Sunday, August 30, 2015

Last Week's Letters

I'm usually on top of my game when it comes to letters, whether it be typing them up on my blog as soon as I receive them or answering them promptly, but lately, I've been in a bit of a slump. Letters from my kids are piling up and I find myself uninterested in responding to them. Between losing my job and starting a new one, my mind has been so filled with details that letter writing seems to have fallen by the wayside. I know that sponsors go through letter-writing slumps all the time, so I'm trying not worry about it so much, because I know it will eventually pass. Still, I have been receiving letters and reading them is always a treat. Last week, I received 4 letters. I will share them with you now:

First up, my very first letter from Jairo, my newest Honduran boy. Typical first letter template. It must have been written when he was registered in the program, because I only just sponsored Jairo last month.


My Name: Jairo Eduardo 
My Age: 7 years
I am: A boy
I live in: a village 
I live with: My mother
My favorite color: Purple 
What I love to do: Play soccer and play with toys
My favorite food: Chicken soup
My height: 122 centimeters (4')
My weight: 55 pounds
My eye color: Light Brown
What I like most about me: My face
Questions to my sponsor: Do you like to play soccer? What do you do for work? 


Next, a letter from Sagitaria. She was one of the first correspondent children that I was assigned, back in 2012. I love I have gotten to watch her grow and develop over time. 

Sagitaria is 11 years old and lives in Indonesia. This letter was written on July 27th, 2015. 


Dear Kayla, 

Shalom, mama Kayla. How are you? You must be fine. My family, my friends, and I are fine. I want to thank you for sending me the letters and stickers. Mama, it is very hot here. My hobby is singing. My dream is to become a teacher. Please pray for me to reach my dream. I am in Grade 7 of junior high school. I pray to the Lord Almighty that we stay healthy and I pray for my family to be fine. 



Now, a letter from Rujikorn. I actually just received a letter from her at the beginning of this month, so another letter so soon was definitely surprised. I hope that I have a chatty girl on my hands. I could get used to hearing from her so often. :) 

Rujikorn is 11 years old and lives in Thailand. Her letter is dated July 7th, 2015. 


Dear Kayla, 

Hello. I am Rujikorn. Thank you for the letter, the photo, and the stickers you sent to me. I am doing well. My favorite days are Children's Day and Christmas Day. There was a project Easter activity at the church. My parents attended it. There was a sermon about Jesus, who recovered from death to redeem us from our sins. I am very happy. Thank you for the many good things you have given to me. Thank you for praying for me. I go to school every day. I always attend the project activities and I always attend church on Sundays. My friends and I lead the church service, too. I am very happy. Please pray for my studies and my family. My family and I always pray for you. May God bless you forever! 

Love in Christ, 


To end, a letter from Jose R. I use his last initial because I write to two boys named Jose. This is my very first letter from him, but he seems to be a chatty, open guy, which is great! 

Jose R. is 17 years old and lives in Peru. He wrote this letter on July 22nd, 2015. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Hello beloved sponsor! Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope this letter finds you in good health and you are doing well. I'm grateful for the letter and the beautiful photos you sent. I want you to know that we are going into the winter season and the weather is very cold. I'm thinking of studying business administration because I really like that. At the student center, we are going to have a seminar on August 14th, 15th, and 16th and I'm going to be attending all three days. HOw is the weather where you live? I ask you to pray for my family to do well. I will close with a big hug and kiss. 



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Step Into My World: Rural Honduras

Today, we head back to Honduras. But, instead of the urban region, let's visit the rural region, shall we?

Compassion works all over the country of Honduras, but no matter what area of Honduras you're in, rural life is pretty similar everywhere you go. I have two children in rural Honduras and they both attend the same project. I have started learning a little bit about where they live, though a group of sponsors that visited the project over the summer. I got some pretty great pictures of them too:

Nahomy and Jairo (how cute are they?!)

