Saturday, April 29, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last Saturday, April 22nd, was my 28th birthday.

I got to spend the day at my favorite event of the entire year, the Hearts at Home conference. This is a yearly conference for mothers to spend three days learning more about parenting, about the Bible, and about relationships. There are great speakers and a wonderful time for worship. Anything that reaches out to mothers, I am a fan of.

Granted, I don't get to experience any of the events I just mentioned, but I do get the privilege of working at the Compassion table every year. Some years I am able to go to multiple days of the event, but this year, I was only able to spend Saturday there, which just happened to be my birthday.

I worked from 7:30 a.m - 7:30 p.m. Crazy? Probably. Worth it? Absolutely.

At this particular event, they have found that the women love an emotional connection to Compassion's cause (go figure). Some years they have a Compassion graduate give a speech and then have them work at the Compassion table for awhile. In past years, I have met an inspiring young man from Kenya and a sweet young woman from the Philippines. This year, they had a life-size hut set up, which I later had to tear down and pack up with just one Compassion staff member. It took us over an hour and made us absolutely filthy (I'm talking black hands), but that is a story for another day.

This hut was amazing, actually made of iron sheets and roof, realistic props, one bed and mats on the floor, etc. For those that have done the Compassion Experience, you've probably seen this on a much larger scale, but I hadn't. It was a bit overwhelming, at first. The women at the conference loved walking through it and I even got to talk about the tiny house to a couple of kids who were super interested about it. That was fun!

I think maybe I am the happiest I ever am when I am working at a Compassion table. There is just something about seeing precious children find a loving sponsor. There are always so many stories and sometimes, we cry out of happiness. Or...maybe just I do. I get emotional easily.

One woman, who I have seen sponsor a child every year for the past three years came to the table. She didn't know that I remembered her, but it's very easy to remember her. She comes to the table and says this exact quote, "I want you to be honest, which child here is the most unlikely to get a sponsor?" I love the honesty behind that question, as well as the desire to change a life. The answer to that question is always, "Teen boys". She asked me to hand her the packet of one of the oldest boys. I handed her the packet of an 18 years old from Kenya. His name was Thomas. That "just happens" to be the name of her father, who died a few years ago.


God is always present at Compassion tables.

Another wonderful part of the day was a visit from a lovely friend, Olivia. Olivia is the volunteer coordinator for my region. We see each other a few times a year at various events, but she doesn't always attend all of the events because, well, that would be crazy. The first time I met her, I called her "the email lady" and she called me "the person who volunteers for everything." Friendship at first sight, haha. Well, she told me that she wouldn't be able to make it to the Hearts at Home conference due to conflicting time schedules. Then in the afternoon, she comes walking into the sales area, where the Compassion table was. Not only was I super happy to see her, she brought me flowers for my birthday (which have sadly now died due to the fact that I live in a basement apartment with no natural light). But they were beautiful!

By the end of the day, 83 children had been sponsored! And guess what? One of those kids was by me! 

There was a little boy hanging on one of the displays and he had been there since the beginning of the day. I really wanted him to find a sponsor. I kept moving him around the display, so eventually he was front and center, in the hopes that he would catch someone's eye. Well, he didn't. And he came home with me. 

This sweet boy's name is Mor-Mi-Say and he lives in a little village on the border of Thailand and Burma. His packet says that some of the children who attend the project lives in Thailand and others live in Burma. It surprises me a bit that the name Burma is even used in the packets, since that country became Myanmar in 1989, but perhaps locals still call it Burma. 

Anyway, Mor-Mi-Say is 7 years old, lives with his single father, and is not yet enrolled in school. I hope he is able to attend soon. I wonder if maybe there is no school in his village. I will have to find out. 

Then, to top off the night, when I got home, I found a new TV in my living room. My parents had broken in, , used their set of keys to come in and leave it for me. They are so nice! My last TV was constantly on the verge of death and making terrible noise. I am so grateful to my parents. 

