Thursday, December 20, 2012

ANABELL'S LETTER

I was very excited to read my latest letter from Anabell.  She wrote the most informative letter yet.  I just had to share it with you.

To my dear sponsor Stacey Stouffer.  Dear sponsor I greet you affectively and may God bless you next to shoe around you. I tell you that my family is very well and I'd like to tell you that we celebrate New Year with all our family.  We celebrate Mother's Day and it's a day for them.  I tell you that pigeons are pretty and I'd like to see them more often every day.  We also celebrate Easter at church and I accepted Jesus since I was 9 and I'll be 14 on October 11.  I'm well.  My dog Oso is black with white strips.  My favorite letters are the ones you send me and I keep them in a folder.  I tell you that we're learning about our inner self and our teacher is Paty and she's very good with us in my class we're 28 kids.  My favorite food are tacos and pizzas.  I've a twin sister and my mom is 44 years old.  My sister has my same age.  My mom's name is Feliciana and my sister's Ana Martha and I'm Anabel.  I thank you for your sponsorship and all the letters you send me and for the birthday gift, with which I bought a pant, underwear, and a pair of shoes, also socks and the amount I got for this was 491 lps.  May God bless you always and protect you wherever you are.  I ask your prayers to God for me and my family.  With affection.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

MY SON FROM TOGO



I just discovered this updated picture of my son in Togo, Emmanuel.  He is 9 years old.  Isn't he a handsome young man?  I am so proud of him, even though I have only sponsored him since April.
 
I call him my son because that's how I view him; he is my son.  Emmanuel lives with his grandparents.  He has a younger brother named Winner.  Don't you just love that name?

I look forward to many more years of sponsoring Emmanuel.  I am his first sponsor, and I pray I am the only one he will ever have.  The Lord has burdened me with him, and I know that He will use me to influence this boy's life for Him.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

MANY TROUBLES


Psalm 34:19
Many adversities come to the one who is righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Troubles are a part of life, whether you believe in Jesus or not.  For the Christian, though, we are promised many of them.  This makes you pause, doesn't it?  Jesus never promised a life free of trouble or pain.  He said, "in this world, you will have trouble."  Have you noticed that we usually don't experience one trouble at a time, but they heap on us rapidly?  And we wonder how much more we can take.
Even though many troubles come, we as Christians  have hope.  We know Who to turn to.  Our hearts and minds become fixed on Jesus, the only One who can rescue us.
Jesus promises to deliver us from the troubles that come.  Whether it's an unexpected bill being paid, or physical or emotional healing, or even in eternity, we will be delivered.  Jesus hears our cries, and He will act.  
As I reflect on my past, I can testify that Jesus has delivered me from a lot.  Past abuse, emotional problems, anxiety, partial loss of income, and so many more.  Through it all, I have found that Jesus never fails.  And, when the next trouble comes, I can boldly say, "Bring it one!"  Jesus and me, we can handle anything.
Is your life full of troubles today?  Are you losing sight of Jesus?  Cry out to Him.  Expect Him to deliver you.  He will fulfill His promise.  He will be with you.

Jesus, thank you for your faithfulness, for your love, for your joy.  Deliver me from these troubles that are heaped upon me.  Reveal Your power and your strength to me.  In Your name, Amen.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

MY PLANS HAVE CHANGED

I want to give my hidden child a family gift by Christmas, and Emmanuel a gift for my birthday in January.  These two are the next two in line.  I first gave to Eugene, then to Niphaporn, then to Anabell.  It is my hidden child's turn now.  Well, it was.

The Lord has changed my plans, as usual, I might add.  Today, in the mail, I received a letter from Compassion.  When I read it, my heart broke.  Worry for Nixon is clouding my vision right now.  This is going to be a long weekend, for I cannot call Compassion until Monday.

Here is the letter that I received;


Dear Stacey,
Because I know you care about Nixon Alce, I want to keep you informed about an urgent situation situation in Haiti.
Hurricane Sandy swept through the country and has destroyed or caused damage to many homes.  Families have also lost animals, gardens, and personal belongings have been damaged or lost.  From what we know, your other Compassion child living in Haiti has not been affected.
Please know that Compassion is addressing this situation and our staff members are doing their best to ensure the safety of all the children.  I know your child and his family will appreciate your prayers during this difficult time.  Please pray for God's peace and provision for all families affected.
For more detailed information on your child's situation or to give a gift to your child's family, please call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5:30 pm.  MT.  You may also give online by logging on to "My Account" at compassion.com.   Another way you can help is to write a special letter to Nixon (already done).  Your words of encouragement will give your child hope and strength.
As always, thank you for your heart for children in need.  May God bless you beyond measure for your faithfulness to His children.





Nixon is my correspondent from Haiti.  He will be 16 on December 1.

This young man looks really tough, doesn't he?  He reminds me of my cousin.  Tough exterior, soft interior.    


Those who know my cousin will agree that he has a sensitive heart. 

As Nixon writes to me, I am seeing his soft interior, one that loves other people and is extremely grateful to the Lord.  I cannot judge him by his appearance.  Just like I can't judge my cousin by his tough appearance.

Nixon, the young man who holds a special place in my heart, will now receive the next family gift.  Even though I do not know yet how he has been affected, I know he is crying out for help, and I am going to respond.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

DAILY GIFTS


DAILY GIFTS

Ephesians 5:20
giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving is quickly drawing near.  Families will gather around a table filled with food and celebrate God's goodness.  For others, it is a time of hardship and loneliness. Yet, there is always an opportunity for which to be grateful.
Recently, I kept a journal of my daily blessings.  The experience has kept me ever mindful of the Lord's gifts.
When I find myself complaining or I just have a bad day, the Spirit reminds me to look for the blessings.  Sometimes it's as easy as being able to finally go home.  Or it is as humbling as knowing others across the world are praying for my country.  When I take the time to look, I can find something for which I am grateful.
For this month of Thanksgiving, I am going to return to my grateful journal and write down one gift every day.  And I will thank the Lord for that gift.
Will you join me?  Will you commit to one month of thanking the Lord for your daily gift?

