Uganda

Uganda…

We first really learned about this beautiful country in Africa after connecting with a pastor who is serving in the capital of Kampala.

Uganda…

In honor of our new pastor friend, this is where we chose one of our first correspondence children through Compassion International.

Uganda…

This is where the Compassion bloggers were five years ago, and where they are again this week celebrating five years of blogging that changes lives. I mean, it really changes lives. These bloggers are:

Learning lessons about writing and life

Writing about a boy and his best friend

Sharing what Grace really looks like

Sharing how we can help to end slavery and

Reaching around the world through the World Wide Web to encourage sponsors like you and me

 

Wait, you are not a sponsor yet?

 

No worries. You can join us in releasing Uganda’s children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Be sure to follow and support the bloggers as they finish their week in Uganda and beyond.

Sunday’s Special Children for 11/03/2013

 

 

You may have noticed a new page on our blog in the past week. There are many children who are waiting for someone to step up and share the love of Christ with them through sponsorship. Each Sunday as we begin the week in praise to the Lord for all he has given us, we want to take a moment and introduce a few of these special young people to you. Please pray for each of the below children throughout this week, and if the Lord leads you to sponsor one of them, then do not hesitate to do so. You can release your sponsored child from poverty in Jesus’ name! Through your prayers and letters of love and encouragement, your sponsored child will know that he can rise above the circumstances surrounding him. She will know that God’s love is greater than the lies of poverty that are whispered in her ears and heart every day. Thank you for praying and speaking up on behalf of a child living in poverty.

 

November is National Adoption month! Will you sponsor an orphaned child today?

 

Here in the United States, November is known as National Adoption month. You may already know that children who have been orphaned are not just located here in the United States, but you may not be called to adopt. By sponsoring a child who has lost one or both parents, you can show them that they will never lose the love of their father in Heaven. The orphan crisis is global, but as children of God, we can each do something to make a difference. Will you speak up on behalf of an orphaned child today?

 

Thasidu

 

6-year-old Thasidu lives in Sri Lanka with his father and sister, and there are 3 other children in the family. Thasidu is in kindergarten. Like many little boys his age, Thasidu enjoys playing with cars, hide-and-seek, and running. As of November 3, this precious child has been waiting 428 days for someone to release him from poverty in Jesus’ name. Will you sponsor Thasidu today?

 

Jhon

 

Jhon lives with his father and 2 other siblings in Colombia. He is seven years old and in kindergarten, and one of his favorite activities is soccer. Jhon and his family live in an area with higher risk of child abuse and exploitation. I am sure he would appreciate a woman who would step in as his Godmother to help in his spiritual nurturing and development. Will you or someone you know end this sweet boy’s 428-day wait for a sponsor?

 

Rose

 

This sweet little girl attends the same Compassion child development center as our Miguel in the Philippines. Rose is four years old and lives with her parents and three siblings. She cares for animals, and she is in preschool. Will you help this beautiful rose to blossom and grow to her fullest God-given potential? Through your love and nourishment, this sweet little flower could radiate God’s beauty amidst her surrounding circumstances.

 

Lorenz

 

5-year-old Lorenz also attends our Miguel’s Compassion child development center in the Philippines, and he lives with his parents and one other sibling. Lorenz is in kindergarten and enjoys reading and playing with cars. Lorenz has asthma, but he is receiving  regular medical treatment. Will you help to ensure this precious child can continue to receive the love and care he so desperately needs?

 

Melanie

 

5-year-old Melanie lives in Ecuador with her parents and one sibling. Despite the fact that she is visually impaired, this sweet little girl is exceling in kindergarten. Will you let Melanie know that with God all things are possible? Will you be the one to tell her that she can continue to reach her dreams no matter the circumstances that surround her?

 

Hector

 

Hector is seven years old and lives with his grandparents and four siblings in Mexico. Hector has partial hearing loss and is struggling in school. Will you pray for and encourage him? Will you let him know that he can trust in Christ and reach his dreams despite his circumstances? Will you tell Hector he is special in the eyes of God?

