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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Letters from Indonesia, Honduras, and Haiti

Today, I was surprised with three letters when I opened up my mailbox. Just yesterday, I was talking with some people about how I have only heard from 6 of my children (out of 29) this month. Well, today that number jumped up to 9. Not a bad letter month, after all, considering I did hear from quite a few of them last month.

First up, a letter from Sagitaria. She is 9 years old and lives in Indonesia. Her letter was short, but had good information.

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Dear Kayla,

Yes, I go to church every Sunday. My church is on the side of the road. Every Sunday, I go to church on foot. I don't really understand mathematics. My favorite subject is social studies because I want to hear about Jerusalem. Vegetables that grow in my place are watercress, spinach, and long beans. 

Love, Sagitaria


Her translator wrote that the purple words translate to fish and duck. 


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Next, a letter from Celeste! I was a little disappointed, at first, that there isn't any mention of our visit in August, but it seems that she had many other things to respond to. She is responding to my letters about Independence Day, my uncle's wedding, and my questions about her school. She wrote two whole pages and then included a marvelous drawing. She must spend quite a long time on her artwork. It's always so happy and detailed. 

Celeste is 11 years old and lives in Honduras.
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Hello dear sponsor Kayla, 

I am very glad to write you another on of my beautiful letters. Thanks to God, I am doing very well and I hope that you are too. In our project, we also celebrate Independence Day, but on September 15th. Our flag has five stars and they represent the five countries in Central America, which are Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Maybe my country is not that big like yours, but we have very beautiful places. In the project, there is a lack of your country. 

I really like to play soccer a lot with my friends and classmates. I am very glad that you had fun with your dear family. Greetings to your uncle Mike and to his dear wife. Tell her that the picture is very beautiful. Also in our country, the groom wears a black suit and the bride a long, white dress. My dream is to get married just like your uncle and also do many things, which the bride and groom enjoy with their families on the special night. 

I answer your questions. I am in 4th grade and I am very proud because I got good marks. In school I am taking 12 classes. Yes, we do have a school uniform. It's a white shirt and a blue skirt. Also, blue socks and white shoes. In my school, we don't have a library. Yes, we have a sports team and we play against other schools from my village. We have a good soccer team. I imagine that you are a good teacher and how beautiful the children look. I will always be praying that God keeps pouring much wisdom. In my school we have P.E class and we do it at the soccer field that is very close. 

Goodbye with many kisses and hugs, 

Celeste


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Lastly, a LONG letter from Wendjy. He had so many wonderful things to share and I feel like I am really getting to know him, through all of the details he shared. 

Wendjy is 18 years old and lives in Haiti. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Today, I am so joyful to communicate with you. It's a great opportunity for me every time I get to do that. How are you, your health, and your activities? I trust that everything is going well with you. In answer to the questions you asked; my happiness is when I am living with my family and friends. I like listening to music a lot and to play sports. I am happy to say jokes with my friends. I write with my right hand and I shoot with my left foot. (Interesting) I got to sleep at 10:00 and I wake up at 6:00. My favorite sports are soccer and basketball. I am afraid of darkness. When I am off from school I wake up at 8:00 and I relax for awhile. I have a meal; afterwards I have a bath. I go to school at 7:00 and go back home at 2:00. After school, I have a meal, I watch T.V, and I take a nap for about one hour. I study my lessons. I study math, physics, and chemistry.

I am glad that you like the same meal as me. I am so fond of rice, vegetables, and chicken. I always ask mom or my sister to cook this meal. By 6:00 p.m, I take some walks or I visit the rest of my family and I go back home at 8:00 p.m. I listen to music of watch T.V. I like watching movies a lot. My favorite actor is Will Smith. I am living along with my mom, dad, and my siblings. But, I am now living along with an elder sister of mine in another town. I go to church every Sunday. I belong to Wesleyan Church. It consists of a good bunch of members. In my church, they play drums, piano, and guitar to worship God. Our service starts at 6:00 a.m and ends at 9:00 a.m. 

