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Monday, March 30, 2015

Palm Sunday: Not Such a Celebration

Before you read the title of this entry and close out of my blog, shaking your head, I ask you to stick with me for little while.

I have been a Christian for 11 years now and I have attended a Palm Sunday service for 11 years. I thought I knew the story of Palm Sunday, about how Jesus entered into the city, riding on a donkey, and everyone cheered and welcomed him. That's the story you know too, right?

Well, as it turns out, most churches don't focus on the whole story. Sure, I've read the passage in the bible that is titled "The Triumphal Entry." I've most likely heard sermons about the whole story. But, apparently, I have never really grasped or paid attention to how the passage ends. Yesterday, Pastor Sarah, at the church I attend, focused her sermon on parts of the passage that I had never heard focused on before. Maybe it's just me, but I've always thought of Palm Sunday as this day to celebrate. But really, it's not.

To spare you having to look it up yourself, I'm going to share the entire passage with you. This is Luke 19:28-44.

"After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'" 

Those who were sent ahead went and found it just has he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, 'Why are you untying the colt?' They replied, 'The Lord needs it'. They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glorying in the highest heaven!" 

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I will tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!"

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace - but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and will hem you in on every side. The will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you". 


The beginning of the passage certainly looks like celebration, right? Does an image like this come to your mind? 



Pastor Sarah described this scene as a bit of a mob mentality. The people were there because they heard that the Messiah was coming to their city. Some people believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but others did not, and were basically gathering to see for themselves. Pastor Sarah said, "Everyone loves a parade". However, the people that weren't sure that Jesus was the Messiah were disappointed. The prophecy that existed said that the Messiah would come into the city shining brightly and riding on a big white horse. The prophecy also stated that the Messiah will ride in on that horse and completely overthrow the government, bringing peace. This Jesus was not riding a horse, he was riding a stubborn mule. He did not ride in and save the day, he simply came in calmly. However, the people, not wanting to ruin a good parade, cheered and waved palm leaves anyway, even though they doubted that this was the true Messiah. Most people simply just did not believe Jesus was the Messiah. 

In the words of Pastor Sarah, "The people at the parade who shouted, "Hosanna!" were the same people who, five days later, yelled "Crucify Him!" 

As Jesus approached Jerusalem, after hearing these people shout praises to God, he did not react in joy. He did feel worshiped and loved. He was sad. Desperately sad. And he wept for these people, for us. He wept because these people did not recognize peace when they saw it. 



Jesus did not come to bring peace by overthrowing the government. Jesus was the peace. Jesus is the peace. 

It was the doubt of the people that lead to the death of Jesus, just five days later. The same people who shouted praises through their doubt, were the same people who condemned Jesus to die. 

Palm Sunday is not a day of celebration, not really anyway. People celebrated because they felt like they should, not because they truly believed. And that had dire consequences for our Messiah. 

Thankfully, we can learn from that mistake. We know now that Jesus is our Messiah and we have a real reason to celebrate, to wave those palm leaves, and shout "Hosanna!" to our God. In the future, when you wave those palm leaves, mean it, truly mean it, because now we know just have much damage doubt can do. 



"Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers"



***Foot note: I realize that there are probably many, many people who know about the end of this story and this post doesn't teach you anything new. You may even be shocked that a Christ follower of 11 years is so shocked by the end of this passage. But, like I said, it seems like in past years, I have completely ignored the sad part of this story and just celebrated Palm Sunday has a happy occasion. This post is simply me sharing my thoughts on the matter.****


Sunday, March 29, 2015

India has Babies!

I was looking at the Compassion website today and saw that there are now babies (really toddlers) up for sponsorship in India. Oh be still my heart. It's taking every ounce of willpower I have to not sponsor all of those little cuties. (Who needs electricity, right?)

I can't sponsor one of these babies right now, but I can do the next best thing, share about them. I chose six of these cuties (some of the youngest on the site) and made a pretty cool collage, if I do say so myself. I assigned each child a number and I will share their info that way too. If you decide to sponsor one of these cuties, let me know, so I can celebrate with you.

Side note, some of these kids are stated as being in kindergarten. Kindergarten in India is like our preschool. Kids can start attending kindergarten at age 2, if their parents wish, and continue until they are 5 years old.




