, the 2nd paragraph was almost a word for word repeat of his last letter, but it's still cool to read about what his project has been able to provide for the children.


Dear Sponsor, 

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so happy to write this letter to you! How are you? Thank you very much for your letters. 

I am so happy about your uncle's marriage. I would like to tell you about my country's weddings. In my country weddings are very traditional. The groom wears a suit and and the bride wears a sari with a veil. At the beginning of the ceremony the groom stands up in the front, by the pastor. A song sung by group of church and bride walked between the guest to meet her groom at the front. The pastor gave a short sermon and talk about family life and commitment. Then bride and groom share vows with each other. They are telling about love and faithfulness with each other. In the wedding, groom and bride wear rings for each other. After wedding we have big party to the guests who are attending marriage. 

I am studying in 7th grade and everyday I am going to school to complete my daily homework. Everyday I am going to project center learning gospel songs and stories at my project center. They give me school bag, uniform, books, notebooks, and raincoat. It's very good. I have attended a medical camp at my project center and checked my blood group and did HIV test. They give me well balanced diet foods. It's very good diet. I am so happy to say about my project center. Today we learned about A, B, C, D vitamins at my project center. I am very fine! Please pray for my family and project center. May God bless you and your family!

Your Loving Child,


Last, but not least, I heard from Kalpesh. Man, I just love my Indian kiddos. This love all started when I was assigned to Kalpesh, almost two years ago. In this letter, Kalpesh is telling me about his school. I recently learned that his best friend's name is also Kalpesh. I asked him if that caused any confusion at school. This letter answers that question for me. 


Dearest Sister Kayla,

My family greeting to you in the loving name of Jesus Christ. I am very glad to receive your letters, photographs, and to hear many more things about you and your family. Thank yo so much for everything. By the love and grace of our Lord, and through your prayers, I am doing well. How are you and your students doing? Say hello to them for me. 

Here, it is rainy season going on and my school restarted on June 17th and I am very happy to join school again. Now I am studying in the 6th class. All the 52 students are only in my class. In our class, there are 4 divisions and in that, more than 60 students in a class. My friend Kalpesh is studying in the 7th class, so there is no confusion in class. 

Before this, I heard the story about Daniel, but once again this story washed my brain about trust in God. Also thanks a lot for the encouraging wonderful example of caterpillar turning into butterfly. Please pray for me that I may know more about Jesus and strongly believe in Him. May God help you in your work. 

Your Younger Brother,


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Honduras Tuesday: Worship, Honduran Style

I don't have a lot of words to say today. I think that's okay, because lately, my Honduras posts have been full of words. I've blabbed on and on and one, because I've just had so much to say. But, when it comes to my experience on Sunday morning, during this trip, I found myself at a loss for words. I was attending a church service in Honduras.

The church was small. It was hot. There was no air conditioning. People were sweaty. I didn't understand most of what was being said. But you know what, it was absolutely amazing.

We were welcomed into the church by the pastor's wife and the worship leader:

We sang: 

We watched beautiful girls dance. It was over 90 degrees and they were in long sleeves, long pants, and draping fabric. They danced for over an hour and never seemed to tire: 

We heard a wonderful sermon, with responses of "Gloria a Dios!" and "Amen!" ringing out every few minutes or so. During the sermon, I also got to lock eyes with a sweet baby boy. 

Have you ever seen kids rush to look up scripture as the pastor preached on it? I haven't. 

(Photo Credit to Honduras Tour Members)

After the sermon, we all gathered in a circle for more singing. It was very emotional to see everyone face to face as we praised God, some in Spanish, some in English. 

Then, we all shared in communion together. It was truly a loaves and fishes moment. Crackers were passed around. As we neared the last people in the circle, crackers were broken, and then broken again, to make sure that everyone received something. 

And, of course, you can never go wrong with so many cute kids to look at: 

If this worship experience is even remotely close to what it will be like in heaven, worshiping with people from all nations, I am so excited to get there!  

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Ugandan Friends!

Today, I logged onto my account and saw two new faces! A couple of weeks ago, I lost a correspondent child and asked for a child from Uganda to be added to my account. Well, today I got two of them. Surprise!

Meet Brenda. Isn't she lovely?

She is 14 years old. She lives with her grandparents, who both work as farmers. She is in 7th grade. She has a very long list of chores and an equal sized list of hobbies and interests. She seems to be a very busy young lady. 

