I have glimpsed the truth

It was a cool October afternoon as we sat at the table enjoying lunch. This was Andy’s birthday, and we were spending it at our first-ever Compassion advocates gathering. We had been blessed to lead worship and the songs of worship and “Happy Birthday” still rang in my ears.

 

She approached our table and introduced herself. Amidst the other voices in the room, I barely noticed her accent, but what she said next I will never forget. “I am a formerly sponsored child.” I was blessed into seconds of stunned silence as I franticly tried to collect the questions, thoughts, and emotions fighting to burst forth from within. Looking back now, I do not remember my exact response, but I feel it was pitifully inadequate compared to what I should have said. If I could relive that experience, my first-ever experience of meeting a formerly sponsored child, this is what I would say.

 

Thank you

 

• Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me, and letting me know hope is possible.

• Thank you for helping me to believe that our sponsored children can truly be released from poverty in Jesus’ name, and that my meager, and sometimes self-imposed inadequate investment in God’s kingdom, is making an eternal impact.

• Thank you for letting me glimpse the truth—Christ—amidst the lies of poverty

 

I have met and communicated with more formerly sponsored children since that cool October day, and while each story and experience is precious and unique, they all have one thing in common. Each of these formerly sponsored children inspire me and allow me to glimpse the truth. While as sponsors we tend to hear how blessed our children are because of our investment in their lives, I believe we are the ones who are blessed by them investing in us. Our attitudes and perspectives have shifted, we look at life and the world through newly opened eyes, and we have a passionate purpose that goes beyond ourselves. Communicating with these formerly sponsored children makes me feel closer to our sponsored children in a way, because they are a piece of proof that Compassion International’s ministry works, and releasing children from poverty is possible in Jesus’ name. So, to all of the formerly sponsored children I have or will ever communicate with, I would like to say:

 

Thank you

 

• Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me

• Thank you for being a piece of the proof

• Thank you for allowing me to glimpse the truth

 

Please, watch the below video and allow Anita Charles, the first-ever formerly sponsored child we had the privilege of meeting, to share a bit of her story with you. Then, prayerfully consider allowing the Lord to open your eyes, shift your perspective, and change your life by releasing one of these beautiful girls who have been waiting for more than six months for a sponsor from poverty in Jesus’ name.

 

 

 

Mail call Monday: Highlights from El Salvador, India, and the Philippines!

We received three letters from some of our Compassion International children in February, and we’d love to share highlights with you!

 

Highlights from Tatiana

 

It seems to us that El Salvador may be sending letters every two months as per the new letter writing guidelines, because we’re seeing a bit of a pattern here while also taking in to account time for transit. Tatiana wrote this letter on November 19 of 2012, and it looks like she is replying to a letter we wrote in August. She begins this letter by telling us that she and her family are doing well and she prays the same for us. She thanks us for the letter to which she is replying and says in answer to our question that to celebrate her birthday in July, she went to church to thank God and invited some friends to her home to eat cake. She shares a bit about the Compassion project where she attends, and that her favorite things to do while there are playing and writing letters to us! Tatiana also tells us that some of the benefits she receives through Compassion are medical checkups, birthday celebrations, and letters from us. Does anyone else notice a pattern here? 😉 She closes her letter by asking for prayer that God would take care of her family and signs her name “with love”.
As always, we love receiving letters from this sweet girl, and her love and personality jumps off the page every time!

 

Highlights from Pankaj

 

The next letter we received was from Pankaj in India, and this may be one of the longest letters from him thus far. He greets us and tells us that he and his family and friends are well. He thanks us for our prayers and letters and specifically discusses extra goodies we sent with our Thanksgiving and New Year packages last year. Referring to goals we had for 2012, Pankaj shares his goals with us. He then mentions Andy’s college studies and my work as a voice teacher in reply to another letter and says he is praying for both. Pankaj then says he attends a government school that is about 1Km from his home, and he walks to school at 7:00 and returns home by 12:00. He asks us to pray that he better understands math. Oh, how we can relate! We loved this glimpse into his daily life, and it blesses our hearts that he chose to share it with us. He shares that at the Compassion project he not only learns stories and Bible verses, but he is able to learn English and math and spend time with his friends who are “good company and fun to be with”. He tells us rainy season is in July and August and they grow their own vegetables, because during rainy season there are landslides that prevent vehicles from bringing vegetables to their local market. Lastly, he shares about India’s upcoming Independence Day celebrations. Pankaj closes this letter by expressing his thanks to God that he can go to school and Compassion, for having good friends, and that we love him.