So, all in all, I'd say it was a pretty great birthday! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Letters from Central America

I have been trying to figure out a way to sort out and blog all of the letters I've been receiving lately. I came up with taking out a few letters from a specific region. I have the largest collection of letters from Central America, so that seemed like a good place to start. So, here are some letters from my kiddos who in that region. I am going to list the letters in the order that I received them. The letters span for a few weeks ago to today.

First up, a letter from Ayling. She wrote a great letter, responding to several questions that I asked her about where she lives. I am happy to have all of these answers!

Ayling is 10 years old and lives in Nicaragua. Her letter is dated February 20th, 2017.


Esteemed Sponsor Kayla, 

I hope you are in good health when you receive this letter, in union with your family. I thank you for your sponsorship and your beautiful letters. I live with my mom, my cousins, and my uncles. My house is made of bricks and I sleep with my mom in a bedroom. We sleep in separate beds and we have electricity. I want to share with you that Compassion gives talks about violence, drugs, and how we can avoid them. They also do teeth cleanings. There are 367 children in the project and I like to learn about God. I am in the 5th grade. My favorite subject is social studies and math is difficult for me. We wear uniforms, a blue skirt and a white blouse. My best friend is Flavia. Our recess last 30 minutes. We still don't have computers at school. I want you to pray for me and my family. I will be praying for you and I want to ask you, what activities do you do in your free time? I hope to hear from you again. I say goodbye with affection. 



Now, a letter from Carlos. What a lovely young man he is. I just can't say enough good things about him.

Carlos is 16 years old and lives in Honduras. He wrote this letter on April 5th, 2017.


Hello Dear Kayla, 

How is your health? I am in good health. I want to tell you about my pastimes and pets. My favorite pastime is to play soccer with my brother. I also like to play with others. My favorite animals are dogs and mine are named Espot and Jaster. I want to tell you that I received your letter and I read that you don't have children and you trust that someday God is going to give you children. You just have to have faith. Your job is very nice work because you work with children. It is a great blessing for you. Bowling is a nice sport. I enjoyed looking at the picture of the children. I want to tell you that we had a medical checkup at the project and I am well. What is your favorite pet? I ask you to always pray for me and my family and I will be praying for you. I say goodbye with joy and affection. So long! 



I have another letter from Honduras to share today, as well. This time, from Celeste. She left this letter off with such a cliffhanger! I am so eager to write back and learn about her birthday surprise was! 

Celeste is 15 years old. Her letter was also written on April 5th, 2017. 


Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

I hope you are in good health. I feel happy to hear from you again. I feel happy to write to you again. It is good to hear of your grandfather's birthday. I am glad that you went to visit him because you had not seen him since 5 years ago. Your family is beautiful. I guess the best present for your grandfather is to have his family close. My family and I are in good health. Thank you very much for your letter. The message and the verses are beautiful. The coldest weather here is in December. The snow pictures are very beautiful. We finished a week of exams in high school. Next week, we will go to the fair. I have good grades. I am the most intelligent in the classroom. On April 12th, I will reach 15 years old. I feel happy to reach that important day. My family has a surprise for me and I want to know what it is. 

With Much Love,


To end today's series, a letter from Joel. It seems like there is some big excitement happening in his family! What an exciting opportunity for his older sister. 

Joel is 16 years old and lives in Mexico. His letter is dated February 18th, 2017. 


Hello Dear Sponsor,

In this letter, I am going to tell you a bit about what is going on. Everything has been going well up to today. Everything is quiet where I live. I am in the 4th semester of high school and my sister is in college. She is studying gastronomy. To make her dream come true, she has to go to France and now she has gotten the opportunity. I hope she makes the best of it. I would like to become a lawyer. If God wills, I will do it. I would also like to be a photographer and work for a company like National Geographic. I would like to know beautiful places. Please pray for my sister, my parents, and me. I would like to ask you, what do you look like? How is the place you live in? How old are you? I want to thank you for being my friend. 



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Filled-In Form Letters

I've been hearing a lot of great things from my kiddos recently and I love these letters from my littles. Form letters for days! know...for one post. :)

First up, I received my first letter from Jonathan and it was a great introduction letter template. We aren't always guaranteed these for correspondent kids, but I love receiving them because they tell so much of that important, basic information.

