Sunday, November 29, 2015

Step Into My World: Oromia Ethiopia

One day late, but at least I'm remembering to post it. :)

I can't believe that I only have a handful of these left to write. Time has flown! I can say that it's been a wonderful process, though. I've loved learning more about the regions where my Compassion kids live. It really is like taking a step into their worlds. I wish I could see these places in person, of course. But, don't we all?

Today, we travel to another region of Ethiopia. This region is called Oromia and it covers a large area of the country. You can see this region colored in green:

I have one child in this area of Ethiopia. Elias lives outside the city of Dire Dawa, which can be seen in the Northeast portion of the green area on the map. 

The children that Compassion serves in this region live mostly in large slums outside of big cities. Many of the families living here used to live in rural areas, but migrated to the cities in search of work. Sadly, without a good education, work is even harder to come by in the cities than in the country. Families have no choice but to settle in the slums. Here, homes are made out of scrap materials. Homes are built, basically, on top of each other. These close quarters often become breeding grounds for diseases. 

With modern, high-tech cities so nearby, it's hard to imagine how life is so primitive in the slums. People here don't have electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, or cars to travel with. Adults travel by bike or by cart, often many miles a day, in search of work to earn a meager salary. 

While parents are off searching for work, young children that aren't old enough to attend school are left to fend for themselves. They often wander around, in dangerous situations or play with other children that were left alone. These children are often too young to feed themselves and don't eat until their parents return at the end of the day. 

Compassion in this area is focused on giving children a better chance at life, from a very young age. Children are provided with a safe place to spend time, while their parents are away. Children are also provided with clothing and shoes, if they need it. Being barefoot is one of the leading causes of danger for the children here. Walking through pollution, metal, etc can be very harmful for children. Compassion values the safety of these children! 

Compassion also makes sure that every one of their registered children is enrolled in school. School enrollment has been a problem in this region, in the past, as it is sometimes too expensive for poor families. In these cases, Compassion provides children with school fees, uniforms, school supplies, and extra tutoring, when it's needed. 

Another issues, regarding education in this area is the high drop-out rate among secondary school students. Some students lose interest in school, some are lured by gangs, and others drop-out to find work to help support their family. To help combat this, Compassion projects offer vocational training in various subjects; such as woodworking, sewing, metal work, jewelry making, and more. These skills can then be used to help young men and woman earn a higher salary and have a good skill for their future lives. 

Compassion Oromia have the following prayer requests for their projects: 

- Pray for children to develop the spiritual and emotional strength they need to avoid making bad decisions. 

- Pray for Ethiopia as a whole as Compassion fights to break the yoke of poverty throughout the country. 

- Pray that parents will be positive role models for their children and will have the wisdom to protect them from negative influences. 

(Don't you love his little, peeking eye?)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Two Letters to be Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I'm posting this at 1:00 in the morning, so I can officially say that.

Yesterday, I received two lovely letters.

First up, a letter from Enmanuel. His tutor helped him write the letter, but Enmanuel did sign his own name. Based on his handwriting, it might be another year or so before he's writing letters completely on his own. But, I'm sure he'll learn quickly!

Enmanuel is 8 years old and lives in the Dominican Republic. His letter is dated September 8th, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

God bless you. How are you? My family and I are fine. I already started school and I'm doing very well. My siblings are living with my father and I'm living with my mother now. When my brothers come to see me, I feel very happy and they treat me very good. I'm in 3rd grade and my teacher's name is Ada. I thank you a lot for your letter and I would like ot keep learning about you. I ask prayer for my studies, to continue doing well. 

God Bless,


I also received a letter from Jose. This just happens to be his second letter THIS MONTH. It's always so exciting to hear from a child so often. I love Compassion, don't you?! 

Jose is 17 years old and lives in Peru. He wrote this letter on September 28th, 2015. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Hello, dear sponsor. Greetings with a big hug and a kiss and with the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you are healthy. I want to tell you that the Independence Day of Peru is July 28th. All the schools participate in a parade in the main square. People put up a Peruvian flag on the roofs. I also like watching fireworks. The are very beautiful and colorful. In my country, we have 24 departments of agriculture. In my country, we plant potatoes, corn, quinoa, and kiwicha. Our native animals are vicuna, alpaca, and viscacha. What is your parent's mission in the church? Pray for me and my parents. I will pray for you and your friend Taye. I say goodbye with a big hug and kiss on your cheek. 