In my community, a wedding is a beautiful event. The groom wears a black or white suit. The bride wears a long dress which covers her whole body from her head to her toes and she also wears a veil over her head. After the ceremony, the organize a big feast too. I would like to get married at the age of 25 or 28. 

I want to let you know that I love God very much and I like hearing his word. I accepted Christ at the age of 9 in a decisive day organized by the project. I felt touched by the words they said about God and I found it was essential for me to accept Jesus as my personal savior. I am promoted to a superior grade and I will take an official exam. I request your prayers so that God can give me more intelligence in order to do well in school. I will be praying for you too. 

Wendjy

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Friday, November 29, 2013

A New Correspondent Child from Brazil!

I'm sure some of you noticed a new picture added to my blog last week. I'm not sure why I'm waiting so long to blog about her.

Meet Maria:




A month ago, I asked for a child from Brazil to be added to my account. I asked specifically for this because I am hoping to go on the sponsor tour with Compassion to Brazil next November. I figure, if I get to go, I can meet a special child and if I don't make it on the trip, I'll still have a wonderful child to write to. 

After about only a three week wait (I was expecting a longer wait since I was so specific) this lovely little girl was added to my account. Here is a little bit of information about her? 

Name: Maria
Age: 9
Birthday: June 11th
Grade in School: 4th
Chores: Running Errands & Cleaning
Interests: Dolls, Bicycling, Playing House, Swimming, Running, Reading, Art, Jump Rope, Listening to Music, and Telling Stories
Guardians: Father & Mother. Her father is a Health Agent. 

Project Information

Your sponsored child lives on the plains of Granja Portugal, home to approximately 53,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement floors, brick walls and tile roofs. The spoken language is Portuguese. 

The regional diet consists of beans, chicken, bread, eggs, potatoes and rice. Common health problems in this area include viruses, respiratory illnesses and worms. Most adults in Granja Portugal work as dressmakers, mechanics, trash collectors or in domestic services and earn the equivalent of $294 per month. This community has electricity and water but needs secondary schools, vocational courses and hospitals.

Your sponsorship allows the staff of Espa├žo Vida Feliz Student Center to provide your sponsored child with Bible studies, medical and dental care, special celebrations, art classes, sports, vocational training and information technology courses. The center staff will also provide reading and writing classes and educational lectures for the parents or guardians of your sponsored child.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Letters from Africa!

Today I received two letters from handsome boys in Africa!

First up, is Karanja's letters. Karanja is 14 years old and is from Kenya. He had a lot of information to share with me, especially about his family and his school.

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Dear Kayla, 

How are you? I hope you are fine. As for me, I am fine and doing well. 

I have received your letters and I am happy to hear you are fine. As for my siblings, they are doing well. I have two nephews and seven nieces. 

I am now in grade seven. My school has sixteen classrooms. We do put on a school uniform; white shirts, gray shorts, and maroon sweaters. We do not have a library in our school. We do have sports teams. I am on the volleyball team. We do not have computers in our school but the government promised to implement them soon. We all sit together in our classroom. Children in our country start to attend school at the age of four. At my level, in primary school, children graduate at the age of fourteen. 

Thanks a lot for the support you give me. God bless you and always pray for me, like I pray for you. 

Your Faithful Friend,
Karanja

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The next letter is from Kwizera. He is 9 years old and lives in Rwanda. He wrote this letter on the "What I Like Best Template". With Compassion, kids write on template letters until they are 9. The next letter I get should be on stationary for the middle ages, typically 9-12, or something like that. I guess we'll see in a few months! 

On the back of the letter, the paragraph long message was written by Kwizera's mother. I love that his family members get involved. 

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What I Like Best

1. The class I like best in school is: English

2. The teacher I like best at school is Jeremie because he teaches me English. 

3. The place I like best to visit it: Uganda

4. What I like best to do with my family is: Wash Utensils 

5. What I like best to do with my friend is: Play Football

6. The game I like best is: Football

7. The chore I like best is: Sweep Cleaning the House

8. What I like best about the project is: Their gifts and they care for me

Dear Kayla, 

I first of all greet you for your letters. I and my family are doing well, except my father who suffers from pain in the chest. We'd like you to keep praying for us. I have 3 sisters. We have finished exams and I'll be in Primary 4 next year. 

