Monday, December 31, 2012

#oneword365 - awareness

Two weeks ago, I read on Compassion's blog about the challenge of having a single word to focus on during the coming year. I had read about this challenge throughout 2012 and thought I might give it a shot in 2013. So I started pondering what my word might be. I thought about the goals I had been mentally setting for myself, mostly involving organizing my life a little more. I pondered and prayed about it and was finally given the word "awareness." This word seems very appropriate. I want to be more aware of myself, of how I'm feeling and how my feelings, thoughts, and actions affect each other. I also want to be more aware of those around me, so that I can be a more caring person and hopefully not as hurtful as I have been in the past. I would also like to be more organized, as I said before, and not be so forgetful. And of course, I'd also like to be more aware of God's working in my life, of the ways I'm growing in my relationship with Him. I know that all of this will be quite a challenge, but I'm willing to trust in God's help to make me a more aware person. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Friday, December 21, 2012


I want to see if this posts. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Saturday, December 15, 2012

updates to my Compassion family

Hello all!

It has been months since I last wrote in here, but it wasn't for lack of desire. My computer has been a real pain as far as accessing Blogspot, but today I found Blogbooster, an app I can use to write blog posts on my phone. Still no pictures, but c'est la vie.

Now, there have been updates to my Compassion family since September. Early in October, Angel was pulled from the program in order to work and help support his family. I had actually been expecting that this might happen, since he had mentioned occasionally having to miss time at the project in order to work.

As it happened, when Angel left, I had my eye on an 8-year-old little boy from the Philippines named Querubin. I was drawn to him because he's below average in school, and again, I like his name (it means Cherub in Spanish). I sponsored him in very short order, and I've already received a first letter from him. Since he's young and having trouble in school, his older half-sister wrote it for him, the first time I've had letters from a child's sibling. Considering he had been waiting more than 6 months, it could be that the first letter was prepared in advance.

In other very cool Compassion news, I received 2 letters at the end of September from Solange in Rwanda, both written in August. I was especially excited to hear that she was able to buy goats with some gift money.

I'm thinking that soon I may have another child to tell you about. In the past week, Compassion has announced that they have 300 children that need correspondents, and I offered to take one on if possible. There was some confusion on my part as to what to say in the e-mail, but hopefully something will come through.

In my next few posts, I will finally be posting about our trip to Bolivia. I will say right now that it was a fantastic trip, so full of blessings and love, and one week was entirely too short. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Sunday, September 9, 2012

a new little cutie I'm watching

Yesterday I was glancing at the Compassion International site and found 3-year-old ruddy. from the Dominican Republic I don't usually get drawn to the little ones, but something about this little guy grabbed my heart. I know I can't sponsor him right now, but maybe you can? I'd love to know about it if you do.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Roxana 0 sponsored, and talking to kids about sponsorship

Good morning all. I hope you all had a nice Labor Day weekend. I'm happy to tell you all that Roxana from Guatemala, who I featured here last week, was sponsored! Now, I'll possibly find a new child to pray for, but perhaps it won't be one that grabs your heart as much. If so, you can look at many more children on Compassion's page of children waiting for sponsors. If you have children and are thinking of sponsoring, you can look through the available children with them and try to find one with the exact same birthday as your child. Then, whether you sponsor this child or not, you can talk to them about praying for this child. Each child's page lists the living conditions, family situation, diet, and common health problems, all possible things for you and your own children to pray for. Speaking of young children and sponsoring, I'll tell you a story about something that happened this weekend. After church, my friend Carrie asked me about when my trip to Bolivia is. Once we started talking about it, Carrie's 4-year-old son asked where I was going. Then her 8-year-old daughter asked if she could visit a child that their family sponsors in Uganda. When Carrie explained that her daughter would need a lot of shots, that conversation was pretty much over, but I hope that that desire to visit their sponsored child doesn't go away entirely. Since this girl is still only 8, I know that there will be plenty of time for her to think about these things and maybe consider going when she's older.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

