Thursday, February 27, 2014

Two Letters from Xhuliano: Holiday Edition

Today, I received two letters from my dear newly-teenaged, Xhuliano. :) These letters both seem to be written about the same time, as in one, he talks about his birthday (December 28th) and in the other one, he talks about New Year's. I'm guessing they were written just a few weeks apart and mailed at the same time.

Xhuliano is only 13 years old, but he really is wise beyond his years. I love hearing his unique take on the world around him.


Dear My Wonderful Friend, 

I was very glad receiving your letter. Not only me but also my sisters were happy that day. We were glad reading it. You had written many sweet words for me there. My family is sending its greetings to you. 

I participated in an activity organized by World Vision. It was organized in a very beautiful hotel in Vlora City. My sister particpated there, too. There was a beautiful pool and the food was so delicious. We swam at that pool. Everything was beautiful there, my friend. 

I will tell you a little bit about the animals because I like them a lot. I like having any type of animal at home. I have got a sheep at home that has given birth to two cute lambs. I pamper them every day. I have even got two goats that very soon will give birth to two little goats. We are planning that the new little goats will be born at the beginning of March. I am very pleased to take care of the animals we have at home. 

On December 28th, I celebrated my 13th birthday. I have lots of dreams in my life but my mom and dad can not fulfill them because of the bad economic situation we are going through. My desire was to buy a new pair of sneakers for myself and some necessary things that we need to have at home. 

Thank you very much, my friend. God bless you. 

Lots of Love,


I want to talk about this next letter a little bit. Back in November (ish), I wrote Xhuliano a letter for his birthday. I wished him a wonderful 13th birthday and I talked about how he is now a teenager and is growing up into a wonderful young man. Xhuliano's response to me talking about him being grown up is priceless. This kid is just great. 

Hello My Dear Friend,

I am doing great with my health. How are you doing? Did you enjoy celebrating the end-year holidays? I hope you enjoyed the winter holidays and I wish you have a very nice and wonderful new year. Thank you very much for wishing me a good birthday because that day was very special to me. I enjoyed reading your letter and I felt a big warmth going through your sentences written there. 

My friend, I do not feel myself grown up enough. I am a teenager now, in the age that I need more help and good opinions and advice, as well. 

I started my winter holidays on December 24th and I did not have the chance to celebrate New Year's Eve together with my friends. I went to my uncle's and celebrated the end-year holidays together with his family. I enjoyed going there. My grandma and grandpa bought me the things that I wished to have. I celebrated New Year's Eve with my grandpa, grandma, my uncle and his wife, and their two daughters. I was a bit sad that I did not celebrate this holiday together with my parents and my sisters that I love so much. I remembered you on that day. Thank you very much for remembering me day by day. 

I liked both of the photos you sent me. They were so wonderful. I love to see you smiling throughout your life. You always will be in my heart as an inseparable friend. 

Lots of Love,


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sponsor a Toddler!

Did you know that Compassion is opening up it's program to include children as young as 1 year old? So cute!

Compassion is slowly implementing a sponsorship program that contains young children. In the past, Compassion had two separate programs for children. The first one being the Child Survival program. This was for children ages Birth-Age 3. This program helped mothers raise their babies in healthy, happy, and nurturing environments, teaching about things like breastfeeding, nutrition, interaction, and play. Then, when the child turned 3, they would be enrolled in the Child Sponsorship program where the child would continue to receive support through the project, through the programs designed for older children. Now, Compassion will continue to do the Child Survival program in all of the countries, of course, because the results have been staggering. There are more healthy babies, more knowledgeable parents, and less infant deaths in the communities where there are Child Survival programs. 

However, Compassion is looking, at least that's what it seems like to me, to combine these two programs into one. They have opened up the possibility of financially sponsoring a toddler, under the age of three, in a few countries. I'm guessing these countries have been chosen, for various reasons, in major locations, to test out this new theory. The countries of Bangladesh, Bolivia, and Rwanda have been chosen as places you can sponsor these little ones. 

I want to share a few of these sweethearts with you today: 

This is Uwayezu Jean Claude. He lives in Rwanda. He is 1 year old. His birthday is February 20th. He lives with his father and mother and he is an only child. His parents both work as farmers. 

Monish has been sponsored!

Precious Valentina has a sponsor! 

Last, but not least, is this precious little baby. His is Jhon and I think he must have quite the sassy personality. He is 1 year old and will turn 2 years old on March 5th. Jhon lives in Bolivia with his father and mother. He doesn't have any siblings. His father is only sometimes employed and his mother maintains the home. 

