Thursday, July 30, 2015

Xhuliano's Progress Report 2015

It's always a pleasure to get World Vision's annual progress reports! Of course, the most important part of every progress report is seeing your child's new photo. The progress reports also include a small amount of other information about the child's past year. Usually there are some fun questions, but this year, it was all business.

First, I made this collage of some of Xhuliano's past photos. I have several of him, but I decided to choose one for each year that I've sponsored him.

The Age 14 photo is the one I received today. 

Here is a close-up of just his face. He has certainly grown into a handsome young man. 

Here is his new information: 

My Education: Second School Grade 8 

My Health Condition Is: Satisfactory 

Benefits and Training I Attended: International Day of Children's Rights, Christmas Activities, Summer Camp, Playing Games, Health/Hygiene Activities, and Children's Right Activities. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Two Letters from Maria

Today I opened the mailbox and found two letters from my girl, Maria. Both letters were written on the same day. It'd been about four months since I last heard from her, so it looks like she may have missed a letter writing day and her project tutor made her write a letter to make up for the day she missed. That's good for me, of course, but she probably wasn't thrilled with having to write two letters instead of getting to play with her friends. :)

Maria is 11 years old and lives in Brazil. She wrote these letters on April 10th, 2015.


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

I enjoyed very much your letter and I'm okay at school, with good grades. Thank you for asking. My trip to the zoo was very good and we could take many pictures with my cousins. I saw the very beautiful animals, such as monkeys, lions, a peacock, a snake, a blue parrot, and a turtle. I was very nice and I love going out with the project. Hugs and kisses from your sponsored child. 




Hello My Dear Sponsor, 

How have you been? I hope that you are doing well. I like to receive your letters, photos, and stickers. How is your family? How are your children, G and C? They are very pretty and I loved to see their smiles. G is eating cake and C is smiling. My family and I are doing well. I'm in 6th grade and there are about 48 students in my class. My dog turned 2 years old on February 25th. Love from your sponsored child.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sponsorship is Life-Changing

Yes, I know that if you are reading my blog, you already know about the life-changing experience of child sponsorship.

Yes, I already know it too.

But, a few days ago, I really, truly grasped that concept, in an entirely new way.

For those of you that have been around for awhile, on my blog, you may remember the boy Antonio that I sponsored for about a year. Antonio's sponsor, David, traveled to the Philippines to serve in mission at an orphanage. Before he left, he found friends that could sponsor his children. I took on his Antonio, from Nicaragua. David did not know how long he would be gone, a few months, a few years, he was truly following where God led him. David returned to Australia (where he lives) after a year in the Philippines. When he returned, we both decided that it was for the best that Antonio and David reconnect. Antonio had asked about David in every letter he wrote to me. It was clear that they had a special connection.

Until last week, I had no idea how much of a connection that Antonio and his mother made with me. Apparently my frequent letters and photos made a large impact on Antonio's life.

David traveled to Nicaragua to visit Antonio and his family.

Apparently, Antonio talked about me several times on this trip and asked about how I was doing. To David's amazement, Antonio had kept all of the letters and photos that I had sent him. Here are Antonio and his mother holding a photo of me with two of my friends.

As if that wasn't great enough, Antonio wanted to make a video for me. This made me cry and laugh at the same time. If there is anything consistent in my life, it's that I am an emotional wreck, anytime I feel a powerful emotion. I blame my mom, I inherited this fun trait from her. :) 

Again, as if one video wasn't enough, Antonio wanted to make another one! He ran inside his home, grabbed the photo of me and talked about some of the letters I wrote to him. Then, he even gives me advice! He's pretty wise for an 11 year old.

I talked to David and he agreed to say hello to Antonio from me in his next letter. He's also going to send a photo I took of me holding his photo. I still have his photos and letters, too.

Sponsorship changes lives, you guys. It really, really does. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Celeste Answers "All About Me" Questions

Hello again, everyone. Awhile back, I sent all of my kids a list of some random, fun questions. I have had several great responses to these questions! Today, it's time to share Celeste's answers to these questions.

Celeste is 13 years old and lives in Honduras. This letter is dated June 20th, 2015.


