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.

javascript:void(0)


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.


Monday, September 3, 2012

MY COMMITTED CHILD



Sorry for the picture of a picture.  I don't own a scanner, so this will have to do.

This is Eugene from the Philippines.  He's the one who started this whole madness of sponsoring.  He is 18 years old today, so what better way to celebrate his birthday than to blog about him?

I have been sponsoring Eugene through Child Fund for eight years now, shortly before he turned ten.  I call him my committed child.  I am committed to him, not to the organization.  For about a year, I was debating whether or not to stop sponsoring him.  The Lord convicted me it would be him that I would be rejecting, not Child Fund.  And,  I couldn't do that to him.  I am more committed to him than ever, and my hope is to continue to sponsor him until he graduates from the program.

Since his second letter, I have been his Aunt Stacey, and he is my nephew Eugene.  Sometimes, I actually remember to start out as Dear Nephew Eugene.  But I always sign the letter as Aunt Stacey.

I can't believe that my once adorable little boy from the Philippines is now an adult.  He is in his third year of high school.  His goal is to graduate.  I pray he will.  He only has a couple more years left. I know he is able to finish.  It will be a huge honor and reward for him.  Not to mention, it will be for me, knowing that I have helped him complete something.

I look at this picture, and I still wonder where the little boy went.  I am so proud of him.  He is beaming self confidence, isn't he?

Eugene has had a tough few years.  A couple years ago, he dropped out of high school to help take care of his father.  His father had throat cancer and had surgery.  The surgery didn't help, and his father died in March of 2011.  This picture was taken sometime after his father's death, which is why he looks so sad.  I do have a couple pictures of him smiling and looking so happy.

Eugene credits his father as the one who led him to Christ the year before.  I am glad that his father was a good influence on him.  I am even more pleased that Eugene belongs to the Lord.  I look forward to meeting him in Heaven.

I'm not exactly sure what Eugene would like to do after high school.  At first, he wanted to be a pilot so he can go to many places.  Now, he admits that being a pilot is not in his ability.  I keep praying for guidance for him in his decisions.

I can't wait until October, when I will receive his updated photo and progress report.  I'm sure I will be even more shocked to find out he is a man and not a teen boy.

How did I sponsor him?  What was it about him that I chose him?  I didn't choose him.  I chose the region, Asia, and that was it.  I saw an ad about Christian Children's Fund (now Child Fund), and called them to sponsor a child from Asia.  They sent me Eugene.  I admit, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a girl.  After all, girls from the Philippines are simply beautiful.  The more I thought about it (it took only a day), the more I realized that this was the child the Lord wanted me to have.  How could I say no to him, simply because he was a boy?  So, I sent the response card back and sponsored Eugene.  And, I am so glad I did. Eugene has been such a blessing and encouragement to me over the years.  He truly is my nephew, and I hope to continue the relationship with him long after he graduates from Child Fund.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

MY PROMISE CHILD








This is Niphaporn.  Isn't she beautiful?  She lives in Thailand.  She is 11 years old.  I also call her my little beggar.  

Each of my children I have a nickname for.  Niphaporn is my promise child.  

The first girl that I sponsored through Compassion was Esther (Lupita she liked to be call) in Mexico.  Esther loved art, and every letter I received from her she included a picture on a separate piece of paper.  I sponsored Esther for four years, until right before she turned 9.  Compassion called me and told me that the project Esther attended was closing.  They had seen an financial increase in the community and were having a difficult time finding poor children and families to help.  So the church decided to take over the care of the few remaining poor.  Even though this is great news, I was still heartbroken.  I grieved Esther like my own daughter (I have no children by the way).  Even today, I still think about and pray for her.  

A few weeks before I lost Esther, I was on the Compassion website and discovered a blog about Thailand.  The blog opened up my eyes to the child prostitution problem in the country.  My heart was broken.  I wanted to help a girl in Thailand.  My thoughts remained on Thailand, even after I lost Esther.

Compassion offered me another girl in Mexico.  Without really thinking about it, I agreed.  I even seriously considered saying no.  Losing Esther just hurt too much.  Almost two weeks later, I received a last letter from Esther.  Her letter made me cry.  She asked me to help another child the way I helped her.  Her last request was not for continued prayer for her and her family, but it was for another child.  How could I say no to that?  That day, I called Compassion and asked them NOT to send me the girl in Mexico, but instead wanted a girl from Thailand.  I didn't specify age.  I knew that the girl they sent me would be the one that the Lord wanted me to have.

Two weeks later, I received her packet.  Niphaporn is only a few months older than Esther.  In fact, she was the same age as Esther when I lost her.  She also has the same interests as Esther did.  So, I couldn't resist this precious tomboy from Thailand.

A year later, my hours at work got cut dramatically.  I had to give up three of my five sponsorships.  I was devastated.  Giving up three children was the hardest thing I ever had to do.  My life was involved in these kids.  Yet, I gave each of them up to the Lord and begged for Him to send the new sponsors quickly.  Sponsors who would write, who would love them, who would commit to seeing them through.  I asked three people on Our Compassion, an online community of Compassion sponsors.  Two of them agreed to sponsor a girl.  I was able to continue my relationship with them.  I was blown away. I am still in awe of the Lord.  I gave them to Him, and He returned two of them to me.  I hadn't even expected that, but God is the God of surprises.  Niphaporn was one of them I  had to give up.  I promised the person that I would take over her sponsorship again once I was able to.

Over a year ago, I was able to take over her sponsorship.  I fulfilled my promise to the person as well as kept my silent promise to Esther.

The last year, Niphaporn's letters have started to ask me to come to Thailand to visit her.  I wrote that we should pray and see what happens.  Her last letter, as any normal child, sweetly explained that should I be able to be away from work, please come to Thailand and she will be my tour guide.  My little beggar!  

Niphaporn is very active.  She likes swimming and playing group games.  She also enjoys school and the development program.  She looks forward to being a teacher, so she can help her village.  I'm sure if I visit her (I'm not planning on it), I will have a hard time keeping up with her.  

Niphaporn lives with her stepfather and her older brother.  Her mother died in April, so she is very sad.  Because of the child prostitution and slave trade, I pray that her stepfather will keep her in the program and not sell her to a brothel.  Niphaporn recently wrote explaining that she received Christ.  Praise the Lord!

For my birthday earlier this year, I sent Niphaporn a family gift.  A few months ago, I received an extra picture of her with her brother.  It was the very best birthday gift I have ever received!  I was so excited to receive an extra picture from her.  It is now in a frame where everyone who walks by can see it.  Her family (her step father by that time) got her some clothes, some toothpaste, some food, some shampoo, and many other things.  For just the little bit that I sent!  I was amazed how far $100 went in Thailand.  It was this letter that told me that her mother died of cancer.  I was grieved, but I was happy.  

I am excited to continue to watch her grow up into a beautiful woman of God.