Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gift News from Florenc

In December, I was able to send Florenc and his family and financial gift. I received a letter and a picture back about what they were able to receive. Florenc used the money to buy groceries for his family.


My Dear Friend!

I was so glad for the gift you sent me from America. I bought so many necessary things with the money you sent me. I am glad that you remember me and you always surprise me. I was so happy and I hope you never forget me. This has been a very prosperous year for me and I hope you have a great time too. 

I had a great time for the New Year. I spent it home with my family. The most beautiful gift from God was the fact that I spent the New Year at home with my family. I didn't go anywhere, but I stayed home with my family. There is nothing better than being with your family. It it a habit for us to light fireworks at 12:00. I didn't have many, but I had enough. How about you? How did you spend the New Year? 

This is my last year at school. I am so scared of the exams. (This absolutely concerns me. Florenc is 14 years old and will turn 15 in July. In poor families in Albania, boys often leave school at 15 to go work for their families. I don't want this to happen to Florenc. This came as quite a shock. I could lose my boy in just a few months.) 

I was so happy for the New Year because my mother was with me, but now she is at the hospital for some cures. 

Enough with me, how about you? How are you doing? Are you feeling well? Winter is here. I like winter very much especially when it snows. Do you like the snow? 

I am so happy that you remember me every month. I hope to meet you one day! 


He sure does look like a grown-up, doesn't he? 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Fruit and Gift Bags

Over the past few days, I've received two letters. I had an extremely busy and eventful weekend, so I wasn't able to post the letter I received on Saturday right away. This letter was from my girl Sagitaria, in Indonesia. In seems that Indonesia got some new stationary and I love it! It's so colorful and beautiful. It shows a variety of fruit that the country is known for. Each fruit has a small description of what it looks like and tastes like. The only one that I have heard of and tried is the Rambutan. I tried it in Honduras, but it was called a lychee. Actually, now that I think of it, they may be completely different fruits, but they look the same to me.

Anyway, Sagitaria wrote me a brief letter and then drew me some pictures of other fruits. In response to her letter, I drew her a picture of various fruits that I like to eat. I had fun drawing it, even if I'm not the best artist out there.

Sagitaria is 10 years old. This letter is dated January 20th.


Dearest Kayla, 

Shalom, Mami Kayla. How are you? My family and I are fine and well. Mami, whenever I want to have a medical checkup, I go to the project. My last one was on Nov. 14th, 2013. A doctor came to see me. I felt great at the time to find that I am well. He suggested me to have enough rest and to stay healthy because that is important. 

Thank you, Mami, for the letter I got and read. May Lord Jesus bless us all. Amen. 



In January, a man on the Compassion Facebook page offered to take gifts for sponsored children with him to Kenya. I was very excited to be able to send a gift to my young man, Karanja, there. It is always fun to pick out items for a child and not have to worry about it being made out of paper. :) 

This letter is dated January 1st, but I know that's not correct, because the trip was later on in the month. He wouldn't have been able to write the letter about receiving the gift before the tour even got to the country. Unless he's a psychic. :) 

Anyway, Karanja is 14 years old.


Dear Kayla, 

How are you? I hope that you are fine with your family. 

I am very happy to hear from you. When I receive a letter from you it feels good and I become very excited. I don't always see my nephews and nieces often, but only when I go visiting them. Our first born has most children as compared to the others. Here in Kenya the weather is sunny. 

I received the gift which you sent me, which had three pencils, two pens, a sharpener, two toy cars, crayons (colored pencils), a playing ball, and a t-shirt. Thank you so much and may God bless you. 

Francis Karanja


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Letter Love from Albania

I heard from two of my Albanian boys on Friday. My oldest, Florenc and my youngest, Domenik. I just love these guys.