Jonathan is 8 years old and lives in Burkina Faso. His letter is not dated, so I am assuming it was written when he was registered in the project and not recently.


1. My Father: Lazare
2. My Mother: Rosalie 
3. My Brothers: None
4. My Sisters: Abigaelle 
5. My Caregivers: None
6. Others: None

7. Favorites: 
    Food: Pasta
    Color: Yellow
    Activity: Sports
    Pet: Dog 

8. My project is 2 km away from my home
9. I go to my project by: Bicyle
10. I go to my project on: Saturday 

Good morning dear Kayla, from your supported child Jonathan. His entire family is healthy and they wish you the same thing. Jonathan is glad to have you as his friend. He and his whole family thank you for choosing him. His says he will pray for you. 


Next up, a letter from Tern. He wrote to me all about his favorite things. He is such a sweet boy!

Tern is 4 years old and lives in Thailand. His letter is dated February 11th, 2017.


1. My Favorite Food Is: Chicken Rice

2. My Favorite Color Is: Orange

3. My Favorite Friend Is: Tonkra 

4. My Favorite Animal Is: Dog 

5. My Favorite Sport Is: Football

6. My Favorite Activity Is: Riding Bikes with Friends

Hello Kayla, 

My name is Chuanchom, the relative who writes this letter on behalf of Thanathip, because he can not write on his own. His nickname is Tern. He thanks you very much for sending him a letter. He goes to school by tricycle, which belongs to his relative. His friends are Tonkra, Bonus, and Khow. They go to school together. Are there tricycles in your town? He likes to go to the field with his grandmother. He likes to feed the duck, chickens, and fish. He also likes to water the vegetables, as well. His grandmother planted corn for selling. He would like you to pray for his writing too. May God bless you and your family. With Love in Christ. 


Last up, a letter from Djimitri. He wrote his letter on the My Project Learning template. I love how he and his tutor chose to fill in the blanks. It seems like they learn a lot of great things at this project! 

Djmitri is 6 years old and lives in Togo. This letter was written on April 4th, 2017. 


1. In my project, I am learning about: Reading the Bible 

2. About taking care of my body, I have learned: Doing Sports

3. My favorite thing I have learned in my project is: The story of Jesus Christ

4. About being kind and polite, I have learned: To be respectful 

5. About my community, I have learned: To participate in community works. 

Thanks a lot of all you have been doing for us. Please pray for my studies, my family, and my project.


Monday, April 24, 2017

El Tablon Updates: April 2017

The last of my Manna 4 Lempira photo updates came in today and my boys are so handsome, I can't even handle it!

It's so great to see them holding the cards and gifts that I sent to them, as well.

13 Year Old Ivan is Looking Grown Up!

9 Year old Jordy Cut Off His Curly Hair! 

5 Year Old Noel is So Sweet! 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Five Letters Into April

After the huge letter success of last month, I was expecting less letters this month and I was correct. I have received five letters so far this month and that is still such a blessing. Five letters from five beautiful children. It doesn't get much better than that.

First up, I received an introduction letter from one of my newest girls, Kamaldine. Learning this first bit of information from a child is always so great. It feels as if the relationship has truly begun with a first letter.

Kamaldine is 5 years old and lives in Burkina Faso. Her letter is dated March 25th, 2017.


1. My Father: Ismael 
2. My Mother: Balquissa
2. My Brothers: Mohammad 
4. My Sisters: None 
5. Caregiver's Name: Ismael 
6. Others: Haimouna (Grandmother) 

7. Favorites: 
Food: Mixed Rice 
Color: Yellow
Activity: Songs
Animal: Ox

8. My project is 1 km from my house

9. I got to my project by: Motorcycle 

10. I go to my project on: Saturday 

Hello dear supporter! I am very glad to write to you. I attend school but now we are on break. I attend primary school grade 1 and I had 9.25 out of 10 as an average grade. It is warm here and there is a dry wind too. I play in my home with my friend Cheiok who I love a lot because he is too kind to me. I have a friend at school called Nafi. I sincerely greet you. 