 

Ruhama

 

Ruhama is six and lives in Ethiopia with her foster parents and one sibling. She is in kindergarten and enjoys running and playing volleyball. Will you please end Ruhama’s long wait for a sponsor? As of October 27, she has been waiting 244 days for someone to step in the gap for her. Will that someone be you?

 

Jackson

 

18-year-old Jackson lives in Tanzania with his uncle, aunt, and three siblings. This young man is excelling in his college studies. As he enters adulthood, he could use a mentor to walk beside him and encourage him with prayers and letters of love. Will you let Jackson know he is not forgotten today?

 

Alexander

 

Alexander lives in the Dominican Republic. In fact, this 14-year-old young man attends the same Compassion child development center as our sponsored son Vladimir. Alexander lives with his parents and three siblings, and he enjoys riding a bike, listening to music, and playing group games. I would not be surprised if Alexander and Vladimir may know one another. We would love to tell Vladimir that you sponsored Alexander!

 

Gabriela

 

11-year-old Gabriela lives in El Salvador, and she attends the same Compassion child development center as our precious Tatiana. Gabriela lives with her mother and two siblings, and she enjoys art and playing with dolls. Gabriela and Tatiana may very well be friends, and they may even enjoy drawing together as well. As of October 27, Gabriela has been waiting 250 long days for a sponsor. Will you release this precious girl from poverty in Jesus’ name? We would love to write a letter to Tatiana and tell her that you changed Gabriela’s life forever!

 

 

Day 23: Sponsorship Part I: Release a child from poverty in Jesus’ name!

We are entering the home stretch of our 31 days of compassion. This has been an incredible month filled with many challenges and blessings. We have defined and shown compassion, heard God’s heart for the poor, discussed spreading God’s love in our local communities, and learned about poverty and specific issues faced by people living in poverty around the world. We have been challenged to pray, watch, read, blog, and eat with a global focus. Children have been encouraged to show compassion, and Christmas joy is being sent. Our hearts are filled to overflowing, and we are not done yet!

 

In response to all that you have learned over the past few weeks, we want to challenge you to step out in faith. We recently advocated on behalf of a child living in poverty, but we can take this advocacy one step further. Will you please pray about sponsoring or corresponding with a child living in poverty? Today, we will share with you about child sponsorship, and tomorrow we will discuss becoming a correspondence sponsor.

 

Reflections on our child sponsorship story

 

My husband Andy and I have been child sponsors with the ministry of Compassion International for close to nine years, and we can tell you that this experience has blessed and changed our lives. Our perspective on life, finances, faith, and what it means to spread God’s love has shifted. Our world has spun and tilted, and we have a global focus in our line of vision now.

 

Sponsorship is not about the $38.00 we send each month. It is about building a relationship with our sponsored child through letters. It is about praying for their studies, health, dreams, and family. It is about rejoicing with them when they pass to the next school grade, win baseball trophies, or see the Lord answer prayers miraculously. We evangelize, encourage, and disciple. They pray, send Scriptures, and give us unconditional love. We started sponsoring with the intent to bless a child, but we are the ones who have received the greatest blessings and rewards. We have become uncle and aunt, and mom and dad. Our family is spread across the globe, but we are all bound by the blood and love of Christ.

 

“Why should I sponsor a child?”

 

For $38.00 a month, just over $1.25 a day, you can release a child from physical, social, economic, and spiritual poverty. Through a local church in his or her community, your sponsored child will receive many benefits including medical check-ups, educational opportunities and support, a safe place to play, nutritional meals, life skills training, and the opportunity to hear about the love of Jesus and build a personal relationship with him. Through your prayers and letters, your sponsored child will know that dreams are possible and life is worth living. He or she will know that someone loves them, and the whispered lies of poverty will be drowned out by your words of encouragement.

 

Please, do not just take our word for it!

 

A recent independent study was conducted that shows the immensely positive impact Compassion International’s child sponsorship program has had on the success and lives of formerly sponsored children in the areas of education, employment, and leadership. Here, four formerly sponsored children share their stories of success and the impact sponsorship has had on their lives.