Hello Dear and Beloved Sponsor Kayla, 

It is a pleasure and honor to have you as my sponsor. I feel so proud of writing another of my letters to you. If I was invisible, I would make pranks to my friends. My law for my country would be to help the poorest. At school, I won an award for doing in my village. Through the pastor at church, I found out that you were my sponsor and godmother. In my garden, I would plant roses and my favorite carnations. I do not have a nickname. My favorite book is El Sembrador songbook. I like the story of the purple sheep and I would like to be like her. Also, I would like to be like these sequoia trees and hold on to Jesus Christ, but I have not accepted him as my savior yet. My dream is to be a great teacher to be able to educate children. I say goodbye with a big salutation. Kisses!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Step Into My World: Urban Honduras

Today we journey to the Central American country of Honduras. We'll focus on the urban regions of the country, those communities that lie right outside of the big cities of Honduras.

I have two children who live in Urban Honduras:

Celeste & Alexander 

Compassion works mostly near the big cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, but I'm sure there are other areas that are considered urban.

The urban regions that Compassion works in are extremely poor. These communities typically have a very stark difference from the big cities. The big cities in Honduras are where the middle and upper class people in the country live. The cities are full of stores selling electronics, nice clothing, popular fast food. There are high-class restaurants, movie theaters, and large, modern homes. 

Then, often just a 10 minute drive away from the big cities, you will find the city slums. Homes in the city slums are very small, often just one room, and made of wood, iron, and cardboard. Most homes in urban Honduras do have electricity and some even have satellite TV, that is either purchased for cheap, or stolen, from the city. People typically have access to clean water, but it must be purchased from a traveling water truck. Poor families cannot always afford to purchase clean water and then have to rely on collecting rainwater or drinking from dirty streams. 

Urban slums offer very little protection for children. Poor families often can't afford to send their children to school, so young children are either kept at home or roam the streets. Teens are often expected to get a job to support their family. Sadly, one of Honduras' biggest issues is gang violence. Teens that don't receive any education are often recruited into gangs, perpetuating the cycle of violence and drugs. 

Thankfully, Compassion watches their enrolled children very closely. All children are encouraged to stay in school and are discouraged from dropping out to get jobs for their families. Compassion teaches the children and their families that while having the children working jobs will help in the short-term, a full education will help in the long-term, allowing these children to escape poverty as adults. Compassion also provides homework help and educational lessons to children at the project. Of course, writing letters to sponsors is a great way for children to practice literacy: 

Children in the urban regions of Honduras are often malnourished, living mainly on tortillas, rice, and chicken, usually only in 1-2 meals a day. Children enrolled in Compassion receive healthy meals and snacks each time they attend the project. Compassion focuses a lot on providing fresh fruit and vegetables, that children don't usually receive at home. 

Compassion also provides the children with an open area at their projects to run, play games, and enjoy time with their friends, away from the means streets. 

Compassion Urban Honduras asks for the following prayer requests: 

- Pray for registered children and their parents to persevere in Jesus' name. 

- Pray for children who come from single-parents homes. 

- Pray for children and families who are traveling as immigrants to the United States. 

- Pray for children and families who live well under the poverty line, on less than one dollar a day. 

I want to share two children with you today. These children both live in urban areas of Honduras and are waiting for a sponsor to love and encourage them. 

Meet Emerson. He is 9 years old. His birthday is July 12th. He lives with his father and mother. His father works as a laborer when he is able to find work. Emerson enjoys playing soccer, swimming, and riding a bike. His chores include carrying water, making beds, and running errands. He has average performance at school. 

This is Estefany. She is 11 years old. Her birthday is August 24th, 2003. She lives with her mother and one sibling. Her chores include helping in the kitchen, running errands, and cleaning. She enjoys singing, art, and reading She has average performance at school. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Happy Friday Mail!

I just had to copy the title that I used on Monday (replacing the day, of course). I didn't receive any letters during the middle of the week, so the fun was too much to pass up.

I received three letters today, from a trio of wonderful boys.

I heard from my Kwizera Yves. He's not the most chatty boy, but he writes consistently. I'm sure his personality will show more and more as he gets older.