Florenc's letter is short, as most are, but full of good details, like usual. I really feel for this kid. He's 14 and really has such a rough life. His family is barely getting by when it comes to money. His mother has struggled with kidney disease for years and is gradually getting worse. In this letter, I learned that she really is getting worse. I can just tell in each letter that Florenc does not handle his mother's sickness too well. I can't imagine how hard it must be for him.


My Dear Friend, 

I was very pleased to receive two letters from you. I am glad for your wonderful family! You looked very nice in the picture and I am very glad you had a good time during Christmas. 

I spent Christmas and the New Year only with my brother wondering about my mother's health because she was hospitalized. She was very ill and has severe problems with her kidneys. 

The month of January has been very cold with snow and rain and my house is very cold. 

I like very much when I sit and write to you. I wish we were friends for many years. Thank you for the Real Madrid hat. 


I love you my friend Kayla


 My letter from Domenik is very sweet. I have my assumptions that Domenik's family is Christian (mainly because he's wearing a cross necklace in his original photo) but this letter confirmed that. Yay for them! I got to learn several things about Domenik is this letter. 

I hope he gets his bike! 


Hello my dear Kayla!

It is a long time since I got your last letter and I am glad to hear from you. (I write him every month. I suppose that is a long wait for such a small boy). Firstly, I would like to ask you how you spent New Year's Eve? I had a wonderful feast. I was happy playing with the toys you sent me in November and the ones that my mother bought for me. She also sent me to the park with my sister and my aunt. We had a lot of fun together. How did you spend your holidays? I hope you to have a prosperous and happy year for you and your family and the world. My big desire that I ask God and Jesus Christ is to give health and happiness to people all over the world. (What a little humanitarian!) He it is winter and in the mountains it has snowed. Here in Durres, it rains a lot. We have got cold weather here until March, when it is my birthday. I am impatiently waiting for spring to come firstly, because it is my birthday on the 27th of March and secondly, because my parents told me that if I get high results at school, they will buy me a bicycle. 

Love from your little brother. To my older sister. I send you a lot of hugs my dear sister. 



Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Day of Volunteering + A Cream Colored Envelope = A Pretty Great Saturday

Yes, I agree, that title is a little silly. But, I couldn't find a better way to sum up my wonderful day yesterday. I spent the entire day (9:00 a.m - 7:00 p.m) volunteering at the Compassion table of my favorite event of the year, which is the Hearts at Home conference. This year was my 3rd year volunteering for this event. It's a conference for moms from around the country, and it just so happens to meet in my city, which is so cool! This year, there were just under 4,000 moms that attended. The attendance was lower this year, for whatever reason, but I know they typically expect about 5,000 women to attend. Maybe people looked at the weather forecast in Illinois and said, "No way!".

Either way, I enjoyed working the table just as much as I always do. A family that has worked the table in past years was there again this year, so it was very nice to see them again. There were two college aged girls there who were just so excited to be there. The Compassion rep that was there was one of the Compassion artists. He's a relatively new musician, named Eric Parker. He's totally a great guy, very friendly. I checked out his music and you should totally check it out. He currently have five songs out on his EP album and I highly recommend them. I bought them on iTunes when I got home. Here's a link to his music page: Eric Parker Music. 

At the end of the day, 122 children found sponsors! We did discuss how that's about 80 less sponsored children than in past year, but in the end, that is still 122 children whose lives will be forever changed!

I call that a successful day.

When I got home about 7:30 p.m, I came and crashed on the couch, ready to have some time away from people and just rest. Then, I remembered that I hadn't gotten the mail today, so I dashed back up the stairs to the mailbox. Inside, was one lone envelope, but it was the best envelope there is; a letter from one of my sponsored kids.

This time, it was a letter from my boy Nikko, in the Philippines. Nikko is 15 years old and this letter was written on January 2nd, 2014.