Jesus, thank You for saving me, for loving me, for never giving up on me.  Forgive me for complaining when things don't go my way.  Give me a grateful heart.  Open my eyes to see Your daily gifts.  In Your name, Amen.

Friday, November 9, 2012

HALF-FULL VERSUS HALF-EMPTY





This glass is half full.  Or is it half empty?  What would you say?

If you say half full, you're an optimist.  If you say half empty, you're a pessimist.

Yet, I wonder. . .

What is the story behind this glass of water?  I need more information before I say whether it's half full or half empty.

HALF FULL

Did someone fill it to half way?  For instance, when I get a drink of water, sometimes I don't want a full glass. But yet, I don't want a small drink either.  Half full is perfect.  So, I fill my glass half way with water.  So, if the person behind the glass wanted the glass half full, then I will say this glass is half full.


HALF EMPTY

Did someone drink from it?  Just today, I drank a glass of water.  And I left it half empty.  So, if the person drank from it, then I will say this glass is half empty.


So, now that you know my view, what would you call me?  An optimist?  A pessimist?  Or someone who is somewhere in between?



Sunday, October 21, 2012

A LIFELINE

I am advocating for sponsors to write more to their children.  Why are letters so important?  Our letters are a lifeline to these kids.  Poverty tells them they are worthless, they will never amount to anything, to give up.  When a child gives up, it is heartbreaking.  I have seen the faces of precious, beautiful children who have given up their dreams.

For example, in India, a girl as young as five can be married off to a man old enough to be her father or grandfather!  Girls are viewed as much lower than men.  It's even worse with the caste system.  Dalits are among the poorest.  The higher castes look down upon these people.  The teachers beat the children of Dalits.  The Dalits have no chance to get out of poverty.  And the children grow up believing they are nothing, that there is no way out.

In Thailand, children can be bought for sex.  Parents, who are poor with no way to provide for their family, often sell their daughters to a brothel.  Also as young as five.  These girls grow up (if they survive to their 18th birthday) believing they are only good for sex.  The hope slowly dies.

In many countries in Africa, drought and famine bring many families to their breaking point.  They cannot afford to send their children to school.  Instead, the children are sent to work.  Their hope is gone.  Even though the children work (many in mines and dangerous situations), their meager salary gets them nowhere.

Compassion brings the love of Jesus to these children.  They provide the families with a way out.  They do change the lives of the families, starting with the children.  But, Compassion can not do everything.

Over and over the children hear they are worthless and nothing will change.  Even though they go to the Compassion project where they are loved and accepted, the positive words do not always penetrate.  They may not even hear the words I love you.  Or for someone to praise them and encourage them.  This is where the letters come in.  Imagine how much encouragement and praise means to you.  A kind word, an email of thanks, etc.  Your heart swells, and your day seems more hopeful.  Imagine reading the words,

"You are so special to me."
"I love you so very much, just because God created you."
"Keep going.  I know you can do it."
"School is very hard, and I am so proud of you for doing your best."

For someone who has never heard these words, imagine the hope and the joy residing in that person.  This is what you do every time you write a letter to your child or children.  You provide a visible lifeline to him or her.  I sometimes read my children's letters over again.  I am sure my children read my letters over and over and over, until they have memorized every one.  Children treasure letters.  They deserve to know who they are in Christ.  And you are the one to tell them.  Don't leave it to Compassion.  You, as a sponsor, have become a part of the child's life.  He/she needs to hear how you really feel about them.  Children love to hear why they are special.  You are the only one who can tell them that.

Please, become their lifeline, and write a precious, loving letter to them.

If you need any letter writing ideas, please let me know.  I will be more than glad to help.  Some ages are harder to write to, while others seem so easy.



Sunday, October 14, 2012

I AM UNFAITHFUL


I AM UNFAITHFUL

James 4:4 and 5
Adulterers!  Don't you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?  So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy.  Or do you think it's without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously?

I am a spiritual adulteress.  Sometimes, I just can't help it.  I live in this world.  This is my home.  Why can't I do what the rest are doing?  This life is all I know.

Because God calls me His bride, I am spiritually His wife.  And so are any who love Him.  The church herself is the bride of Christ.  We are married to Him, upon our moment of faith.

What does a spouse desire?  To please the other.  We should long to please our Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Once we become saved, our home is no longer here on earth.  Our laws are not from here.  We belong in God's eternal home and kingdom. 

Why do I constantly forget my home is not on earth?  I catch myself longing for the things of this world instead of desiring the things of my future home.

This worldly longing is adultery in God's eyes.  He wants us to be committed to Him, just like those who are married should be committed to their spouse.  He is our Spouse.  May we remain committed to Him, and not seek a separation from Him, who has loved us enough to die for us.

How can you be more committed to the Lord Jesus?  Let's guard our hearts and minds.  Keep our eyes fixed on our first love.

Lord, I repent of my sin of adultery.  Forgive me, and help me to remain even more committed to You.  I love You, Lord.  In Your precious name, Amen.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

FROM ICE CREAM TO YOGURT





I admit, at one time, this would have tempted me to go out and buy  the hugest ice cream cone ever.  I loved ice cream.  Raspberry, chocolate, peanut butter, mint chocolate chip, etc.  I was addicted to this cold and
creamy dessert.

I have to be honest.  I am addicted to food.  No, I WAS addicted to food.  Junk food in particular.  Since I have made my weight struggles a prayer priority, I have found that certain, unhealthy foods have no appeal anymore.  Take ice cream for instance.  If I had a craving for it, I bought it and ate it until it was gone. Granted, I didn't eat a half gallon (or 1.75 pint nowadays or maybe it's down to 1.5 pint?) in one sitting, or one day.  I ate it every day.  Sometimes, two or three times a day.