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Longest Waiting Kids: The Fight Begins Again

It was absolutely amazing to watch the Longest Waiting Compassion kids go from over 1,800 to just a few over the last few weeks. Our internet family truly reached out and ended the wait for some many beautiful children. But, the fight is not over yet.

This week, Compassion added more children that have been waiting over a year for a sponsor. These children's packets have been out at events and in the hands of advocates and have not found their sponsored, so they have been rotated back to the internet.

I'm sorry if you don't enjoy seeing me do posts like this, especially if you are not in a position to sponsor. I am not in a position to sponsor again either, but I sure can pray, and pray for these kids is what I shall do. I found four beautiful children that I will pray for until they are sponsored. If you come across this post and sponsor one of these children, please let me know. I would love to talk to you about it!

All four of these children have been waiting over 400 days for a sponsor.


In less than a day since posting this, Michael has been sponsored!



Such a serious little face! This is Aracely. She is from Ecuador. She just turned 6 on November 3rd. Aracely lives with her parents and two siblings. Her father is employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home. Aracely helps at home by making beds and running errands. Playing with dolls, jumping rope, and riding a bike are her favorite things to do. She has average performance in kindergarten and she also regularly attends church activities. 






So has Daham!




And the birthday boy was sponsored today too!




Monday, November 18, 2013

My Son, Sagar

Staying true to Compassion's new system, I have been hearing from Sagar every two months (or less) on the dot. I last heard from him on September 19th and I got a letter from him today, on November 18th. Perfect, eh?

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Dear Kayla,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I am happy to write this letter to you. How are you? Thank you very much for your letters. I am fine and my family is also doing good. 

I like caterpillar example. Yes, it's true when Jesus comes in our heart we are gonna be totally changed. (I wrote a letter about caterpillars changing into butterflies and how our hearts change too when we accept Jesus in our hearts.)

I am going to school everyday by bicycle. My favorite subject is Marathi. I struggle with English subject. I wear a uniform to school. Our school time is 7:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m. We spend time learning, eating food, and playing outside. Yes, we have time to play outside during my school time. I like to play football. I like the verses which you have sent. 

In center we enjoyed a lot in the Play for Peace program. (Anybody know what this is?) We celebrated Independence Day on August 15th. We took part in the competition on that day. We learnt a lot in the curriculum activities. I am so happy to say about my project center. Please pray for my project center. God bless you and your family. 

Thinking of you. 

Your Loving Son,
Sagar

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My Son... *heart melts*

Friday, November 15, 2013

November Birthdays

I meant to post this at the beginning of the month, but you know how it is. Life is busy. Blah, blah, blah. But, now that the month is half over, I want to share with you the kids in my sponsorship family who have birthdays in November. Two of the birthdays have passed and there are two more birthdays coming up.


First up is Elias. He turned 15 years old on November 3rd. I was assigned Elias as a correspondent child in April and I received my first letter from him in May. I have not heard from him since, so it's definitely been hard getting to know him. But, I write to him faithfully and I hope my letters are bringing some encouragement to his life. Happy Birthday, my friend!


My little buddy from Rwanda! Kwizera, also nicknamed Mr. Serious, by me, turned 9 years old today, on November 15th. Every photo I've gotten from him, Kwizera has had the same serious expression. Even when a man from O.C went to his project and visited him. In the pictures, Kwizera's dad was all smiles, but Kwizera was, well, Mr. Serious. Haha. However, I love this little boy. He writes long, detailed letters and often includes wonderful artwork or extra special things. Happy birthday, my dear. I hope you had a great day!


Next up, this beautiful young lady from Ethiopia, Enatenesh, will turn 17 years old on November 17th. It'll be her golden birthday! I've never heard exactly why this is special and what you're supposed to do to celebrate turning the same age as your birth date, but it's exciting nonetheless. :) I was assigned Enatenesh as a correspondent child in July and have not heard from her yet. Ethiopia seems to have such a slow letter writing process, from my experience anyway. However, I adore this young woman already and I can't wait to get to know her more. Happy birthday, girlie! 