Dear Kayla,

Hi, hello! How are you there? Thank you for your letter. I was blessed reading it and looking at the clear picture of the pumpkin and apple. How I wish I could go there. (I sent him some pictures of a farm I visited in the fall) 

I live now with my auntie for my mother got married. I live at my auntie's house, which is still unfinished. It is wooden built and has bamboo flooring. I live together with my auntie and cousins. I'm lying on the floor in sleeping. I don't have any room. How many rooms does your house have? We don't have electricity and our source of light is lamps. We are buying water in our neighborhood. Most of our neighbors are selling in the marketplace and some are construction workers. We be riding jeepnys or motorbikes and sometimes be walking. Compassion has helped us financially, lessons about God, and health care. In our project we're 140 children who are registered. What I like best in the project are the activities that we have like kids camp, retreat, sports activities, and studying God's word. Most often, we eat rice, fruits like mango, and vegetables like eggplant. My studies are going better. I'm now in grade 8. 

Thank you for the Christmas gift. I bought some new shoes, a toothbrush, and fruit. Thank you for caring for me. 

Please pray that I could continue my studies well. God bless you all and more blessings. 



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kalpesh Went to Camp!

I remember summer church camp being one of my favorite things when I was younger. Granted, I didn't start attending a youth group/church regularly until I was in high school. But still, summer camp was awesome! It was often a week or two away away from everything that was distracting me (family, friends, electronics, city noise, etc). It was, with my church, depending on the season and year, either time spent in snow covered woods, a warm lake, or a beautiful, sun-lit beach. Regardless of the location, this was a place for me to have some alone time, as well as group time, with God. It was a time for me to do fun activities, sing worship songs, compete against others, and eat horrible camp food. At the end of the day, we also learned about God's word and had time to reflect on what it all meant to us. Just wonderful.

That is why I was so happy when I got this letter from Kalpesh and hearing that he got to experience church camp for himself. I can't tell from the letter if it was an overnight camp, or just a one day camp, but it doesn't matter. It sounds like he had a great time! I can't wait to write him a letter back and maybe start a dialogue about camp. I fully intend to tell him about my camp memories.

Kalpesh is 11 years old and lives in India. This letter was written January 4th, 2014.


Dear Sister Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the great name of Jesus Christ from me and my uncle's family. I received your letters and I'm happy to hear about the climatic condition of your place, your work, and to see your photographs and other pictures. Thank you so much for everything. Here by the Lord's grace and your prayers I am doing fine. My school is also going on well.

I would like to tell you about Sunday school camp which I attended in the month of November 2013. It was a really great experience for me, because it's the first time I have attended such kind of camp. And there were more than 1,000 children participated in it. We learnt God's word and lots of new things and enjoyed a lot in it. From our project, there were 45 children participating in camp. We participated in singing competition and and cultural program and we got first price in the dance competition. Another thing in the same month there was a inter-project sports meet. Our project took part and our project was 2nd in the sports meet. I got first place in shot-put and long jump. Really, our teachers are working hard for us. Keep praying for our project. I wish you a very happy and prosperous new year. Take care. 

In Christ's Love, 


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Learning More About Alexander

More happy mail in the mailbox today!

Today, I got a letter from Alexander. He told me more about his family and the climate that he lives in. One thing I've noticed about his project, from the last letter I received from him, is that the children have to write a rough draft. I like that. Both times, a separate page has been included that is a copy of the letter written on the stationary. On the extra sheet, Alexander has written, in print, what he wants to say. Then, I'm guessing this gets looked over by a project worker. Then, Alexander writes the letter again on the stationary, but this time in cursive.

Alexander is 13 years old and lives in Honduras. This letter is dated February 20th, 2014, so it got to me super quickly!


Hello Kayla, 

I want to thank you about what you wrote on your letter and the picture with your friend and that you take care of yourself with God and his hand. I hope you are well and that you eat healthy and that you all stay healthy and don't get sick. Yes, I do like children. I have two animals, a dog and a parrot. The dog's name is Chocho. What I like to do most is read the Bible. I have a house with my brother, my mom and my dad. The climate of my city is hot and my favorite climate is the cold one. I want to tell you for Christmas it is cloudy and cold. The problem in my city for winter is the dengue. I ask you to pray for my family. What season of the year do you like? I say goodbye with hugs and a kiss. 