I am now determined to gain control of my food addiction and use my cravings as a prayer prompt.  Since then, I have lost two sizes.  It's definitely not without its ups and downs.  Sometimes, I gain weight.  Other times, I continue to lose.  It is not weight loss that I am after.  It is simply knowing that I am pleasing the Lord with what I am eating.  Whether I lose weight or not is no longer my goal, though it is a blessing to find I am down a size.  I don't check my weight very often.  I simply go by how my pants fit.  If they're tight, then I'm gaining.  If they're loose, I'm losing.  I recently had to donate my favorite belts, for they were way too big.

Oh, I still fight with junk food.  And I still find myself munching away on tortilla chips or pretzels.  Yet, the cravings for these foods have almost disappeared, as long as I stay away from them.  In its place I am finding I am craving healthier options.  Instead of ice cream, I am craving yogurt with granola or fruit.  Instead of cookies, I am craving nuts.  Instead of tortilla chips, I am craving wheat crackers with cheese.  Instead of fries, I am craving apples or another fruit.

Just today, I woke up with a sore throat.  I went grocery shopping and stopped at a fast food place for a grilled chicken sandwich (I was hungry for chicken and fried just didn't have an appeal).  I was also craving something creamy and cold.  They didn't have yogurt.  I ordered an ice cream.  Even though it felt so good in my throat, it didn't feel so great on my tongue.  I could taste all the sugar, and it tasted disgusting.  Ice cream has lost its appeal.  Give me yogurt, please.


French Vanilla

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS

For this last assignment, I have to write a letter from a sponsored child's perspective.  Mickelene in Haiti is one I don't know that well.  Her letters are only a few times a year, and only a few sentences.  There's not much detail about her every day life.  So, I have pretended to be Mickelene.  The picture of the house is one that I'm pretending is like the one Micklene lives in.  One other thing, Mickelene is my correspondent, which means that someone else sponsors her, and I write to her.  If you are the special person that sponsors her, thank you!  I love my Haitian beauty.





Dear Stacey,

Hello.  I am very glad to be able to write you this letter.  I know I do not write often, nor do I write a lot.  It's hard to trust when your current sponsor decides to stop.  I wonder if I will ever trust you.  My experience  has been to keep sponsors at a distance.  By the time I trust them, they drop me.  And I have to start all over again with another one.

I receive every letter you write.  I admit, I do look forward to them every month.  Sometimes, I even receive two or three letters.  I love hearing about you, about your life, your work, your activities.

When I sat down to write, I realized that I have a lot to say.  I have a lot to tell you.  If I open up to you, will you still sponsor me?

I have no one to protect me.  No one to walk with me after dark.  I am 16 years old now.  My parents trust me to do the selling by myself.  Yet, it's so dangerous.  I find no joy in selling in the market.  I fear the dark.  I fear the terror that the dark brings.

Your prayers for my protection are treasured.  Someone else is praying for me.  My country is racked by dangers every day.  My own community is treacherous.  I fear being alone.  I see the men eyeing me.  I wonder if one of them will wait one day.  Wait for the night that he catches me alone.  It's not safe to be a girl in Haiti.

I relieve my mother after school.  One of my siblings brings me something to eat, if there is any.  I must sell everything before I am able to return home.  Sometimes, it's not until 2 or 3 in the morning.  Every day, I pray for protection.  Sometimes, I hear the girls' scrams as they are attacked.  I cannot help, for I will be attacked as well.  I race home during these hopeless nights.  And I weep for the girls.

School work?  It gets done when I have time.  Sometimes, it doesn't get done at all.  I want to finish school, but it's so hard.  I see no way out of poverty except through school.  So, I keep trying my best.

I fear of living in a home like my own parents, with  no way out.
Send picture of Decaying gingerbread house in Cap Haitien from Haiti as a free postcard

Yes, it's big, but when it rains, everything gets wet.  The roof is falling apart.  There are no doors or windows.  Everything smells of mildew and mold.  Rats and insects make their home in there as well.  If an earthquake hits, everything will fall.  We will be homeless.  I pray that this will not happen.  I still see the tents, and I fear that I will end up like them.

All around me are the hollow eyes of the hopeless, the stench of alcohol, and the screams of hungry children.

For just a brief moment, I am able to escape the hopelessness my poverty brings.  The Compassion project workers treat me like I'm human.  They love me there.  The church is clean and doesn't smell like alcohol or mildew.  We are fed here.  No one cries because they are hungry.  We are also given school uniforms and new clothes and shoes.  If it weren't for Compassion, school would not be an option for me right now.  The best part of the project is that we get to learn about Jesus.  We get to worship Him.  I am not rejected.  I am not looked down upon.  I am welcome at the project, and even at the church.  And, for only a few hours, I can be a normal teenager.  I can forget about my fears.  I can actually dream and hope.  I have hope.  Hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.

So, I want to thank you for continually bringing me words of hope and encouragement.  I pray for you every day.

I love you,

Mickelene




Even though this is a fictional letter from Mickelene, whom is sponsored, there is a 15 year old girl on the site who also buys and sells in the market.  Please consider sponsoring her.

Proceed to our secure online form


Guelritch Sainvil  



  • Age: 15
  • Birthday: January 20, 1997
  • Gender: Female
  • Location: Haiti
  • Center: Port-de-Paix Child Development Center
  • Child ID: HA3321484
Guelritch makes her home with her father and her mother. Buying or selling in the market, washing clothes and making beds are her household duties. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home. There are 3 children in the family.

As part of Compassion's ministry, Guelritch participates in church activities and camp. She is also in high school where her performance is average. Singing, jumping rope and listening to music are her favorite activities.

Your love and support will help Guelritch to receive the assistance she needs to develop her potential. Please pray for her.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A THOUGHT ON TURTLES




On my way home tonight, I happened to be filled with sympathy for roadkill.  The poor cats, squirrels, opossums, etc, that are just left on the side or the middle of the road with no one to grieve them.

