Friday, June 30, 2017

From the Field Friday: Burkina Faso

Another update from the field! This time, from the wonderful man running the programs in Burkina Faso.

I have two sweet children from Burkina Faso; Kamaladine & Jonathan.


Dear Kayla, 

I am Palamanga Ouali, Country Director of Compassion International Burkina Faso for more than seven years. I am married to Liliane and the Lord has blessed us with three children; Yolanda, Jessica, and Michael. My family and I love the Lord and we worship in a local church in Ouagadougou, the capital city. 

Palamanga Ouali 

The ministry of Compassion International started in Burkina Faso in 2004. We partner with more than 240 local churches to provide holistic child development, care and discipleship to more than 70,000 registered children through the sponsorship program and more than 460 mother-child pairs through the survival program. 

A Little Girl and Her Mother

I am elated to express my heartfelt gratitude for your commitment to break the poverty chain in the life of Kamaldine and Jonathan. Usually, poverty is a crucial lack of opportunity, and your sponsorship is offering a unique opportunity to your sponsored children to be released from poverty, to be loved, cared for, and full of hope for a brighter future. I am so grateful. 

The child development center is a safe haven where registered children are nurtured and have the privilege to hear and learn about the love of Jesus Christ. As a result, many lives are being transformed. Children's specific needs are being met, including food, health care, medical care, school fees, tutoring, vocational and life-skills training, etc. 

A Boy Being Weighed As Part of a Medical Check-Up

Burkina Faso's population is about 19.5 million. Almost half of the population lives below the poverty line, living on less than $307 per person, per year. The country remains vulnerable to economic shocks due to rainfall variations and unemployment. These challenges are more appalling for children, because their welfare is threatened by malnutrition, child labor, sickness, etc. The need is enormous, and sponsorship comes as a valuable support to many lives. 

A Typical Home in Burkina Faso 

More than 45 percent of children are not educated, despite commendable efforts to mitigate the situation and promote gender equality in school. Almost half of the children are compelled to work on cotton plantations and mining sites under tough conditions. The girls may work as maidservents in richer families, where they are sometimes beaten, raped, or abused. In the northern localities with dreadfully dry climates, some families are devoted to gold mining. About 10,000 children are forced to work in the terrifyingly dangerous mining environment in Burkina Faso. 

Children Living in Rough Conditions

Yet there is still room to dream for a country that will soon be positively influenced and transformed by a rising generation of leaders who are being equipped in Compassion centers to overcome these challenges. This past year, in some centers, we recorded 100 percent success for the A-level exam. 

Children Learning New Things! 

The words of encouragement sent through letter help children so much. The sponsor's relationship with the child builds confidence in the child's life. Children who receive letters feel happy and loved, while others are longing to read something from their sponsors. 

Precious Girls Writing Letters to Their Sponsors

Please pray for the holistic child development and the discipleship of your children and for your sponsored children to remain in the program and be successful in school. Children need both financial and spiritual support. Pray for our church partners, the field office, and last but not least, pray for peace and safety in Burkina Faso. 

Your sponsorship is making a difference in the lives of Kamaldine and Jonathan, as well as in the entire family. We could not make it without your precious help. I pray our Heavenly Father to pour his massive blessings over you and your family. We are grateful to you and we pray that the Lord continues to bless you and keep you safe. 

Beautiful, Happy Children! 

Sincerely Yours, 
Palamanga Ouali


Want to join the sponsorship family in Burkina Faso? Consider sponsoring this sweet young man! Find his page here to sponsor him. 

12 Year Old Ibrahim 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meet My New Manna Boy

I sponsored another child with Manna 4 Lempira!

This sponsorship was totally unplanned, but totally meant to be. Currently, there is a team of people in Honduras visiting the enrolled children, doing medical checkups, updating child information, feeding children, and registering new children. They are sending some of the most amazing photos an videos to sponsors (I will be sharing those later).