1. This little guy is Kartik. He's 2 years old. His birthday is June 24th. He lives with his father and mother and is an only child. His favorite activity is walking and he attends church activities with his family. He is in kindergarten and has average performance. You can sponsor Kartik here. 

2. Labanya has been sponsored!

3. This sweetheart's name is Nisha. She is 2 years old. Her birthday is June 13th. She lives with her father and mother. She doesn't have any siblings. She helps run errands with her parents. For fun, she likes to play house and play with dolls. She is not yet attending school. You can sponsor Nisha here.

4. Anjalina has been sponsored! 

5. This handsome guy is Sidharth. He is 2 years old and will be 3 on June 6th. He lives with his parents and one sibling. He enjoys walking and attending church activities with his family. He is in kindergarten and has average performance. You can sponsor Siharth here.

6. Mr. Grumpy here is Aryan. He is 2 years old. His birthday is May 30th. He lives with his father, mother, and two siblings. For fun, Aryan likes to sing and run. He is in kindergarten and has average performance. He also attends church activities with his family. You can sponsor Aryan here. 




Saturday, March 28, 2015

Albanian Teens are Great

I heard from both of my Albanian boys yesterday. It is so great to know that there are wonderful, sensitive young men in the world. Xhuliano and Florenc are great!

Xhuliano is 14 years old.

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Dear My Friend Kayla,

I enjoyed very much that day, when I got your letter. Yes, I'm very well and my family is very well. I'm very happy that you pray for me and my family. Thank you very much. And I pray for you everyday, my friend, because you are a wonderful friend and you will be always in my heart and in my family. I felt happy that you have passed beautifully the Christmas. I celebrated the new year with my family, which is our tradition. We passed a beautiful evening together with my dad, mum, and my sisters. We lit fireworks at the changing of years. Marsela felt happy when she saw them in the sky. 

On December 28th, I celebrated my birthday. It was a special day for me and my family. Stelina filled 12 years on January 4th. Marsela has got her birthday on April 5th. They love you very much. 

I hope that you write me soon. 

Lots of Love From,
Xhuliano

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Then, I received yet another letter from Florenc. This boy is on a roll! 

Florenc is 15 years old. 

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Hello Kayla!

I'm glad that I'm writing to you. I feel good about myself when I talk to you. Thank you for giving me your support in my high school year. I do not consider myself as a very smart person, but thanks anyway. My favorite subject is World History because it talks about the past ways of living, wars, and lots of other things. On the other hand, the subjects I hate are Chemistry and Physics. My school is made up of 300 students, so it is not very big. 

I would love it if you could visit me, but as you said what I can do is hope and pray for this to happen. During my holidays on the beach, I didn't do many activities. I just enjoyed the sea as much as I could. 

I have some questions for you, though it is you who generally ask me questions. Which is favorite season? Have you ever argued with a friend? Do you like movies? What about pets and if yes, which are your favorite ones? 

I wish you all the best with your job at the church!

Write as soon as you can! 

Florenc

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Four More Letters (A Record Breaking Month!)

As of today, I have received 24 letters in March. I write to 44 kids, so it's not implausible, but that is a ton of letters for one month! And the month isn't even over yet! 24 letters in one month is certainly a new record for me and any additional letters received before the end of this month will just leave me even more amazed.

Today, I received 6 letters, but I will only share 4 of them today. I will share letters from my Albanian boys tomorrow, so you have something to look forward to.

I received another letter from Maria. Just like her last letter, she wrote in very large handwriting as a way to take up more space on the page. In reality, the letter is very short. She must have had better and more fun things awaiting her when she was finished writing her letter. Kids crack me up.

Maria is 10 years old and lives in Brazil. She wrote this letter on December 3rd, 2014.

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Dear Sponsor Kayla,

Hello! How are you? Thank God my family and I are well. I'm so glad you pray for me. I know God has a purpose for each of us. I'll keep trying hard to provide a better life for my family. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year. I don't forget you. Hugs and kisses. 

Maria Eduarda

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Onto a letter from Fongwin. Fongwin is only 1 month away from the 2 year mark for a new photo. I anxiously check my account every day hoping to see a new one. Nothing yet! I imagine he looks much more grown up now. 