I started to drive up a hill.  Before me was a large object.  It looked like some kind of dead animal.  I passed over it.  The thing moved, and I saw the head of a turtle.  I passed a bridge, and pulled over.  For those who know me, I do not run.  I make every excuse in the book not to run.  Well, I saw this poor turtle, and I had to run.  You see, my way home is on a busy road.  A very busy road.  I ran to the turtle.  I think I caused some attention, for cars started to go slower.  

I prayed that no one would run over the turtle (the picture is not the one I saw).  The poor thing can't move very fast.  You try carrying a top heavy shell on your back and see where how fast you can move!  As I got closer, I saw that someone had run over the turtle.  Blood was rushing out of a wound on its shell.  I rushed to the middle of the road.  Not a smart idea, I know, but it was either me or the turtle.  People can see me before they see the turtle.  I really gave no thought as to my own welfare.  

Usually, when I see a turtle, I will pick it up and carry it the side of the road that it's facing.  Not this one.  It jumped at me and swung its neck toward me.  I paused, debating how to save this poor, defenseless creature.  It was a snapping turtle, and it was huge!  It could do some major damage to my hands, should I attempt to pick it up.  

I must have been a sight, and probably people wanted to shoot me for what I did next.  I walked around the turtle's back and pushed it with my foot.  It's hard to kick a turtle, I must say.  I really didn't want to cause it any more pain, but I also didn't want the poor thing to keep getting run over.  It would slowly die if I left it there.  The turtle jumped forward and swung its neck toward me again.  When it moved, I saw a thick pool of blood on the road.  The reptile was in pain.  Yet, I  had to move it away from the busy road, where it would surely be in more pain should I leave it there.

I tried to encourage it.  "Come on, honey.   A little bit further."  It was only a few feet from the edge of the road, where it could continue its path safely.  I went around the turtle and tried to coax it by waving my foot (I wanted to protect my hand) in front of it.  Several cars slowed, but I didn't catch the looks.  I was too focused on coaxing the turtle to safe ground.  The turtle's aggressiveness would be my key to making sure it was safe.  Sure enough, with a little bit more of pushing with my foot, and a little bit more of waving my shoe covered foot in front of it, it slowly followed me to the edge of the road.  Then, it turned around, for it was after me.  I went around the turtle, and it followed me.

Relieved, I started to breathe right again.  "Okay, you're on your own, now," I told the turtle.  "I'll leave you in peace."

On my way back to the car, I prayed, "It's Your turn now, Lord.  Protect it and make it heal faster."

As I'm writing this, I am thinking. . . 

What if God uses the same method that I did?  Oh, sure, I was concerned about feeling pain myself in the attempt of rescuing the turtle.  But, what if it is our own pain, our own stubbornness that causes the Lord to push and prompt and be willing to get snapped at, if it means that we get safely across the road?  He sees our pain.  He sees the blood spilling out of our hearts and our outside protective layers.  To leave us there, in the  middle of the busy road means a certain, agonizing, slow death for us.  God is compassionate.  He sees us and has compassion on us.  In the midst of our pain, is He behind us, pushing us, even though He sees the pile of blood left behind as we slowly move forward?  Our natural reaction is to turn and snap at the one behind us, who is causing us pain.  And so, we snap at Him.  How dare He make the pain worse?  God, in His infinite wisdom, sees the safety of the edge of the road only a few feet from us.  He knows we can make it.  He might have to inflict a little pain, but He knows we will be safe if He can get us to move forward.  

Or maybe, He's in front of us, waving His arms or (in my case) feet, saying, "Come on, just a little bit more, honey!  You can do it!  Follow Me!  I will lead you to safety.  Where you're at now is not safe."  And, turning, He sees the cars (put in any kind of dangers here) heading straight for us.  Without thought to His own safety, He coaxs us forward.  He stands between the danger and us.  Not seeing the dangers behind Him, we focus on Him and snap at  Him.  In the process, we jump forward.  But not enough.

God has to repeat this process, taking more risks as the cars keep coming.  He knows we are only inches from safety.  Unwillingly, we snap at Him and follow Him.  Finally, we are at the edge of the road.  He breathes a sigh of relief and says, "You are safe now.  I will be with you for always.  I'll never leave your side.  Trust Me."

Yes, I left that turtle.  But, thank God, He will never leave me!  

  




PINTREST






I admit; I don't get pintrest.  However, with this latest assignment from Compassion, I'm finding myself more on the site and repinning as much as I can.  You see, one of the prizes for this week is a $100 gift for our sponsored child.  That much money can go so far in a world of poverty.  

I know not to expect to win any prizes.  There are others with more followers than me.  Hey, I just started blogging, so what are the chances that I will win one of the prizes?  

Even though I would like a gift for Giuan Carlos (pictured with me), I also won't refuse to help others in their quest for the same.  

I am not competitive whatsoever.  I would much rather help someone than beat them at a game or a contest.

I chose Guian Carlos because he's my newest one.  I think it would be hard to hold five pictures, don't you think?   And, if I do happen to win, how would I choose which one to receive the gift?

So, if you pintrest, I would appreciate it if you repinned my picture.  My user name is compassiongirl.  Surprised?  

If you would like to sponsor a child, please visit Compassion's website.  Or consider sponsoring Rosa, whose packet I still have.  Here is her picture:


She is nine years old and lives in Mexico.  Isn't she adorable?  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

MY GOD MOMENT


I was at Uprise Festival this weekend.  For those not around PA, Uprise is a Christian music festival much like Creation.  Jeremy Camp, Sanctus Real, and Toby Mac were among the few that played.  Tony Noland was the speaker for both nights.  Uprise is held in Shippensburg, PA, for two days and nights.  More like one afternoon, one day, and two nights.  

