Saturday, May 24, 2014

Two Letters From Africa

I'm sorry it's been so quiet on my blog lately. Typically, I fill my blog up with letters and new information about my kids, as you know. However, May has been a very quiet month, regarding sponsorship, for me. It's already May 24th and I've only received two letters this month, both yesterday. I suppose more could be coming. Or it could just be one of those slow months. Those happen sometimes.

However, when I got these two letters from two of my boys in Africa, I stopped to think about them. I'm getting letters from Africa. Africa, you guys! That is amazing! I am so grateful for sponsorship organizations like Compassion and World Vision that allow me to connect with precious children from all over the world. Children that each have a special purpose, dreams, desires, interests, etc. I get to write to these kids, love them, encourage them, pray for them. It's just so wonderful. I praise God for giving me a spot in each of these kids' lives.

Anyway, I will share these two letters with you.

First up, is a letter from Taye. Taye is 17 years old and lives in Ethiopia. He's not my most chatty friend and it's been over six months since my last letter from him, but still, I'm happy to know him.

This letter is dated March 18th, 2014.


Dear Kayla,

Grace and peace be to you, my dear sponsor, from the Lord. How are you? I and my family are fine. Thanks be to God. I have got your support such as school fees and I learnt my education and Sunday school at church, once a week, promptly. Thank you so much. The weather is hot. What is the weather of your country? Is there a high place in your country? 



Next up is a letter from my Kwizera, from Rwanda. He has recently turned 9 and has officially upgraded from the templates and onto regular lined writing paper. 

This letter is dated April 3rd, 2014


Dear Kayla,

Beloved parent, I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. How are you? How is your family? I and my family are fine, except for my father who is sick. He has a mental problem. We are doing exams for end of first term. We are about to go on holidays for Easter. In Rwanda we have rain. We grow beans and maize. I wish you a happy Easter and God's blessings. John 3:16. 



Saturday, May 17, 2014

25 for 25

On April 22nd, I turned 25 years old. A quarter of a century old. I can now rent a car. Exciting, right? 

Well, I know it's been a few weeks since my birthday, but I've come across this fad on the internet recently and it shows people writing blogs or making Youtube videos of 25 things about themselves that others may not know, as a way to celebrate turning 25 years old. I've seen people do them for other birthdays too, but mostly, I've seen 25, probably because it's a nice round number. 

If there are two things I can get behind its nice round numbers and making lists. So I decided that I would jump on this bandwagon. Without further ado: 

25 Things About Kayla

1. I made a bunny rabbit at Build a Bear Workshop when I was 9 years old. Her name is Ears. I brought her to college with me. I still sleep with her everyday. 

Ears with my college roommate's sock monkey 

2. My favorite food is a ceasar salad. Followed closely by chips and salsa. 

3. I'm about as introverted as it gets. I thrive behind a computer screen because it's easier to talk to people that way. 

4. I'm a Starbucks addict. I drink some form of their coffee everyday, whether it's brewed at home or bought at one of the stores. 

5. I backpacked through four countries of Europe (Spain, France, England, Ireland) with my two best friends in 2009. 

6. My favorite season is summer. I love everything about being outside in the heat and humidity. I love playing with sunscreened kiddos, playing in the water, geocaching, going for long walks, having picnics, etc. 

7. My freshmen year of college, I pledged a co-ed Greek fraternity. We were a service organization and we did a lot of service projects. However, we were the stereotypical Greek fraternity, as well. Pledging, wild parties, secret songs and handshakes, pranks, etc. 

8. I started working when I was 15 years old. Since then, I have never worked less than two jobs at a time. 

9. I have a 3-way tie for my favorite band: We the Kings, The Avett Brothers, and Rend Collective Experiment.When I see them live, I'm the crazy fan who jumps up and down and screams all the lyrics until I lose my voice. Don't judge. 

10. Saturday is the only day of the week that I don't work. Friday night is my "party" night. I take a nap from about 3-6 p.m and then I stay up until the sun rises on Saturday morning. I spend my time drinking large amounts of caffeine, watching movies, listening to music, and writing long blog posts like this one. 

11. I started playing the clarinet when I was in 5th grade. During my Jr. year of high school, I switched to bass clarinet. I played bass clarinet all through college and traveled to many places in the country playing. I played for a couple years after college and then sold my bass clarinet. I wasn't playing it anymore and it was just sitting in my closet. Sometimes I miss playing, but it was worth it when I used the money to go to Honduras. 

12. I have a dream of sponsoring/corresponding with 50 children at one time. I'm currently at 34. 

13. I play bingo every Saturday night with my grandma and my mom. We have done it for years and I don't intend to stop anytime soon. 