Now a letter from Kwizera Yves. I just heard from him last month, so another letter is great. I have been receiving letters less than every two months from many of my children lately. This is a wonderful improvement over waiting many months before the new system switched over. This new system keeps proving itself over and over again.

Kwizera Yves is 12 years old and lives in Rwanda. He wrote this letter on April 8th, 2017. It took mere DAYS to get to me, as I received it earlier this week.


Dear Kayla, 

Beloved sponsor who I love very much. I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ. My family and I love you and we pray for you. May God bless you. It has been raining here in Rwanda. At school I obtained 56% marks and we are in holidays for the 1st term. We will soon start the 2nd term. Thank you for the photos and for telling me that you celebrated Christmas at home. We celebrated our Christmas at the project. We ate and prayed. Thank you for the questions you asked me. My favorite fruits are oranges. My favorite vegetable is cabbage. My favorite food is rice. On a sunny day I play soccer and on a cold day I put on warm clothes and sleep. My favorite sport is football. I am pleased that you told me about Mulwa. I am pleased that we share the same sponsor. Does Mulwa like to pray? Thank you. 



Next, a letter from Jhojaira who has turned into quite a chatterbox. :) 

Jhojaira is 13 years old and lives in Peru. Her letter is dated Marh 4th, 2017. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of Jesus. I hope you are in good health. I'm happy to receive your letter and pictures. I want to tell you about my Christmas. We had steak and we played the secret family gift exchange. We also celebrated my birthday and we had cake and pork and chicken. We went to different touristic places. We also celebrated New Year's. We made a person doll and we burnt it at midnight. It symbolizes an old person and the best is yet to come in the new year. Then we shot a lot of fireworks and drank hot chocolate and ate cake. I enjoyed every moment because I was with my family. I send greetings to your family wishing you blessings and a happy 2017. I say bye with kisses and hugs. 



Then I will share a letter from Brian, who appears to not have been feeling very chatty when he wrote this letter. Just the basics and then it was off to hang out with his friends, if I had to guess. 

Brian is 15 years old and lives in Kenya. His letter is dated February 25th, 2017. 


Dear Kayla, 

Receive warm greetings in Jesus name. I am hoping that you are fine. My family is fine and God has been protecting us. How is your family? In our country, the weather is sunny and cold. How is the weather in your country? I am so glad because God has protected me and I am able to see another year. Before I wind up, I have a memory verse I want to share with you. It is Psalm 121. It says, "I will look up to the mountains. From where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth." Thank you for the letter that you wrote to me and for your support. May God bless you. 



And to end, another great letter from my pal Gary. I haven't been writing to him long but his letters are great! It's almost as if he has just been waiting for somebody to write to, to share his thoughts with. I am so glad to have him in my life. He is such a great young man.

Gary is 16 years old and is from Nicaragua. He wrote this letter on February 9th, 2017.


Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Gary greets you. Thank you for the sponsorship and for all the blessings you give to me. I thank you for the letter you sent me. It made me so happy. I spent Christmas with my family. I went to the park with my friends and visited my dad. I had a good time and they took us to a place called "Playa Gigante". I had a good time there because we swam and we ate. I am beginning a new school year and ministry. I am excited because there are going to be new guys who I will join with and make new friends. How did you spend Christmas? How has your health been? I would like to know, how old are you? I pray for you and I ask you to pray for my mom and my family. I say goodbye with love and affection, asking God to take care of you all the time. 



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Anthony's Easter Update: 2017

Another one of my Manna boys got his Easter photo update! I have three more photos to go from my boys who attend the El Tablon center. Those photos will all arrive on the same day and then I will post them here. So be on the look out!

Sweet Anthony is the baby of my family, at just two years old. He is looking so adorable!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Brayan's Easter Update: 2017

I am so happy to post this today! I just got these new photos about an hour ago, but I couldn't wait to share them!

Brayan, one of the sweet boys I sponsor through Manna 4 Lempira has some Easter updates. All of the children from his community, Mi Betania, was given updates. I'm not sure if the other two communities got photo updates, as well, or not but if they did, those photos haven't been posted yet.