Carlos Alexander


Monday, March 10, 2014

Twice the Love from Uganda!

Today I opened my mailbox to see a few cream colored envelopes peeking out at me. Not a bad way to end a Monday, I must say.

Both letters were first letters from my newest correspondents from Uganda. I've been corresponding with them for over 5 months now, but these are their first letters. It was certainly a long wait, but totally worth it. They are both great letters.

First up, is my letter from Derrick. Derrick is 11 years old and in 6th grade. He wrote a few sentences himself at the beginning of this letter, but I can tell that he struggles with handwriting and spelling. I will type out exactly what he wrote and then I will share what his tutor wrote on his behalf.

This letter is dated December 19th, 2013


Alex: Dear Kayla, how are you? Ayon gave the bought clothes for Christmas money then kyon of that money. I dromotep (promoted, the p and d are both written upside down) to 6th grade. I wish you a happy new year and x-mas. 

His Tutor: Your beloved child has tried to write to you. He is asking that how are you? For him he is fine and family members are also fine. 

He says thank you so much for the Christmas gift you sent him. He bought the following: trousers & shirt, rice, pancakes. May God bless you so much. He thanks you for writing to him and sending him beautiful photos of you and your sister, Jordan. He says thanks for asking him questions and wanting to know more about his family and community. He responds to your questions. He says their house is made of bricks and roof is iron sheets and floor is made of mud. He their home he lives with his father called Isimbwa and mother called Jolly, brother Ricky and sister-cousin Jackline. He sleeps on his bed and mattress given to him by the project. They get water from the well. They don't have electricity, they use a lamp which uses parafin. 

Most people in his community dig and grow food like rice and beans. Others are tailors, officers, and business people that sell food and clothes. People in Uganda use taxis, bicycles, motorcycles, others walk. His best meal is rice and meat, millet bread, and beans with cassava. 

Compassion helps the community by training them on topics like nutrition, HIV & AIDS, and so on. It provides sponsored children with items like mattresses, blankets, bibles, soap, and scholastic materials. 

He loves to play football and going to school. He says yes, he loves children. He concludes by wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 


Next is a letter from Brenda. Brenda is 14 and is 7th (maybe 8th by now) grade. She has beautiful handwriting and writes in English. 

This letter is dated January 31st, 2014


Dear Kayla, 

I am greeting you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. How are you and how is your family? Back to me, I am okay. 

We are receiving both rainfall and sunshine. We are planting Irish potatoes and harvesting maize and beans. I pray for you every day and you pray for me. I go to church every Sunday. I am in bible class and choir and I am the one who is choir leader. I like singing and I like children very much. In my home we don't have electricity. My house is built out of tree poles and I live in my home with my father and my mother and my grandmother and my grandfather. They are greeting you so much. They are praying together in our home. We are eating Irish potatoes and beans. 

Here, I have a verse, John 11:35. It says, "Jesus wept." It teaches me that Jesus wept because of our sins. 

Thank you for sending me the letter. May God bless you. 

Yours Faithfully,


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Letters to My Kids: February 2014

This month, I wrote two letters to my sponsored children. The first letter I wrote was more about my job as a nanny. I shared details of how I spend each day with them. I really enjoyed sharing this with my sponsored children.


I hope as you read this letter, you are happy and healthy. I hope that your family is doing well too. I've been praying for you and your family often.

Today, I want to tell you a little bit more about my job as a nanny. I work Monday-Thursday as a nanny. As a nanny, I care for two young children while their parents are away at their jobs. I arrive each morning at 7:45. When I arrive, I talk to the children's mother about how the morning is going and some of the things the children will need that day. I spend the whole day with the children. We spend the day playing with toys, reading books, and signing songs. When it is nice outside, we also like to go for walks. I feed the children lunch and then they take a nap in the afternoon. The children's parents arrive back home at 4:00 and I go to my home.