 

Highlights from Miguel

 

The last letter we received is from Miguel in the Philippines written on October 15, 2012. Miguel greets us and says he received four letters from us in Sept and Oct, and he shares about his birthday celebration with his family in August. He answers Andy’s question regarding what he wants to do with his college degree in information technology, and tells us about his current class project. Miguel then tells us a bit about his college’s fall break schedule and asks about ours. He tells us he is praying for our prayer requests and shares prayer requests of his own, and he closes wishing us God’s blessings until his next letter.

 

As always, we loved receiving these precious letters and sharing highlights with you. Letters such as these from our sponsored children are tangible proof of the importance of the child-sponsor relationship. We pray you can see this importance as you read these letter highlights. Have you received any letters from your sponsored children lately? If so, please tell us about them in the comments.

We are linking up with Michelle from Blogging from the Boonies for this mail call Monday post, and we encourage you to read her and others’ letters as well!

Mail Call Monday: Highlights from Asia and Africa!

We are taking a break from our series on “Seven steps to sending your letter”, as we have recently received letters from some of our Compassion International children and wanted to share highlights with you.

Highlights from Kate in the Philippines:

“You are my inspiration and my loved ones.” “I will pray that you will have more enrollees in your singing lessons, so also to Uncle Andy that he shall get more experiences in his computer work.” “Is it only in singing that you teach? Not in instruments? I also want in piano playing.”

Highlights from a lengthy letter from Miguel in the Philippines:

In this letter, Miguel shares about his youngest sister’s 12th birthday celebration. He also tells us that he attends Compassion on Thursday, and he has an annual acquaintance party at school and wants to know if we do too. He comments on pictures we sent him with one of our first letters, “Thank you for the picture that you gave to me, I will always take care of it. This is the first time that I receive a picture from my sponsor.” This comment broke our hearts and yet gave us joy that we were able to bless him with these photos! This comment shows how much our sponsored children cherish the photos we send!

In response to questions we asked, Miguel shares with Andy what computer programming language he uses and asks Andy what programming languages he uses, and he shares some of the lyrics from his favorite song.

Still responding to our questions, Miguel shares his testimony of how he came to know the Lord as his personal savior, and he shares his favorite Bible verse as well. He also thanks us for the birthday gift money we were able to send and shares what he was able to purchase with this gift. Miguel ends this letter with prayer requests and “God bless you” in all capital letters across the page.

Highlights from two letters from Pankaj in India:

In one letter, Pankaj shares that after June they had heavy rains and some in nearby villages lost loved ones, crops, animals, and belongings. Pankaj says the state government is working to help these people, and he assures us that he and his village are alright. He asks for our prayers for those who lost so much from the heavy rains. “Now rice harvest is almost ready in fields, rainy season is over and we continue our school.” He ends this letter with, “Thank you very much for sponsoring me. Lets keep praying for one another.

Yours Pankaj

PS thanks for your prayer and support we will be praying for you!”

In the second letter, Pankaj shares, “After a few weeks I will be writing my half yearly exams. We had summer break in June so I attended Bible school program and enjoyed a lot. In Sep. we had a gospel week arranged by our project teachers. They taugh us new songs, stories and about Jesus. We met two Pastors also who taught us. We had good times. I am happy that God loves me and has a plan for my life. Thank you for sponsoring me. Lots of prayers.”

Highlights from a letter from Toface in Uganda:

Toface begins this letter by sending greetings from herself, her family, and friends. She thanks us for the letters and extra things we sent for her and her siblings, and she shares about the crops of sorghum, sweet potatoes, and Irish potatoes that her family is growing. She shares a bit about the weather and asks for prayers as she is studying to be promoted to Senior 3 in school. She closes with a Scripture and Christmas and New Year greetings.

Have you received letters from your sponsored children lately? If so, feel free to share about them in the comments section! We are linking up with Michelle from Blogging from the Boonies for this Mail Call Monday, and we encourage you to check out the awesome blogs linked there!

Mail Call Monday: To El Salvador and India we go!

We received two letters from our precious Compassion children on Friday. One letter is from Pankaj in India, and the other is from Tatiana in El Salvador! As we read these letters, we love how their sweet personalities shine right through their words of love straight into our hearts!

Pankaj’s Letter:

Dear Uncle and Aunty “Andy and Miranda.”

My family and I are doing good. I want to thank you for your letters. I really enjoy reading your letters and I also love to learn about your family. My friend Ankit is doing good. I love to hear from you and respond to your letters. Since you asked about my brothers, I want to tell you that my elder brother Sarjay is 14 years old and studies in 8th grade. My younger brother Neeraj who is 1 ½ years old is learning to walk. I love to play cricket with my friends and sometimes love to throw the ball. My favourite Bible story is the story of “David and Goliath.” My favourite subject is Hindi. Thank you so much for your love and prayers. Please write to me soon. [Yours Pankaj]

Pankaj has mentioned in multiple letters how much he loves receiving our letters and learning about our family and life. This is proof that our letters do matter and make a huge difference! He is also very good about answering our questions!