As I said, Compassion works in several rural areas in Honduras, My kids live in a village that is situated in the mountains, near the border of Guatemala, outside the city of San Pedro Sula. 

People in these rural regions are desperately poor, even poorer than those people living in urban regions near cities. Due to so much of Honduras' rural villages being near the mountains, transportation is hard and many city benefits just simply don't reach these small villages. You can see the actual village that my children live in, the small white dots on the side of this mountain. 

Homes here are made of assorted materials. Some are made of clay/mud, with iron roofs. Others are made of a bunch of materials thrown together, in unstrudy shacks. 

These homes aren't equipped with modern kitchens, but instead cook over a fire, with homemade stoves that are improperly ventilated. This fills the home with smoke and causes many respiratory issues in children. 

One of the biggest difficulties, for adults, in the rural regions of Honduras is finding a job. In small villages, job are nearly impossible to find. Most adults have to travel to bigger cities to work, in order to send money home. Some adults, that work as farmers, have trouble selling their crops to people in their own village and can't make it to the city. I learned that in these areas, Compassion trains interested parents in how to drive a pedicab, which they can then drive to earn money for their families. How cool is that?! 

Schools in rural Honduras are often not the best equipped, when it comes to quality teachers and learning materials. Sometimes, school supplies are often too much for a family to afford so children cannot attend school, at all. In these cases, and as a way to to supplement an education, Compassion provides learning activities and games for the children at the project. 

As always, Compassion likes to give children time to just be children. A time to run, play, and be social in a safe place, away from the difficulties that many face at home and in their families. Children enjoy playing outside and doing various activities with each other. 

Another big part of sponsoring a child is letter writing. When sponsors and sponsored children communicate with letters, it has been proven that the child has higher self-esteem, does better in school, and is better able to communicate their thoughts and feelings in everyday life. 

Of course, part of the Compassion program is teaching children about Jesus and to tell them just how much they are loved by the King. Bible stories, activities, prayer, and worship songs are a regular occurrence at all projects. 

In fact, Compassion in rural Honduras has the following prayer requests: 

- For children's parents who are not Christians
- For children's good health
- For children's safety at home, as sometimes they are verbally and sexually abused by their own relatives. 
- For a source of income for parents, so they can find jobs and provide for their families. 
- For children living in high-risk areas. 

I have two children to share with you today. They both live in rural areas of Honduras and they are both waiting for a sponsor. 

Sweet Fernanda is 7 years old. Her birthday is November 22nd, 2007. She lives with her parents and is an only child. Her father works as a laborer, when he can find work and his mother stays home. Fernanda's chores include carrying water and running errands. For fun, she enjoys playing house, playing with dolls, and riding a bike. She has average performance in school. 

Meet Ever. He's 12 years old with a birthday on June 14th, 2003. I'm guessing he's due for a new photo soon, as he looks so small! Ever lives with his single mother and 4 siblings. His mother is employed, but it is not listed what she does for work. Ever helps at home by carrying water, gathering firewood, and running errands. His hobbies include soccer, playing with marbles, playing marbles, and playing group games. He has average performance at school. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Loss of Fongwin

Today, I got one of those dreaded phone calls from Compassion. When I saw their number on my phone, I almost didn't answer it, just because phone calls are usually not a good sign. But, I knew that if I didn't answer it, they'd most likely leave a vague message and I would just have to call them back.

Sadly, the news wasn't good. My correspondent child, Fongwin, from Thailand, was cancelled by his financial sponsor. At this time, I am unable to pick him up as a sponsored child, though I would have loved to. I have written to him since March 2013 and had developed a really great relationship. He is just about to enter into his teen years in a few months and it would have been great to continue to encourage him.

With as many children as a write to, this was the first child I've lost because their financial sponsors drop them. I've had other kids leave for other reasons, but I've never had the option of taking over their sponsorships. It's sad to have to say that I can't do it.