As the team embarked on their trip, there were many children still waiting for a sponsor. To help more children find sponsors, the woman who runs the sponsorship program, Kim Hall, made short video clips of the waiting children and posted them on Facebook. The videos are downright precious and they really show the children's personalities.

A boy's video caught my eye. His name is Jarlin and he's 11 years old. Kim asked Jarlin what he would like to tell his sponsor and he said, "I don't have a sponsor" and his face fell, ever so slightly. Broke my heart. This boy, who leads in the church, who loves to sing, who takes such good care of his younger brothers, one who has autism, and has the best smile is now in my sponsorship family.

I searched older photo albums and found some great photos of him! 

When Jarlin was first registered.

June 2016

December 2016

Easter 2017 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Triple Joy from Peru!

I have four kids in Peru and I have heard from all of them this month! I received one of the letters earlier this month and then I heard from my other three kids all in one day! I will share all of those letters with you today, in age order, of course.

I'll start with my girly Sunrei. I've said it before, but don't you love her name?! I knew her mother was having a baby girl and it seems that the baby has arrive. Hooray!

Sunrei is 10 years old. Her letter is dated June 6th, 2017.


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Thanks for the nice letters you sent me. Let me tell you that my mother gave birth to a girl. Her name is Fedra Silvana. My second little sister's name is Seika. Here, the weather is cold. The characteristics of a princess are having a good heart and being humble and kind. What is Mariela's favorite bible verse? My favorite sport is jumping rope. Yes, we have those flowers in my country. Let me tell you that the floods didn't reach the place where I live, thanks to God. I was not affected. I learnt Psalms 91, "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Also, we celebrate Valentine's Day. Love Day is on February 14th. I would like to go on trips. I am not afraid of anything. My favorite color is pink. When I grow up, I want to be an accountant. I like to create art. The animal I like is the cat. I write with my left hand. My favorite dish to eat is aji de gallina (Peruvian dish consisting of chicken in a mildly spicy cream sauce). I ask you to pray for my family. Goodbye with love. 



Now, we're onto the letter from my other sweet 10 years old girl in Peru. Even though it's been such a long time since Christmas, that is exactly what she is talking about. I blame the fact that I wrote about how my family celebrated Christmas in January and now my kids are responding to that letter. Even though it's late, it's great to hear how my kids celebrated! 

Jhayra wrote this letter on May 18th, 2017. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

Greetings in the name of Jesus. Thanks for the two letters you sent me. I spent Christmas with my family, my father and my mom. We ate turkey and it was delicious. Thanks for those photos you sent me. I like when you tell me everything. We don't have any problem because there is no snow in my country. Let me tell you that classes started and I'm doing well. By the way, do you attend church? Please pray for my family. Goodbye with a strong hug. 



Last up, a letter from Jose, who is also telling me about how he celebrated Christmas.

Jose is 18 years old. His letter is dated April 3rd, 2017.


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus. Thank you for the letters you have written me. Also for the pictures. They are beautiful. Thanks also for the Bible verses. I answer your questions. We were at home at Christmas and we ate Christmas fruit cake. Also we drank chocolate milk and ate fruit cake at the project and there was a performance. It was beautiful. The highest temperature here is 86 F and the lowest temperature is 64 F. Here, there aren't stories that I have listened to. Let me tell you that I am helping my father in his work. I will study mechanics in August. I like cars so much. I would like to know what you like to do. Do you like cars? Please pray for me and my family. Goodbye with a big hug. May God bless you. 



Sunday, June 25, 2017

First Letter, Weather Letters

Back just one month ago, I added four little Kenyan boys to my family. Now, only about six weeks later, I have already heard from two of them! Both of these boys wrote their letters on the Weather template. 

Also, both boys have mentioned the prayer partner I sent them up with!

I'll share the weather letter from 7 year old Hillary first. He wrote this letter on June 3rd, 2017. 


