Monday, December 30, 2013

Gifts and Dreams

I have two letters to share with you today. Jackpot!

First up, I received a letter from Elias over the weekend. I was glad to hear from him because it had been over 7 months since I received his first letter in May. This letter was sharing the things he was able to buy with a money gift that his financial sponsor sent him. I'm glad to hear that he and his family were able to get many things that they needed. The letter also came with a picture, which is awesome, of course.

His letter was dated September 5th, 2013.


Dear Kayla, 

How are you my dear guardian? My family and I are doing very well. Praise God. I study hard and help my family as well. I also attend my Sunday school once a week. I made progress in my schooling. Thank you about all your charity. Praise God. With the money, I could get hair oil, soaps, cereals, cakes, flour, shoes, and clothes. Thank you very much. I also could get school materials and uniforms. I helped me to learn successfully. Thank you about your charity. God bless you. Pray for my studies. See you in my next letter. Bye bye!! 


I love seeing all the cooking materials they were able to buy. I wonder what his mom is preparing in this picture. From what I can see, the big wheat bag is full of clothing, which is awesome! Also, it looks like they had some money left over to keep for further purchases. What a generous gift from Elias's financial sponsor! 


Today I had a wonderful first day back to work after an extended vacation. I work as a nanny and the family went to visit family for two weeks. I sure missed the kiddos and I was happy to see them again today. We had a great day, especially playing with all the new Christmas toys. Gotta love that!

Then, when I got home, I found a letter from my sweet girl, Dafyne, who lives in Brazil. She wrote on the My Dreams template. It was very interesting to read her answers to the questions.

This letter was written September 6th, 2013.


My Dreams

1. When I grow up I want to be a: Teacher

2. One day I would like to visit: Where my sponsor lives

3. I would like to help my family: To buy a house for my mother because she lives at her mother's house. 

4. My greatest dream is to: Grow up and help my family 

5. I would like to meet my sponsor because: I don't know her and I will take her to see my house. 

Questions for my Sponsor:  Have you accomplished your dreams? What's your biggest dream? What place would you like to visit? 


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Abu Wants to Be a Footballer

Earlier this week, I got a letter from Abu. I can't figure out the letter writing system with him and his community. Sometimes I hear from him every 2 months and then sometimes I go 4-5 months between letters. I last got a letter from him at the end of the summer, so it was nice to get this one. I love this kid.

He's responding to a letter that I sent in October and he received in November. I'm not sure what happened to all of the letters I wrote in the late summer/fall. I hope that they didn't get lost.



Your letter dated on the 4th of October arrived safely on the 13th of November, 2013. 

Abu and his grandparents were happy to still know that your family are well and that you have a new job. They give thanks to God for his wonders in your life and pray that he continues to bless you all. 

They also saw the photos of the football players (I sent him some soccer playing cards). Abu says that he would like to be like one of them one day. 

The weather here is hot in the day and cold at night and sometimes it rains a little. Farmers who grew rice this year are now harvesting, but the harvest is poor. 

Once more, Abu and grandparents say thank you and wish you a merry Christmas in advance. 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Wonderful Christmas Gift

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, I received a wonderful surprise in the mail. It was my very first letter from Enatenesh. I was assigned her as a correspondence child in July, so I've been eagerly awaiting her letter for quite awhile. It makes me sad that Compassion eliminated the first letter policy for correspondence children. Correspondence sponsors like to learn the basic information about family and interests too. But, oh well, I digress.

It seems that Enatenesh's financial sponsor has sent her a couple financial gifts. I got to hear all about them in this letter and I got two pictures! Both of the pictures included her whole family. Really, what a wonderful treasure. Merry Christmas to me!

Of course, since it is Christmas day, I want to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas!

Here is the lovely letter from my beautiful young lady:


Dear Kayla,

Dear my sponsor. How are you doing? My family and I are fine, praise to God. I thank you for everything you have done. God bless you. I am learning my education and Sunday school. I bought trousers. My family bought sheep and food as well. The rest of the money is saved in the bank. Thank you so much. What is the weather in your country? Ours is raining. I love you. Bye. 