Fongwin is 12 years old and lives in Thailand. He wrote this letter on January 5th, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Hello! I'm glad to write a letter to you again. I'm thankful to you for stickers. Me and my family are doing well. How are you and your family doing? It is very cold here as there are fogs in the morning. So, I have to find a warm jacket. I had fun this past Christmas as there were many activities and games and gifts. How is Christmas celebrated in the United States? They must enjoy it just like me. Please pray for my studies and for my parents' health. Lastly, happy new year and may God bless you and your family always. 

Love in Christ,
Thawatchai

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I finally heard from Celeste! Before today, it had been almost 7 months since her last letter. I put in an inquiry on March 1st, which clearly wasn't received before this letter, so it looks like the inquiry wasn't needed. It seems that Celeste has just missed a few letter writing days. I am very happy to know it wasn't anything more serious and that Celeste is still attending the project. 

Celeste is 12 years old and lives in Honduras. She wrote this letter on February 20th, 2015. 

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Dear Friend and Godmother Kayla,

I thank God that you are well that you take the time to write letters to me. It is my best wish that God give you strength in your job. I have been doing well. Everything is going well with my family. I have started school and I'm in the 6th grade. At the project they gave us a school pack with notebooks, pencils, pens, colored pencils, and markers. Thank you for the pictures of the wedding. I'm glad that you are happy for your friend Kristin. I think that weddings are fun and beautiful too. It is every woman's dream to marry a good man. So long. I say goodbye with my love always. 

Celeste

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Last up, a letter from Emanuel. He also sent me a copy of his report card for the school year. I will share his classes and grades after his letter. His grades aren't fantastic, but he improved drastically from 1st term to 2nd term. I am very proud of his effort! When I post the grades, I will post his average for the whole school year. Tanzania uses the same grade letters as we do in the United States. 

Emanuel is 18 years old and lives in Tanzania. He wrote this letter on February 14th, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ. My family and I are fine and continue well. It's my hope that you are fine. Also, thanks for your nice letters you sent to me and I like them. I am happy to hear that you have children. (The kids I nanny for. Guess I should clarify this). In the other letter you asked me about the church choir. We celebrate Christmas together and the choir sang with joy! Thanks for the dollars you sent to me. I was very happy. I bought a shirt, rice, biscuits, and toothpaste for my birthday. I would like to give you a bible verse from Psalms 27:1. "The Lord delivers and indicates me. I fear no one." I would like to ask you a question, which games do you like to play with your children? I wish you good life, which please God and God bless you. 

Emanual

Education Progress Report Form for Tanzania Children to their Sponsors

School Year: January-December 2014

Form: 3 (Junior Year)

Subjects learned during this year at the project: 

Physical/Health: Time Management
Social: Understanding My World
Spiritual: Praise and Worship
Livelihood: Searching for Jobs 

Student's Performance in Secondary School

Mathematics - D
Civics - C
Biology - D
Geography - D
History - D
Kiswahili - C
English - C

Average for All Classes - C

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jhonrex's Updated Photo

It seems another one of my boys has turned into a young man. :)




Tuesday, March 24, 2015

India has My Heart

I have never been to India, but I know how much I love it. I am connected to 10 children/teens from India and I love them all. They all live in different regions and I love all the regions, as well. I love the rural plains, the city slums, the mountain villages, the red light districts, and the mid-size towns. I love them all. I know that I will make it to India someday, but I don't know when. It seems so impossible, but as one of my kids reminded me today, "anything is possible for God."

I received three letters from India today. I will share those with you today:

First up, a letter from Solomon. He has officially graduated from the templates and onto regular paper. He still didn't write the letter himself, though. One step at a time, maybe someday.

Solomon is 9 years old and he wrote this letter on February 1st, 2015.

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Dear Sponsor, 

Greetings to you in the mighty name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is Mrs. Umakumar, project staff, writing this letter on behalf of Solomon. He hopes you are fine there. He, he and his family are doing well. Thank you very much for your loving letter. Cricket is played with bat and ball. There will be two teams and they score and play to win with their team. Now he is in 3rd grade. Yes, he is enjoying school. Here, Christmas vacation was given for 10 days and school started again. Your picture is so good and it is so cute. You learn so much in school there. Yes, he too learns all that you learn. His favorite thing to learn is English. He saw the picture of you in the classroom. He says that the wedding couple are very cute. He hopes you all enjoyed the wedding day. We celebrate weddings with joy, decorating with balloons, colored papers, and cake. We invite our friends and neighbors. He thanks you for your bible verses. It was wonderful. It is amazing to have your photo. Birthdays are the time we step into a new year. Please pray for him. He is praying for you. 