Kwizera Yves is 10 years old and lives in Rwanda. He wrote this letter on May 23rd, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ. I appreciate the letter that you sent. Thanks you so much for sending a letter. Here, in Rwanda, we are in the rainy season. My family and I pray for you. I got promoted to grade five and we are in the second term. I request you to pray for me so that I can do well on my test. Pray for me to be promoted to grade six. I wish you happy year of 2015. I conclude by wishing you peace from God. 

Kwizera Yves 


The next letter I opened was from Alexander. This was a surprise because I just got a letter from him last month. He's really turned into a great letter writer. He told me all about his dreams for the future in this letter. 

Alexander is 14 years old and lives in Honduras. This letter is dated June 20th, 2015. This letter certainly got here quickly! 


Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

How are you? I'm alright and very healthy and I want to tell you that I got your gift and thanks so much for the letter you sent me and I'm very happy. I pray to God to protect me in my heart and to protect you in your heart. Take care of yourself with healthy food. I want to tell you that someday I would like to go to the place where you live. I would like to see all the earth and climb. Someday I would like to make a school for children, help my family fix the home where we live, and someday I would like to be like my teacher who helps children. Whom would you like to meet? Someday I would like to meet you and your family because I want to hug and kiss you. When I grow up I want to be a teacher. I say goodbye with a hug and a kiss. I ask you to pray for my family. 



Then I tore open the last envelope and found a letter from Wendjy. He's such an intelligent young man and has big hopes for his future. In his letter, he mentions be in secondary school, but from what I can tell, it's not secondary school like we think of it. He's 20 years old and seems to be in some school between high school and university. I  think of it as a community college or technical school, of some kind. 

Wendjy is 20 years old and lives in Haiti. He wrote this letter May 23rd, 2015. 


Dear Kayla, 

It's always a pleasure and a great privilege for me every time I have the opportunity to communicate with you. How are you, your health, your family, and your activities? As for me, everything is going well, even if there are some little problems, but thanks to God who is in heaven, we will have the victory. I keep thanking you for all your prayers. Please keep praying for me so that I can get my passing grades and have success in all I'm doing and that God can give me strength, courage, and health to keep studying. I have to remind you that I will take an official exam in June. This exam is the final exam of secondary school. You asked me how old my nieces are. Caphil is 7 years old and Islande is 16 years old. I'm happy to be an uncle because I love children so much. I like to play with them. I want to let you know that I'd like to make a little business during the summer vacation, but I don't know exactly what it could be. I wish that God blesses you and your family. 



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My HO-416 Kid(s)!

Back in March, a group of Compassion advocates started working to find sponsors for 195 children from a brand new project in Honduras. This project is HO-416, which is Tu Reino Aqui, or Your Kingdom Here. Right away, I talked to my mom about this project and she agreed to sponsor sweet Nahomy, and let me be her correspondent:

Over this past week, that team of advocates traveled to HO-416 for a visit. It's been fun hearing their stories, as they shared them, and seeing all of the photos they posted. One of the advocates, Amanda, was able to find my Nahomy and she took these pictures: 

Both sassy and sweet. Just perfection. 

When these advocates first started sharing about these kids, there was a little boy that I fell in love with. His name is Jairo. I tried to talk my mom into sponsoring him, along with Nahomy, but it was a no go. Here's his official Compassion photo: 

Before they left on their trip, I messaged Jairo's advocate, Kim, and told her that I wanted to sponsor Jairo, but I wouldn't be able to make it official until August 1st, after getting my paycheck for VBS week. Kim told me that she would take some fun pictures of Jairo while she was there and man, did she deliver! They even played dress up! 

So, on August 1st, I will officially welcome this sweet boy to my family: (You can click on the photos to make them bigger)

 God's kingdom here. That's for sure.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Happy Monday Mail

Sometimes, I feel bad for my mail carrier. I always have a ton of mail for her to pick-up. Some days, she has more mail to add to her bag than she does to drop off in my mailbox. That was the case for today. I went on a writing spree today and had 7 letters to mail. My mail carrier left me 3 letters in my mailbox.