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Maria's New Photo: 2015

I got a new photo of Maria! Photo updates are always such an exciting thing. Maria has really grown taller since her last photo!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Step Into My World: Bolivian Tropics

Today, in Illinois (and in several other states), we got our first snowfall of the winter. I absolutely hate (and I never use that word) winter. The snow, the ice, the cold, scraping off my car, etc. So today, I'm thinking of warmer places.

For instance, the Bolivian Tropics.

I have two Compassion children who live in the Bolivian Tropics:

Jhon and Rodrigo

Both of these boys live outside the city of Santa Cruz, in a rural area. 

The setting here is tropical, which means it rains a lot. It rains nearly every day, at least for a little while. That means that the ground here is constantly saturated and wet. For families living in poverty, this can mean little protection from disease-causing bugs, like mosquitoes that converge near standing water. Homes are also at-risk of flooding when the rain gets heavy. 

Homes in this region are typically very small, especially for such large families. Bolivians are a tradition of living with their extended families so parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc all live in one house. These homes are typically made of a combination of brick and mud, with iron roofs. Any gaps in the home are covered with wooden boards or plastic sheets. 

Jobs are hard to come back in this region. Some men work as day-laborers, when they can find work. If you don't know how day labor works, let me try to give a short explanation. Any man who is working for a day labor position goes to a specific spot that other men are gathering at. There, they wait. Companies or individuals looking for a few men to help them out for the day, go to that gathering spot and choose the men they want to employee for the day. Men that get chosen get paid a few dollars for their time. The men that don't get chosen for work that day, return home, earning nothing. 

Other families work as farmers, mostly tropical fruit, in this region. After harvesting fruit, they take to selling the fruit on the street. Families that own their own cart business tend to make more money than the laborers, but still not enough to provide for all their needs. 

To help the family, young children are often encouraged to sift through the garbage, in search of metal and plastic to sell, to earn a few cents. 

Since the streets can be such a dangerous place for children, Compassion is working to provide a safe haven for them. Compassion provides classrooms with loving teachers and playgrounds to give kids a safe place to play. 

Compassion also provides academic support to each child. Children are broken into age groups and provided with tutoring sessions. This ensures a good education to each child to help them in the future. 

Like Compassion in every country, children in Bolivia are taught how much God loves them and that God has a great plan for their future. Children are taught to worship with song and dance. 

Compassion in the Bolivian tropics have the following prayer requests: 

- Pray that the children's homes can withstand flooding. 

- Pray for church volunteers and personnel to be instruments used by the Lord as they speak with the young people and hear their reality. 

- Pray that the churches can successfully implement the action plans they developed to respond to the dangers that youth face in this region face. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Red Light District Boys Needing Sponsors

I have the packets for four sweet boys that need a loving sponsor. All of these children are from project IN-868.

In the past, I've talked about this project. It's situated in community that runs as a red light district. Most adults in this community work as part of the sex trade. Adult men work as pimps and run the streets. They are in charge of the prostitutes, run the gangs that sell drugs, and lure teenagers and children (both male and female) into the sex trade. If anybody tries to show opposition to the pimps, the gangs turn violent; destroying churches, scaring off peacekeepers, and discouraging anybody trying to help these children.

Unfortunately, Compassion hasn't avoided these difficulties. The first church that opened a project closed down (for various reasons), putting the Compassion project on probation. Thankfully, Compassion kept fighting and a new project was opened, which is running successfully now.

Here are the precious boys that need the support and encouragement of a wonderful sponsor. These boys are at risk of falling prey to the community gangs and of being lured into the sex trade, working for the pimps. These boys need to know that God loves them and has a better plan for their life.

Will you open your hearts to one of these boys? It only costs $38 a month to completely change their life.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of these boys or would like to know more details about their lives, please email me at and I will assist you.

5 year old Noha (pronounced Noah)

9 year old Parshuram 

11 year old Ritesh 

12 year old Shivraj 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My Good News Almost Always Comes in Threes

Have you noticed that?

In the past, I've gotten great sponsorship news in threes; three correspondent children at a time, three photo updates at a time, and three letters at a time. Today, I received three wonderful letters, to stick with that pattern.

First up, a letter from little Jairo. He wrote on the My House template and then also included a message, written with help from his tutor.

Jairo is 8 years old and lives in Honduras. His letter is not dated. (Actually, the date space is filled with his birthdate. My girl Nahomy, from the same project, does that too).