14. My least favorite chore to do is wash dishes. I would love to own a dishwasher. I generally only wash dishes when I completely run out of something. It's usually spoons that run out first. 

15. I've never been in a serious relationship. Over the years, I was more interested in casual dating. That idea is beginning to change in my head and I'm becoming more open to finding somebody to settle down with. Know any good guys? ;) 

16. My sisters owns two pit bulls and I absolutely love them. I can't wait to own a pitbull of my own someday. Such loving dogs. 

17. I graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood Education and I've been using it since graduation (lucky, I know). I taught preschool for two years. I am now the Child Care Director at my church and I work as a daytime nanny for a 2 1/2 year old boy and an 11 month old girl. I love working with my kiddos!

18. I love making tie-dye shirts. There is just something magical about combining colors and seeing how they turn out when you untie them. I haven't found a color combination that I don't love. 

19. I will be in my very first wedding in October. My best friend is getting married!

20. I have several ear piercings. Right now, I have three in my right ear and two in my left ear. I have plans for (as soon as I can save up the money) for 2-3 more in each ear. Maybe more. 

21. I have worn glasses since 6th grade. I have no desire to wear contacts. I love wearing glasses and don't feel like myself if I'm not wearing them. I choose frames that fit my personality. Currently, they are big, thick frames with blinged out flowers and jewels. 

22. I've had a rash of huge car repairs over the last 6 months. I have been at the mechanic every 6-8 weeks during this time period to have something fixed. I drive a 2003 Hyundai and it will be paid off in one year. It only has 70,000 miles on it. I would really love for it to last several more years. Plus, I'm pretty much out of money to keep fixing it. 

23. I'm a big Harry Potter nerd. I've read the series probably five times. I can kick your butt at Harry Potter trivia. Just saying. 

24. I'm a chronic time-loser. I've come to know this is a characteristic of introverts. I can sit down at my computer in the afternoon and get completely wrapped up in something. The next time I look up, it's pitch black in my apartment and the clock says 10:00 p.m. Happens all the time. 

25. I'm a quarter-hoarder. Laundry is serious business. :) 

Well, there you have it. 25 odd and interesting facts about me. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fundraising Success!

I have raised all of the money I need for Xhuliano and his family to get their electricity turned back on!

Thanks to the generous donations of so many people, another dream of Xhuliano's will be achieved. The online fundraiser has officially been cancelled/closed for future donations.

For those of you who were following the website, I raised $79 (I get to keep about $65 of it after paypal and the site's fees) there. Just today, I got a check in the mail, from a dear and giving friend, for $100.

That is about $165 for Xhuliano's family. I just know that will go a very long way to help them out with their electricity. It's going to take a few days for all the money to show up in my bank account, but I will be calling World Vision first thing on Monday and giving the family gift. I am so excited!

Again, thank you to everyone that donated. This is going to be one happy boy...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Forgotten Letters

So far, May has been a silent month for me, when it comes to letters, but the month isn't over yet. I have hope that letters will come!

At the end of April, I received two letters from Xhuliano. One of this letters led to me starting my fundraiser to get help get electricity for Xhuliano's family. We are a little over half way to my goal of getting Xhuliano's electricity back on. If, after you read the letter, you feel inclined to donate a few dollars, I would really appreciate it. Here is the link for the fundraiser page:

I sent my sponsored children a letter about the two kids that I nanny for. I included how we spend our days and each child's favorite activities. Xhuliano responded by telling me about what he was like when he was little. I love this letter. 


Dear My Friend!

I am very happy that you at home have two wonderful children. I would like to thank you for taking care of them. You are such a wonderful girl for taking care of them. I love small children. I have helped my mom to raise up Marsela by feeding her, washing her, and changing her diapers. I love Marsela a lot. On April 5th, she is going to be four years old. When I was a little kid, like **** (the boy I nanny for), I used to play with toy cars and dolls. I used to play together with my cousin Redjon, that we together are the same age. My mom and dad have told me that when I was a little kid I liked to play all day. I think you have chosen a very wonderful job. They are very happy that you are serving them every day. 

I wish that God would fulfill all the wishes you have in your life. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I send my hugs to you and I really love you. Hope you will write me back very soon. 

With Lots of Love, 


This next letter is why I have decided to reach out and help Xhuliano's family. It seems that they are really going through a tough time. It breaks my heart to hear the sadness in Xhuliano's words. 


Dear My Friend, Kayla!

I got very glad receiving another letter from you. I love to share my worries and thoughts with you, my wonderful friend. Well, my friend, you are a good very loving girl that your every day life is full of happiness. 