And now, onto the newest boy of my family. This is Derrick: 

He will turn 11 years old next month. He lives with his father, who works as a driver, and his mother, who works as a farmer. Derrick is in 4th grade. Like Brenda, he seems to like everything and does everything at home. Busy kids in Uganda. 

I am so excited to welcome these two to my family! Now, time to go write some letters! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Wedding Talk from Albania

This week, I have received 2 letters from Albania, one from Xhuliano and one from Florenc. Believe it or not, they were both responding to the letter I wrote to them in June about attending my uncle's wedding. For being two preteen/teenage boys, they seem to be pretty keen on details and clothing. I really love these boys!


My Dear Friend, 

I was very happy the day I received the letter you sent me, with all the beautiful words you wrote, and all the happy thoughts. 

I was very happy you spent a happy week. I hope you spend that way all the weeks. 

Greetings for your uncle and his wife. May they be happy happy. God bless them and may they be a united couple forever. 

I loved the picture of you with your sister. It was a beautiful picture and you looked great! Your dresses were amazing and my mom loved them as well. That's the way she wears them when we have weddings. We do our weddings the same way you do yours there. We have a wedding her on August 8th, our father's cousin is marrying. It is taking place in a restaurant by the sea and I hope mom and dad will have a nice time, just like you had my amazing friend. 

It is Ramadan month this month and we pray every day for you, for my friend, for your family, and all my relatives. God bless you and may you be happy everyday of your life. 

I also went on a World Vision activity day. We had such a nice time. Greetings to World Vision and greetings to you too my friend. God bless you. 




Dear Sponsor, 

I was very happy to receive your letter. I am doing fine. 

We are having a very hot and dry summer. Our village is located in a valley surrounded by hills. At our place, we do not have a warming system. We have a simple wood stove. How is everybody in your family? 

You looked beautiful in those pictures you sent. I like your smiles. Your uncle in his black suit and his bride in the white dress were beautiful. The wedding way of dressing is the same here too. We will attend my aunt's wedding on July 28th and I will take some pictures with her and send them to you. 

Thank you for the gift. I like them. 

I hope that you will enjoy this letter. 

With Love,


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One Word: Color

On Monday, Compassion sent me an email with the inspiration for this week's Blog Month topic. It said to post on one of the following words: Hope, Poverty, Silence, Sacrifice.

After thinking about it for 3 days, not one of those words was opening doors in my mind. I just could not think of something good to write about.

Then today, I overheard somebody near me say to a friend, "I encourage my child not to notice or acknowledge skin color."

And look, I know that this mother is trying to be politically correct and raise her child to be somebody that does not judge somebody based on the color of their skin. But when I thought about her comment of encouraging her child not to notice it, all I could think was, "That's a shame." 

Because...well...I love skin color. Have you ever looked around and noticed how many different skin tones there are? It's amazing! I like to look at skin tones and then think of things in my life that I love that are the same color as that skin tone.

There's skin so dark that my mind wanders to dark chocolate, shots of espresso, and beautifully clear nighttime skies.

There's skin that makes me think of creamy milk chocolate, baking brownies, and making mud pies as a child.

There's the beautiful skin tones that make me think of good things to eat. Things like toffee, pecans, and hazelnuts. 

There are shades that remind me of creamy caramel, brown sugar, and fresh baked banana bread. 

There are skin tones that awaken my senses and make me think of various spices that I use in the kitchen. I'm reminded of cinnamon, ginger, cumin, and curry powder. 

As the color of skin gets lighter, my mind wanders still. I think of peaches and cream on a hot summer day, waving wheat fields, and freshly baked bread right from the oven. 

Then, there is skin so fair, that I can't help but think of things like soft cotton, undyed taffy, white sandy beaches, porcelain dolls, and big fluffy clouds. 

And guess what, you guys?! God has created each and every single one of these skin colors and he has put them on each and every one of his precious children. 

Don't you think that's remarkable? 

His beautiful creations live all of our world and so many of these precious children need your help. For only $38 a month, you can sponsor one of these colorful children. This money provides them with good food, clean water, quality education, healthcare, and teachings about Jesus. Even more importantly, you are able to write these children letters. Tell them how much you love them, tell them they are important, they matter, and that God has created them (and their beautiful skin color) to be unique and perfect.

I want you to visit Compassion International's Page and choose a child to sponsor. You will not regret it for even one second. 

You will see a big array of beautiful colors on that page, ranging from espresso to hazelnut, from caramel to white sand. 

Each created in God's image. Each beautiful and needing love. 

Please make a difference in the life of a child today.