So, I say farewell to Fongwin. I will continue to pray for him. Maybe we'll meet again someday.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Letters to My Kids: June and July 2015

For some reason, I seem to always forget to post about the letters that I write to my kids, so they end up in clumps. Oh well. I like to have them on my blog for record-keeping sake and to give other people ideas, if they may like to use them.

In June, I wrote about the summer camp that my church did for the elementary school kids. I, personally, did not attend this camp, but I heard a lot of fun stories from the kids and the leaders. It seems everyone had a great time and learned a lot of Jesus.

Every July, my church holds a Vacation Bible School for kids aged Preschool-5th grade. It's my all-time favorite week of the entire year and I look forward to it every summer. Unfortunately, this summer was the last VBS I will work as church staff, but I fully intend on volunteering for years to come. 

My sponsored kiddos hear about VBS every year and I think they really seem to like to hear about the topics that the children learned about over the week. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Step Into My World: Northeastern Urban Brazil

Let's visit Brazil, shall we?

Compassion works solely in Northeastern Brazil, in both the urban and rural regions. Today we will explore what life is like for children living in urban communities. Sadly, life in the cities of Brazil is very difficult. Urban Brazil is, unfortunately, known for its rampant gang violence, drug culture, and prostitution. One of the biggest cities at risk for these things is Fortaleza, which is where my child in Brazil lives.

You can see the city of Fortaleza on this map. There are also other cities on the map, in the Northeastern region that Compassion works in, like Natal and Recife.

The ocean-side cities in Northeastern Brazil are very beautiful. There are large, old buildings that border sandy beaches and pretty blue water. Urban Brazil is a great place for tourists to visit on their vacations. 

Unfortunately, these beautiful landmarks mask the poverty-ridden slums that most of Brazil's poorest people live in. City slum homes are typically small, one-room buildings that are rented by large families. These homes are often built with found materials and don't offer much protection from the elements and unwanted visitors. 

The urban slums in Brazil are run by gangs. Each gang chooses to "run" a certain portion of a neighborhood and will fight to the death to keep rival gangs out of their territory. Unfortunately, this gang lifestyle brings other dangers to these communities, such a recruitment of children, drugs, and child sexual trafficking. The children in these communities are often at-risk for being roped into these activities because, with their parents gone working for many hours a day, young children often left to take care of themselves and to wander the streets. 

Thankfully, Compassion offers these children a safe place to be, without the fear of gangs invading into their lives. Compassion children are loved, respected, and taught to love themselves. Compassion tutors teach children about the dangers in their neighborhood and pray that each child will avoid the negative aspects of the urban culture. Children at the Compassion project are happy and healthy. 

One of the major issues in this region is hygiene. With small, dirty homes, dirty water, and open sewage in the streets, families do not know how to keep things clean. Children are often filthy, wearing dirty clothes, and have rotting teeth. Compassion teaches lessons in basic hygiene to keep their registered children as healthy as possible. 

Like with any sponsored child, one of the best encouragements a sponsor can give their child is through letters. Children that receive regular letters from their sponsors have been found to be more confident, happier, better at school, and more ambitious than their peers that don't receive letters. Please write to your sponsored child! 

Compassion Brazil has the following prayer requests: 

- Pray for children living in areas affected by drought, where it is difficult to avoid hygiene-related illness. 

- Pray for more jobs throughout the region, Unemployment causes many parents to abandon their families for better opportunities elsewhere. 

- Pray for the children's education. Schools in this region are poor and it is up to Compassion to bridge the gap. 

I have two sweet five year olds to share with you today. Both of these children live in the city of Fortaleza and are at risk for many dangers. Please consider sponsoring them today. 

Luiz has been sponsored!

Meet Maria. She is 5 years old. Her birthday is February 14th, 2010. She shares her home with her mother. She doesn't have any siblings. Her mother finds jobs when she can. Maria helps her mother by running errands. She likes playing house, art, and playing with dolls. She is in kindergarten and has average performance. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Children's Story from Uganda

I haven't gotten many letters this week, but I am completely fine with that. My last couple of weeks have been crazy and I am really far behind on my letter writing. I hope to catch up this weekend! Gotta get those responses out and I still want to write a letter about the Women's U.S soccer team winning the world cup. I know, I know, that was a long time ago. I told you I was behind.