1. The season is now: Rainy
2. It is now: Hot 
3. Around this time, the farmers are: Weeding
4. When the weather is sunny I like to: Play football
5. When the weather is rainy I like to: Sleep
6. My favorite kind of weather is: Rainy
7. On my last birthday, the weather was: Sunny
8. Last Christmas the weather was: Sunny 

Hello my sponsor. How are you? I hope all is well. I and my family are doing well. I thank you for the letter. I am happy to learn that you are praying for me. I thank God for my friend Baraka, who is praying for me daily. I promise to always pray for him and the other friends in my prayer group. God bless you. 

Your Loving Friend,


Now it's time for a little deja vu as we repeat the letter template. ;) 

This time, from 6 year old Muuo. His letter is dated May 29th, 2017. 


1. The season is now: Rainy
2. It is now: Cold 
3. Around this time, the farmers are: Weeding
4. When the weather is sunny I like to: Clean my clothes 
5. When the weather is rainy I like to: Washing my body
6. My favorite kind of weather is: Rainy
7. On my last birthday, the weather was: Sunny
8. Last Christmas the weather was: Rainy 

Muuo sends a big hello. He asks you how you're doing. He says he is fine together with his family members. He says thanks a lot for your letters. He says they have really encouraged him. He says he is happy to learn of his new friend Mor-Mi-Say. He promises to always remember him in prayers. He requests you to pass his regards to Mor-Mi-Say. He says bye for now and sends much love. 


Friday, June 23, 2017

From the Field Friday: Brazil

It's time to share the country director letter from Brazil! Life in Brazil sounds tragically difficult.

I have one beautiful young lady in Brazil. Miss Maria!


Dear Kayla,

 Greetings in Jesus' name! My name is Jose Carrasco. I am the South America area director and I've been privileged to serve as the interim country director of Brazil since 2014. I was born in Peru. I have a wife and two wonderful children. 

Jose Carrasco & His Wife 

I am proud to tell you that Compassion has been serving in Brazil for 29 year. We currently have about 185 child development centers in Brazil and we are serving more than 43,000 children. The impact of Compassion's holistic program in the life of a child is huge. We would not be able to reach all these wonderful children without sponsors' generous and selfless giving. You have made is possible for Maria to receive love, care, nurture and support through your sponsorship and your prayers. You truly are making a difference in your child. Thank you so much for your support! 

A Girl Outside Her Home in a Brazilian Slum

A sponsored child has a safe place to go each day and is taught about the love of Jesus. At the centers, children have the opportunity to identify their strengths, develop their gifts and talents, and overcome difficulties. They learn that they are special because they are children of God. 

Smiling Compassion Kids

Allow me to share just some of the struggles we face daily. Compassion serves the most impoverished children in Brazil, and their families. There are high rates of childhood sickness and even death. Many children face violence; many come from broken homes. They also face financial crisis. Widespread unemployment and high cost of living make life increasingly difficult for those who live with few resources. Lack of water and access to good medical care are common. Hospitals lack the medicine and equipment needed to serve their communities. 

And Impoverished Family Outside of Their Home

The coming year brings many challenges, but by God's grace, we will continue to go forward and face those struggles. Compassion Brazil has improved its program and materials to better empower the churches to fulfill their mission. We are encouraged by the willingness of the churches to work hard and diligently to better serve the children through training, facilitation visits, materials, and local mobilization. Compassion Brazil has excellent plans in place to develop child protection networks and early childhood and youth development strategies. It is possible to change the lives of more children and help them to become strong and productive Christian adults. We have seen it so many times! 

Two Children Studying a Compassion Workbook

Nourishing the relationship between the sponsor and the child is critical. I encourage you to write letters. When a child receives a letter, it's like receiving a special gift. It means so much to a child. Your words really encourage and nurture your child positively. Children feel loved and appreciated when they know someone far away is praying and thinking about them. 

Children Coloring Pictures for Their Sponsors

There are no words to express the gratitude that my heart feels for your sponsorship for Maria. Your giving has changed the destiny of your child, and that is priceless. I gladly express my appreciation for generous giving. May the Lord bless you and your family. Please pray for us. We promise to also pray for you. 