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Introducing My New Sponsored Child!

Gather 'round friends, I have quite a story to share with you today. 

Our story starts in 2012, when a man named David traveled to Nicaragua to visit his sponsored child, Antonio. When David returned from his trip, he wrote an entry in his blog and shared pictures from his trip. After reading David's words about Antonio and his family, my heart went out to this little boy. 

Antonio's mom is my age, right around 25 years old. Antonio is 9 years old. I could be Antonio's mother. It's hard to imagine, for me, but it's true. I could have given birth at age 15-16 and had myself a son that was Antonio's age. This woman is a superhero. 

Antonio now lives with his mother and his equally young stepfather. Together, they brought a sweet baby boy into the world, so Antonio is now a big brother. 

Then, I read David's account of Antonio's home. He spoke of it as a glorified box, a shack, a very un-sturdy home. Wobbly walls and roof. He mentioned it not having any running water and the family's toilet was simply a hole that was dug into the ground behind the house. 

My heart ached for this family. But, despite all of those things, Antonio is a wonderful little boy and seems to just shine right off the computer screen in pictures: 

In November of this year, David announced that he will be moving to the Philippines to work with an organization that helps children and families. He has a wonderful opportunity to do God's work in that country and will be teaching children there. He announced that he will no longer have a way to support his sponsored children and asked his family and the O.C community to take over the sponsorships of his children, if they were able. 

I have to be honest with you here, I had no intention of sponsoring another child. I thought my family was big enough, I was excited to be in a place in my life where I finally had a little extra spending money, excuses, excuses. But, then I remembered Antonio. I remembered his hard story and his sweet smile that lit up my heart and I knew that I could sponsor him. That I would sponsor him. 

I talked to David, and after a couple short weeks, Antonio is now on my account. He is here for me to love and get to know. I am beyond blessed. 

I want to wish David all the best in his work and mission in the Philippines. I know that God has great plans for his life and I'm excited to hear updates along the way. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Three Letters in One Day

I have to tell you that one of my biggest joys in life is opening my mailbox and seeing mail from my sponsored children inside. Maybe you can relate. There really just isn't too many more things that make me happier than receiving mail from them.

Monday, I opened the mailbox and saw three cream colored envelopes. Inside, were three letters from three of my boys. This time, there was mail from Wendjy, Sandesh, and Kalpesh.

First up, I was shocked to hear from Wendjy again, since I just received a long letter from him about two weeks ago. Though, I can't complain, he's a great guy.

This letter was written October 26th.


Dear Kayla,

I am very happy every time I find your letters and the opportunity to communicate with you. How are you, your family, and your activities? I hope that everything is going well for you by God's grace. My family and I are doing well also by the grace of God. I want to tell you also that I am doing well in school so that I can succeed. I am very happy to know some things about your country and I am very happy because you want to know some about my country. I want to tell you a little about my country, Haiti. Our population is about 10 million inhabitants. The capital is Port au Prince. We celebrate our independence day every January 1st. The national hymn is La Dessalinienne. Our languages are French and Creole. Our principal religion is Christianity. May God bless you! 



Next, I will share the letter from Sandesh. He is responding to the same letter that Wendjy is, which is letter where I shared some facts about the United States. I have actually been getting similar letters from some of my children recently. Is does amaze me, I must say, that it takes about the same amount of time for letters to get from here to Haiti as they do to get from here to India. Either way, I'm glad to have these answers.

This letter was written October 5th.

Dear Kayla,

Praise the Lord! Greetings to you in almighty God Jesus. I am Priyanka, child development facilitator, writing this letter on behalf of Sandesh. 

He got your letter and was very happy reading and listening about you and your country. You're really brilliant and very clever. You are a very, very good writer. 