Thanking You, Sincerely in Christ,,
Mrs. Umakumar

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Now, a letter from Khushi. She has always written in English and has fantastic handwriting. But, this letter is off the charts in great handwriting. I am so impressed! 

Khushi is 12 years old and this letter is dated January 30th, 2015.

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My Dear Sponsor Kayla,

Greetings! I wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyful new year 2015. I hope you are doing well. I am fine here and my school is also going well. I had a very lovely Christmas and I also received my Christmas gifts through your support. I would like to thank you very much for these wonderful gifts. I received a track suit, a warm sweater, a cap, and also bowls and plates for my family. Me and my family are very happy and thankful. I am in 7th grade at school and my age is 12. All my siblings are also enjoying school. It was our 66th republic day on January 26th. We enjoyed the program in our school, though it was a rainy day. We have got a cow and calf at home. My mother takes care of the family and she also cares for our pet animals. Now we are about to start sowing paddy crop. My mother also likes to attend the parents meetings that are held every month in my project. I am very much thankful to God for the project. I have been blessed learning God's word and bible teachings. I am now looking forward to picnic and camping. Our project teachers said that they will take us for picnic and camping in about a month. I like to play and have fun with my friends at the project. I want to thank you so much for your love, support, and prayers. My dear friend, I am also praying for you and I hope we can meet some day. Anything is possible for God. Thank you again for the Christmas gifts. 

Yours, 
Khushi

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To end the post, a letter from Kalpesh. 

Kalpesh is 12 years old and wrote this letter on January 12th, 2015. 

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Dearest Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of our Savior Lord Jesus from me, my mom, and my siblings. Really, I am so happy to get your letters with a card,, your photograph with your friends, and beautiful stickers. Surely, I'll give the card to my friend and also tell about our friendship and show your photograph to him. Also, I'll tell them about true friendship, which I learned 2 years before in the VBS camp, which taught us Jesus is our true friend and how much Jesus loves us. Thank you so much for the lovely and encouraging letters. Say hello to your friends for us. I've recently come back from my mother and my siblings. We had a break from school, as well as from the project for some days and I went to visit them. By the Lord's grace and your prayers, we are very fine and everything is going on well. In the month of April, 16 children have birthday in my project. We didn't know about our birthdays but after joining the project, every year we are celebrating it very happily. It's only because of you. So I am really grateful to you. Every one of your letters encourages me, so once again I praise God and thanking you. I wish you a very happy new year and may God help you in your job. Take care. 

Kalpesh

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Love From Ethiopia

Last week, I received two letters from two of my Ethiopian teens, but for whatever reason, I haven't typed them up yet, so today is the day! Spoiler, the second letter came with a picture! 

First up, Taye's letter. I've been writing to him for almost two years and I haven't seemed to be able to get him to open up. He talks about school, church, and the weather. Period. But, I'm not giving up. I will keep sharing and hope that he opens up one of these days. 

Taye is 17 years old. This letter was written on December 16th, 2014. 

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Dear Kayla, 

Let the grace and peace of God be with you. How are you? I am fine and so is my family, praise God. With your monthly support in money, school fees are paid for me and I am learning in a good way. In addition, I go to church every week and attend Sunday school education. Currently, the weather is warm in my country. How is the weather in your country? Farewell. 

Taye. 

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I also received a letter from Enatenesh. It seems that her financial sponsor sent her a money gift and this letter came with a picture! Her financial sponsor sends gifts often and I've gotten some great pictures from her. They always include her whole family, which is a treat! 

Enantenesh is 18 years and her letter is dated February 22nd, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

How are you and your family doing? My family and are doing fine, praise God! 

I am so grateful for your birthday money gift and I got a carrying reservoir, clothes, shoes, and school supplies. May God bless you greatly! 

I am attending my regular classes well, with all my school needs being met by you! Thank you! And I also go to my Sunday school classes. I recently learned about the story of Abraham. My favorite school subject is mathematics. 