I pray that you consider sponsoring one of these precious babies. What a blessing it would be to sponsor a child from age 1 to age 18-22! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Cold in Thailand: A Letter from Fongwin

I received another great letter from my boy Fongwin, from Thailand. He's written great, friendly, and descriptive letters from the very beginning of our relationship. I feel blessed to be able to write to such a wonderful kiddo.

This letter is dated January 8th, 2014. Fongwin is 11 years old.


Dear Kayla,

Hello sponsor. I'm very glad to write a letter to you again. My family and I are fine. How are you and your family? Thank you very much for supporting me and praying for my study. The photo that you sent to me is very beautiful. It's very cool in my hometown. There is thick fog and there is frost in some provinces, but I have never seen it. I go to school everyday tough it is very cold. I must wear a sweater to school. Is it very cold in your country? How about Christmas in your country? I was so happy at Christmas. The project held many activities. I've received sports clothing as a Christmas gift. It's very beautiful. Please pray for my study and my parents' health. Lastly, may God bless you. 

Love in Christ, 


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Lovely Letter from a Lovely Girl

I received a very nice letter from Enatenesh today. She is telling me more about her daily life and her community. I always love having my kids answer the questions I ask them. It's so helpful to learn these things about her. 

Enatenesh is 17 years old. This letter was written December 20th.


Dear Kayla, 

Greetings be to you. How are you doing? Thank you for your birthday gift. I got 100kg of grain with the gift. I am in grade six this year. I write you happy new year and Merry Christmas. We celebrate by singing and watching drama. Thank you for your letter. As you asked, our home is made of wood and mud. I sleep on the floor. I got electric and water access. I get spiritual lessons & other support from the project, like schooling materials, medical checkup, and payment. I also get clothing. I am supported socially, economically, medically, and spiritually. I love you. Bye. 



Monday, February 17, 2014

Videos from my World Vision Boys' Communities

World Vision sent me an email with videos with that showed the community that each of my boys live in. I am grateful to see these videos and to see what life is truly like where my boys live. There were things in each video that worry me and there are other things that make me happy for the future. I will share each of these videos with you, so you can see what these communities are like too. I know that many of you are curious about my sponsored boys from Albania. These videos showed just how poor of a country Albania is.

I will post the link for each video, because I can't seem to get them to work as a video added to the blog entry.

First up, my boy Xhuliano. He lives in the city of Vlora in Albania.

In this video, I am worried most about the girls not being able to attend school, and to hear how families react when a girl is born. You often hear attitudes against girls like this in Asia and Africa, but you don't think of European countries having the same problem. I am happy that World Vision is training peer educators to teach families that education for girls is important too. 

Next, I will share the video from my Florenc's community. He lives in the city of Elbasan, in Albania.

The poverty shown in this video absolutely shocked me. I truly didn't know that conditions were so devastatingly bad in this community. The homes are so small, the people seem so ragged, and the terrain so unbearable. I am so glad that World Vision is working in this community. I am so happy to see the programs for children with disabilities, allowing them to be involved in school and society. I was also happy to see the colorful and happy school for the young children. They seemed to be having fun. 

The last community in Albania I will share with you is in the city of Durres. It is where my little Domenik lives. 

I already know from Domenik's letters that the school is his community are poor. This video shows that too. They do not have all of the resources they need to provide a good education to all children. I was shocked to see the conditions of the trash dump and the sewage. It must be a very tough place to live. World Vision has just now been working in this community for a year, so it is not easy to see great improvement yet, but I know that World Vision has big hopes and plans for this community. 

Lastly, I will share the video from my boy Abu's community. He lives in Bagbo, Sierra Leone. 

I think this video is the one that shocked me most of all. I knew that Sierra Leone is considered one of the poorest and most needy countries in the world, but I guess, in my mind, I didn't know how to picture what that meant. Seeing the condition of the school house broke my heart. Seeing the full clinic that only has medicine because World Vision is there and the place where the women were collecting water makes me so worried. Conditions are so bad here, even with how long World Vision has been serving here. I pray that big things continue to change in Sierra Leone. 

Thank you for taking your time to watch the videos that I shared. I hope you learned something from watching them. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pastor Letter from Lina's Project: CO-426

I have one more pastor letter to share with you. This letter is from the pastor of my newest correspondent child, Lina. She lives in Colombia and attends project CO-426.