I really need to get my mail carrier a gift. Maybe a gift card to somewhere would be lovely. Thank her for all that she does for kids all over the world.

Anyway, like I said, I received three letters today. First up, I will share a letter from my Nahomy, my newest cutie in Honduras. A group of sponsors just visited her project in Honduras and I have some new photos of her. You can view her photo in the sidebar to see her new headshot, but I will also share more later, probably tomorrow.

This letter is titled, "My Dreams." Nahomy is 9 years old and lives in Honduras. This letter is dated May 9th, 2015.


My Dreams 

1. Someday I would like to visit: My sponsor

2. Someday I would like to meet: My sponsor

3. Someday I would like to see: My sponsor

4. Someday I would like to do: Make bread 

5. Someday I would like to help my family with: Money

6. Someday I would like to be like: My mom

7. Someday I would like to meet my sponsor because: I want to talk with her 

8. When I grow up, I would like to be: A lawyer 

Hello my dear sponsor, Kayla. I want you to know that I am happy. I am joyful that you are my sponsor and I wanted to tell you that I'm in 4th grade. I like to go out on trips and I also like to go to church. I like to play dolls with my friends and cousins. I wanted to tell you my favorite food is hamburgers. I want you to pray for my family, for us to have good health, especially for my grandmother Manuela because she is ill in her bones. I want you to pray for her to recover soon. I want to ask you, do you go to any church? May God keep you. 



I received a first letter from Hassane. First letters are always exciting. It's that time, after you written a few letters to a new child, that you get that glimpse of their personality. When Hassane wrote this letter, it appears he had already gotten a letter from me, which is pretty quick turn-around since I've only been writing to him since April.

Hassane is 13 years old and lives in Burkina Faso. His letter is date June 10th, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

I am in joy to write this letter and to receive your news. My family and I are well. I hope the same thing for you. Thank you for your financial support and for your prayers for my family and me. May God go with you. Very soon, we will be on vacation. I will help my parents to cultivate. How is the climate there? I want you to pray for my school. 



I also received another letter from Florenc. He is really picking up his writing this year! This will be his 8th letter and it's only July! The beginning of his letter makes me laugh. I've been writing to him every month for as long as I can remember, so it's not like he has gone too long without a letter. 

Florenc is 16 years old and lives in Albania. He very rarely dates his letters. 


Hello Kayla, 

I'm so happy that you wrote to me. For a moment, I thought you had forgotten me. The weather here is getting very beautiful everyday. The cherries have matured and they are so delicious. I see that you're well and you're having a good time with the kids at school. Children are kind and amusing. I'd like to be a child again because childhood is the best period of a person's life. We preserve the most beautiful moments of our lives there. How do you recall your childhood? Have you had your happy moments? Would you like to be a child again? 

School is almost over and the summer holidays are near. I'm happy and sad at the same time. For three months, I'm going to miss my friends and all the fun. Another year is over. 

I have to go now because I have things to do. Take care! 

Lots of Love,
Your Friend,


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Step Into My World: East India Rural Plains

Let's take a step into India, today. More specifically, East India. More specifically, again, the Rural plains.

Compassion works in two different locations in the country of India, they are separated into projects that start with IN and projects that start with EI. You may have noticed that difference, if you have several kids in India, like I do.

I have two kiddos who live in the rural plains region of East India:

Chintada & Swapna

East India works in the Eastern states of Bihar, Jharkhan, West Bengal, and Orissa, as far I as know. They may also work in Chhatisgarh, but I'm not sure. 

In the rural plains regions of these states, life is almost primitive, by our standards. Home are made of natural materials, like sticks, bamboo, thatch, and mud. Homes usually do not have electricity, running water, or any other modern commodity like that. 

Without a modern kitchen, women work hard all day long to collect water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. Food preparation is almost always done over an open fire, so when women aren't collecting water, they are collecting firewood. Girls are often expected to quit school and follow in their mother's footsteps and collect water and firewood during the day. 

Due to the fact that women are constantly at work during the day, their children are left to their own devices in the village. These children are often poorly clothed, malnourished, and neglected, leaving them at risk of many diseases and illnesses. 

