Say “Yes”!

Do you ever feel like you say “yes” too many times in one day? Your boss asks you if you can stay late at work for voluntary overtime and you say “Yes”. A friend asks you if you’d like to go to a concert next weekend, and you say “Yes”. The church’s children’s ministry needs another volunteer in the preschool classroom this Sunday, and you say “yes”. The local charity that you are involved in asks for a fundraising volunteer for their next project, and you say “yes”.
Do you feel a bit overwhelmed yet? Maybe you said “yes”. 🙂

The above senarios are all a real part of life, and it’s not wrong to say yes. But, we can say yes too many times and fill our plates to overflowing. We can feel overwhelmed and like we’re being pulled in every direction by so many people all at once.
Let me ask you one more question: What do you say when you hear God’s whispered voice? Do you say “Yes”?

We are called to care for the least of these in our world. Maybe God is asking you if you will pray for these precious children in poverty. Maybe he’s asking you if you will step out in faith and change a child’s life through sponsorship. Either way, will you say “yes” to God’s still small voice?

Children are very close to the heart of God, and if you say “yes”, the only direction you will be pulled is closer to him. You will be overwhelmed by the peace and love that comes from knowing you said “yes” to the one who said “yes” for you.
If you say “yes”, we’d love to know about it! Please share with us the child or children God has asked you to pray for, or share if you said yes to sponsoring a child! We would love the opportunity to pray and rejoice with you!

A dream coming true

Dear family and friends,

In November of this year, Andy and I will celebrate 9 blessed years of marriage. We will also have the opportunity during this time to travel to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International as part of a group of Compassion sponsors. This is known as an exposure trip, because we will be exposed to the ministry of Compassion first-hand.

 

While we do not yet know all of the specific itinerary details for the trip, we do know that we will visit local churches in the Dominican Republic who have partnered with Compassion to provide holistic child development to the children in their community registered in their program. We will learn how these churches and their dedicated staff and volunteers nurture each child’s social-emotional, educational, physical and spiritual growth. We will learn about other programs Compassion implements that compliment the child sponsorship program, and we will visit Compassion’s Dominican Republic country office to learn more about the day-to-day operations of Compassion’s work from a field country perspective and to learn how important child-sponsor correspondence really is! Last but certainly not least, we will have the blessed opportunity to meet and spend an unforgettable day with Vladimir, our sponsored son since 2009.

 

This trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to be able to answer the question “How do you know this ministry does what they say they’ll do?” by saying, “We have experienced Compassion’s work for ourselves.” Not every sponsor will have this opportunity, and much prayer, preparation, thought and planning goes into a trip such as this. We can not walk this road alone. Would you like to come alongside us as we come alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ? If God is leading you to be a part of this trip, here are some things you can do.

 

Pray!

 

• First and foremost, we need prayer warriors to surround not just us, but everyone involved.

• Pray with us for the Compassion staff who are working tirelessly to plan this wonderful trip.

• Pray with us for the sponsors who are seeking God’s will as to whether they should join this trip.

• Pray with us for the staff and children in the Dominican Republic to be blessed abundantly.

• Pray with us for God to break the hearts of everyone on this trip for what breaks his, and for each of us to be open to fully experiencing anything He

has for us.

• Pray with us that God will bless those called to go on this trip with the finances to do so, and that all of the details — big and small will be worked out.

• Pray with us for God to bless those who feel led to financially support anyone going on this trip to overflowing for their generosity and obedience to God’s voice.

 

Financially contribute

 

If God is leading you to help us fund this trip, we want to thank you in advance and we pray that God will bless you abundantly for your generosity!
We are estimating $7000.00 for both Andy and I to take this trip, and if we have budgeted above and beyond what we will need, any excess funds will be given to Compassion International when we return home to further their ministry in the Dominican Republic. Contributions to our trip are not considered tax deductible, as we will be receiving services in return.