Sincerely in Christ, 
Jose Carrasco 


Want to sponsor a child in Brazil? I ask you to consider sweet Alyce. She suffers from a chronic illness and could really use the love and encouragement of a sponsor. You can sponsor here at this link: CLICK HERE. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

From the Field Friday: Bolivia

I love the letters that Compassion sends out every once in awhile. At this point, I think I have discovered a pattern with these letters. It seems they come every two years. In 2013, we were sent letters from individual project directors. In 2015, we received Step Into My World letters, that told us what it is like to live in various regions in the world. In the past, I have posted both of these letter series on my blog.

This year, Compassion has mailed out letters from the director of Compassion in each country. These letters are titled From the Field. And because I love alliteration, I will be posting one of these letters each Friday morning. The letters were sent to me in alphabetical order, so I figured I may as post them in this same order. I don't have kids in every country that Compassion works in, but pretty darn close!

My series starts with Bolivia, where I have two boys; Jhon & Rodrigo


Dear Kayla, 

My name is Mario Vasquez and I've been working with Compassion for about 30 years. I started as an errand boy and 21 years ago, I became Country Director for Bolivia. 

Mario Vasquez Planting a Church in Bolivia 

Thank you for your support to change the future of Rodrigo and Jhon, through your faithfulness. Sponsorship is God's tool to shape and transform lives. There are two groups of heroes; the first are this great host of sponsors and donors who give their money in faith. The Bible says that whoever gives to the poor lends to God (Proverbs 19:17). The second is the staff at the child development centers who work daily with the children, providing them a safe environment where children can come to know God's purpose for their lives. 

A Compassion Staff Member and Her Class

In Bolivia, the main challenges children face rise from a lack of role models in their families. Most of our children live in overcrowded conditions with few basic utilities, vulnerable to all kinds of dangers. The older children take care of the younger, because their parents go out to work. Many also suffer violence from their own parents under the pretext of discipline. Sadly, in Bolivia, exercising violence against the most vulnerable is part of the culture. Schools and health centers are far away. Thus, the child development centers become an oasis for the children. 

A Large Bolivian Family in Front of their Small Home

There is significant difference between children who are sponsored through Compassion and those who didn't have the opportunity  to participate in the program. One sponsored child completed her university degrees; she helps her family, supports her church, and is now mentoring other children in the program. But she sadly sad that none of her other siblings completed university and that the eldest already has a family and too many responsibilities. She finds it difficult to fulfill. 

A Single Mother with her Five Children 

The work that the churches and the centers do is highly valued in the communities. For example, we encourage churches that have been working with us for a long time (15 to 20 years) to plant other churches and centers in areas outside the city. These new churches are welcomed in the new communities. The community leaders look to them with much hope for all the children in the area. 

The sponsor-child relationship is invaluable. The letters help their self-esteem grow incredibly. I heard the testimony of a young woman who has a birthmark covering much of her face. When she was a child, she was bullied by other children, who called her a werewolf. But a miracle happened, because her sponsor did not stop writing and telling her she was beautiful. This encouragement through letters helped her so much that the girl has come to feel comfortable with her birthmark. She is now a professional who works with other young people, helping provide training. 

A Boy Writing a Letter to his Sponsor 

I can see the fruits of this ministry. I remember the faces of children at the center, and now I see them all grown up: pastors, doctors, and other responsible people. When I learn that they are faithful people, no longer living in poverty, who see their future with hope and optimism, I see God's power. My goal is to give to Bolivia citizens who represent God's kingdom well, who are good children, good parents, good husbands and wives, good bosses, good workers, and good citizens - men and women who desire to serve others and not just serve themselves. 

A Boy Receiving a Medical Check-Up

This ministry works to expand God's kingdom. It is not an easy task. Please pray for your children and all children in Bolivia who live in poverty and vulnerability, so that God give wisdom to all of us working to do His will. 

Happy Compassion Bolivia Kids!

Thank you for your support for Rodrigo and Jhon, which is fundamental. I would like to encourage you to keep on supporting your children, knowing that your investment is invaluable. 