Thanks to Compassion, the children in East India's rural plains are being given a new chance at growing up healthy and happy. The Compassion project becomes a safe haven for children, where they know they will be well taken care of and free to play and enjoy just being a kid. 

Two of the biggest problems in the rural plains of East India are malnutrition and lack of education. Compassion makes sure that all of the children enrolled in their program are able to attend school. Compassion also supplements each child's education with tutoring and educational lessons at the project.

Compassion also provides each child with a nutritious meal every time they attend the project. 

Compassion in the rural plains of East India has the following prayer requests: 

- Pray that the children's fragile homes will withstand damage from the annual rains. 

- Pray that children will be protected from an annual malaria epidemic. 

- Pray that caregivers will be able to find steady work and not have to leave their villages in search of employment. 

I have one girl to share with you, today. She lives on the rural plains in East India and live lives very similar to what I shared with you today: 

This precious girl is Sunita. She attends the same project as my lovely Swapna. 

Sunita is 5 years old. Her birthday is January 27th, 2010. She makes her home with her parents and one sibling. She enjoys playing with dolls, playing house, and walking. She is in kindergarten with average performance. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Geography Lesson from Abbas

I got a long, detailed letter from Abbas today. Awhile back, I wrote my kids a letter about the United States and some of our national symbols (flag, bird, flower, etc). I asked each of my kids to write back to me and tell me a little bit about their country. Abbas went above and beyond!

Unfortunately, Abbas also had sad news to share at the end of this letter. I'll definitely be praying for his project.

Abbas is 18 years old and lives in Uganda. He wrote this letter on May 11th, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

I hope everything is okay on your side. How is your country? How are your family members? On my side, I am okay. My family members are well and our country is also okay. I praise Him for being always good on my side and my family. 

I have written this letter to thank you for the support you always invest on my side, including gifts, school fees, and letter, most especially the last letter which was nice in color and had good information. I went through it and wondered how good is the U.S.A. It has very many people. I am going to also share with you about my country as you asked me in the letter. 

Our country is called Uganda and it's the Pearl of Africa. It is called Pearl of Africa because of many things, including good soil, good climate, beautiful scenery, topography of the land and many other things. Our capital city is Kampala. The population is about 36 million people and we also have a national bird, which is called Crested Crane. We don't have a national flower. We also have Independence Day and its on October 9th every year. We have a national flag. It has three colors and these are black, yellow, and red and these colors have their meaning. Black means Africans, including Ugandans, are black. Yellow means sunshine received in Uganda. Red means brotherhood. We don't have a main language but we have an official language and that is English, the reason being that we have different tribes speaking different languages, about 52 languages. In only one district, people can speak over 50 languages and that is whats beautiful about Uganda. We have hotsprings here where eggs can be cooked in the waters. We have waterfalls, where rainbows can be in vision on the ground. Please come and see the beauty of our world. 

God helped us in completing our first term and we completed it well, though I didn't do as well as I expected, but it's just another level. Things will change and I am very sure that in second term, I will do it better. I pray to God to bless me with knowledge. Therefore, I also need your help. 

At the project, we have got good news ad bad news. I will start with the good news. We got new teachers and we have enjoyed it in many ways. The sad news is we lost our beloved project child, who was called Robert. He died of diabetes. May his soul rest in eternal peace. 

We also learned how to bake cakes, which was good, most especially on my side because it changed my future in finances. Not only that, we have also learnt more about God through reading the bible and that is the main reason we are in this program. So I pray to God to help other people who have not yet got to know Him very well. 

I love you from back to the moon. May God bless you and your family. 



Monday, July 13, 2015

Two Letter Monday

July has proven to be a pretty slow month for letters, so far, but I was happy to find two letters in my mailbox today.

I got another letter from Allison. I just got a letter from her last week, so it was definitely a surprise! The letter I received today was actually written in January, so there was obviously a hold up somewhere, as the letter I got from her last week was written in March. I'm guessing this letter ended up at the bottom of some translation pile somewhere. I'm glad it finally made it's way to me.