Anyway, I was able to send Brayan a card with a few flat goodies. I sent candy, stickers, and a toy airplane. In these photos, you can see his new updated photo and then a photo of him holding the card I sent him. I can't help but feel overjoyed that he's wearing a robot shirt because the stickers I sent him were robot stickers!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Five More Letters to Share

I know that these long posts may not be entertaining to read, but I've been receiving so many letters lately (yay!) that I just don't have time to split them into smaller posts, because by the time they all post, I have received another large group of letters. I'm definitely NOT complaining about receiving large amounts of letters. Just sharing the facts. :) I am overjoyed to be hearing from my kids so often.

So without further ado, let's begin with a letter from Airin. She wrote this letter on the My Hopes for the Future template.

Airin is 7 years old and lives in Indonesia. Her letter is dated March 6th, 2017.


1. In the future, I hope to learn about: Making Cakes/Cooking

2. In the future, I hope to do the following activity: Skydiving 

3. When I grow up: I do want to go to university 

4. In the future, I hope to visit: America

5. In the future, I hope to meet: My sponsor 

6. When I grow up, I want to be a: Teacher 

Dear Mama Kayla, 

Thank you for your letter. I am so happy to read it. I am doing well here. I hope that you and your family are also doing well too. I am in grade 1 now. I am happy to play and learn with my friends. Please pray that I will be successful and make my parents proud of you. May Jesus's love bless us! 


Onto a letter from Rebecca. The more I hear from her and get to know about her, I think she is really Miss Personality. She seems to be quite a little leader. I look forward to watching her grow into a lovely young woman, if I am blessed with that opportunity. 

Rebecca is 9 years old and lives in the Philippines. Her letter is dated February 25th, 2017. 


Dear Ate Kayla, 

Good Day! How are you and your family? We are doing well here. How about your weather there? We always experience heavy rains here. I will always use what you said in your letter about spiritual armor. About the Christmas holidays, we had our Christmas party celebration at school. I was the Master of Ceremony and my partner was Jhon Wendell. It was a half day celebration. Each one of us brought food. We had parlor games also, after the party finished. I am happy and thankful upon reading your letters again. Thank you for giving time in writing a letter to me. On February 16th, 2017 I joined a math challenge contest at school but I don't know what our score is because we had to go home early due to heavy rains. In the learning center, we always study the Bible and we received a new bible. There will be more learning about God. Galatians 5:14, All the law can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 



Next up, a letter from Ayling, who I was definitely surprised to hear from again so soon. Lovely surprise, of course! She has a tutor help her write her letters still, but I think I am going to encourage her to write letters on her own, if she is able to. Tutors are great, but it's always great to see our kids' own handwriting. 

Ayling is 10 years old and is from Nicaragua. She wrote this letter on January 4th, 2017. 


Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Receive greetings from Ayling. She wishes that God may bless you. She thanks you for your sponsorship and the letter that you sent her. She wants to tell you that she is happy because she passed her grade and is now in 5th grade. She says she likes gardens and butterflies of different colors. She wants to know what is your favorite color? She wish that God may bless you. She hopes to hear from you soon. She fondly says goodbye. Her sponsor Jaqueline helped to write this letter. 


I have one more letter from a sweet girl and then we'll end with a young man. This next letter is from Sunrei, who I have also heard from very recently. It really seems like that any letters that were stuck in a letter traffic jam have made their way through. And I am loving that I am receiving letters written just a few short weeks ago. And this particular letter has some exciting news! 

Sunrei is 10 years old and is from Peru. Her letter is dated March 1st, 2017. 


Dear Godmother Kayla, 

I greet you with the love of Christ. I thank you for the beautiful letter you sent me. I tell you in this month we are in summer and it is 31 degrees. In the winter, it is 29 degrees, but very beautiful. I like the photos you sent. Your dog is hot right now. I love you a lot. I am going to the beach with my tutor and my classmates. The snow is beautiful in your country. In my project and at school I sing. I like to praise God. I am learning more things about God. In April, my mom is going to give birth. I am happy that I'm going to have a new sibling! I always pray hard for you in every moment, for God to take care of everything. What is your favorite verse? I wish to pray for my family, for their spiritual life. I close with love. 