Dear Sponsor,

My name is Norberto López, and I am the pastor of the Torre Fuerte Crusade Christian Church in Cali, Colombia, where I minister to your Compassion-sponsored child. I praise God that you have opened up your heart to share your love and blessings with your sponsored child. May our loving and dear heavenly Father keep on blessing you, your family and loved ones, and may your love for our children increase each day.

The Lluvias de Amor Integral Child Development Center has been operating here for the last six years. We are located in one of the city's outlying areas, at the east side of the Agua Blanca district. The families who live here have many socio-economical problems such as domestic violence, sexual abuse of children, alcoholism, drug addiction, juvenile delinquency, gangs, robbery and homicide. For example, one child at the center was orphaned after his mother was shot during a gang confrontation. 

The risk of our children joining the gangs and delinquency groups is very high, as is the rate of teenage pregnancy and school desertion. Broken families are very common here, so children are out in the streets all the time and exposed to many risks. 

In this situation of abandonment, violence and lack of love, we welcome Compassion International as a blessing from God to help us meet children's many needs. Your contribution as a sponsor is fundamental to our mission.

We have a staff of center workers committed to serve and take care of the children. They provide children an integral education that helps them spiritually, economically, socially, physically and cognitively. Our center's vision is to release children from poverty and give them the tools to success in life. 

Currently, we assist 223 children, some of whom are still waiting to find people like you, with a great heart to sponsor them. We see the need of love and support in children's eyes and behavior. They are all lovely children, and we also see God's love and mercy in them. Even though they have a hard situation at home, these children keep growing and learning that Jesus loves them and has a purpose for their lives. Your contribution means that more children have hope, more children have an opportunity to develop their skills, more children live a meaningful life with a purpose and more children, in turn, can help change our society.

I am so thankful that you have chosen to be the faithful sponsor for your sponsored child. You can't imagine how happy the children get when they receive letters from their sponsors, when they see the pictures you send and when they are writing back. It is awesome to be next to these children and share along with them the joy of having a sponsor. They know that you love them, even though you are far away. They love you, too. That relationship is a proof of God's love. 

I can't thank you enough for your love and prayers. We do many things for the children's well-being thanks to that. May God reward you in the well-being and prosperity of your business and family. 


Norberto López,
Senior Pastor


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Pastor Letter from Antonio's Project

In all the excitement of the Christmas season, and the excitement of adding Antonio to my sponsorship family, I forgot to share the letter written by the pastor of his project. As with the other pastor letters on my blog, I will post pictures that, while not necessarily from the actual project, show similar conditions from the country, as told by the pastor.


Dear Sponsor,

Greetings from Leon, Nicaragua, in the name of Jesus.

My name is Maximo de Jesus Castro. I am the pastor of the Star of Bethelem Church; I minister to your Compassion-sponsored child. I am so thankful to you for your generosity towards your sponsored child. Thank you for the support, your prayers and love. God bless you!

(Actual Photo of NI-221)

I'd like to share with you some thoughts to help you to understand more about our community and our local program with Compassion.

Our program is making a great difference in the children's lives. At this moment we have 100 kids who already have sponsors and other 67 who are registered, but they are still waiting to be sponsored. I want to tell you that the kids are so happy to come to the Children of Bethlehem Child Development Center at our church, because they face many stressful needs at home. In the community there is too much unemployment and those who have an employ earn an extremely low salary.

Kids live in small houses and in peripheral neighborhoods, which are so unhealthy. Many kids suffer respiratory illnesses and fevers; also, spiritual needs are great. In this community there are Christians but they are the minority. 

I feel very happy with the center workers who, besides being church members, they also are volunteer teachers that work full time teaching kids. They really love kids and they know each one by name. We teach kids many things about health, hygiene and good manners. They receive classes to complete what they receive at school. But the most important is that we teach them about the life and work of Jesus. We pray for each one of the kids, giving them integral attention in the spiritual, physical and emotional area. 

(Actual Photo of NI-221. That's my Antonio in the stripes)

During the year of 2008, 30 kids received Christ as their Savior. And 16 parents are attending church. I was praying to the Lord for a long time, to find a ministry, which could help me to work for the children, and then I found Compassion. It has been such a blessing for the children of our community and especially to the children of our church. This is the main provider of spiritual teaching to our children. I want you to know that your personal support as sponsor means a lot.