 

$1.25 a day—enough to buy a coffee or a song from iTunes. Or, enough to change the lives of your sponsored child, his or her family and community, and you. We have learned that every child is close to the heart of God. What is $1.25 worth to you? Is it worth a cup of coffee, a song, or releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name?

 

“How do I choose a child to sponsor?”

 

As you pray and seek the Lord’s guidance about the child you will sponsor, we want to introduce you to some children waiting to be released from poverty in Jesus’ name. Maybe one of these children is waiting for you.

 

Denelson

 

Six-year-old Denelson lives in Haiti with his aunt and three siblings. He is in preschool and enjoys soccer. This precious little boy would love your letters of encouragement, and you could be the one to share with him about his father in Heaven.

 

Hector

 

Hector is seven years old and lives with his grandparents and four siblings in Mexico. Hector has partial hearing loss and is struggling in school. Will you pray for and encourage him? Will you let him know that he can trust in Christ and reach his dreams despite his circumstances? Will you tell Hector he is special in the eyes of God?

 

Ruhama

 

Ruhama is six and lives in Ethiopia with her foster parents and one sibling. She is in kindergarten and enjoys running and playing volleyball. Will you please end Ruhama’s long wait for a sponsor? As of October 27, she has been waiting 244 days for someone to step in the gap for her. Will that someone be you?

 

Jackson

 

18-year-old Jackson lives in Tanzania with his uncle, aunt, and three siblings. This young man is excelling in his college studies. As he enters adulthood, he could use a mentor to walk beside him and encourage him with prayers and letters of love. Will you let Jackson know he is not forgotten today?

 

Layanel

 

Living in the Dominican Republic with his grandparents and four siblings, 6-year-old Layanel is in kindergarten and enjoys baseball. Will you give this sweet little boy an early birthday present by ending his too long wait for a sponsor? His birthday is on November 23, and as of October 27, Layanel has been waiting 330 days for someone to release him from poverty in Jesus’ name. Is the answer to Layanel’s birthday wish going to be you?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 19: Advocate for a child living in poverty

One of the reasons we love Compassion International is their child-focused approach to ministry. By helping a child through four areas of development: physical, economic, social, and spiritual, Compassion is able to release that child from poverty in Jesus’ name and allow that young person to make an eternal difference in their world. For day 19 of our 31 days of compassion, we want to invite you to join us in advocating on behalf of a child who is still in need of a sponsor.

 

Throughout the past few weeks, we have looked at poverty and spreading God’s love locally and around the globe. We have seen how poverty wreaks havoc on the well-being of those living in its grip, and we have had the opportunity to shine the light of Christ in dark desolation. Sponsoring through Compassion International is one way to spread God’s love to a child living in poverty. Sponsorship is much more than the $38.00 donation each month. This is a chance for someone to bless and be blessed. Through prayers and letters of encouragement, sponsors are able to watch their sponsored child grow and develop into a successful young man or woman, despite their surrounding circumstances. Will you take the time to encourage someone you know to sponsor a child today? Will you speak up on behalf of a child living in poverty?

 

How do I choose a child to advocate for?

 

You may be thinking to yourself, “There are so many children in need around the world. I could not possibly pick just one child to advocate for!” Whether you advocate for one or 100 children, that choice is between you and the Lord. We want to help you narrow down your choices a bit if we may.

 

• Choose a child from the country or region you prayed for yesterday

• Choose a child who has been waiting far too long for someone to say, “I love you”

Choose a child with a specific birthdate

• Advocate for a child who has lost one or both parents

• Speak up on behalf of a child who may feel unloved because of his or her special needs

• Choose to find a sponsor for a young person who may feel forgotten as they enter adulthood

• Choose a child who has the same name as you or someone you love

 

Who are you praying and advocating for today? What steps are you taking to help that child find his or her special sponsor? We want to introduce you to our prayer child who is waiting for his sponsor.

 

Will you help us find Eric’s sponsor?