How do you do? How is your family? Hope you and your family are doing very good. He is very happy because from so many, you have selected him for the sponsorship. He is very thankful for the help you have given him. Sandesh feels very lucky because he got a really brilliant sponsor like you. He feels really very happy and enjoys with your letters. Sandesh regularly comes to our project and school. He is specifically inviting you to visit India, our country. 

Population: 1.2 billion
National Anthem: Jan Gan Man
Capital: Delhi 
National Bird: Peacock 
National Game: Hockey & Cricket
Independence Day: August 15th

Our flag is colored in three colors. First orange indicates how strong our army! 2nd white indicates peace. 3rd green indicates prosperity. In India there are 35 different states, different languages, and different cultures. All stay together. He stay in Maharashtra. 

Thank you for all your help and support. Your's in Christ!


Lastly, Kalpesh wrote me a newsy letter about some things that he has been up to. I love how you can see his interests and personality through this letter.

This letter was written October 11th.

Dear Sister Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of our savior, Christ Jesus. By the grace and love of our Lord, I am very fine. I hope and pray that you are also doing well. In this academic year I'm studying in the 6th grade and from October 23rd our first semester exams have been started. There are five divisions on 6th class and boys and girls are seated on separate benches. It is compulsory to wear a school uniform, so I wear it daily, except Wednesday. 

There will be an inter-project sports competition during Dipavali vacations, so we are practicing for it. I will take part in Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, and shot-put & discus throw. I request you to pray for the sports meet. 

How are your students? And what about your other job? I think your students are very smart and clever, they are solving problems. May God help you in your job and bless you very much. I love you so much. 

Your Younger Brother,

Here is the game Kabaddi. I don't quite understand it, but it looks like a mix between tag and wrestling to me.

Here is the game Kho-Kho. Again, I have no idea how it really works, but it appears to be a form of tag, with some strategy involved. 


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Life Changing Letters from Eric

On Friday, I received two letters from Eric, my young man in Uganda. I have been corresponding with Eric for two years now and I consider him like a younger brother to me. He has told me a few times that I'm like a mother to him, but seeing as he's 18 and I'm 24, it's not a feeling that I have. Of course, I'm not going to tell him that. :) I often sign my letters as his older sister.

Anyway, these two letters had some pretty powerful statements in them and it, yet again, has shown me how important it is to write letters to these kids. The encouragement we provide in our letters can truly be life changing for them. I write faithfully to all of my kids and Eric has shown me the most what a difference writing can make. If recall this post that I wrote about Eric almost exactly a year ago, it truly does show how much writing has encouraged Eric in his school work. His handwriting is now confident, neat, and error-free.

But, now we are beyond that. In his most recent letters, he says some statements that really just reminded me why I sponsor children and why I choose to encourage my children through writing. I'm sure you'll be able to find the statements, but I'm going to bold them for you anyway, just in case.

Side note: The only complaint I have about Eric's letters, is that he writes them, I'm assuming in 1st person, and the translator doesn't directly translate them. Instead, he/she uses the 3rd person when translating. It makes it seem more impersonal.


Dear Kayla,

Receive love greetings from Eric, your friend. Eric loves you so much and appreciates for the support rendered to him. Eric prays for you day and night that one time he hopes to meet you physically. Eric says that the day you come, he will slaughter for you a goat. 

He is grateful for you and especially for your prayers towards his family. Eric says that he is back to school from a short break. This is third term and he requests you to pray for him to pass to another year. 

Eric sends greetings to the entire family members and the message is that he loves you all. God bless you. 



Dear Kayla, 

Receive calvary greetings from your friend Eric. Eric says that he is doing well and studying hard at school. Eric says that he loves you so, so much and that he is happy for your great love towards him. He says that you have made him enjoy life and school again because of your care. He says that may God richly bless you. 

He appreciates for the recent gift he received. With this gift, Eric says that he was able to buy trousers, a shirt, food, and scholastic materials. Eric says that you are doing a great thing in his life. Thank you so much. May God give you strength in whatever you do. 

Eric informs you that the project staff love him so much and that whatever you send through the project, he receives. He sends you a bible verse: John 1:7. 