Our children need to feel loved and valued. We share with them their sponsors' names and when they receive letters and pictures, they are happy, and this makes them feel so special. 

Please continue to pray for your sponsored child. And pray for our church and for our Children of Bethlehem Child Development Center. We pray for our children to grow up educated and healthy so they could be useful for the society. 

God bless you!

In Christ,
Maximo de Jesus Castro 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Full Mailbox!

Today I saw my mailbox full of cream colored envelopes! Four letters in one day! I'm going to mix it up today and post the letters from oldest kid to youngest kid.

First up, Elias. He is 15 years old and lives in Ethiopia. He's due for a photo update any day now! This letter was written December 27th.


Dear Kayla, 

How are you doing? Praise God, I am very fine. Thank you for all your support to me. I bought shoes with your Christmas gift money. I spent Christmas in the church singing, listening to God's word, eating sweets & bread. I was happy. I received exercise book, pen, uniform, soap, hair oil, flour, and clothes from the project. I am learning my education & Sunday school properly. Do you have pets? Please send your photo for me. Pray about my family, for my education, and my country. Bye. 



Onto Jhon. He is 15 years old now, but he was 14 when he wrote this letter. He's from Bolivia. He sure does celebrate a lot of things! I love hearing about all of the fun things he's done in this letter. This letter was written November 20th. 


Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Thanks for the pretty letter. I greet you with the peace of the Lord. Yes, I remember that we both celebrate our anniversary on December 3rd, because we met each other that day. Yes, I can know you through these years and that is a gift for me. I tell you that we celebrated the anniversary of Santa Cruz, Bolivia on September 24th. I had a great time with my classmates. We had fun when we celebrated the holiday. We celebrated the Student's Day on September 21st and I had a great time because the teachers organized a party. I had fun in October because I was with my friends and we visited the amusement park and I was very happy when I got home. My father celebrated his birthday on September 17th and I congratulated him with a gift and we had fun. I had a great time at the dinner party of the school because it was very pretty. I enjoyed dancing with my classmates and I did rhythmic gymnastics. I participated in this activity and they gave me a good grade in music and physical education. I had a great time with my siblings and my mother. I went to Palmar the other Sunday and we picked mango and sugar cane. I also had fun with my friends in a place called Lome de Arena. I am on vacation from school. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I say goodbye with the peace of the Lord. God bless you. 

With Love, 


Next, is a letter from my boy Sandesh, who lives in India. He is 10 years old. This letter brings some extremely great news! This letter was written December 15th. 


Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. I, Priyanka, write this letter on behalf of Sandesh. He is very happy to get your letter. He always tells about you to his family and friends. He is a regular student. He feels very happy for whatever you send to him. Sandesh is very clever in studies. He is very brilliant. He gets happy when he sees your letter and the gifts. He prays for you and your family. 

Sandesh has accepted Jesus as his personal savior. He is very excited to hear about God as a creator of human beings, as well as nature. 

He likes music activities. He likes to play cricket with his friends. You are most welcome in India. Sandesh's father works in a company and his mother is a house wife. They all pray for you and your family and always thank Jesus for your letters and gifts (Keep it up)

Sandesh has participated in the Christmas program. (They must have celebrated early at the project). He enjoyed it a lot. He participated in Good Samaritan skit. He also danced. He enjoyed a lot while we were celebrating with chocolates and gifts. He was asking about the Christmas celebration at your place. How is it celebrated? He is very happy to have a sponsor like you. 

He wishes you a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. Thank you so much. God bless you on behalf of Sandesh. Yours faithful in Christ. 


Last, but not least, I received my first letter from my newest sponsored child, sweet Antonio. He sent me an intro letter that told me information about him. I love first letters! Antonio is 9 years old and lives in Nicaragua. This letter wasn't dated. 


My Height: 130 cm. (4 ft. 4")
My Weight: 80 pounds
My Eye Color: Black

My Family Is: Mother, Stepfather, Brother
My Home is Located In: The City
Favorite Class: Computers
Favorite Food: Fried Chicken
Favorite Color: Red
Favorite Pet: Rabbit
Favorite Bible Character: Samson
Favorite Game: Soccer

My Dream for the Future: Engineer
Please Pray For: My Family 

Dear Sponsor, I am happy for you choosing me. The name of my project is Children of Bethlehem. I am 9 years old and I study in 4th grade. I have a brother who is 1 year old. I attend the project twice a week. I like it very much because I learn the word of God. What is your favorite bible story? I say goodbye to you with much affection. 



Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Faces, "New" Faces, and Non-Changes

Check out that title! Say what?! Let me explain:

This month, so far, I've gotten two photo updates.

My not-so-little boy, Kalpesh

And my sweet Maria. 

Now, what is this about Non-Changes and New Faces? 

Well, my oldest "child" Melaku was set to graduate from the Compassion program this January. To prepare for his departure, I wrote him a final letter and then asked to be put on the waiting list for a new correspondent child. 

A few weeks after Melaku was set to graduate, he was still on my account. I decided to double check his information and I noticed that they pushed his graduation back a year, so I will now get to continue writing to him until January, 2015. I'm happy to get to know this handsome young man even more. 

But, my name was still on the list for a new correspondent child. Shortly after I discovered Melaku's new graduation date, a new, beautiful face had arrived on my account. This now puts me at 31 total children and I'm not a big fan of that number, haha, but I will have to deal. Just kidding, of course. 

Meet Lina: 

She will turn 15 years old next month. She lives with her mother, who works as a dressmaker. Lina enjoys singing, listening to music, and playing ball games. I am excited to get to know her!

February has been a busy month and it's only been a week! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nikko Prays for His Country

My correspondent child, Nikko, is from the Philippines, which was devastated by a hurricane and flooding just a short time ago. Nikko's city was not affected, but many of the areas near him were. As you can imagine, I was worried about him, but since I did not hear any news from Compassion, I knew that he was okay. Compassion was contacting all of the sponsors of the affected children.

Today, I got a letter from Nikko, confirming that he was okay and that he is praying for his country to recover from this tragedy.

Nikko is 15 years old and this letter was written on November 19th, 2013.


Dear Miss Kayla,

First of all, I'm greeting you and your family. For me here, I am doing good in God's grace. 

Regarding my studies, it's fine. I've known my 2nd grading and thank God, I don't have any failing grades. I'm still helping my uncle in his used clothing business. 

It's good to hear that you love children and like teaching them. Me, I love playing with my youngest sibling, who is 2 years old. 

I love to know something about your country. Our national fruit is mango. Our national flower is sampaguita. Our flag has three colors yellow, blue, and red. 

What is your country's weather forecast for now? For me we're always in our low pressure. Please help me to pray for us to easily recover from what we had. 

Thank you and God bless. 



Saturday, February 1, 2014

Weather in Honduras/Debora's Mom Writes!

I actually received this letter yesterday, but didn't want to cover up my January Letter post. :)

I received a The Weather template letter from Debora, my little one in Honduras. After the template part, Debora's mom wrote me a very long letter, and even attached another page to answer the questions I asked about her home/community. Also in this letter, Debora's mom confirms that the pictures I have from the day I visited her project, that I thought were of Debora, certainly are of her. Yay!


The Weather

In my community, the weather is: Sunny
My favorite weather is: Sunny
On my birthday, the weather is: Cloudy
On Christmas, the weather is usually: Rainy

What I like to do, according to the weather: Play

Winter problems in my community are: Colds (Sickness)

Hello Dear Kayla, 

May God bless you very much. It is for me a pleasure to write you this letter thanking you with all my heart for sponsoring my daughter Debora. I feel very happy to meet you through a photo. Well, Debora's mom writes to you. My name is Gladis Elena and I'm married to my husband called Jose Alexis and we have 2 sons and Debora and she's last in the house. She is our lovely girl and our only girl. Well, I want to tell you that Debora is a very smart and active girl and she's very joyful and she likes to sing praise songs to God and to dance. You are beautiful and special because all people who love kids, God loves them also. Debora was very happy to meet you through the photos and yes, Debora is with her dad in the photos. Well, she's doing very well in the project and it has been of much blessing for our kids. They're learning a lot what they teach them. The favorite thing Debora likes to do is to play and to sing. I feel very happy writing to you. You're a great blessing for our lives. Debora likes the month of September because of her birthday. Many kisses and hugs. Here, I am sending you the answers to your questions: (She answered them from Debora's point of view)

1. Our house is made of iron sheets
2. Here we live with my mom, dad, the children, and the grandfather.
3. I sleep with my siblings in the same bed.
4. Yes, we have electricity.
5. In our community, we have well water.
6. My dad is a welder and my mom is housekeeper.
7. We drive by horse carts, bicycles, and cars.
8. Well, you help us a lot, you have been a great blessing for us. 
9. Our typical food is baleadas and tamales.