Lastly, little Solomon, from India, will turn 8 years old on November 20th. This little guy has a special place in my heart. It was a slow start to hear from him, due to him changing projects, but now I get cute letters with great artwork. He's such a sweet boy and he has a wonderful tutor who is great at updating me about Solomon. I hope that Solomon has a blessed birthday! 


Whew! That's a lot of birthdays! 


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Long-Awaited Letter from Melaku!

When I was assigned Melaku as a correspondent child last December, I knew that his graduation date was set for just a year later. I knew that I would not get to much time to write to him and get to know him and that was okay. I last received a letter from him in May and then no more came. As the end of this year came to an end, I had convinced myself that I was probably not going to hear from again before he graduated. I vowed to continue to write to him and then to write him a wonderful final letter before January.

Imagine my surprise when a letter from him arrived today! In this letter, he was answering some of the questions I asked him about his community and Compassion, from his perspective. It's always great to hear information where where a Compassion child lives.

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Hello Kayla,

How are you doing? My family and I are doing very well. I hope you and your family are doing great. I read the letters you wrote me. Thank you. You asked me some questions, like What is the job of most of the people? Here, most of the people earn a living by daily labor, like carpentry, construction work, cobblestone work, etc. Few people are engaged in civil service. For your second questions: Most of the people travel on foot or by horse cart, small number of people ride bicycles and few people, who are wealthy, travel by car. For students, there is a small vehicle called "bajaj" (a small, three wheeled taxi), it is cheaper price. For your 3rd question: Compassion supports needy people to attend school, give clothes, and do lots of things. For your 4th question: Since I joined Compassion the most important thing for me is being able to attend school. I also enjoy having picnics. I received soap, lotion, notebooks, etc. I hope you will have great Christmas. 

Melaku

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Boys Waiting Over a Year for a Sponsor

Since my last post alone, because of Compassion's big fight for these longest-waiting kids, the number of children who have been waiting for more than 6 months for a sponsor has dropped dramatically. The website alone has gone from over 1,800 kids waiting, to now just over 500. I think that is amazing!

Let's keep up the great work!

Today I want to share three boys with you who have been waiting over a year for a sponsor. Can you sponsor one of these boys? Do you know somebody who would be a great sponsor for these boys? Please pray for and share these boys.


Samuel has been sponsored!




David has a sponsor too!



Krisno has also been sponsored! Yay!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Great Letter from Solomon

Wow, it's only the 5th day of November and today, I received my 3rd letter of the month! It's been nice seeing a cream colored envelope in the mail everyday. :)

Today, I received a letter from my boy Solomon, from India. A few months ago, Solomon changed projects. During that time of transition, I didn't hear from him at all, presumably while he settled into his new project. Now, I am getting letters far more regularly.

This letter was written on September 4th, so it only took two months to get to me. The front is the "Festivals and Holidays" template. On the back, there is a message from Solomon.

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1. August 15th is our country's Independence Day

2. My favorite festival is Christmas

3. My favorite food to eat during festival celebrations is Chicken Biriyani 

4. I love to wear shirts and pants during festival celebrations

5. During holidays, I like to attend Vacation Bible School/Summer Camps

Dear Sponsor, 

Greetings to you in Jesus's name. How are you? I am Mrs. Umakumar, project staff, writing to you on behalf of Solomon. He and his family are doing well. Thank you very much for nice stickers, puzzle, picture of dog & cat. He received all the letters. I explained in details, word by word, all the letters to him. I will write some of the answers to your questions about the project and how he spends time there. 1. In the spiritual area - bible stories and memory verses. 2. Physically, parts of the body. 3. Cognitive - taught about drawing skill. 4. Socially, gift awareness (??) . He is enjoying having good food and the activities. In school, he will go to school at 8:30 a.m by van. He will learn all subjects taught in class and he will be back to home at 3:30 p.m. Remaining answers will be sent in next letter. Please pray for him. He will pray for you. 