Eric sends greetings from his dear mother and brother. They are fine. He adds that the sun is shining here in Kisoro, Uganda and everything is dry. He is soon doing exams and requests you to pray for him. 

He concludes by sending his greetings to your family members. God bless you. 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Three Teenage Boys Need Sponsors

My heart always cries out for the older boys. I'm not sure why, but it's where God calls me. Isn't it interesting how he calls us all to a certain thing? Be it a certain country, an age group, or a specific gender, he calls us to that area and amazingly, all of the areas are covered. I love seeing the niche that God has placed us all in. 

Like I said, for me, I'm called to the teenage boys. From my experience, teenage boys are very expressive writers. Plus, they always seem to wait much longer than other children. Though, the three boys I'm posting today aren't red heart kids. They've just grabbed me for whatever reason. Here they are: 


Ismael has been sponsored!


This young man seems to have such a gentle spirit.

His name is Yan (most likely pronounced John) Carlos. He is 16 years old and is also from Honduras. His birthday is November 30th. Yan lives part of the year at Niños en Superacion Student Center. At home, he lives with his father and his mother. His father is employed as a laborer and his mother maintains the home. Everyday duties for Yan include gathering firewood, caring for animals and running errands.For fun, Yan enjoys soccer, playing ball games and bicycling. He attends church activities, Bible class and youth group regularly and is in middle school where his performance is below average. 


There is just something about his eyes. 

Meet Judson. He is 16 years old and lives in Haiti. His birthday is April 28th. Judson lives with his mother. His mother is sometimes employed as a laborer. Judson works at home carrying water, buying or selling in the market and caring for children. There are 4 children in the family. For fun, Judson enjoys soccer, playing with cars and telling stories. He attends church activities and camp regularly and is in primary school where his performance is average.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Things Are Returning Back to Normal

Today I received a letter from Khushi. Khushi is 10 years old (was 9 when she wrote this letter) and lives in Northern India, in the Himalayan mountains. Her community, and many other communities in Northern India, were greatly affected by heavy rains and severe flooding early in the summer of this year. Khushi wrote me a letter telling me that in the flood, her uncle died and many things were destroyed. I'm happy to hear, in this letter, that things are better now.

Khushi writes in English so there is no need for translation. Gotta love that.

In July, I sent all my kids a letter about the United States and shared many facts about the country. Khushi copied by exact list and answered questions about India. Super cool!


My Dearest Sponsor Kayla, 

Greetings from India. I hope you are well. Me and my family are also doing well. I am so much thankful to you for your country. Thank you for appreciating me. I really love learning about you. Your country is great. I am continue going to my school and also to the project program in the evening. I am happy and thankful to God that I can play, have fun, and learn together with friends. I thank God that I have a great friend that is you. Sometimes we have drawing, singing, and painting competitions. I love all these because I always win. (Well, that's a good reason to like them) I also love to learn more about God and Jesus. They teach us new stories, bible verses, etc. 

This is October and weather is so good. Rain has stopped and we are preparing to sow wheat crop in the fields. Now the conditions are normal as everything had become so difficult during the flood in June. We all are well now. Here are some of the information about my country: 

Country: India
Population: 1 billion
National Bird: Peacock 
National Flower: Lotus
Independence Day: 15th August
Capital City: Delhi 
National Song: Jah Gah Manadhinayah Jayetle
Main Language: Hindi
Main Religion: Hindu 


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Jhon Writes Again

I love how often Jhon writes. I hear from him every two months, or less, without fail. I last heard from Jhon on October 10th. Like always, he had much to say and shared many great things about his life. He's such a good pen pal, I must say. He answers my questions, shares new information, and is interested in the things I have to say. He's a great guy.

Jhon is 14 years old and is from Bolivia.


Dear Friend Kayla, 

Hello. I greet you with the peace of the Lord. Thanks for sending me the letter and photo. You look very beautiful. 