 

Trip costs that we are planning for include the following.

Please note: Items marked with a * are paid for! Thank you to those who have contributed!

 

• Round-trip bus transportation between our home city and Chicago

• Airfare between Chicago and Miami

•lodging in Miami

• Passport application fees*

• Immunizations and medications associated with international travel

• Airfare between Miami and the Dominican Republic

• Lodging

• all meals and tips

• travel within The Dominican Republic

• Our sponsored child’s travel for the one day visit

• Guides and translators during the tour

• Admission fees

• departure tax and administrative costs

• Any other incidentals or specific costs we are currently unaware of at this time.

 

Please know that we are working with Compassion International’s tours department to make this trip as cost-effective as possible, and we ourselves will be actively fundraising and financially contributing as well. We understand that with the economy and other pressing financial needs, you may only be able to contribute a small amount. Anything you feel led to give will be greatly appreciated and used with the greatest of care and integrity.

 

You can give securely online, or if you know us personally you can contact us privately for our address To send your donation via mail.

Thank you for your prayers and support as we take this life-changing trip!

Pieces of their hearts

We have sponsored and corresponded with many children through Compassion International since 2004, and in that time we have received many beautiful letters and built even more beautiful relationships!
We want to share just a sampling of some of the letters we’ve received over the past 8 years. Some of these excerpts are from letters written by formerly sponsored children, but we still wanted to share these treasures with you. Some are humorous, and others are just sweet!

Ana (from Mexico):
Dear Godparents Andy and Miranda, Hello!  I miss you very much!” (We were unable to visit Ana while she was in Compassion’s program.)
I went swimming to the river.  The river is very deep and beautiful.  I wish you had been here.”
I greet you with much love because I got the best sponsors.” (Our hearts melted with this sweet declaration of love!)
I passed to sixth grade and I got the second place. I was very happy and I wanted to share this happiness with you.” (We were so honored that she wanted to share her happiness with us!)
We read the new Bibles we all received. I like mine because it is nice and it isn’t big.”

Antony (from Ecuador):
It is such happiness to write you and tell you things about me. Well, most of all I am a very hyperactive boy. What I like most is soccer because I want to be a great soccer player, but as my mom says, I also have to study and I do that with much effort and dedication.”
I greet you with the peace of the Lord and I am glad to receive your letter and it is good that you are together much time. I wish that you would never have troubles. I would like to listen to your music because I think that it is going to be beautiful for God.” (We have a music ministry where we travel and lead worship.)

Claude (from Rwanda):
To my beloved parents, I love you so much and I first greet you in the name of Jesus Christ our King. I wish you God’s peace and blessings.”

Eustace (from Kenya):
When I grow I would like to be a doctor. I request you to pray for my education so that my dream may come true.”

Nallely (from Peru):
“I also want to tell you that my school classes have already started and I am in 3rd grade. I am doing kind of well because some topics are new for me but I will study hard in order to become the best student in class. The subject I like the most is Social Studies because I learn about values and virtues. I also like break time.” (Hahaha! What child doesn’t like break time?)

Toface (from Uganda):
“I remain your daughter in Christ.” (Awwwwww!)

Wilmer (from Columbia):
(As part of his introduction letter) “Favorite hobby: internet”

Vladimir (from the Dominican Republic):
“The reason why I write you is to talk to you about my favorite sport, baseball. I like it very much. I go to the stadium and I am a pitcher and I have a trophy already that I won in a game we had with people in Santiago and also, I have a medal I won; I have two prizes already and I am very excited.”
I ask you to care for me all the time.” (Hearts melt yet again!)

As you can see, these children really treasure the relationship they have with us as their sponsors. We have been so blessed by each of these children and their beautiful words of love. What are some of the precious things your sponsored children have shared with you in their letters? How has corresponding with these children blessed your life?

Moving Beyond “Hello”

“I feel like my sponsored child’s letters are carbon copies, and my questions are never answered! Why?”