With the family money gift we bought roof tin sheet, wood, and nails. Thank you for all! Please keep in touch. 

Good bye!


I'm not entirely sure what is being shown in this picture or why there is a running hose in the picture, but I still like to see the whole family! 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

A New Project and a New Child!

There is a brand new project in Honduras! Compassion just opened this project within the last month or so. This project is located in Santa Barbara, Honduras, located in the mountains.


This brand new project is HO-416 and it is called Tu Reino Aqui, which translates to Your Kingdom Here. Isn't that a beautiful name? What a better way to demonstrate God building his kingdom on earth than by releasing these 200 children from the grips of extreme poverty? 

There is a team of 10 people who will be visiting this project in July. From now until then, they will be advocating for the children at HO-416 to be sponsored. You will not see these children on the website and you will not see them at events. Between then and now, these 10 people have the unique opportunity to find sponsors for these kids. 

So far, I have seen 2 of these team members post blog posts about the children waiting for a sponsor. I will share these blog posts for you. 

First up is Kim H,'s blog: Three Little Larks: God's Kingdom Here. On her post, she listed 6 children waiting for a sponsor and three of them have already been sponsored. I'm sure she will update her information soon, but Selvin, Elmer, and Nahomy have already been sponsored! 

In fact, beautiful Nahomy has been sponsored by my mother, and I will be her correspondent: 



Next, Deborah R. wrote a blog post, as well, and shared 10 children from HO-416 waiting for a sponsor. You can see that blog post here: Trusty's Mail Bag. All of the children are so precious, especially that Josue, in my opinion. I love his little smile! 



The goal between now and July is to have this project 100% sponsored, all 200 children connected with a loving person. Is it possible? I absolutely believe it is! With God's perfect plan and timing, I think it can be done.

I urge you consider sponsoring one of the children at this project. It is really a rare experience to start sponsoring a child in a brand new project and to get to see every once of the project's growth and success. Our Nahomy was literally the 4th child sponsored at this new project. I think that's pretty exciting!

Will you join me to help build God's kingdom here?


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Beware! Long Post Ahead!

Over the weekend, I received seven letters from my Compassion kiddos. Two of the letters were from Enatenesh, so I've decided to put them together in a different post. That means that in this post, I will be sharing five letters with you. Get ready to read!

First, a letter from Nandini. She is 9 years old and lives in India. The letter is dated January 27th, 2015.
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Dear Kayla,

Greetings to you in the the sweet name of our Lord Jesus. I am fine with my family. Thank you very much for your regular love, prayers, and support. We had celebrated Christmas in our institution with my friends. Thank you for contacting me through letters. We had an eye check program in our institution. Please pray for my bright future. I wish you a happy new year! All my family members are fine. I am regularly going to school and the child development center. I have seen your friend's marriage photos. They are beautiful! I have attended a marriage party. We blessed the couple with my parents. We pray for them, we give gifts, in many marriages there will be a wedding feast. I give my heartfelt thanks to Jesus because of what he has done for me. How is G and C doing? Please pray for me. 

Your Loving Child,
Nandini

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I received my first letter from Rujikorn! I love first letters. I really makes the relationship feel real, if you know what I mean. The letter is addressed to her financial sponsor, but I know that will change by the next letter.

Rujikorn is 10 years old and lives in Thailand. She is part of the Karan tribe. She wrote this letter on December 26th, 2014.

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Dear Sponsor,

Hello. I am Rujikorn. My family and I are fine. I hope you and your family are fine too. I am happy and I thank you very much for your Christmas gift. The project bought a blanket for me. I celebrated Christmas  with special songs and preaching that Jesus was born. There was special food and it was very delicious. Please pray for my studies and my family. You are in my prayers always. May God be with you always. 

Love in Christ,
Rujikorn

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Now a letter from Brenda. She is 15 years old and lives in Uganda. The date on the letter reads January 30th, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla,

How are you and how are your family members? Back to me, I am okay with my parents. The reason I have written this letter is to thank you for the letter you to me. I was happy when I saw it with the pictures you have sent for me. All of them made me happy. 

In the letter you have sent to me, you asked me "why I love God?" The reason why I love God is that he created me and he is still at my side. He protects me. 