Anyway, I was in the long building where you can meet the bands and buy stuff and donate to different charities.  I collect key chains.  I have since I was a teenager.  Most of them have since been lost or broken or given away.  I stopped at one that was selling Scripture keychains.  They are metal with rubber around them.  Very pretty.  I started digging and found three.  One was Jeremiah 29:11, one was Isaiah 41:10, and the other one was from Philippians.  It said, I thank my God for every remembrance of you.  Well, I thought of Anabell.  I have an opportunity thanks to Hannah to send some gifts to her and Jazmin.  For those who don't know, Anabell is my grateful child, for I sponsored her out of gratitude for all the Lord has done for me over the years.  And this verse in Philippians is one that I think of Anabell whenever I read it.  I only wanted two key chains, so I needed to put one back.  I thought, "I don't know if people in Honduras uses key chains."  I put it back.  After I paid for them and placed the rings on the keychains (you had to option of a necklace or a keychain), I discovered that I had really put the Jeremiah 29:11 back.  Well, I could've just turned around and asked to switch them.  Instead, I smiled and prayed, "Well, Lord, I guess You're trying to tell me to send this to Anabell."  It is now in the ziploc bag I am quickly filling up.

What has been your God moment?  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A BIRTHDAY GIFT




This is Rosa Maria Gonzalez Vicente.  She lives in Mexico.  Her birthday is September 18, 2003, so she has a birthday coming up next week.

Rosa lives with  her father and her mother.  She is responsible for running errands.  Her father is employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home.  There are 3 children in the family.

As part of Compassion's ministry, Rosa participates in church activities and Bible class.  She is also in primary school where her performance is average.  Singing, playing house, and playing with dolls are her favorite activities.

Because of your sponsorship, Rosa will have new opportunities to learn and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Thank you for your concern and prayers.

If you would like to sponsor Rosa, please email me at endtimesobsession77@yahoo.com.  Please put in the subject line Rosa.

I would love it if she was sponsored by her birthday. Could you imagine her face when she learns you sponsored  her on her birthday?  What better birthday present could there be for a child in poverty?

Please consider sponsoring her and giving her the best birthday gift.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

A SEED PLANTED

Jesus,

I'm supposed to be writing a prayer about sponsorship.  You know I love talking to You, and that this is just what I need.  We have many interesting conversations, if I just listen to Your responses.

Lord, You know I grew up poor.  In fact, I am still poor myself.  Nothing has changed, except it's me who is responsible.  Yet, everything has changed!

My memory isn't great.  You know the reasons.  When I think about sponsorship, Lord, I remember when my interest started.  I was only a little girl, but I knew enough about the world to want to make someone else's life better, to help someone else.

Jesus, it all started when my mom allowed me to read her magazine.  I think it was Reader's Digest.  I saw a brown and white ad on the side.  It said Sponsor a Child.  World Vision, I believe.  Mom answered my questions about sponsoring a child.  I learned that we would send money to help a child get clothes, food, and medicine.  You know how my young heart yearned to help a child, even though I was a child myself.  I begged Mom to sponsor a child.  She said no, that she couldn't afford t.  At that moment, I determined in my heart to sponsor a child.

You planted that seed in my child heart.  You gave me a passion for children in poverty.  As I grew up, You never let me forget my desire to sponsor a child.  You knew exactly who I would sponsor.  You also knew how You would use me to change the lives of children everywhere.

When I agreed to sponsor Eugene, never did I imagine all You had in mind.  Nor did I fathom Your will when I sponsored Lupita.

Lord, these children became my own.  You have decreased and increased the number many times, but still, You have called me to sponsor.

You have used me in ways I never comprehended.  I have encouraged them, prayed for them, and shown them love.  All because You planted that tiny seed when I was a child.

At first, I only saw that I would help a child by sending him money every month.  You knew better.  The letters exchanged have become my joy, sometimes my lifeline.  You revealed to me that each child is a person, created and loved by You.  Each letter I read has given me a glimpse into each precious personality.

Lord, You have used them to reach me as well.  They have made me laugh, made me cry, encouraged me, and even convicted me.

I don't know what the future holds.  Whether this seed has grown and blossomed, or still has some growing to do.

Jesus, I continue to ask You; use me.  Use my kids.  Mold us, and help us to change the world.  All for You.

Thank You, Lord, for each of these children, that You have given me.  Past, present, and my future children.

Thank You for this ever increasing family.  Each of these kids holds a special place in my heart.

I love You so much, Jesus.  

In Your precious name, Amen.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

BLESSED ASSURANCE

I write devotionals and I email them to friends and family.  I also post it on Our Compassion.  For those who enjoy reading devotionals but are not on OC, I will post them on here as well.  

When I was asked to write devotionals for my church's website, I had no idea of how the Lord was going to use it.  I remember confiding in my small group that I hoped it would expand into something bigger.  I desire to glorify the Lord through these devotionals; in fact, in all my writing.   This is just the next step in God's bigger plans for the gift He has given me.  I am completely humbled with every one that I share.  God is using me to help encourage others in their own walk with Jesus.  Hardly is there one left without someone saying, "This is just what I needed!"  I can only pray that the Lord uses my gift to expand His kingdom. 

The Lord is also using my readers to reassure me that I am using my gift for Him.  And He is using these same readers to affirm my ministry.  I no longer have any doubts that this is what He has called me to.  And it is my joy and honor to share my writing with you.

Before I post my newest devotional here, I want to share with you my story.
As many of you know from my earlier post about letter writing, I express myself more through writing.  When I write, the words just flow out.  The words I wanted to use are right before my eyes and haven't been trapped somewhere in my brain.  When I write my devotionals, this is my way of thinking, of releasing my innermost thoughts.  It's kind of like a journal.  

I invite you to come along for my journey of faith.  

Please, let me know if it has helped you.


Blessed Assurance


John 14:2 and 3
In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.

Oh, how my heart yearns to live with Jesus for all eternity!  Just imagine.  All our pain will be gone.  Sins will be erased and remembered no more.  We can talk and laugh with Jesus.  Just like with any family member, I'm sure there will be lots of teasing and fun.  All of our questions will be answered.  Our joy will be complete.