 

Eric lives in Ghana, West Africa with his uncle, grandmother, and one sibling. Those who are able to find work in the community where Eric and his family live only make an average of $32.00 a month. At the age of eight, Eric is in kindergarten. He enjoys playing soccer. As of October 19, Eric has been waiting 444 days for someone to step up and change his life for eternity through an act of compassion. Would you please join us in praying for Eric and helping him find his sponsor?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Walk the Gospel mile

Old Shoes

(Photo credit: Compassion International)

 

They have loved sacrificially and been cherished by many. Whether walking 4 miles with five-year-old Maria and her mother to get water each day, trudging through the mud-soaked earth on a rainy Saturday to take Carlos to his Compassion project, or serving as the “Sunday best” shoes for Ruth, Daniel, Cindi, Blessed, Hope, and Jole, the goal of these two servant-sized soles has always been to walk the Gospel mile. They have reached this goal many times over and have just one request as they step out of the limelight.

 

They are asking you to step up and walk the Gospel mile for a child whose feet and heart are weary and torn. The road is winding, muddy, and steep, and you may be worn and frayed in the end. However, you can protect a child from the shattered glass of life and the scars that poverty’s trash leaves behind. You can continue the legacy left by two soles whose inward light still shines despite the outward fade of time.

 

Marten

 

At age 4, Marten lives in Indonesia with his parents and 5 siblings. He has been waiting just a few days shy of a year for someone to be the feet of Jesus and walk the Gospel mile on his behalf. Is that someone going to be you?

 

Umasha

 

Umasha turned 9 on August 8, and she lives in Sri Lanka with her parents and 2 siblings. She too has been waiting just a few days shy of a year for someone to cheer her on as she succeeds in her education. Will you walk the Gospel mile with Umasha and let her know she can reach her dreams and make a difference for Christ in her world?

 

Lokhikanto

 

Lokhikanto lives with his parents and one sibling in Bangladesh in an area of high risk for child abuse and exploitation, and he will turn 6 years old on October 10. Lokhikanto shares his birthday with my husband Andy. Will you help this precious boy run to Jesus’ everlasting love?

 

Justine

 

Justine will turn 8 on October 31, and he lives in Uganda with his parents and 7 siblings. Justine is not presently attending school, and his community is in need of scholastic materials. HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and waterborne diseases are health-related concerns within this community as well. Justine’s parents are not always able to find work, and those who are employed as subsistance farmers in Justine’s community only make $16.00 per month. Will you step into this precious boy’s life and walk the Gospel mile on his behalf?

 

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15).

Three words of love

“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing (1 Cor 13:3).

 

If you were to describe love in three words, what would those three words be? If I could give you three words to describe love, they would be:

 

Sacrifice

 

Love sacrificed his own life for you—for me—for Love. What would you sacrifice to share with Love about the king who sacrificed his throne and life for her?

 

Beautiful

 

If you are like me, you can think of at least one person who has demonstrated and exemplified beautiful love in your life. Who is your example of beautiful love? Would you honor that person and pass on their gift to tell Love that she is a beautiful gift from God?

 

Patient

 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient”. The Lord patiently waits with arms and heart wide open to receive each of us as his children. No matter what we do or how many times we make a mess of our lives, he is always there waiting. Love has been patiently waiting for 203 days, with arms and heart wide open, to receive the news that someone has chosen to end her wait for a sponsor. Will you be the one to choose Love and end her patient wait?

 

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:6-7, 13).

 

For the love of Literacy

“The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

 

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read and write. My literacy education began at a young age, and the benefits I have since experienced are numerous. I feel blessed to have the ability to read and write. There are 781 million illiterate adults worldwide, and 64 percent of them are women.

 

My love for reading and writing increased throughout my teens and early twenties. I exceled in any English classes, and could often be found writing songs and poetry or engrossed in a good book. Sadly, an estimated 130 million of the world’s 15- to 24- year-olds cannot read or write. Read more facts about education here.

 

Today is being recognized as International Literacy Day, a day set aside to raise awareness about the importance of literacy for education and job readiness. If you have reached this website and read these words thus far, I will assume you are indeed literate. Furthermore, if you have successfully completed your primary, secondary, or higher education, you understand the joy and importance of literacy.