And like I said, we end with a young man, a letter from Gary. He had so much to say in this letter. I always have the chattiest teen and young adult boys! His photo cracks me up because I think that he has a beautiful smile in there somewhere! 

Gary is 16 years old and lives in Nicarauga. His letter is dated February 20th, 2017. 


Hello Dear Kayla, 

Greetings from Gary. I thank you for the present and for all the blessings you are giving me. I am happy to know that I am your sponsored child. First of all, I want to congratulate you for your birthday that is very close. I am 16 years old and my birthday is on November 27th. My favorite colors are pink and purple. My favorite meal is rice and beans with plantain chips, cheese, and salad. What I like most is to play football. I have two brothers and their names are Maycol who is 10 years old and Alexander who is 12 years old. My dad is called Daniel and my mom Carla. Well, where I live it is very happy. Thank God my family and I are in good health. I liked to know that you had a very good time with your friends from university and that you celebrated your grandfather's birthday together with your family. Well, you would like to know what my house is made of. It is made of zinc sheets and I live with my mom, stepfather, and brothers. I do sleep in my own bed. At home, we have no electricity and water is provided by one of our neighbors. The most common jobs in my neighborhood are shoe stores, grocery stores, sale of tortillas and nacatamales and the way to travel is by bus or car. What I like most about the project is that they do spiritual retreats. The typical foods in my community are rice, beans, cheese, tortillas, and nacatamales. A popular place in my community is Mrs. Coco's grocery store. I always pray for you and your family and I ask you to pray for me and my family. I would like to know, how is the weather in your country? Without more to say, I thank you for e everything. I say goodbye. 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Letters to My Kids: March 2017

I had plans last month to write to all of my kids 2 times and my newest kids a 3rd time. Well, that didn't quite happen. I seemed to have run out of month.

But, I did write to all of them at least once. Many kids got a 2nd letter. And then I received and replied to 39 letters last month! So, my kids were certainly not neglected, when it comes to letters.

Every child of mine got a short card talking about our final snow of winter. I took the children I nanny for outside to play in the snow and sent my Compassion kids some fun photos of the kids all bundled up, throwing snow and sliding around. Here is the short letter I sent:

Every once in awhile, I send lists of questions to my kids. You have probably seen these letters in the past. I have the lists of questions saved to my computer so that I can be sure each child receives every list over the span of me writing to them. I keep track of who has received which list, so that I don't send them again (though, I suppose I could always send them again and see how answers change). Anyway, there were about 15 kids that had no yet received this list of random questions, so I sent it to them. As well as asking the questions, I also answer them myself in the letter, so that they know more about me. 

Like I said earlier in the post, I also responded to 39 letters that were written to me. So, I suppose there are some lucky kiddos that got three letters written to them this month! 

What did you write about in March? 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

First Sunday Advocate: April 2017

Another month has come and gone. It's time to share with you a list of kids that are waiting for a sponsor. As you can see on my sidebar, I write to many children around the world. As soon as I am connected with a child, I am also connected to the project that that child attends. There are almost always children at these same projects that are waiting for sponsors of their own. My heart really reaches out to these kids and I post some of these children on my blog each month, in the hopes that they will fine a sponsor. Each month, I choose something fun (boys, girls, clothing color, etc) to sort these kids by.

This month, I chose to share children that all have beautiful smiles on their faces. For each child listed, under their picture, I have included age, name, country, and in parentheses, the child I have at that same project. You can find that child in my sidebar, click on their photo, and be taken to all of the blog entries about that child. There, you can read letters from that child in order to get a better insight into what life is like where those children live. Most of the children also have project/pastor letters for even more information about the project.

Each line of information is also a link to that particular child's page. You can click on that link to learn more about the child's family, interests, schooling, and to officially sponsor that child.

Here are the children looking for a sponsor this month:

Smiley Sunairy has been sponsored! 

Precious Yared also has a sponsor! 

Sweet Dixi has a sponsor now, as well!