The little boy I care for is named Gage. He is 2 years old and he is very fun to spend time with. He is beginning to speak more clearly now and likes to say funny things. Some things Gage enjoys doing is playing with toy cars and trains, being read to, and painting. I really enjoy spending time with him. He's such a great little boy.

I also take care of a baby girl. Her name is Chloe and she is 8 months old now. She is growing so fast and seems to grow more everyday. She is a very happy baby and smiles almost all the time. She is very close to learning how to crawl. She has just started growing some teeth and can now eat solid food like the rest of the family. Chloe enjoys playing with toys and listening to me sing songs to her.

On this letter, I put pictures of me with Gage and Chloe. I hope you liked learning more about the children I take care of.

I love you very much.

- Kayla


I also wrote a letter about the Rend Collective Experiment concert that I went to with a friend. I had a great time at the concert and I enjoyed it a lot. I shared my favorite lyrics with the kids, in the hopes that they would also be encouraging to them, as they are to me.


How are you doing, my friend? I hope that you are well. Here I am doing well, with my family and friends. I want to tell you about something great that I got to experience a few days ago. I traveled a city near me with one of my friends and we saw one of of our favorite musical bands. This band is called Rend Collective Experiment. They are a band from the country of Ireland. They traveled to the United States to put on concerts in various churches. This band sings about praising and loving God. The music they play is very upbeat and fast and it is fun to dance to. I have liked this band for awhile and I was very happy to be able to see them in person. The words that they sing are very touching and it was a very fun night of worship to God. I want to share some of the words that they sing in their songs. I hope that when you read these words you feel as if God is always with you and loves you very much.

“There’s nothing greater than knowing you. You unlock my joy. You awaken my soul.”

“Build your kingdom here. Let the darkness fear. Show your mighty hand. Heal our streets and land.”

“All that I am is dry bones without you Lord, a desert soul.”

“Christ has set me free from negativity and impossibility.”

“Jesus keep me near to your heart, for outside of you I’m lost. Draw me in the tide of your will, as I yield myself to you.”

“You are magnificent. You are my rescuer. You light the darkest night. You are my shining star.”

“I’m saying yes to you and no to my desires. I’ll leave myself behind and follow you.”

I pray that Jesus always keeps you near his heart and that you always follow where He leads you. Without God, we are nothing, but with God, we can accomplish anything.



Have you told your sponsored child about your job or your typical day? You could share a step-by-by schedule and ask that your child share the same details about their day.

Tell your sponsored child about your favorite (child appropriate) band and share some of their lyrics with them. I'm sure your child will love to hear about them!

Friday, March 7, 2014

My Honduran Beauty Loves to Write!

My beautiful girl, Celeste, from Honduras wrote me a beautiful letter. It is four pages long. Four pages. I can just picture her asking her tutor for more writing paper during letter writing time. On the back of each page, she drew me a beautiful picture. I am currently writing this post somewhere where I cannot upload pictures, so if you are reading this and there are no pretty drawings at the end of the post, you've caught me before I've added the pictures. If you see colorful works of art at the end of the text...enjoy!

For those of you who don't know, I was able to visit Celeste during a sponsor tour to Honduras in 2013. It was truly one of the best days of my life and I am hoping to be able to visit her again someday.

Celeste is 11 years old and she wrote this letter on January 20th, 2014.


Beloved and beautiful Kayla,

I am so happy to write to you since our letters are our only form of communication and through them I can tell you everything that happens around me and be able to express the great love my family has toward you. Thank God, I am very well. I love the role of the rainbow when it rains and after the sun comes out. The rainbow reminds me of the promise that God made after it rained a lot. He said that it would no longer rain a lot to cause a flood. I would like to see some snow. It so so nice to be able to play in it. Our climate is almost always hot. 