At school, everything is going well. Now I am promoted to Senior two (sophomore year) and I thank God for that. I love to read the bible and my books. I have a verse from the bible from the book of Psalms, 34:4. It says that, "I sought the Lord and he answered me. He delivered me from all my fears." It teaches me to love God because he answered my questions. Thank you. May God bless you. 

Brenda

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Now another letter from another lovely, young lady. Lina is 15 years old and lives in Colombia. She wrote this letter on January 26th, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla,

Hello sponsor. I greet you with all the love in the world, wishing you are doing well. Through this letter I want to tell you that I like animals very much. My favorite animals are dogs and cats. In fact, I would love to have a dog and his name would be Toby, because I love that name. I tell you that I share time with my mother and my sister and someday I would like to learn how to speak English because I think it is a beautiful language and very necessary. 

Sponsor, I tell you that, thank God, I passed the school year and at home we are all happy. I ask you to help me pray that everything can still go well. I thank you for everything you do for me and for the support you give me. 

I want to know, who do you share your time with? I give you Isaiah 43:2. I say goodbye. May God bless you. 

Lina

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Lastly, a letter from Elias. I have to say, I'm super happy with this letter! I've been corresponding with Elias for almost two years and this is the very first letter I've gotten that shared any kind of specific information, outside of the weather and school. Maybe this is a new thing?! 

Elias is 16 years old and lives in Ethiopia. He wrote this letter on January 12th, 2015.

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Dear Kayla, 

How are you doing? Praise God, I am very fine. I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy new year. I have got your Christmas money. Thank you. I got clothes, shows, teff, flour, hair oil, soap, cooking oil, health support, and other things through the project. I thank God for all your support ot me. Thank you and God bless you. I spent Christmas with my friends eating bread, kolo, candy, biscuits, and drinking soft drinks, in a good way, at the project. Pray for me and my family. Bye. 

Taye

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Loads of Letters!

On Saturday evening, after working at the Compassion table for two days, I found 7 (!) letters in my mailbox! I have a folder that I keep important papers in (things for church, as well as letters I have to respond to). Well, I left that folder in my office at church on Sunday, so I will not have those 7 letters until Wednesday, when I work again. I was looking forward to typing those up and sharing the extra picture (Yay!) that came with one of those letters. But, it looks like we will all have to wait on those.

But! I received another 3 letters today. 10 total letters in just a few days is pretty awesome, I must say. Without further ado, I will share the letters I found in my mailbox today.

First up, a letter from Solomon. He filled out the My Community template letter. Then a project worker wrote a long (and very hard to read) letter on the back. I will do my best to figure out what some of the sentences are trying to say.

Solomon is 9 years old and lives in India. He was 8 when this letter was written, so my guess is it will be the last template letter I receive from him. This letter was written on November 27th, 2014.

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1. The facilities that are available in my community are: Health Center & School

2. The modes of communication used in my community is: Phone

3. The means of public transportation available in my community is: Cycle, Rickshaw, Bus, Train

4. The common language spoken in my community is: Kannada

5. Most of the people in my community are: Hindus

Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Greetings to you in Jesus' name. I am Mrs. Umakumar writing this letter on behalf of your son Solomon. He hopes you're fine. Here he is fine by God's grace. Thank you for your letter and your photograph and the song. It is amazing. Really, it is wonderful. He loves it. He is happy to hear you spend your days happily in God's presence. It is so interesting to hear the story of the tooth fairy in your country. It is so lucky to have such kind of fun. Here we don't have anything special about losing teeth. We just throw it far away. He enjoyed the tooth fairy story. God is great. He has given you great children to take care of. They are very cute and bubbly. Solomon likes the picture you sent him. Thank you for sending him bunny picture. His brother Praveen is working in recharge collection (?). He introduce about you to his family and they feel so happy to hear about you. In his school, he celebrated Children's Day on November 14th. Solomon enjoyed the day with his friends. In the project he had a medical check-up and he's okay. He wish you a happy Christmas and new year. See you in the next letter. 

Your's Sincerely in Christ

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Now, a letter from Kwizera Yves. He sure has been a busy writer lately, which I can't complain about!

Kwizera is 10 years old and lives in Rwanda. This letter is dated February 7th, 2015.