Let me start by assuring you that my husband Andy and I are by no stretch of the imagination considered to be experts at letter writing let alone being Compassion sponsors. Although, after being sponsors since 2004 and part of Compassion’s advocates network since 2009 we have learned a few things along the way. We’d like to share some of those tips and tricks with you.

 

I’ll never forget sitting in the arena watching the video about Compassion that Michael W. Smith was presenting. Andy and I had been married for about a month, and because of financial difficulties we weren’t even “supposed to” be at this Christmas concert. After the video concluded, I looked at Andy and tried to hide my hopeful anticipation as I asked him, “How much money do you have with you?” We discovered we had just enough to start a sponsorship, so off we went to the Compassion table! I wanted a girl from Mexico. Andy wanted a girl from Brazil. Andy (and God) won. 🙂 I would get my wish later. We were so excited to get to know our child Mayara, but admittedly we were equally unprepared for how our lives were about to change.

 

We sponsored Mayara for almost 2 years before her family removed her from Compassion’s program, because she was needed more at home. Although her letters were filled with deep love and affection, we didn’t feel like we were building much of a relationship. A very kind and patient Compassion phone representative gave us a few tips that we started using when writing to our next Compassion child — Ana from Mexico.

 

Tip #1: Write often.

 

This may be easier for some and much more difficult for others. The letters you send are so important to your sponsored child, and your words of love and encouragement could truly change that child’s life forever. We’ll be the first to admit that we did not adopt this principal right away. While sponsoring Ana from 2006 until 2011, we only wrote three to four letters per year. We’ve recently begun to write much more often to our Compassion children, and we try to write at least one letter a month.

 

Tip #2: Number your questions.

 

This was one of those golden nuggets of wisdom provided by the Compassion phone rep mentioned above, and we adopted this practice immediately. I’m happy to report that it works! Now, don’t get me wrong, not every question will be answered the first time you ask. Keep in mind that if you use tip #1 above, your child may have multiple letters to reply to. They also may not have your letters with them when writing you, because they are stored in a special place in their home. If you use this tip and after receiving multiple letters you still do not have answers, you may choose to contact Compassion and have them put in a field inquiry as to the reasoning for your unanswered questions.

 

Tip #3: Don’t ask too many questions at once, and sometimes don’t ask any at all.

“What? Don’t ask any questions?” Please, let me explain. First, let’s talk about not asking too many questions. When we began sponsoring one of our children, we asked him 3 questions per letter. We noticed that he would always answer the first 2 very well, but the third one would always go unanswered. After we started only asking 2 questions per letter, he has answered every one. On the other hand, we have 2 children who answer 3 questions at a time. Does this mean that one of our children doesn’t want to answer any more than 2 questions? No. Keep in mind that writing letters is not a usual form of communication in many of these countries, and sometimes more than one or two questions in one letter may be seen as interrogation when translated.

 

Now, let’s talk about the times where you may not want to ask questions at all. When we write longer letters full of a lot of information, or if we’ve recently sent letters that each have questions, we “try” to refrain from asking questions. This gives our children a chance to answer questions we’ve previously asked. Asking too many questions may overwhelm the child, and this may be one reason your questions go unanswered.

 

We hope these 3 tips will get you started in building an even more beautiful relationship with your sponsored children. Your letters will not only change their lives, but  also your life as well! If you have any more tips to add to this list, please put them in the comments section below. We’d also love to answer any questions we can about child sponsorship or letter writing!

 

“Thank you for choosing to sponsor me.”

Each of us make choices every day. Some of those choices are easy and some of those choices are more difficult. Some choices we make on our own, while others are made in response to something we’ve experienced. Choices can affect us or someone else either positively or negatively, and some choices are a matter of survival.

 

We love receiving letters from our Compassion children, and those precious first letters are no exception. These letters give us just a glimpse into our child’s world and heart. In every first letter we’ve received, this line has always stuck in my mind. “Thank you for choosing to sponsor me.”