In my country of Bolivia, I live in Santa Cruz city. The flag of my country is red, yellow, and green. Main religion: Christianity. Main Language: Spanish. 

In school I am learning physics, chemistry, and math. In my church there are not many babies, but kids go down with the teacher and the tutors stay in church. 

My dog Princess takes care of the house. She likes playing with a soccer ball. 

I imagine the ocean is nice like paradise. 

In  my church, there is a group on Saturday night for young people and we play Biblical Outrage (I checked the translation and it's right. I wonder what kind of game that is). We learn verses and other fun things. 

I say goodbye with the peace of the Lord. May God bless you and your family. I will be always praying for you. Pray for my family. 



Friday, December 6, 2013

Update from Karanja

I received a new photo and some new information for my boy in Kenya. Karanja is now 14 years old. Here is a collage I made of the three photos I have of him now:

You can see him age from 11 years old to 14 1/2 years old. I think he looks so healthy, especially compared to his first photo. He's also getting so tall!

Most of his information stayed the same, as it appears to be the norm. I would like to see the interests update when my children's photos update, but that has never been the case. Perhaps all of my kids just have the same interests still. That is definitely a possibility. 

His grade in school did update, though. In Kenya, the school years starts in January and Karanja will be starting 8th grade. His graduation date, from Compassion has also been set. He will graduate in July of 2021, right when he's about to turn 22 years old. We have quite a bit of time together still. :)  

Any updates for your kids recently? 

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Letter from Maria's Pastor

Like usual, I got a new child, looked up the pastor letter from her project, and now I'm sharing it with you. I love the insight into her life and community.  Here is what Maria's pastor has to say:


Dear Sponsor,

Greetings from Ceará, Brazil.

My name is Paulo de Moraes Filho. I am the pastor at Igreja Betesda de Granja Portugal (Betesda Church at Granja Portugal), which ministers to your sponsored . I am grateful for your sponsorship, support, prayers and love dedicated to life of . May God bless you! 

I would like to present you with some data in order to help you understand more about the community where our children live, as well as the Compassion program they attend. Our program is causing a great impact in the children's lives. Currently we have 820 sponsored children, whereas 80 are registered but do not yet have a sponsor. 

Our children are happy attending the Espaço Vida Feliz (Happy Place Project), because they usually have to deal with many stressing needs at their homes and community. There is a high unemployment rate, and even the people who are employed depend on odd jobs. Usually these jobs do not pay enough to cover the family's basic needs.

Our children are exposed to the risk of being drawn to drug dealing, whether as a user or worker, because of all that the drugs can offer them. Our children go through the very delicate situation of violence - today they share the same community with gang members and are subject to joining them, too. 

The children live in very small houses, but with lots of people. There is no basic sanitation, and as a consequence many children suffer from breathing diseases, dengue fever and other kinds of illnesses. The children also have great spiritual needs. There are other Christians in our community as well, but together we are the minority. 

I am thankful to God for our employees and teachers at the center. for they are all Christians and dedicate themselves to the children. They really love these children and know them by their names. We teach the kids about personal hygiene, health and good behavior. We offer them tutoring classes, but most importantly, we teach them about Jesus. We pray for all of our children and teach them about the Bible. Nowadays, some families are part of the church as the result of the work we develop with children. 

My challenge is to serve the community in the name of our Lord and Savior by fighting the social injustice, violence and every kind of oppression. It is thrilling to see the children, teenagers and youth learning about Jesus here at Happy Place Project.

I would like you to know that your personal support as sponsor means a lot to our children. They need to feel loved and valued. We tell them their sponsor's name, and every time letters or pictures arrive they become very happy. That makes them feel special. 

Please pray for . And pray for us at Espaço Vida Feliz, as we work in favor of these children so that we can help them know Jesus and grow healthy and educated. Sometimes the journey is hard, but it is rewarding to know that we are sowing eternal values in the children's hearts. That is why we love teaching them. Thank you for being a partner in this ministry.

May God bless you,

Paulo Moraes Filho