three girls waiting for a sponsor

Since part of Compassion September is a goal of getting 3108 children sponsored, here are three young ladies I've been checking on from the Compassion International website. I just thought now about possibly looking at kids from the Compassion sites of other countries, but we'll start with these three little girls. ,roxana is 11 years old and lives in Guatemala. She lives with her father and her mother and 4 siblings. Her father is employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home. Roxana helps at home running errands. She enjoys singing and running and participates in choir. Her performance in primary school is average. Where Roxana lives, typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, wood walls, and tin roofs. The regional diet consists of maize and beans, and a common health problem is respiratory illnesses. Some adults work as day laborers and earn the equivalent of $75 per month. Mayde is 9 years old and lives in Bolivia. I found her by searching for kids from the projects my kids are from. Mayde goes to the same project as my Jimena...I wonder if they know each other. She lives with her father and mother and two siblings. She also runs errands for her family. Her father is sometimes employed and her mother maintains the home. Mayde enjoys playing with dolls for fun. She attends church activities, and her performance in primary school is average. Typical houses where Mayde lives are constructed of cement floors, mud walls, and tin roofs. the diet consists of chicken, beef, rice, potatoes, eggs, and noodles. Common health problems are diarrhea, colds, coughs, malnutrition, and infant mortality. :( The average income is equivalent to $67 per month. Isabel is 8 years old and also lives in Bolivia. She lives with her sister and possibly 4 other siblings. Her sister is sometimes employed as a laborer. Isabel helps in the kitchen and runs errands at home. She likes to play with dolls and playing ball games for fun. Her performance in primary school is average and she attends church activities. Typical houses in Isabel's area are constructed of dirt floors, tin walls, and wood roofs. The diet consists of maize, chicken, bread, beef, potatoes, and rice. Health problems include diarrhea, tuberculosis, coughs, colds, and stomach infections. Employed adults in the area earn the equivalent of $91 per month. If you feel led to sponsor any of these girls, I'd love to know about it. Feel free to leave me a comment. You'll see on the Bolivian girls' pages that it says that they live in an area with higher risk for exploitation and abuse. This tends to mean there is more risk of gangs or drug violence, but I don't know all the details. A number of countries have recently received this designation, but it's somewhat unclear which areas are truly higher-risk since all children in affected countries have the designation.

Monday, August 27, 2012

since I am officially a Compassion blogger

I feel I should introduce my Compassion kids. But let me back up a bit. I just read on Twitter about Compassion September and thought I would really like to help out. I love Compassion International and the work that they do "releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name," so thought I would use this blog, which has been lying dormant for too long, to get the word out. As a first post, I feel I would be amiss if I didn't introduce my own sponsored and correspondence children. I apologize beforehand for the lack of pictures, but I don't know how to upload them. before I tell you about my kids, I have some explaining to do. About 6 years ago, I heard about Compassion at a Ginny Owens concert that my mom and I went to. That night, I went to Compassion's website and chose a little 4-year-old girl named Priscila from Peru. I sponsored her for about 3 years, and probably sent her as many letters. Then I got notice that her situation had improved, and so I was assigned another Peruvian girl, Mirella. Another couple years with few letters from me, and then for some reason I can't even remember now, I was no longer sponsoring Mirella but had been assigned Rowena, a girl from the Philippines. I had her for maybe a year, and then got notice that she had not been attending the project and was excluded from Compassion's services. Thinking back on that now, I might have had something to do with that, as children who don't receive letters can feel that their sponsors don't care about them and lose interest and leave the program. Jeza Mae: The girl assigned to me to replace Rowena was Jeza Mae, who was 12 years old when I agreed to sponsor her in 2010. It took me just short of another year to get my act together and really begin writing letters to her. at first, I didn't know what to write at all, but since I had just started a new job, I asked her about what she wanted to do when she grows up. When she responded with a letter saying that she wants to be a nurse, I was thrilled. Finally, I had the feeling that this was a real person writing to me. To be fair to her, I'm so glad she gave me the benefit of the doubt. Her first letter to me said how she hoped I could be her sponsor for a long time, and she always wrote (and still writes) informative letters to me about what she is doing in her project and at church. Wana: About the time I started writing to Jeza Mae regularly, I was led to sponsor other children too. I have since had to let the youngest (and next sponsored) of these, Shelsy from Nicaragua, go, but a friend of mine graciously offered to take over the sponsorship. The next child I was led to was Wana from Indonesia. I was drawn to her because of her special needs, though it appears she doesn't like to talk about them, which I can totally understand. Wana is a delightful girl who will be turning 12 next week. She also writes beautiful, loving letters with lots of information, which thrill me to no end, since at first I thought she was shy. For all I know she might be, but she has a beautiful heart and strong faith in Christ. I was so happy when I received her second letter in which she had drawn a picture that said "I love you, Jesus." I had been curious about her beliefs, since she lives in a primarily Muslim country and has a Muslim last name. I don't know exactly what she wants to do when she grows up,but somehow I can imagine her as a pastor. That would be really neat, but I'll wait to see if she says anything about the plan that all kids set up about their dreams for the future. Jimena: i sponsored Jimena at the end of June 2011. I was drawn to her mostly because I think her name is beautiful, but when I read about how her community needs drug and alcohol intervention programs, it clinched it for me. Jimena lives in Bolivia, and I will be getting to meet her in something like 10 weeks. I am really looking forward to this trip and am planning the goodies I'll take to her and her large family. Jimena is one of six children and seems from her letters to be a very happy girl. Lately her letters have been very informative, giving me the names of her siblings, friends, pastor and teachers. I am so happy to know about all of the good role models that Jimena has in her community, not only because of the info I'd read when sponsoring her, but also because Jimena wants to be a teacher herself. She's already started writing letters on her own, even though she's only seven. Denis: Denis was assigned to me as a correspondence child in November of 2011. Correspondence children are kids whose sponsors cannot write to them for whatever reason, and therefore they are assigned a person who will write them letters of encouragement. Denis is currently the youngest of my children, having just turned 5 in May. He lives in El Salvador with his young single mother . In his first letter to me around New Year's, he said he wants to be an engineer, but given that he's so young, that may change. I haven't gootten many letters from him yet, so don't really know much about his personality. Angel: I sponsored Angel from Mexico a few days before Christmas of 2011. Angel is my oldest sponsored child, turning 16 in March of this year. He seems very friendly, but again I haven't gotten a lot of letters from him yet. He works in his family's business as a photographer at weddings and other celebrations. This sounds very interesting to me, even if he has to miss some Saturdays at the project in order to support the family. Twice he has said that he is hard-working, and I can believe it given this detail. Solange: i requested to be a correspondent to an African child over the age of 8 sometime in February or March of 2012. In March I was assigned 13-year-old Solange from Rwanda. Unfortuately, I know almost nothing about her as I've received no letters from her yet. I called Compassion about the lack of letters, and they are currently checking on it for me. Boncoeur: In April I sponsored Boncoeur, a 9-year-old boy also from Rwanda. I don't know exactly why, but my heart was drawn to him from the moment I found him on the CI website and I sponsored him the first day I saw him. I've gotten two letters from him so far and he seems like a delightful little child. I have know idea why, but I think of 1him as my baby. He is not the youngest of my children, but there's something about him that just enchants me and makes my heart melt just thinking about him. I know that when I almost had to give him up due to finances, I just couldn't do it. I understood this as God's leading me to just trust Him to provide what I need to cover Boncoeur's sponsorship. I know that Boncoeur likes school and helping his family with chores.