Allison is 11 years old and lives in Ecuador. This letter was written January 25th, 2015.


Dear Sponsor, 

I greet you in the name of Jesus. How have you been? I'm fine because I'll finish my studies at school next year and then I'll enter high school. I like to be a studies girl and I want to study accounting and get my bachelor's degree (motivated little girl, isn't she?). How are you doing there? We are in the winter season and I like to read the bible with my family. My uncle Byron arrived home today, but he will soon leave us because he will go to Quevedo to accomplish his dreams. I'm very happy for my uncle Byron and I know that he will accomplish his dream. Well, I say goodbye in the name of Jesus. Take care very much. 



I also received a letter from Elias and let me tell you, I am over the moon! Correspondence from Ethiopia has been a bit of a struggle. I have been writing to Elias for over two years and, at first, I only heard from him 2-3 times a year. This year, I started receiving letters from him every two months (breakthrough #1), but they were still the same basic letter (weather, school, project, thank you for gifts, etc). Today, I received a letter right on time and it was full of chatty details. Breakthrough #2! 

Elias is 16 years old and lives in Ethiopia. He wrote this letter on May 9th, 2015. 


Dear Kayla,

My dear, beloved sponsor, how are you? My family and I are in good health, thanks be to the Lord. I am now a 6th grader. School is going well. I am showing a lot of progress in my school results. The main subjects are Amharic, English, Math, and Environmental Science. I was very happy to have received your letter. Thank you. I love you. May the Lord bless you. My father passes his greetings to you. What has happened with what you told me about ? The 5th national election was held in our country. Pray for me that I will be a clever, successfuly, God-loving, and worshiping boy. Also that my father also will be a God-fearing man. Bye until we write to each other again. 



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Step Into My World: Western Haiti

Today, we visit the country of Haiti, more specifically, the cities in Western Haiti.

I have two children that live in Western Haiti:

Emanise and Sevenson

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and is considered one of the hungriest countries in the world. Compassion in Western Haiti works in and around the cities of Port-Au-Prince (the capital), St. Marc, and Anse-a-Galets. 

I'm sure we can all remember hearing about the catastrophic earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010. People from all over the world donated millions and millions of dollars to Haiti, but unfortunately, almost none of the money reached the people in need (You should Google "Red Cross Haiti Fraud to learn more. In the future, don't donate money through Red Cross). Sadly, today, five years later over a million people are still homeless and living in tents and makeshifts homes, especially in the city's capital. 

Along with damaging homes, the 2010 earthquake also damaged roads in Haiti, making travel very difficult and painstakingly slow. Travel by car or bus is nearly impossible. Most people travel on foot, which, as you can imagine, takes a long time. 

Due to its extreme overpopulation, schools are not equipped to educate all of the children at the same time. Instead, children attend school in shifts. The morning shift lasts 8:00 a.m - 1:00 p.m and the afternoon/evening shift lasts 2:00 p.m - 7:00 p.m. Even still, many homeless children or children living in the slums and tent cities don't attend school at all. This has caused a decrease in literacy rates in Haiti since the earthquake. Compassion assures that every child in their programs attends school and also receives tutoring and lessons before or after their school shift. They are making sure these children are not falling behind.

Compassion-assisted children are also provided with many extra-curricular lessons, including music, dance, sports, and art. 

Of course, all Compassion children in Haiti are taught about how much God loves them, are taught bible stories, and are given a chance to worship together. As you can tell, the children love it!

Compassion in Western Haiti ask for the following prayer requests: 

- Pray that the children will be able to make a difference in their communities through the teachings they receive from Compassion programs. 

- Pray that children living in polluted areas will be kept safe from waterborne diseases. 

- Pray that God will provide more income-generating opportunities to empower parents to take better care of their children. 

I want to share two kiddos from Western Haiti, that are both waiting for sponsors, with you: 

Sweet Cheldine is 9 years old. Her birthday is April 5th, 2006. She lives with her aunt and 2 other children, which could be her siblings or her cousins. She helps at home by carrying water and cleaning. For fun, she enjoys singing and running. 

She has been waiting 240 days for a sponsor.

Dooby has been sponsored!