When I first accepted Jesus, I doubted my salvation  Surely it wasn't that easy.  I had to earn salvation, didn't I?  My doubt grew to assurance very quickly.  The more I knew fellow Christians, the more I knew I had a place in Heaven.  Such blessed freedom.  I didn't have to earn salvation.  Jesus offers it freely.  It was He who paid the price to earn our salvation for us.  don't you just want to meet Him in person and thank Him face to face?  I know I do.  I don't think there will be enough time in eternity to express our gratitude.
The thing I find amazing is. . . There's enough room for everyone!  From the least to the greatest, Heaven won't be too small or too big.  There will plenty of room.  We won't feel crowded.  We won't feel overlooked.  We will each have a place.  We are each welcomed.

Do you have this assurance?  If you do, spend a few minutes talking to Jesus about your future home.  Plan it together with Him.

If you don't, I invite you to pray and ask Jesus to give you this assurance.  Friend, your eternal life is promised.

Jesus, thank You for preparing a home for me.  I look forward to spending eternity with You.  Prepare our souls for our future home.  In Your name, Amen.

MY LATEST PRAYER CHILD


I still feel so burdened for Jimmy, but I know I am not to be his sponsor.  I feel somewhat responsible for him, though, for he was the first choice.  He needs a loving, supportive sponsor.  Most likely, he will only have two and a half years left (I found this out when Guian Carlos appeared on my account).  He needs someone to write him letters and to help him become the man the Lord has created him to be.  Be an encouragement to him.  Spoil him with letters and show him to Jesus.  Invest in his eternal life.

Please, someone sponsor him!  I don't know if the link will work, so I have posted his picture and information.  If you do sponsor him, please let me know.  I hate the thought of him completing his last two years without a sponsor.  You may be the one to help him to finish the program.

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Jimmy Walter CastaƱeda Bernal  
Proceed to our secure online form
  • Age: 15
  • Birthday: October 29, 1996
  • Gender: Male
  • Location: Peru
  • Center: Jesus Bread of Life Student Center
  • Child ID: PE3400173
Jimmy lives with his father and his mother. His father is employed and his mother maintains the home. Jimmy works at home making beds, running errands and cleaning.

As part of Compassion's ministry, Jimmy participates in church activities and Bible class. He is also in high school where his performance is average. Bicycling, listening to music and playing group games are his favorite activities.

Please remember Jimmy in your prayers. Your love and support will help him to receive the assistance he needs to grow and develop.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Guian Carlos




This is Guian Carlos.  He is 15 years old.  He lives in Peru.  He is my newest sponsored child, and my last for a while.

I don't have a nickname for him yet.  But I feel like I should share him anyway.

For the past few months, I had been thinking about who to sponsor when my oldest kids leave or graduate; mainly Eugene, who I would still have for a couple years or more, and Metha from Indonesia, who was scheduled to graduate in 2014.  My goal was to sponsor one child from each of the four regions that Compassion works in.  Africa, Asia, Central America, and South America.  Niphaporn is in Thailand, Anabell is in Central America, Emmanuel is in Africa.  The last region was South America.  I wanted three boys and three girls.  When two of my six children leave, I will not sponsor anymore.  So I think.  I do a lot of thinking of my kids and where I'd like to sponsor should they leave, or when they graduate.
Through all my thinking and praying (for I do talk a lot to the Lord about my plans), I was getting more and more sure that my next child would be a boy.  Then, it gradually got to from Peru.  Then, over 12 years old.  Finally, a specific age.  15.   Okay, I'll sponsor a 15 year old boy from Peru.  When Metha or Eugene graduate.  I can't afford a seventh child right now.

When I get strong impressions like this, I have to boycott myself from Compassion's website.  I will get into trouble if I don't.  The Lord reminded me of a recent post from someone who mentioned that the Lord shows them which child to sponsor BEFORE they find out another child has graduated or left the program.  Hmm. . . Is someone going to leave or graduate?  If so, I was sure it would be Eugene, for Child Fund had said that they might graduate him early, since he is now 18.

Taking  a small step of faith, I perused the website, looking for older boys from Peru.  There were a lot of older boys on the website.  I clicked on the first one. This is when I found Jimmy.  I was so burdened with him. that he was all I could think about for a week.  I kept checking the website, praying for a sponsor for him.  I knew I couldn't afford to sponsor him, at least not yet.  Friday he disappeared.  I rejoiced that he had found a sponsor.  Monday Compassion called and said that Metha had graduated early.  I said no to the replacement child.  I needed to pray about sponsoring another one, or if I needed to wait.  On the way home, I was burdened once more for Jimmy.  "But, Lord," I said, "he's gone.  He's found a sponsor."  At home, all I could think of was Jimmy.  So, I prayed.  "Okay, Lord, You have burdened me with Jimmy.  I know You can do all things.  If he is back on the site, I will sponsor him."  After a few minutes, I said, "If he's not, then who will I sponsor?"  The Lord whispered, "Carlos."  I had to laugh, for I am a part of a Carlos prayer group on OC.  We are under the assumption that Carlos is a cute kid's name.  And, so far, our theory is being proven correct.  My correspondent, Carlos, I have dubbed, "The cutest little boy in El Salvador."  Shortly after the Lord whispered, Carlos, I felt an urgency in my spirit.  I needed to get on the website and find him, whoever this boy was.  So, I looked for a boy in Peru.  The only 15 year old boy I found was the picture you see above.  I was so in a hurry that I didn't even pause to read his name, just his age.  I clicked the sponsor me button, and he became mine.  Shortly after, I received a confirmation email that said, "Guian Carlos."  I had heard right.  Carlos.  The Lord knew Carlos was the one for me.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

MY SPECIAL BLESSING



This is Emmanuel from Togo.  He is eight years old, almost nine.  I posted my welcome journal on OurCompassion, and I actually saved it.  So, for those of you who are fellow OCer's, this may be familiar.