Friday, July 13, 2012

#shereadstruth: Prayer -- day 2

Prayer Day 2 Passage: Luke 11:1-12 Verses that stand out: Luke 11:4: "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us." 11:8: "I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs." Thoughts: Verse 4 stuck out to me because I remember doing a study on prayer with the dean of the chapel at college. He gave us the question: "If you could change one part of the Lord's Prayer, which would it be?" I couldn't think of anything, but he mentioned that the "forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors" part was hard, mostly because it would mean that God forgive us exactly the way we forgive, which sometimes isn't at all. The wording of this verse (NIV) was also challenging for similar reasons. We say we forgive those who sin against us, but do we really? It almost seems a little presumptuous. Verse 8 stuck out because of its wording as well. If this sentence appeared in a transcript I was working on, it would be really hard to punctuate. I copied it as is, but I still think it needs some cleanup in order to make it understandable. Here's my attempt at picking it apart: The friend will get out of bed and go to the door because the man outside is not going to go away until he gets his bread. in a way, it's the same as the widow and the unjust judge: "I'm going to give this woman justice just so she'll stop bothering me." (My paraphrase)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

#shereadstruth: Prayer -- Day 1

Prayer Day 1 Passage: Matthew 6:5-13 Verse that stands out: Mattherw 6:6: "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Tehn your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Thoughts: This verse has stood out to me for a long time. Perhaps it is the reason I feel uncomfortable praying aloud and hearing other people say long, drawn-out prayers aloud. If I pray out loud, it is usually only a couple sentences, short and to-the-point. As verse 8 says: "your Father knows what you need before you ask him." However, when I get into a deep, contemplative prayer, I also become more lengthy, if only in my head. I find these prayers so satisfying, going point by point, elaborating my requests for particular individuals or situations. If I do this at bed time, the peace I feel can even lead me to drift off before I've finished my prayer. :) I suppose it's like a lengthy conversation with a good friend. Isn't that how prayer is supposed to be? :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Don't Let Me Lose My Wonder