Anyway, I did receive a lovely letter from Uganda. The Compassion kids in this country really write great letters. This letter from Derrick is no different.

Derrick is 12 years old. His letter is dated June 24th, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

Good morning. How are you today? I am fine and my mother sends you greetings. We are fine and thank God for the gift of life. Thank you so much for writing beautiful letters to me and drawing powerful pictures. I enjoyed reading and seeing them. 

In the hairdressing class, we are 10 children. I want to be a doctor. 

In Uganda, we have a population of about 35 million, the last time our country carried out a census. The capital city of Uganda is called Kampala. The national bird is a crested crane. The Independence Day of Uganda was October 9th, 1962. The flag colors of Uganda are black, red, and yellow. The main language is English. The main religion is Christianity. 

My favorite children's story is called The Lazy Rabbit: 

Once upon a time, there lived a very lazy rabbit. He used to not dig and plant, but his friend leopard would dig in his garden and plant groundnuts. So rabbit would always come and steal from leopard's garden. One day, when the rabbit came to steal, he got trapped in the leopard's trap. The leopard took him home and ate him for dinner. 

This story teaches us not to steal. 

I am born again. I got born again when I was 11 years old, at my church. The pastor preached about the love of Jesus. When he made the alter call, I went and he prayed for me. 

If I could make a law for my country, I would make a law where all poor people get free money monthly. 

Yes, I got an award for our football team. We got a trophy when we won. 

I got to know that I had a sponsor when our project staff told me to write a letter. 

If I had a garden of my own, I would plant groundnuts because I love groundnuts. 

I love you so much. May God bless you. 



Saturday, August 15, 2015

Step Into My World: Western Uganda

Today, we travel back to Uganda, this time to Compassion's western region. This region includes the cities that are very near the Rwandan border. Many of the children that Compassion's serves in this area are  related to the horrible Rwandan genocide that happened in 1994. While all of the children in Compassion's program are too young to have been directly involved, several of their family members were. There is a good chance that parents and grandparents in this region of Uganda, especially in the city of Kisoro, fled from Rwanda to Uganda's border during the genocide crisis and then gave birth to children in Uganda.

I have two children in this region, both who live in Kisoro:

Eric & Brenda 

Here is a map of Uganda. You can see the city of Kisoro in red writing. There are other cities in this region that Compassion works in, but they are not labeled on this map. 

Villages in this region are very rural and often their city center is made up of a couple of buildings. Transportation like cars, buses, or motorcycles are rare. Most people travel by walking or by bicycle. 

Families in this region are devastatingly poor. In the communities where my two children live, families earn $6 and $7 A MONTH. I don't know about you, but I cant even wrap my head around that. That is something that we in the United States can't even fathom. We couldn't even raise our families on $7 a day, let alone an entire month. Obviously, with these meager incomes, families can't afford even the most basic of necessities. Homes are shacks in shambles, families rely on gardens to completely feed them, running water and electricity are not even close to possible. Proper clothing, well-fitting shoes, good education, even furniture is well beyond the dreams of the families living here. 

Due to lack of running water, women often spend hours a day walking back and forth to a water source to gather water for their families, often miles away. One trip is made, the water is used, another trip is made, the water is used, etc, etc, everyday. Also, this water is unclean and causes many waterborne diseases in the people living here. 

I cannot be more happy that Compassion is intervening on behalf of the children in Uganda's western region. Compassion creates a safe place for children to play, learn, have their needs met, and learn about God. It's truly a light in the darkness for these children. Look at those happy kids! 

Every child gets one-on-one attention from a tutor, to meet their specific needs. This goes from the oldest young men and women to the tiniest little peanuts just learning to hold their pencils. 