 

For families living in poverty, education may be of lower importance or difficult to access. Instead of attending school, some children and teens work to help support their family. Children and youth registered in Compassion International’s program have access to educational opportunities. Such opportunities may include school uniforms, tuition and supplies, literacy workshops and support, and supplemental tutoring assistance. A recent study noted that Compassion-sponsored children are 13.3 percent more likely to finish primary school and 27-40 percent more likely to finish secondary school than their non-sponsored peers. At 38 percent, the most commonly noted benefit found through Compassion’s program was educational assistance.

 

The encouragement of a sponsor can be the boost a young person needs to reach his or her highest potential. Will you help a child or teen ensure access to literacy education? Such education would afford your sponsored child opportunities for higher education and a successful career to become economically self-sufficient. Through your prayers and words of encouragement, your sponsored child will know that someone is proud of their accomplishments and beside them in their struggles. Will you change a life for the love of literacy?

 

Jacimario

 

Jacimario lives in Brazil with his mother and four siblings. At age ten, he is struggling in kindergarten and could use your encouragement and support. The tutors at Jacimario’s Compassion child development center provide him with tutoring, but his community is in need of schools. This precious boy has been waiting 434 days for a sponsor. Will you be the one to watch Jacimario succeed?

 

Pawan

 

Pawan lives in East India in an area of higher child abuse and exploitation. He will turn six years old this coming Tuesday, September 10. What a birthday gift you could give this child by encouraging his love of reading, helping him as he struggles in preschool, and ending his 372-day wait for a sponsor! I am sure Pawan would thoroughly enjoy reading your letters!

 

Mariela

 

Mariela lives in a community in Nicaragua that is in need of schools. At age twelve, a time of vulnerability and transition in any young person’s life, this precious girl is struggling in primary school and would appreciate your prayers and words of love. Would you be willing to end her 282-day wait for a sponsor and help her Compassion child development center provide her with academic support, school uniforms and shoes? Beyond meeting these needs, you could be the one to encourage Mariela as she blossoms in to a beautiful woman and reaches her full God-given potential.

 

Alison

 

13-year-old Alison lives with his mother in the Dominican Republic. He is struggling in primary school, and you could come alongside his Compassion child development center as they provide Alison with courses in writing, spelling and literacy. If you or someone you know is a man who enjoys sports, and you believe this teenage boy needs a male role model as he enters into manhood, please prayerfully consider sponsoring Alison today.

 

Nadège

 

Nadège is 14 and lives with her foster parents and four other children in Burkina Faso. Nadège is visually impaired and receiving medical treatment. As someone who has always needed specialized educational services because of my visual impairment, I cannot imagine baring the added burden of living in a community with higher risk of child abuse and exploitation. Moreover, this community needs primary schools and although Nadège’s foster parents sometimes find work as subsistence farmers, they only earn an average of $10.00 per month. This young woman is in the midst of her tumultuous teen years, and your prayers and letters of love and encouragement may be what she needs to know she is not alone. Will you please let Nadège know someone cares and you are in her corner, even from the other side of the world?

Dear Me

Dear Me,

I have prayed all week about how I might write this letter to you. This is difficult to write. In fact, this is the third time I have tried. You may not understand why I want to talk with you and the things I will share, but I want you to remember these words in the future.

 

Forgive Dad for not being there. When you are eight years old, you will meet a daddy who will love you and never leave you, and his name is Jesus. Do not let your blindness stop you from reaching your dreams. Know those dreams will change over time, but they will become clearer through the years. Jesus says he has grate plans for you, so please believe and trust him. When you are twelve, you will feel called to music ministry. That picture may look blurry now, but the Lord will bring this calling in to greater focus when the time is right. Be patient, even though you and I both know this is easier said than done.

 

You will move more times than you or I would like, but you will make new friends along the way. Some friends will only appear for a season in your life, but others will remain even as I write this. Treasure family and the memories made with them. You are loved, even when deep inside you do not think so.

 

In school, you will be teased early on about your blindness. Pay no mind to the girls who say hurtful things, because they will apologize later. Remember that true beauty is found from within and you are the apple of your Daddy Jesus’ eye.

 

You will love any classes to do with writing and music, but you will not like history, science, or math. You will struggle in sixth and seventh grade to get the help you need, and mom will fight very hard for you. In eighth grade, you will move back to a familiar city to get the needed help with school, and even though you will miss your friends, you will be glad for the move.