1. In my house, I sleep: In a bed
2. I get water from: The Faucet
3. I get food from: The Mini-market
4. My house is made of: Wood
5. My house has a floor of: Dirt
6. My house has a roof of: Iron Sheets
7. At night, we illuminate our house with: Electricity 
8. I wash my clothes in:  A Stone 

Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Thank you for the letter and picture you sent for Jairo. They are very pretty. Jairo says that he knows Nahomy. They are not in the same classroom, but they share time together during recess with the other children from the project. He wants to tell you about his family. He lives with his mother, stepfather, and little sister Moncho. His favorite pastime is to play ball and cars. His favorite food is rice. He also likes going to school. He says there is no Vacation Bible School. He thanks you for everything and he asks you to keep praying for his family. Thank you so much. God bless you. 


Next, a letter from Maria. I've been receiving letters from here about every month, which is pretty great, especially since Compassion children are only required to write every two months. Maria must love to write! 

Maria is 11 years old and lives in Brazil. Her letter is dated August 24th, 2015. 


Hello Dear Sponsor, 

How are you doing? I am doing very well. I had a great school break in July. My aunt took me to the cinema and we watched a very funny movie. We came back to the project last week and we had leisure time, which was very nice. We are going to have a literature fair at school and it is going to be very good. The teacher that will be with us in our classroom is teacher Fernanda, who is a great teacher. How is your family? Mine is great. When is your birthday? What is your favorite color? Mine is purple. Kisses from your friend. 



Last up, a letter from Jose. I am always amazed at his handwriting. It's so teeny, tiny and just perfect. You don't typically see a young man with such beautiful handwriting. He has a gift. 

Jose is 17 years old and lives in Peru. He wrote this letter on September 28th, 2015. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Hello dear sponsor. Greetings with a big hug and a kiss, with the blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you are healthy. I am doing well with my father and siblings. Yes, I am praying for you and Taye. What animals does Taye's father raise? I want to tell you that it has started getting cold here. It is too cold. For the anniversary of my project, on September 11th, we had a very beautiful time because we played soccer and volleyball against other levels. We shared God's word with others. What did you feel when you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart? Pray for me and my family that we may continue doing well. We pray for you and your family. I say goodbye with a hug and kiss on your cheek. 

Jose Romario


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Prayer Partner Success!

Do remember awhile back when I paired up all of my children with prayer partners? I'm sure you do!

Well, I've seen some pretty great responses from my older boys and today, I got wonderful responses from my girls, as well! Both girls wrote a short message to their prayer partner and each drew artwork for their new friend. I was absolutely speechless with the beauty of the love these girls have for each other.

First up, a letter from Rujikorn. I paired her up with Allison, from Ecuador. Besides her beautiful message to Allison, she shares all of the wonderful ways that she is blessed by God. It's just breathtakingly beautiful.

Rujikorn is 11 years old and lives in Thailand. This letter is dated September 3rd, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

Hello. I am Rujikorn. Thank you for the letter, the beautiful card, and the photos you sent to me. I like them very much. I am glad to write to you. My family and I are doing well. My study is going on well. I study the subjects like the children in your country do. My favorite subjects are Thai and English. I go to school everyday. On Saturday, I always attend the project activities with my friends. I can study the bible and practice to sing the hymns. On Sunday, my friends and I attend church with fun. I wish Allison attended the project activities with me. I wish her good health and intelligence. 

Thailand's declaration of independence was a long time ago. I live in the mountains. There are waterfalls, beautiful trees, and the gardeners and farmers. I am not in the city. I have drawn the pictures of the country for you and Allison to see. I can see God every day. Psalm 23:1 says that "Because the Lord is my Shepard, I have everything I need!" I have food and drink every day. I am healthy. I am loved by my friends and my teachers. The creations of God are beautiful. There are green trees, the delicious wild fruits and beautiful flowers. There are some birds in the forest too. Their fruit is fruit. I have drawn the pictures of the nature for you and Allison to see. Please pray for my studies and my family. We always pray for you and your family. May God give you strength forever. 

Love in Christ,


I know that was a long letter and it's plenty beautiful enough for one post, but the joy is double today. Sagitaria wrote me a long letter and included a special message, as well as artwork, for the girl I paired her up with, which is Sadiya. 

Sagitaria is 11 years old and lives in Indonesia. Her letter is dated September 18th, 2015. 


Dear Kayla, 

Shalom, mama Kayla. I was happy to read your letter, which told me that you are healthy and you always pray for me. Our family is healthy in God's protection. God keeps my father safe as he catches fish in the sea. I know that God helps our family. Mama, I am happy to have a new friend name Sadiya. 

"Hi Sadiya. How are you? I hope to get your special letter. Tell me about yourself. I am your friend. I wait to get your letter!".

Well mama, on August 17th, I celebrated the 70th anniversary of Independence Day of Indonesia. There were many competitions at the project, such as sack race, eating crackers, and marble game. Unfortunately, I lost the marble game. I didn't get a prize. :( At school, my favorite subject is Natural Science. 