I wasn't planning on sponsoring another child.  Really, I wasn't.  I spend a lot of time praying about the next one I sponsor.  But I was planning on sponsoring another one when Eugene graduates.  I admit; I had requirements.  Well, we all know that the Lord changes our plans.  First, I wanted a young child, like three or four. Don't get me wrong; I love all my kids, no matter how old they are.  I really wanted to see the child grow up from the first picture until they leave or graduate.  Second, I wanted Africa or South America.  Third, I wanted to be the first sponsor this child has.  Selfish I know.  But I didn't want the child to be the norm and wonder after a couple years when the next sponsor would drop him.  My final one; I wanted a boy. 
When I see a child posted online or on the website, I usually offer a quick prayer and move on.  Well another advocate posted a journal on OurCompassion about this little boy who was waiting over a year for a sponsor.  When I clicked on the journal, I couldn't stop staring at him.  I didn't read the whole journal.  I didn't know how old he was or even what country he was from.  It was as if the Lord was saying, "He is yours."  When I read how long he was waiting, I cried.  That's way too long for a child to wait!  I tried, seriously I did, to move on, but I couldn't.  I knew I needed to pray.  I didn't want to sponsor him without the Lord's okay.  Every time I sponsor a child now, it is with lots of prayer and waiting.  I will not sponsor until I feel it is what the Lord wants me to do.  For I know that the Lord will provide for me.  He has called me to sponsor all these kids, and He will provide.  
That night, I knew the Lord wanted me to sponsor this precious little boy who has melted my heart so quickly.  I told Him my reservations.  I needed to save more money; I'm trying to move out; What about the summer when my hours go down to 36 hours;This makes no sense; etc, etc, etc.  Finally, I was able to fall asleep.  In the morning, this little boy filled my mind and grabbed a hold of my heart.  I immediately started praying.  I knew the Lord wanted me to sponsor him.  And I was expecting a tight paycheck with very little to save.  I told the Lord if I had enough left over, I would sponsor him.  "What if there is exactly $38?" He asked.  "Then I will sponsor him.  That Friday, I got paid.  I did my budget and was blown away.  I not only had enough money to sponsor him, I also had money to save and even some to spend.  Wow!  Is that Jesus or what?  So, I contacted this advocate and told her I would sponsor this precious little soul.  
I called Compassion and gave them all the information they needed.  Then, I asked about his history.  And the guy who I talked to made me feel so bad for Emmanuel and want to cry all over again.  My newest boy has been in the project since 2011.  He's been sent to event after event and posted online.  Last summer, someone picked up his packet at an event but never sent in the form.  It took a while before he was processed (made another packet) again.  I could tell the man was getting emotional as well when he said, "He's never had a sponsor. He must be thinking why is he getting overlooked?  Why doesn't anyone want me?"  Oh, my breaking heart!  I want to go this boy and give him a bear hug and say, "I want you, my dear!"  And then, he said, "Oh, he's going to be so happy to find out his wait is over."  I can well imagine the celebration in his family!  I said, "Oh, I can't wait to write!"  He asked if I was one who wrote often.  I assured him, "Yes, I do.  I love to write to my kids."  He said, "Go ahead and spoil him in that area."  Oh, yeah.  Permission granted!  And I am going to spoil him with love!  
This precious little boy has stolen my heart in a way that no other child has done.  They each have a piece of my heart, but this one is different.  This one made me cry, and I am still crying over his story.  And I could barely stand the wait of the weekend!  On Saturday, I even bought him something that I am sure he is going to love; a rainforest sticker playboard.  And Compassion  had no idea I was going to sponsor him.  
The project information said that 50% of the children do not go to school because they are either too young or lack economic resources.  I do believe he's in school, because he's in grade 3.  It lists his grandparents as his guardians, but it says his parents are sometimes employed.


Just look at his face; how could anyone say no to that?  I call him my special blessing for a reason.  He is my special son in the faith.  I have no children of my own, and this boy only has his grandparents to support him.  I prayed and asked the Lord about why I feel so strongly about him.  Why I love him deeper than any of my other children.  Why he was so special to me.  The Lord answered in His quiet voice; "You love him like a son."  Wow!  I hadn't expected that answer, for sure.  I do want children one day.  

From the Bible Study just last night, I was reminded of this.  God changes family.  He gives us a spiritual family as well as a natural one.  Emmanuel is my son.  I even wrote his second letter telling him that I loved him like a son.  I don't know if an eight year old boy will believe me, but it's true.  I love him like any mother loves her child.  We will always share a bond, just like a natural mother and child.   And I will pour out my love and blessing upon him in the only way I know how; through my monthly letters and my prayers.  He will know in every letter that I love him.  

Just like natural children are a blessing to their parents, so Emmanuel is my blessing.  My special blessing.

MY GIFT MULTIPLIED

My gift is writing.  I am able to express myself through written words.  Poetry, stories, journaling, I have done it all.  For about a year, maybe more, I have been writing devotionals.  At first, I wasn't sure if I would like it.  But it is getting to be a ministry.  I send them to a list of friends and family, and I have added a couple more people.  I also post them  on OurCompassion, an online community of fellow sponsors.  The Lord is using my gift of writing to encourage and help others, just as I have been praying for years.  My goal is not to get published, but to help others in their walk with Jesus.  At least one person will tell me that my devotional is just what they needed at that time.  I am constantly humbled and in awe of the Lord.  Never did I imagine that it would benefit so many people.

Not only do I write devotionals and stories and the occasional poem, but I also write faithfully to my children.  Okay, so I'm not as good at writing to Eugene.  The online writing tool that Compassion recently set up has really helped me to maintain my monthly letters.  Child Fund doesn't have an email option.  And, to be honest, it takes a lot of postage to mail a letter to the Philippines.