 

We choose each child to be in our Compassion family for a specific reason. Better said, God chooses each child to be in our Compassion family for a specific reason. Whether it’s similar hobbies and interests, performance in school, similar educational and career paths or connections to others in that child’s country; the choice to sponsor each child has not only changed their lives, but our lives have been changed as well. They receive the tools and education to thrive amidst their impoverished circumstances, and we learn that the opposite of poverty is enough. They learn about the love of Jesus, and we grow closer to the heart of God through Scriptures and prayers they share with us. They’ve taught us how to live more simply and love more fully.

 

For many people living in poverty, the choices they make every day are a matter of life and death. Through child sponsorship, you can choose to help them make those choices. By sponsoring one child, that child and their family will know that someone cares enough to say, “I chose you.” The family can focus on financially caring for your sponsored child’s siblings while your sponsored child is cared for through Compassion. Sponsorship is much more than a monthly donation. It’s about building a beautiful relationship through letters with your sponsored child. When you get that first letter with the words “thank you for choosing to sponsor me”, your sponsored child is really saying, “Thank you for loving me. Thank you for showing me the love of Jesus Christ.”

 

We’ve been chosen by God to show his love to others. We’ve been chosen to care for the least of these. Will you choose to make an eternal difference in the life of a child today? There are children waiting to write the words, “Thank you for choosing to sponsor me.”

 

Watch as 9-year-old Karla thanks her sponsors for loving her through Compassion’s child sponsorship program!

Meet Compassion

What do you think of when you think of the word poverty?

Dictionary.com defines poverty as “little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.” Poverty is so much more than this. Poverty is more than a lack of basic necessities.

 

 

Now that we’ve defined what poverty is, let’s talk about what we can do about it. We want to introduce you to a ministry close to our hearts, that is releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name! Compassion International was started by American evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952 as a way to help Korean War orphans, and has since grown to releasing over 1.2 million children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty in 26 countries around the world. Compassion enables the children they support to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

 

 

“Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name” is not a slogan. For Compassion, it is their God-given mission. Learn more about the ministry of Compassion International by going here.

 

There are 4 things that make Compassion’s ministry distinct.

 

Compassion is Christ-centered.

 

Jesus Christ is at the center of everything that Compassion does. God’s Word gives us multiple mandates to care for the poor, and children are very close to the heart of God.

Every child registered in Compassion’s child Development sponsorship program has the opportunity to hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, and each child is given the opportunity to know and build a relationship with their creator. Each child is given a Bible, and these children take home what they learn in the Compassion program about Jesus and share the love of Christ with their families.

 

 

Compassion is child-focused.

 

Compassion believes in a holistic approach to individual child development. Each child registered in Compassion’s child development sponsorship program receives regular medical checkups and access to education through tutoring, school supplies, tuition assistance or uniforms. Children are taught social skills, health and hygiene practices and vocational training. Children are also given access to nutritious food while at the Compassion project. Each child is taught about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and given the opportunity to know and build a relationship with him. Children are also linked to a sponsor who has a one-on-one relationship with that child. As a sponsor, you have the unique opportunity to build a life-changing relationship with your sponsored child. By exchanging letters with your sponsored child, you have the ability to speak life into what otherwise may be a dark and desolate situation. You are able to plant seeds of hope in your sponsored child’s heart, and through your words of encouragement your child will know that both you and Jesus care about and love him/her very much. You may be the one person who tells your sponsored child “I love you.” As the sponsor of a Compassion child, you are the hands and feet of Jesus. For just over $1.00 a day, you can release a child from poverty!

 

 

Learn more about the benefits your Compassion-sponsored child receives for just $38.00 per month.