That's my letter for now, mama Kayla. Lord Jesus bless. 



Monday, November 16, 2015

Sagar Writes in English and Nahomy Writes Two Pages!

I have been incredibly blessed with letters lately. Every single one of these letters have left me speechless and so proud of my kids. I'll share two of them with you today and another two tomorrow.

First up, letters from Sagar this year have been few and far between, but this letter made me forget all about how long it's been since the last letter. Sagar has always written his own letters, but this time, the letter was in English. I am beyond impressed!

Sagar is 12 years old and lives in India. This letter is dated July 7th, 2015.


Dear Kayla, 

I'm greeting you in the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for your love, help, and support. I send you a big hello from India, in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ! I hope that you and your family are doing well. Thank you so much for your precious gift. I love you so much! I am very much thankful for your kind gift and I am very happy to receive it. I got a shirt and pants. I share my joy with my friend for your support too. 

I'm regularly going to school. I am doing well in my studies. We had a medical check-up from the Wanless Hospital in Miraj and my health is good. I like Jesus songs and stories. I love you very much. I'm always praying for you and your family. I send you many strong hugs, thanking you. 

Your Loving Child


My precious girl Nahomy wrote me an extra long letter and really went all out on sharing details about herself. I think she may have answered all of the questions I've asked in the last several letters. Pretty great. She also drew me a nice picture. 

Nahomy is 9 years old and lives in Honduras. Her letter isn't dated because she put her birthdate in the date box. Oops! 


Hello My Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Thank you for the letters you sent me. They are very pretty. I want you to know that I'm fine, thank God. My family is also well. I'm getting outstanding grades in school and I think that we learn similar things to the ones that children in the United States learn. I also take math, Spanish, English, and Natural Science. I study penmanship and drawing. My favorite subject is Spanish. I have a sister name Yosuany Gabriela and she is 16 years old. I go to the project twice a week from 3 p.m to 6 p.m on Tuesdays and Thursdays. What I like to do at the project is sing, pray, and play with my teacher and my classmates. I go to the Catholic church sometimes, but I like more what they teach me here at the project and at this church. We don't have Vacation Bible School here. On September 15th, we celebrate Independence Day in my country. The weather is very nice. I want to tell you about my house. It is small and it has through rooms. It is built with bahareque (roughly translates to mud/stick shack) and it has a zinc roof and cement floor. There are four people living in my house. My mom's name is Suyapa. My dad's name is Alejandro. My sister's name is Yosuany and my name is Nahomy. I would like you to pray that I always do well in school. God bless you. 



Saturday, November 14, 2015

Step Into My World: East India Rural Plains

Happy Saturday, everyone! We're definitely on the wind down with these posts, as the end of the year comes to a close. We travel to India again today (I have a lot of kids there). This time, we'll learn about the rural plains of East India.

This is where my little girl Nandini lives:

She lives outside the city of Bhubaneswar: 

In India, life in rural settings is very primitive. Homes are larger than typical homes of families living in poverty, but are unstable. Built out of grass, bamboo, and and mud, these homes are powerless against strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding. Homes are often destroyed and have to rebuilt. 

This far outside of the city, there are no paved roads, no automobiles, no electricity, no running water, nothing we would consider a modern convenience. Rural East India is truly like stepping into a time machine. 

A simple task for us in the modern world, cooking a meal, is made even more difficult for families living here. Firewood has to be collected, which usually involves walking for several hours a day. Thankfully, water is nearby, at a shared community pump. 

Meals are often meager, not consisting of enough food to fill an empty stomach. These meals consist mainly of rice, with a few vegetables. One of the biggest concerns in these communities is malnutrition. This leaves children hungry, sickly, and small for their age. Thankfully, children enrolled in Compassion can know that they will receive a large, healthy meal every time they attend their project. 

In this area, education is almost unheard of. Schools in the area are few and far between. Families have been uneducated for generations and parents of children in these communities don't see the value of education. Instead, small children remain at home, doing chores or running freely through the streets. Older children and teens are often expected to get jobs outside of the home to earn money for the family. 

Compassion, in these situations, work to explain the importance of education to families and encourage all children to enroll in school and/or receive extra tutoring lessons. 

Children enrolled in the Compassion program are taught that they have value, that they are loved, and that they have an important role in the future. Compassion is working to teach children that living in poverty does not dictate their lives in the future. Change is possible. 

Compassion East India Rural Plains asks for sponsors to pray for the following things: 

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

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

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