We have stopped building the house because of the unfortunate economic situation. I would like to thank you that you pray to the Lord for me and my family and for income generation and construction materials we need for our house. 

Marsela is doing very well right now and Stelina just celebrated her birthday at home. She is eleven years old. I love you very much. Both of my sisters think of you every day. My mom is a bit sad because my dad got operated on during the month of March. It is the fourth time they operated. (His dad has trouble with his kidneys). 

Our family is concerned about a problem which I want to share with you. So, we have about a year that we do not have electric light at home. I ask you could help me to have light at home because my dad is not able to pay the connection electric contract and to buy a timer. I, Xhuliano, am asking this help because I can not just sit in the dark. I require the same assistance from World Vision to help me have at home, at least, one lighted lamp. Hope you will realize this desire of mine that I have in my life. 



Typically, sponsored children are discouraged from asking their sponsors for things, as it can appear like begging and tacky, in a way. However, I am glad that World Vision allowed this. I feel like, sometimes, we just don't get the real idea of how our sponsored children truly live. We get letters saying they are doing great in school and they are happy at home and that is sometimes just not the truth. Living in 3rd world conditions will never be happy all the time. I feel honored that Xhuliano feels like he can be open and honest with me. 

I look forward to writing back to him and I hope that I will have the money raised for his electricity very soon. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Little Man Writes Two Letters

A few days ago, I got two letters from my Domenik. He is 7 years old and lives in Albania. I have really started to tell that they are letting Domenik "write" the letters on his own. He isn't yet handwriting the letters himself, but I can tell that he is dictating what should be put in the letters. They are very sweet, little letters.


Hello Kayla, 

We are so happy to know that all of you are well. I love with my friends here in my neighborhood, but my mother does not allow me to play outside my yard. She is afraid to let me play outside because there are open sewers close to our home. The city where I live is in Durres. What about you? Do you have the sea close to your home place? Your photos were amazing. 

Love from Domenik



Hi Kayla, 

I am very well and in good health. Today is the 7th of March and we celebrate Teacher's Day. I will go to school and I will give my teacher a bouquet of flowers. Do you celebrate this day in your country? I celebrate Christmas holidays too. We prepare delicious food for holidays. Our traditional dessert is called Baklava. It almost never snows here so I have never slid on a sled. We are having warm weather here. I would to taste your grandmother's and mother's food. 

I love you

Hugs from Domenik


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Letters to My Kids: April 2014

April was a very busy month for me and I only had time to sit down and write out one letter to all my kids. However, I did receive 16 letters from my kids in April, so all of them got a response letter too. 

This month, I shared a part of Jesus' life with my kids. I split my kids in younger kids and older kids, as I sometimes do when I'm writing letters. I do this so I can share more in-depth or serious discussions with my older kids, and share my kid-friendly things with my younger ones. I choose to make my kids 12 and under my "younger" kids and my kids 13+ my "older kids." 

In April, my younger kids got a letter about some of the miracles that Jesus performed. Here is the letter I sent: 


I want to share with you something I have been reading and studying in the bible. From time to time, I like to read about Jesus and the amazing miracles he performed. These miracles were truly amazing and proof that Jesus is the Son of God. I will share some of my favorite miracles with you.

One evening, Jesus and his disciples went to Peter's house. There, Peter's mother-in-law was very sick with a fever and could not get out of her bed. Jesus touched the sick woman's hand and she was instantly cured of her fever. The woman got up and served Jesus and his disciples food and drinks. Word of Jesus healing this woman spread quickly through the city, and by that night, there were many people wishing to be cured lined up outside the house.There were blind people, deaf people, people that couldn't walk, and people that were very sick. Jesus cured every single person that was there. The blind could see again and the deaf could hear again. Everyone was very happy and praised and worshiped Jesus, the son of God.

Soon after this day, Jesus and his disciples were on a boat out on the sea. A big storm came and caused there to be huge waves. The boat began to rock back and forth and the disciples were very scared. During this time, Jesus was sleeping. His disciples woke Jesus up and said, "Save us, Lord!" Jesus stayed very calm and he told the sea, "Be still." Right away, the sea was still and the storm stopped. The disciples were amazed! Even the weather obeyed Jesus' voice.

Jesus showed that he was the Son of God by performing many miracles. Each miracle was amazing and surprising. Anybody who saw Jesus perform a miracle were happy and excited. Miracles sometimes still happen today. Pray very hard for something and it may happen. Prayer is a very powerful thing.

Love, Kayla


For my older kids, I wrote a letter about the time that Jesus was tempted by Satan. Here is what I wrote to them: 


Today I want to share with you something I have been reading and studying from the bible. I read about when Jesus was tempted by Satan after he was baptized. I will share a summary of the story with you.