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Monday, November 4, 2013

First Letter from Taye

I was assigned Taye, as a correspondent child, at the beginning of June. It's been a long wait, but today I received his first letter.

I have to admit it, but I'm a little bummed. This letter doesn't really tell me too much. Usually first letters tell about the child's family, interests, favorites, etc. Perhaps his first letter has been lost in the mail somewhere and this is his 2nd letter. I hope that as time goes on, Taye and I can develop a good relationship.

Well, here's the letter:

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Dear Kayla,

Grace and peace to you, dear sponsor. How are you? He and his family are good. He received your support and as the result of your support, he is promoted to the next class. Now, he is ready for the new academic year. Thank you for your support and God bless you. 

Taye

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Compassion's Urgent Need: Priority Children!

I received an email from the Compassion Advocate Network this week, which isn't unusual. I get emails from them all the time. However, this email was specifically talking about the urgent need for sponsors for a certain group of children.

At the moment, this is a record number of Priority Children waiting for a sponsor. A Priority Child is a child who has been waiting more than 6 months for a sponsor. There are over 1,000 children on the website alone who have been waiting over 180 days (most of them much longer) for a sponsor. There are probably double that at events and in the hands of advocates. Compassion is working very hard to get this high number down to a more stable place. 

A friend of mine mentioned to me how much she loves that Compassion is doing this. Compassion is not begging for sponsors so their business can have more money. Due to the sponsored children's fund, all of the children waiting for a sponsor already have all of their needs paid for and taken care of. However, this children do not have the loving and encouraging presence of a sponsor and that matters. Compassion is working very hard to make sure that each of these children is taken care of, both financially and emotionally. 

Today, I want to share three children with you. Each of these children have been waiting for over a year for a sponsor. That is over 12 months, over 365 days, without the love of a sponsor. Over a year without a letter, a picture, a note of encouragement, somebody overseas to pray for, or somebody overseas that is praying for them. I hope that the wait for these children will end very soon. 


Jessica has been sponsored!


Henrique has been sponsored!



Ramesh has also found his sponsor! 




A Long Letter from Nikko

I know that many sponsors are often leery of writing to teenage boys. They think it'll be hard to connect, hard to find things to talk about, etc. From my experience, my preteen and teenage boys are often my most chatty, friendly, and open letter writers. For those of you who are long-time readers of my blog, may I direct your attention to: Xhuliano, Florenc, Sagar, Eric, Kalpesh, Jhon, Karanja, and Fongwin. All boys/young men who write fabulous letters.

Does anybody else have that experience with their older boys?

Today, I received a letter from Nikko that proved my theory yet again. Nikko filled up the front and back of his template paper and then attached a second sheet of paper for more writing room. He shared a lot with me. I can't wait to write him back.

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Dear Miss Kayla,

First of all, I'm greeting you and your family. If you ask me, I'm doing fine by God's grace. 

Thank you for your  birthday greeting, for your letter, and for choosing to sponsor me. I know you're a good person and that God will bless you more. 

About me, I am living with my mother and younger siblings named Alma, 10 years old, Aldrin, 5 years old, Angel, 2 years old, and Jingle, 1 year old. Even though mama and papa separated, God is still good to us. Mother is a vendor. She sometimes sells peanut butter or anything she can think of. At home, I help cook rice and fetch water. 

My favorite are fried chicken with rice, colors: blue, green, red, and orange. I also like playing basketball and badminton. And my pastimes include watching TV and listening to music. Also, my favorite verse is Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

About your question of weddings. Here, it is almost the same as yours. Almost all family members and friends are there. There is also a celebration afterwards. Our birthdays greatly depend on our  budget. Sometimes it's extravagant, sometimes it's not. But we're still happy because what's important is to be healthy always.

With regards to my studies, I am now in 8th grade. We wear uniforms to school and we also have a library and many classrooms. We also have sports teams like basketball and volleyball.

Your classroom is very nice and so are the pictures that you sent. What subject do you teach? How long have you been teaching? 

I hope you will pray that we will be given protection, blessings, and good health. And I hope our friendship will last. God bless you and your work. 

Love, 
Nikko

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