 

Compassion is church-based

 

Compassion International partners with the local church in your sponsored child’s community to provide culturally relevant age-specific ministry and care for each child involved in their program. A Compassion project, student center or child development center refers to the local church in that child’s community. The Christian adults in this church care very deeply for your sponsored child, and they want to see your sponsored child succeed. The church staff and volunteers make sure your sponsored child receives individual attention and that your child hears and knows of the love of Jesus Christ.  Each church partner is carefully selected by Compassion through a strategic process. Learn more about how Compassion partners with the local church and the church partner’s role and responsibilities.

 

Compassion is committed to integrity.

 

Compassion is committed to Biblical and financial integrity in everything they do. At least 80 percent of your $38.00 per month tax-deductible donation goes directly to care for your sponsored child, and Compassion acts in true honesty and humility with each aspect of their ministry. Learn more about Compassion’s commitment to financial integrity.

 

Along with child sponsorship, Compassion International has 3 other major programs that we’d like to tell you about.

 

CSP (Child Survival Program)

 

 

• 90 percent of child deaths worldwide occur within the first year of life.

• In developing countries, one in every six infants is not immunized against tuberculosis.

• Only 55 percent of the world’s infants are fully immunized against hepatitis B.

• Only 69 percent of newborns are protected against tetanus.

• Approximately 37 percent of deaths among children under 5 — 9.7 million worldwide in 2006 — occur in the first month of life.

• Each day, about 1,000 children worldwide become infected with HIV, the vast majority of them newborns.

• Although about 33 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women receive drug therapies to prevent the transmission of HIV to their infants, only 11 percent of HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa who need antiretrovirals had access.

• Nearly 15 percent of babies in developing countries are born with a low birth weight compared with only 7 percent of babies in industrialized countries.

• In Sub-Saharan Africa 55 percent of children under 5 have never been registered; worldwide nearly 50 million children each year are not registered and begin life with no identity.

• Every day 1,500 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth that could have been prevented. Each day 10,000 newborns die within a month of birth, and daily the same number of babies are also born dead.

• Nearly 30 percent of women worldwide give birth before age 18.

• Some 200 million women who wish to space or limit their childbearing lack access to contraception.

 

Reading these statistics above, you may be thinking that this is a hopeless situation. There is hope for these mothers and infants. Compassion’s Child Survival Program provides pregnant mothers in poverty with prenatal care, and when their baby is born these mothers are taught how to properly care for their new little one. Along with basic child care skills, these mothers are taught income-generating skills, budgeting skills and about the love of Jesus Christ. Just as with the child sponsorship program, the Child Survival Program is run by the local church.

 

 

 

LDP (Leadership Development Program)

 

After graduating from Compassion’s Child Development Sponsorship Program, some young people have the opportunity to attend college and grow in Christian leadership and discipleship through Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. These young people are overcoming their circumstances to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, social workers, teachers, pastors and more. Through the Leadership Development Program, these young people are realizing the dreams that God has placed in their hearts, and they are learning to be all that God has created them to be. They are receiving training in Christian leadership and discipleship and being mentored by a Christian in their community.

 

 

CIV (Complementary Interventions)

 

Compassion’s core programs highlighted above are wide-reaching. However, they can not possibly meet every single need associated with a child’s healthy development. This is why Compassion has created their Complementary Interventions program to assist in meeting these needs when necessary. The CIV covers:

• HIV and AIDS Initiative

• Medical Assistance

• Malaria Intervention

• Curriculum Development

• Health & Parenting Skills

• Education & School Fees

• Assistance for Highly Vulnerable Children

• Disaster Relief

• Providing Clean Water

• Income Generation

• Infrastructure Development (repairs or rebuilding of homes or Compassion church partner buildings)

 

Compassion International is making a global impact in the Kingdom of God. From before a child’s birth until university education, many children’s lives have been changed forever. These children have been released from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. These young people are now making a difference and changing their world. Will you join them? Will you join us? Will you make an eternal difference in someone’s world today?