After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. Here, Jesus was left alone. Jesus fasted for 40 days and became very hungry. The bible says that there were also many wild animals near Jesus at this time. At this time, Satan appeared to Jesus and tried to tempt him, just like he had tempted Adam and Eve. Satan knew that Jesus was very hungry and he told him, "If you are truly God's son, turn these rocks into bread." Satan knew that Jesus could perform miracles like this and he wanted to test him. But Jesus did not obey Satan. Instead, he told Satan, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4) Next, Satan took Jesus to the city of Jerusalem, to the temple where people worshiped god. He took Jesus to the top of a high wall and said, "If you are the son of God, throw yourself down. His word says that angels will save you." But, Jesus was strong and told Satan, "It is also written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test" (Luke 4:12)

Satan tried one more time to tempt Jesus. Satan took Jesus to a very tall mountain, where they could see many kingdoms and cities. Satan said, "I will give all of this to you if you will fall down a worship me." Jesus refused! He said, "Get behind me, Satan! It is written, you shall worship the lord your God and him only" (Luke 4:8) Satan, feeling defeated, left Jesus. Then, God's angels appeared to Jesus to comfort and take care of him. God was proud of Jesus for not obeying Satan. Just like Jesus, Satan puts things in our lives to tempt us. We have to make sure we are following God and doing what is right. We have to try our very best to not follow the evil things in this world. I will be praying for you to resist the evil things in this world.

Love, Kayla


Two Letters from Central America

During my time away from my blog, I received several letters that I will, of course, be sharing with my readers. Last week, I got two letters from two of my boys, Antonio and Wendjy. I will share them with you now:

Antonio is 9 years old and lives in Nicaragua. This letter was written March 4th, 2014


Dear Sponsor, 

Greetings from Antonio. He feels happy for writing you again and tells you some experiences. He continues to go to the project, learning texts and songs about Jesus. He is in level 3 of elementary school and studying very hard for getting excellent score. Thank God for your support. He prays for you all the time and tells you he it is summer and the weather is tropical. He enjoys playing with friends and going to the park with his family on weekends. He drew for you and shares a text with you: Timothy 2:15. Pray for his family and him. What is your favorite story? 


On the same day, I also heard from Wendjy. Recently, I noticed that Wendjy switched Compassion projects. I was going to ask him about his recent move, but I don't have to anymore, as he answered that question in this letter. Wendjy mentioned before that he really enjoys movies, so we have been talking about our favorite movies and actors. 

Wendjy is 19 years old and lives in Haiti. This letter is dated March 5th, 2014

Dear Kayla,

I'm delighted to communicate with you through letters every time I have the possibility to do so. How are you doing? How's your family? I believe everything is well with you, thanks to the grace of God. I'm glad to inform you that my favorite movie is "Prince of Persia", "Twilight", and "We Love You Anne", which is a Haitian movie. My favorite actor is Vin Diesel. I'm informing you also that I moved to another place because I wanted to go to a technical school and the project is closer to me now. I must tell you that in spite of the economical crisis, I had a wonderful Christmas and a lovely birthday. I didn't have any celebration for my birthday but I went to church to thank God for seeing me through another year. Thanks for your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for my family and me, so that God continues to guide us. I have to tell you that at the end of June I have to take a state exam. I wish you a happy Easter. God bless you! 



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Electricity for Xhuliano!

I know that I've been a little neglectful of my blog lately. I have several letters to post and share with you, but I have just been so busy.

But, I have to post this.

My dear Xhuliano wrote me a couple letters this week. One of them was very hard for me to read. He told me that his family has been without electricity for a whole year and was basically begging me for help. I know that sponsored children are usually encouraged not to ask their sponsors for extra things and money, but I really feel like this was Xhuliano's last resort. Since it's been a year, I'm sure his family has tried every way possible to raise the money.

I want to be able to help this sweet boy. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know just how sweet of a boy my Xhuliano is. He has so much love and happiness about life. I can't imagine how he has all of this without electricity. So difficult.

Xhuliano says, "I, Xhuliano, am asking this help because I can not just sit in the dark." 

The amazing this is, I only need about $150 to give Xhuliano and his family electricity for a year. A year.

I do not have this amount of money right now, but I'm really hoping that I can gather some support for my boy and we can get his family electricity, by working together.

To do this, I started a fundraiser. There is no end date, because I plan to keep raising money for as long as it takes to help Xhuliano. If you are willing to donate, even a small amount, to help, I would really appreciate it. Here is the site:

Please also join me in praying for Xhuliano and his family. Clearly, they are struggling.