In Jesus, 
Mario Vasquez


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My Teens Are Showing Up!

My last post was all about letters from some itty bitties, but in the last few days, I have been receiving letters from some of my teens. I love writing to all of my kids, but the relationship and conversation level that can develop with teenagers and young adults is so rewarding. I love that they share things in their life with me.

I'll open with a letter from Sevenson. This guy has been tough to get to know! He doesn't write often or say too much, but I still love him dearly. He's my "Man of Few Words."

Sevenson is 16 years old and lives in Haiti. His letter is dated May 12th, 2017.


Dear Kayla, 

I feel happy to greet you in Jesus name. My family and I are very well. Thanks for the letter you wrote me. I'm glad to hear from you. My favorite subject is science. I always take part in prayer services with my family. What's the weather like in your country at the moment? It's rainy here at the moment. I ask you to pray that I'll successfully complete this school year. 



Onto another letter! This one is from one of my newest boys, Jule. This letter make me laugh because at first, I had no idea what this guy was talking about! After thinking about it awhile, it is clear that he is responding to a letter that his financial sponsor must have sent him. Or a previous correspondent. It's clear that this sponsor sent Jule some "Spot the Difference" pages and Jule is reporting on the differences. So funny. 

Jule is 13 years old and lives in Rwanda. This letter is dated June 10th, 2017. 


Dear Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have two chickens and their mother died. My studies are going well at school. It is now sunny here and we are harvesting crops. My siblings are also doing well and we thank God for our being still alive. I live in peace with everybody. Concerning the question you asked me, the difference is that one is underlined while the other is not. I wish you blessings in the name of Jesus Christ. I thank you so much for the letter you wrote to me. My birthday anniversary was very nice. The 2nd and 3rd candles have no thread and there is no circle on the 4th candle. I end by thanking you for the questions you asked me. May God bless you! 


Let's move onto some letters from girls! Let's start with Jhojaira. I just love that letters are coming so fast now. It's great to hear about Mother's Day just a few days after it was celebrated! 

Jhojaira is 13 years old and lives in Peru. She wrote this letter on May 22nd, 2017. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus, hoping that you are in very good health along with your family. I want to thank you for the beautiful letters you sent me, and also for the pictures. It is good to know that you are doing well. Where I live, it doesn't snow. But it does rain and it gets very cold. In this month of May, Mother's Day was celebrated. Here at the project we made a present for our moms. It was also celebrated at church. Many people participated. My mom, my grandmother, and I decided to go to a touristic center called "Tioyacu". It was very nice, though the water was very cold. What did you do for Mother's Day? I ask you to pray for my brother Alvin who is getting prepared to go to the university. I say goodbye in the name of Lord Jesus. Kisses and hugs. 



Now, to end this post, a letter from Lina. She's such a wonderful young lady. 

Lina is 18 years old and lives in Colombia. Her letter is dated April 18th, 2017 


Dear Kayla, 

I greet you wishing that God blesses you. I hope you are well. I will tell you that the name of my project is Showers of Love. When I go to the CDC I have a good time. For that reason, I go every day. My project is big. It has an amount of 213 children and teenagers. The activities that I do when I go to the project are service activities and the trips they do sometimes. But among them, what I like to do the most is helping the teachers with the children, because helping is what I like the most. In the project there are the staff members. What I like most about them is that they're kind with me and my sister, and with the other kids at the project. When I am there, what I like to eat the most is lentils, salad, and chicken. I want to tell you that my dog Toby died on my birthday and I am a little sad about it, because I love him very much. But I also tell you that my grandma is home with us. She's much better now, thanks to God. Do you like animals? How many animals have you had? I want to ask you to help me pray for my dad, as he's in a little danger where he is now. I want to thank you for your monthly contribution and for your letter. I love you very much. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I want to share this Bible verse for you to meditate on: Jeremiah 31:3. 