As you go through high school, you may feel like no one understands the real you, and you will wear an invisible mask behind your beautiful smile. You will look for love and experience loss, but Jesus will never leave or forsake you. You will sing and write to heal and read to escape, and this is ok as long as you get up with your alarm each morning. You will move again in the fall of your sophomore year, and you will begin to realize what God called you both to do and not to do. As you near your high school graduation, you will make plans. Know that those plans will change, and do not be afraid of the changes.

 

You will marry the most wonderful man on Earth, and God will use your love for music and writing to fulfill his plans and dreams for your life. You will make mistakes along the way, but please do not hold on to regret.

Not long after you get married, you will begin to show children from around the world that they have a daddy who will love them and never leave them. You will write and encourage them to not hide behind their beautiful smiles, and to not let their circumstances stop them from reaching their dreams. You will remind them that God has grate plans for them, and to please believe and trust him. You will share your life with them and remind them that you were a child once too.

 

Dear Me,

I am proud of you, and Jesus loves you. Thanks for sharing his love with children just like you—just like me.

 

If you were to write a letter to your childhood self, what would you say? Although you cannot go back in time and actually talk to your childhood self, there are children who need to hear what you have to say. Will you share your life, advice, dreams, fears, and prayers with a child just like you—just like me?

 

Miranda

 

Not only does this precious 6-year-old from Indonesia share my first name, but she and I share a love for singing and both of our birthdays are in March! Will you pray Zephania 3:17 over this child and let the Lord use you to sing a song of love to her?

 

Sharitt

 

Beautiful 9-year-old Sharitt lives in Bolivia with her stepfather and mother, and she lives in an area with a higher risk of child abuse and exploitation. I imagine she is even more vonerable, because like me, she is visually impaired. Will you pray Psalm 119:105 over Sharitt and assure her that she does not need to be afraid?

 

Paskalina

 

This 18-year-old young woman lives in Tanzania with her mother and 5 siblings. Growing up without my Earthly father, I learned that Jesus is my Heavenly Father who loves me with an everlasting love.  The Scriptures say that God is the father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Will you share this good news with Paskalina and let her know she is never alone? Will you tell her how much her Daddy Jesus loves and wants to protect her?

 

Sandra

 

Sandra is eight years old and lives in Ghana with her mother. As of the writing of this post, this sweet girl has been waiting 402 days for someone to encourage her through prayers and letters of love. Will you be that someone who tells her she is special and her too long wait is over?

Two stories to be shared

Story one: Your Story

 

If you could write an autobiography of your life thus far, what would you title the chapters? Moreover, what story would the pages contain? Would you have a chapter entitled “childhood”, where you share about your growing up years? Would you have a chapter on “education”, where you share about graduating from high school and maybe even attending or graduating from college? Maybe you’d then write a chapter called “employment”, where you tell about landing your dream job. You may have a chapter called “marriage and family”, introducing your readers to your spouse and children. Your autobiography may even have a chapter called “Jesus”, where you share how you allowed Jesus to write the story of your life. While your story may or may not contain all of these chapters, it is as unique as its main character, and it has the power to inspire and change the stories of others as well.

 

Story Two: Their Story

 

If you could write a biography of a child living in poverty, what would you title the chapters? Moreover, what story would the pages contain? Would there be a chapter entitled “family” that shares of heartache caused by the loss of parents by death, the need to work far from home, or abandonment? Would there be a chapter on hunger that describes the child’s family’s desperate attempts to find food each day? Would there be a chapter called, “dreams”, detailing the dreams of this child and the lack of education available for him or her to reach their dreams?

 

One Story

 

What if these two above stories were intertwined and crafted in to one? Could you add a chapter called, “hope” to the story of this child living in poverty? Could you help this child to have access to education enabling them to reach their dreams? Could you help introduce this child to Jesus, so he can forever write the story of their life?

 

If you want to change your and their stories for eternity, here is your opportunity. Andy and I have had our stories changed by changing the stories of children in poverty. Will you join us? Will you share your story to change the story?