I am glad that you are happy with your new job. Say hello to the children for me. It has to be fun to be with them. In the mornings, I help my teacher Sarahi with the young children before they begin class in the school and I love to be with children. When I am bigger, I want to be a teacher. 

Christmas in our country is celebrated like it is in yours. In my house, my grandmother put a tree with many colored lights and at the top of the tree is a star and the foot of tree is decorated with lights. It looks very nice and cheerful. The meal we have is sandwiches and tamales. They are delicious and I like them a lot. 

I miss my beautiful Kayla and I remember the fantastic day. I ask God to give you the opportunity to return to my country and we will have a lot of fun. I like when you write me letters. When I write my letters, I'm always in the project. Outside there are trees and carts pass in the street and my classmates make noise on the patio and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate, but my teacher Sarahi helps me to concentrate. (When I wrote one of my letters to Celeste, I was outside at a coffeehouse. I told her what I could see and hear around me and I asked her to do the same thing). 

My grandmother and siblings send you many greeting. Thanks to God, we are fine. I imagine it was fun at the festival with the children, the games, gifts, and delicious sweets. (I told her about a fall festival my church did for the children) In the project, we had a feast on January 20th and it was very nice. We played games and a story was told about how we should give thanks for kind people, like you, for being in our lives and that we are blessed by God. I ask prayer for my family and that we have what we need in my house. We are always praying for your life and and your family, that God blesses you. I love you so much, beautiful Kayla. With much love from my grandmother. I hope you answer soon. God bless you. 



Monday, March 3, 2014

Enatenesh's Semester Break

I received a letter from my correspondent young woman in Ethiopia today. This letter was written while she was on break from school. I think she must think I'm younger than I am, since she asks me about my school breaks. :) I guess I'll have to explain to her that I'm an old lady. ;)

Enatenesh is 17 years old. This letter was written on February 12th. Mail from Ethiopia is extremely fast!

Dear Kayla ,

Greetings be to you. How are you doing? My family would like to forward their greetings. Thank you so much for your goodness. May God bless you. I am attending class properly. Thank you so much for your support and gift. I got grain and shoes. Thank you. I attend Sunday school class. We have finished 1st semester exams and school lessons for the season. We went to picnic during the semester break. What do you do when school closes for a break? I love you. I pray for you. Bye. 



Saturday, March 1, 2014

Christmas Celebrations with Khushi

Yesterday, I received a wonderfully long letter from Khushi, who lives in India. Khushi writes her letters in English and in just about the most beautiful penmanship that I've ever seen. It's just perfect. She is a very smart girl and does very well in school.

Khushi is 10 years old. Her letter is dated December 21st, 2013. As of today, it has now been 22 months since her last photo update, so I am eagerly awaiting that new photo. I wonder what she looks like now.


Dear Sponsor Kayla,

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord. I am doing well. We hope you are also well. I wish you a merry Christmas and joyful New Year 2014. I had a wonderful Christmas at the project. We played new games that we learnt from guests, who also taught us a Christmas message. In November, I participated in cultural program and annual sports day. I had fun and enjoyed a lot with my friends. I want to thank you so much for your letter I received from you. I learnt many great things about you and yes, it is our anniversary soon. It is December 26th. I am very happy and blessed meeting you. I am careful about school and things that you taught me. This is winter, it's getting colder. We have having Christmas and winter vacation. I love going to project. I am happy that I can play badminton. They also help me to solve math questions. All in my family are doing well. My oldest sister is with her husband and second sister is now in 10th grade in school. We love one another. My mother is so good too. She takes care of family and also brings grass and wood from jungle and fields. I thank God for you. Thank you very much for your love, care, and prayers for me. I am blessed by you. I want to close this letter for now. Goodbye. 

Your Khushi