Sunday, June 11, 2017

Four Form Letters

If you would have taken a look at my Compassion family, even a year ago, you would have seen so many teenagers, especially boys. However, I now have so many little kids, it's actually quite amazing. With little kids, come form letter templates, which I love. I really think these themed, fill-in-the-blank letters are a great way for the young ones to organize their thoughts. This month, so far, I have received five of these letters. I will share them all with you today:

I am going to start with a bit of an unusual situation. Earlier this week, I received a letter from a child named Brisa. Who is that? I had no idea! Well, when I emailed Compassion to ask, it turns out that, due to a tech glitch, Brisa had been assigned to me a correspondent, but had not be added to my account. They fixed the error instantly. So I received a letter from Brisa and had her show up on my account in the same day!

Brisa is 6 years old and lives in Nicaragua. This letter is written on the Introduction template and is dated May 27th, 2017.


1. My Weight Is: 44 pounds 

2. My Height Is: 3' 6" 

3. My Eye Color Is: Black 

4. My Family Is: My Mother, My Grandparents, and My Siblings

5. My Favorite Things: 
    Food: Fried Rice 
    Color: Red 
    Subject: Math
    Animal: Cat 
    Bible Character: Jesus 
    Toy: Kitchen 

6. My Home Is Located In: The Rural Area 

Good morning, my friend Kayla! God bless you! I learned Bible verses and I really like the project. I'd like to meet you someday. My plan for the future is to be a doctor, to help sick children. Please pray that God will bless me and my family. 


Up next, a letter from Tern. He wrote his letter on the My Project template. His letters are always written by his aunt and she writes amazing details in her letters. I love it! 

Tern is 4 years old and lives in Thailand. This letter was written May 17th, 2017. 


1. My project is 500 meters from my house. 

2. I get to my project by: Walking 

3. I got to my project 1 day per week. 

4. My favorite activities to do at my project are: Sing and play games with friends 

5. My best friend at my project is: Tonkla 

6. When I am at my project, I typically eat: Fried Chicken 

Dear Kayla, 

My name is Churnchom. I am the auntie of Tern and I am writing on his behalf because he cannot write for himself yet. He says he and his grandmother thank you for the money gift. He used the money on laundry powder, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, milk, shoes, and other daily items. This helped the family finances greatly. He likes to ride his bicycle. He asked if you like to ride a bicycle too. Please keep his studies in your prayers. We love you and miss you. 


Another letter from Thailand is on the way! This letter is written on the same form template. It must have been My Project letter topic today in Thailand. This time, it was written by Chokchai. It appears this letter was written just one day after he started Kindergarten! 

Chokchai is 6 years old. His letter is dated May 16th, 2017. 


1. My Project is 1 km away from my house. 

2. I get to my project by: Walking 

3. I go to my project: 3 days per week. 

4. My favorite activity to do at my project is: Drawing Pictures 

5. My best friend at my project is: Thanutham 

6. At my project, I typically eat: Snacks 

Dear Kayla, 

Hello. May God bless you always. I am a project worker. I write this letter for him because he cannot write by himself. He is very happy to receive your letters and to hear you fun stories. He cannot tell all of the stories because he can only remember some of them. He drew a car for you. Do you like it? His school started on May 15th. He is happy to see his friends, but cried so hard on the first day of Kindergarten. He will do his best at school and at the project. Please pray for his grandmother and everyone's health. May God bless you. 


Lastly, I will share a letter from Djimitri. He wrote his letter on the My School Break template. It appears to be almost summer vacation for him! 

Djimitri is 6 years old and lives in Togo. His letter is dated May 26th, 2017. 


1. My school break is in the months of: July-September 

2. My school break lasts for: 12 weeks 

3. During my school break, I often go to: Vogan City 

4. My favorite thing to do during school break is: Play soccer 

5. My favorite person to spend time with during my school break is: My friend Steven

6. One person I like to visit during the school break is: My Grandfather 

7. One place I would like to visit during the school break is: The Field 

Thanks for your love and support. Pray for my success in the end of the school year.