Tatiana’s Letter:

This is a letter written in the new format. The letter gives Tatiana several topics to write about. She has chosen ‘A day in my life’.

Dear sponsors Andy and Miranda, I greet you with many kisses. I hope you are doing well. I will tell you about a day in my life. Every day is very special for me but Wednesday is my favorite one. First of all, I get up and take a shower. I change clothes and have breakfast, I brush my teeth and go to school. Then we go to the market and go home and have lunch. I brush my teeth, take a nap and get up. I change clothes and go and play with my friend Fabiola. Then I go home and help my mom to make dinner. I make some juice. We have dinner together and then watch TV. I brush my teeth, pray and go to bed. I thank God because every day is a blessing. I am glad to have a nice family. With much love Tatiana.

Dear sponsors, I thank you for the birthday gift send, $20.00. Thanks for the nice letter. My family is doing very well. We are in good health. I love to play soccer. I help by bringing tortillas to home I play games with my mom. The place from which I get our water is about 10 steps from home. I learn to read the Bible. I love to read books. Yes, I have accepted Christ in my heart. My favorite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9. Yes, I am baptized. I am learning about subtraction and division right now. I want to be a fashion designer. Wishing blessing.

We have not received many letters from Tatiana, and her previous letters were written on the templates for younger children since she just turned 9 in July. So, this letter gives us a better look at her loving and affectionate personality! We feel like her joy just jumps off the paper! She too is great at answering a variety of questions from multiple letters we’ve sent!

Have you received letters from your sponsored children lately? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section!

We’re linking up with Michelle from Blogging from the Boonies for this Mail Call Monday post, so be sure to check out all of the other wonderful blogs linked there!

Not that different

I could never pretend to begin to understand everything that’s in the heart of a child in poverty, but if we were to sit down together, this might be what they would say.

Do you remember when you were a child? What were your fears? What did you think about? What did you dream about?

Did you like to sing, read, play sports, or draw beautiful pictures? What was your favorite color? What was your favorite Bible verse? Were you afraid of sickness? Did your parents ever lose their job? Did you struggle in school? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Do you think your childhood thoughts and dreams are all that different from mine?

I live with my parents and 5 siblings in a one-room mud hut with a straw roof. When it rains, our roof leaks. Some of my friends are very sick, and a couple have even died. I am afraid that someone in my family will get sick, and we won’t have enough money to afford medical care. This is why I dream of being a doctor when I grow up, so I can care for those in my community who are sick.

My parents work very hard when they are able to find work, but this is not very often. When they are able to find work, they do not make enough money to buy food, clothes, and school supplies.

Sometimes, I am told I am ugly and worthless, and that I will not amount to anything. I am told that dreams are worthless, because my family does not, nor will we have, the money for college education. I wonder if I will need to quit school to work to support my family. I already struggle in my studies now, because I did not learn how to read or write until I started attending Compassion International’s program.

When I go to Compassion each week, this is where I feel safe. I learn songs and Bible verses about the love of Jesus Christ, and I just memorized John 3:16 last week. I like to play soccer and draw pictures with my friends, and my favorite color is red.

Compassion gives me nutricious food, school supplies, clothes, and access to medical care. They tell me I can have a sponsor who will love me and write me letters, and I am excited to write letters in return!

I am a child living in poverty, but I do not have to be a product of poverty. I can be a child with hope. I can be an agent of change, if you will help me. Help me rise above the hopeless circumstances that surround my life. Help me know that you and I are really not that different. Please, become my sponsor, and release me from poverty in Jesus’ name!

Although this is a fictional account, these words could have been written by any of the children still waiting for a sponsor to step up and change their lives. These children are waiting for you. Not only will your $38.00 per month provide your sponsored child with access to education, nutritional food, medical care, clothing, and the opportunity to hear about Jesus, but your words of love and encouragement will be treasured for a lifetime.

*Update:

Thank you to those who have stepped up in faith and love to change the lives of Christabel in Ghana, Jose in Mexico, Pascal and Elijah in Uganda, Muthumuniammal in India, and Isuru in Sri Lanka!

Precious little Miranda from the Dominican Republic is still waiting for you to love her. If you sponsor Miranda, please let us know, and we’ll take a doll for her to the Dominican Republic when we travel.

We want to thank you on behalf of the child you choose to sponsor. Thank you for loving your sponsored child, and helping them reach their dreams. Thank you for releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name!