Due to low wages, one of this area's biggest problems is malnutrition, most families living on only rice and vegetables. Compassion registered children receive a healthy meal every time they attend the project. 

Compassion is truly changing lives in Uganda. Through my two children, I have seen them go from uninterested students, to young people with goals and aspirations for their future. I have seen them go from shy preteens to confident teenagers who have a solid identity in Christ. It's truly been miraculous. 

The projects in this region have the following prayer requests: 

- Pray that children will grow in their knowledge of Christ and in their desire to serve him. 

- Pray that children will embrace the life lessons they learn from Compassion and make good decisions for their healthy development. 

- Pray for the families of assisted children, that they may be empowered in parenting skills and income-generation activities so that their children can thrive. 

- Pray for Compassion center workers, that they will maintain their dedication to serving the children in their care. 

I have two boys to share with you, one little one and one big one. They both live in Western Uganda and they are both waiting for a sponsor. 

Junior has been sponsored! 

Meet Abiyola. He is 17 years old. He lives with his parents and 3 siblings. His chores at home include carrying water, gathering firewood, and teaching others. For fun, he enjoys soccer, singing, and telling stories. He is in high school and has average performance. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

3 Letters from 3 Guys

I have another three letters to share with you today. I find myself with quite a few letters stacking up that I haven't had the time or energy to answer. I need to get busy because I know that these responses aren't going to write themselves. I seem to be in that letter-writing slump, temporarily.

Anyway, I'll share the letters now.

First up, a letter from Fongwin. His financial sponsor sent him a money gift (they do that a lot). Fongwin is never descriptive in what he buys. It's usually just "stuff" or "household stuff." He did the same thing in today's letter, but I got some pictures! Fongwin and his parents!

Fongwin is 12 years old and lives in Thailand. His letter is dated May 11th, 2015.


Dear Kayla,

Hello sponsor. I'm very happy to write a letter to you again. Thank you so much that you still remember me and send me nice stickers. Thank you for the family gift. I bought some toiletries. We are doing well. How is everyone over there? During school break, I attended a camp. I have friends and I really enjoy myself with my friends. We had sports day and games and performances. Did you like to attend camp when you were a child? The new term will be starting soon. I will be in a higher level. I got meet new teachers and new friends. I will get to learn new things. It's getting hard. I will study hard. It starts to rain now. People here are farmers so they have to prepare to grow rice. Please pray for my studies. Finally, may God protect you and bless you. 

Love in Christ, 


Now, another first letter, this time from Sevenson. I love first letters. It's that letter that kick-starts a relationship. Really cements in the love, for me. Looks like Sevenson has a gift giving sponsor, as well! 

Sevenson is 14 years old and lives in Haiti. His letter is dated May 26th, 2015. 


Dear Kayla,

I feel happy to write to you in the name of Jesus Christ. My family and I are well. I hope that you and your family are well too. My school is going well. Experimental science is my favorite subject. I ask you to help me pray so that I will have success on my 4th period exams. My church is doing well. I learned a bible verse, which is Jeremiah 33:3 "Call on me and I will answer you. I will let you know great and mighty things, which you did not know." What is your favorite color? 

Thank you for the gift. I bought a goat with it. Thank you for the letter and your prayers. 



Last up, a letter from Emanuel. I think that Emanuel is a man of few words. But, it's nice to hear from him and I really enjoying writing to him. He's such a great guy.

Emanuel is 18 years old and lives in Tanzania. He wrote his letter on June 27th, 2015.


Dear Kayla,

I greet you in Jesus name. My family and I are doing well. I hope you are healthy there. I'm doing well in school. I completed my mock exams. Thank you for the good letters you sent me. You asked about our church. At our church on Tuesdays and Thursdays we have prayer from 10:00 to 11:00, p.m. I want to give you a bible verse from Psalms 95:1. "Come and let's sing to our Lord, the rock of our salvation." Which story do you like in the bible? I wish you a good life to please God.