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Dear Kayla, 

Beloved sponsor, I firstly greet you in the name of Jesus Christ. In Rwanda, we are doing well, we have rain. I was promoted to 5th grade. Pray for me to succeed. How are you doing? My father is not doing well, he scar got infected. My other family and I are doing well. I got 78/100. Thank you for sending me a letter. I wish you a happy new year. Thank you for the letter you sent. 

Kwizera Yves

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Last, but not least, a letter from Wendjy. The way he opens up in his letters and the way I openly share my life with him, I feel as if we are truly friends. It makes me want to learn Haitian Creole so I can still communicate with him when he graduates before he graduates in a couple of years.

Wendjy is 20 years and lives in Haiti. He wrote this letter on January 29th, 2015.

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Dear Kayla, 

I am happy to have a friend like you, that always feels like hearing from me and writing to me often. Just as you appreciate me this way. I hope you are well and all is going well with you. I am happy to get your letters that are always interesting because you always send them with pictures. I thank you for the stickers and the cards that are very beautiful. I am happy to answer the questions you asked. The technical school is going very well. My church has many choirs and for Christmas the activities are very beautiful, the choirs sang well. I am letting you know that it's very rainy here in Haiti. The weather is a little dark and it's cold, a bit. I have been attending these kinds of ceremonies for several years in my country. It's a beautiful thing when two people are getting married. All the family and friends come to attend. My sister's kids are Caphil and Islande. I was so happy to share this information with you. God bless. 

Wendjy

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

An Overwhelming Weekend!

(But in a good way!)

This weekend (Friday and Saturday) was the National Hearts at Home conference, which is held in my hometown. This is a two day conference for moms to get together, attend seminars, learn about different ways to teach their children about God, hear parenting stories, buy books, clothes, jewelry, etc, all for great causes! There are several famous speakers (this year there was Gary Chapman, Jill Savage, Lysa, TerKeurst, and others). It's just an all around great weekend! For many years, Compassion has had a presence and a table at the event. I have had the pleasure of volunteering at this table for the last four years. This year was just as great as any other year!


(A picture I found from last year's conference. I didn't take any this year!)


I am a crazy person (haha) and I signed up for every available shift that I could. So basically, that means that I worked the table for 18 hours in two days. I just hate to miss a minute of it! I love talking about Compassion, sharing their ministry, showing my binders full of letters and gift photos, and photos of when I met Celeste. It's so great to see people take the first step into sponsorship. 

My favorite story of the day was one woman who came up to the table, holding four packets. This had been happening periodically throughout the weekend, as people found remaining packets from the packet pass on the floor or laying around and brought them back. Then we realized that this woman had taken four packets from the packet pass and filled out all the information. She was sponsoring four children at once! They were all from the same project in Ethiopia. I asked her if she had other sponsored children and was growing her family this year. She said, "No, I actually hadn't heard about Compassion until I saw the presentation this morning." I said, "Wow! You're really jumping in with both feet! That's great!" She responded with, "Well, God told me to!". It's amazing to me that somebody can hear about Compassion for the first time and less than an hour later sponsor four children at once. 

God sure was on the move in Illinois this weekend!

We started the weekend off with 390 packets. We only boxed up 37 to send back to Compassion! 72 of them went "missing" after the packet pass, but we assume that many of them will be taken home and sponsored. We had 281 new sponsors by the end of Saturday night, with hopes of getting over 300 with the packets taken home. That's awesome! 

At least 281 children were released from poverty this weekend! 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Handsome Young Men Needing Sponsors

As you can probably tell from my lack of posts lately, things have been pretty slow around here. I haven't received any letters this week to share with you and things on my account have been quiet, as well.

So, I decided to share some older teens that are waiting for a sponsors. All of these handsome guys attend projects that I sponsor/correspond in. There are many great positives to sponsor an older child. One, is that it will be a short term sponsorship, only a few years long. The graduation ages for Compassion kids are as follows: 18 for Central America, 20 for South America, 21 for Asia, and 22 for Africa. All of the young men I will share today will graduate in just 2-4 years. Another perk to sponsoring an older child is that you will, most likely, receive great letters from them! Older children and teens have already developed their writing and conversation skills and will, no doubt, be able to share important details about their lives with you.

Without further ado, let's meet the guys!

Side note, if I had the money, I'd scoop up that Vincent in a heartbeat! He's been waiting a long time for a sponsor, he doesn't have a family, lives at the project, and loves all things artistic. What a catch for a loving sponsor!