Have you ever had one of those moments where something you've known for a long time just clicks? I just had a moment like that. I was just listening to some praise music, and the first song was in Portuguese. It began with a woman asking the audience if they could praise God for His help through all circumstances, big and little things. Her tone was almost ... well, I would have to say tearful. This seemed a little overwhelming to me at first: the tearful, pleading "act" has a tendency to annoy me. But then I thought about Brazil, and how, as in many other Latin American countries, there are manyu people living in poverty. I have been very impressed lately by the faith my Compassion children have, and it hits me again and again how much more the poor truly have to rely on God and his providence. I thought of my young lady from the Philippines, how every time I've sent her a gift, she says it is an answer to prayer. In this, I am not saying that I want her thanks: no. I am happy to be the instrument of God's love to this girl and the others that I sponsor. Anyway, back to the music. As I was thinking more about the attitude of the Brazilian woman in the recording, an image of a woman came to mind, a woman who had been a drug addict but was now saved and depending fully on God's sustenance and care. I know some people like this, but this woman in particular was a Brazilian sister. I don't know anything about who that woman on the recording was, but maybe that was her story. I can only guess at how much she has to depend on God from day to day, and how much appreciation she has for His love and care for her. No wonder she was crying and smiling all at once. Likewise, I've heard about so many wonderful things that God's Spirit is enabling people to do in and for developing countries. Faith in these countries looks so different compared to faith in the States. I write to my Compassion kids about God's love and care for them, but something tells me that what I write doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what they know of Him. Being so dependent on God for everything is just mind-blowingly amazing to contemplate. The next song I listened to was Mighty to Save, a version recorded by Jeremy Camp which I really liked. That got me really thinking about that phrase: mighty to save. It's something I really need to ponder more, but I was still thinking about the third world (not a term I particularly like, but...) and the things being done there through the Chruch. Then ther was a song by Leeland, a group I haven't listened to very much, called Via Dolorosa. I haven't done that much thinking about the crucifixion and its true implications for a long time, maybe even since the night nearly 12 years ago when I gave my life to Christ. Even then, I didn't fully understand it, and perhaps I never truly will this side of Heaven. However, these thoughts put me in the perfect mindset for the next song, Here I Am to Worship, a song that for years I've considered overplayed. However, this time, a phrase in the first line grabbed my attention: "Open my eyes, loet me see / the beauty that made this heart adore you." That just seemed really powerful to me at that moment, and I could almost palpably feel His arms around me, His longing to hold me and my longing for it too. When it came to the chorus, I was truly in a worshipful mindset, and was just in awe that the Creator of the universe wanted to love on me so much. It was a neat moment, and a challenging one too. What will my life look like after tonight? As I left to take care of the laundry, I was a little shaky, but happy at the same time. I thought of how I didn't want to lose this feeling, and the title of a Keith and Kristyn Getty song popped into my brain: Don't Let Me Lose My Wonder. For years, I have longed to never lose my faith in God. I did for a time in February 2011, and it was a very scary moment for me. Thankfully, it didn't last very long, and I think I have only gotten stronger since. I think I'll go listen to that Getty song now. :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

questions in my head

OK, I know it's been a little over three yearws since I last wrote, but I've been meaning to get back here and really need to write today. In just over 5 months, my dad and I will be traveling to Bolivia with Compassion International, a Christian child sponsorship organization that I've been sponsoring through for 6 years or so, but haven't really gotten truly involved until about 11 months ago, thanks to Our Compassion, a companion site where sponsors can get together to talk. Dad and I will be able to meet my 7-year-old sponsored child Jimena, a little girl who lives in poverty. To get ready for this trip, Dad and I have been riding our tandem bike a lot in order to get in shape for the altitude of the Bolivian mountains. However, I've also been doing some soul-searching/pondering about how this trip will affect us. Lately I've been reading the blogs from the Compassion Bloggers who traveled with Shaun Groves to Tanzania. Since I'm reading "backwards" (from newest to oldest), I've been reading their reactions to their trip first. It has made me start wondering what will happen on our trip: Will Dad be able to not make snide comments about the people we're going to meet? Will he feel anything? What will I get out of this? What will Jimena's reaction be to my blindness? How will this trip change me? Change us? I've especially worrying about my dad. He offered to go on this trip, I think because Mom doesn't want to go. I don't mean to sound like I'm ungrateful to my dad, but it's kind of scary to think of what will happen. I know I should just leave it in God's hands, because I know He has everything worked out even 5 months ahead of time. I just have to trust Him, lean on Him, and be assured that He will take care of it. I also worry about myself: Will I get anything out of this trip? Everyone always takes lots of pictures on these kind of trips, whether just for memory's sake or for devotional purposes. Will I be missing a huge part of this because I can't see? (side note: This is starting to sound extremely childish, my talking about my inadequacy. I'm sure I'll get something out of this...I'm just terrified.) Friends, I would ask for prayers for strength. I'm just feeling very uncertain and...undeserving, I guess. Thanks.