How important is letter writing to these kids?  Here are some of what they have said over the years:

"If you have time, I want you to write me often."
"I love to get your letter every month.  You write so nice.  I want to thank you for your beautiful letter.  I can listen to beautiful words through your letter."
"You are also my inspiration and my family.  That's why I enjoy going to school until I graduate in college and to make my dreams come true."  His aunt wrote, "We always thank you for all the encouraging words you always have to him that made him always strong.  You are more than a mother to him in your words of comfort (his father had recently died).  He also wrote, "I am very happy because through your letter it give me more inspiration to go to school and to do my homework."
"Thank you so much for always encouraging me."
"The letters you have sent me are really pretty and also the drawings."
"I have just received all your letters.  I learned a lot when reading the letters.  I like so much the photo."
"He says thank you for being his friend, and adds that a lot has changed in his and their family life because of you.  He says thank you for the letters."
"I'm always grateful to you for what you've been doing for me."  I am the correspondent, so the only things I do for her are writing to her and praying for her.
"I am extremely glad to write you today in order to hear from you and your activities."


Just my letters are in itself a ministry.  The Lord is using me to comfort those who lose a parents (there are three of my eleven children who have lost a parent), to encourage them to stay in school, to uplift them, and maybe even to bring them hope.  

When you sponsor a child, please write to them!  Letters are so important.  You may be the only one to help them finish school, to tell them you love them, to remind them they are special and unique.  You can help a child succeed in life.  

Please visit the Compassion website by going to http://www.compassion.com.  If you do choose to sponsor a child (whether a child, a teen, orphan, boy, girl, etc), please let me know, even if it's, "I sponsored a child!"  You can choose a child from a certain country, a certain age, a birthday, orphan, living in a vulnerable area, an older child.  The possibilities are endless because the need is so great.  And when you do choose a child, please write to them regularly.  It doesn't have to be as often as I do, and it doesn't have to be long.  If you need ideas as what to write, please let me know.  I will help in whatever way I can.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

MY GRATEFUL CHILD





This is Anabell.  She will be 14 next month.  She lives in Honduras.

Anabell is being raised by a single mother.  I know what it's like to be raised by a single mom.  My mom raised me and my sister by herself.

How did I choose her?  Someone asked me to take over her sponsorship.  At the time, I was only working part time, and I was forced to say no even though I so badly wanted to help.  I believe it was then that the Lord placed in me a bond between me and this child.

While I was looking for a full time job, I promised the Lord that I would sponsor another child, making it an even four.

Months later, I got offered a full time position.  What was the first thing I did?  I was looking to sponsor another child.  I admit, I completely forgot about this person's request.  I posted on OurCompassion about looking for a child.  Someone (I forget who) mentioned she had a girl in Africa named Abigail.  Something about the name clicked with me.  I asked her to email me a picture, and I would pray.  Shortly after I asked her to email me a picture, I remembered the request.  Hmm. . . Maybe the person still had her.  So I emailed her as well and asked if I could see her packet.  The woman agreed, and we decided to meet at church.  While I was waiting for Sunday, the other advocate emailed me the picture of Abigail.  I prayed about it, but I just didn't know.  I didn't have peace.  So, I emailed her and told her that I was still praying, but unsure.  I was going to consider another child.

Sunday arrived, and I met the woman.  She told me she didn't feel like she could be a good enough sponsor.  Not the exact words, but what I got out of it.  Apparently, the Lord used me to convict her that she should be writing more.  I tried to explain that I was in the minority.  Many sponsors choose not to write, even though this is so important to the child.  Even writing three times a year is more than most children receive in their time in the program.  The woman insisted I would be a better sponsor.  I believe she kept sponsoring this child until I was able to do so.  She was sure I was to be that sponsor.

I opened the packet and saw a beautiful young girl.  It wasn't the picture you see now.  I got this picture shortly after I received her packet.  "She's so pretty," I said.  I felt an instant connection with her.  Somehow, I knew this girl was the one for me.  Yet, I waited.  I needed to pray first.  While I waited for the service to begin, I studied this girl and her packet, as well as skimmed over the letters the woman had allowed me to borrow.  Excitement built up in me.  She was the one.  Still, I couldn't jump ahead of the Lord.

The service started, and I lost myself in worship.  Until the prayer.  As soon as I closed my eyes, I was in the presence of the Lord.  My spirit cried out, "Anabell!  Is she the one?  Can I sponsor her?"  I saw the Lord smile and nod.  My spirit rejoiced.

As soon as the service concluded (I couldn't wait for it to end), I rushed to the woman and said, "I'll do it!  I will sponsor Anabell for you."

I sponsor Anabell for two reasons.  One, because the Lord agreed.  Two, because I am so grateful to the Lord for all He has done for me.

The past few years haven't been easy.  My boss cut my hours dramatically, and I was forced to rely on others for my needs.  I had to give up three of my five sponsorships.  And I struggled with the painful past of my childhood.  I suffered from depression and loneliness.  My faith crumbled to the point where I was almost sure of walking away.  What was the point?  Two wonderful women intervened and confronted me.  I was hurt at first by their honesty but knew they cared about me enough to tell me the truth.  I admitted I needed help. Another woman stepped in and gave me information about inner healing.  It was through this ministry that I received healing from the Lord.  I am not the same.  I have changed.  I am a living testimony to the Lord's healing and miracles.  During this emotional turmoil, I saw firsthand the provision of the Lord.  He will never let me go without food, clothes, or a roof over my head.  He will supply even my emotional needs.  It took me a while to learn the hard life lessons, but He has been with me every step of the way.  My needs were covered, and I was starting to save little by little, even though I was still working part time.  Plus, I was receiving emotional healing from Him.

Anabell has a special reason for me, and this is the one I so long to meet.  I want to share personally with her the power and the love of Jesus Christ.  I want to share my testimony with her and assure her that the Lord is the only constant in her life.  It is for her that I am saving my nickels and dimes.  I want to tell her face to face everything the Lord has done for me, and I want to tell her in depth why I chose to sponsor her.