Name: Tapana
Age: 17
Birthday: March 15th, 1997
Country: East India
Family: Father, Mother, & 1 sibling
Interests: Soccer, Swimming, Volleyball
School Performance: Average in High School




Name: Murali
Age: 18
Birthday: May 9th, 1996
Country: India
Family: Father, Mother, & 2 Siblings
Interests: Art, Walking, Playing Ball Games
School Performance: Average in College




Name: Fedinaid
Age: 18
Birthday: December 6th, 1996
Country: Kenya
Family: Father, Mother, & 3 Siblings
Interests: Soccer, Volleyball, Playing Group Games
School Performance: Average in High School




Vincent has been sponsored! 


Name: Allan
Age: 18
Birthday: March 23rd, 1996
Country: Uganda
Family: Mother & 1 Sibling
Interests: Soccer, Singing, Telling Stories
School Performance: Average in High School



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Letters and Spring! Letters and Spring!

Woo hoo! It's spring, it's spring! Today it's almost 50 degrees! Snow is melting everywhere! I found four letters in my mailbox!

I'm just a little bit excited.

:)

I'll go ahead and just post the letters now. From youngest to oldest.

First up, a letter from Sadiya. She is 11 years old and lives in India. This letter was written on January 22nd, 2015.

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Dear Sponsor Kayla,

Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ. Me and my family are good. I hope you are also fine. I received your letters and beautiful picture. I am very happy to know about you. The weather here is very cold. My studies are going well. I did not attend any weddings recently. Thank you for the stickers, I like them very much. In our project, everything is going well and also in this month, we have a sports day. I am going to participate in it. In the next month, we will go to a picnic from our project. I received Christmas gifts from our project: one cup, bed sheets, and casserole. Thank you very much. Please pray for my studies. I also pray for you. 

Yours Lovingly,
Sadiya

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Now I will share a letter from Sagitaria. She is 11 years old and lives in Indonesia. This letter is dated January 20th, 2015. 

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Dear Mama Kayla,

Shalom to you, mama Kayla. How are you? I hope you are fine. My family and I are fine. I thank you for sending me a letter. I am glad to write you a letter and meet you through a letter. I always go to the project and to Sunday school. Mama, please pray for my coming exams. Please pray that I pass and continue schooling. I hope after passing all school, I can help my parents financially. Mama, please pray that my parents will have a long life and blessings. Thanks. May God bless you. I love you. 

Sagitaria

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Next up, another letter from Florenc. He sure is on a writing kick, which I can't say I hate, haha. In a recent letter, I sent a letter to my kids asking them some fun questions, to get them thinking a little bit. I think if you look back a few months, you'd find the letter. In this letter, Florenc answers the questions. You can tell by his answers what the question is, so I won't type out what I asked.

Florenc is 15 years old and lives in Albania. He didn't date this letter.

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Hello! 

Your questions were really funny and I enjoyed reading them. I thought over these questions and here are the answers I wrote: 

1. If I could be invisible, I would do anything! Firstly, I would come and meet you. Secondly, I would help people in need, which is something I desire. 

2. The law that I would pass for my country would be to forbid people using harmful substances. 

3. To be honest with you, I don't think that I have any particular skill that would differ me from others, so I haven't ever won an award. 

4. I found out that you were my sponsor because World Vision told me. 

5. I like flowers, so if I had a garden, it would be full of multicolored flowers. 

6. I don't read too much, but I do like a book entitled, "Without Family". 

I hope you enjoy reading my responses as I enjoyed writing them. 

I love you very much too! 

From Your Friend,
Florenc

P.S Please write me back soon! I am curious to see what you are going to write back this time! Hahahaha! 

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Lastly, a short, but sweet, letter from Enatenesh. She is 17 years old and lives in Ethiopia. She wrote this letter on January 3rd, 2015. 

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Dear Kayla, 

How are you doing? I am doing fine. I hope that you are too. I wish you a happy birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. I got clothes and shoes with your Christmas gift. I am attending class properly. I became a grade 7 student. I got shoes with your birthday gift. I have two brothers. The first one is a driver and the other one is a student. Thank you so much for your support. Until our next letter. Bye bye. I love you. 

Enatenesh 

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