Photos and Letters from Deilin, and some sad news

The Manna 4 Lempira Mercedes summer updates were posted the evening before I left for Guatemala. I eagerly anticipated the photos of the final 2 of my Manna kids. I was very excited to see both of their photos. But then I received an email with some sad news. The email said that Deilin had left the program, and that I would be able to send a final letter to her. In the Manna group on Facebook, I saw that many other sponsors also lost children, most of which were teenage girls too. We found out more information, that these children were not meeting the school attendance requirements of the program, so they couldn’t be enrolled anymore. However, if at any point they do decide to attend school again, they can be reenrolled. I’ve absolutely loved my time sponsoring Deilin and getting to know her huge heart, so it’s very sad to have to say goodbye and end that relationship prematurely. I will continue to pray for her, of course, and hope that my final letter can offer some last words of encouragement to this girl who is beautiful on both the outside and the inside.

From December 2016

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From April 2017

From July 2017

 

First letter (addressed to previous sponsor): “Hello! How are you? I hope that you and all your family are well. Thanks for my gift that you sent me. I really like the things; the purse, the books, and the colored pencils. I like it all. Thank you for always remembering me. I tell you that my sister Asly’s sponsor came here to the church where we meet. The pastor is Israel Portillo. I ask God that He allows me to meet you. God bless you! I love you very much! TKM- Te quiero mucho- I love you very much.”

Second letter: “Dear Alisa, I am happy for all the things you sent me in the backpack. I am very happy to have a beautiful sponsor like you, Alisa. You gave me many things, and I like all the things. For that I will never forget you. I hope you do not forget me. I am a smart, respectable, and honorable girl. I really like to come to church. I really like to draw. I hope you are happy all your life.”

 

Third letter: “Dear Alisa, Know that I give thanks to God that I have you as a sponsor. I ask God to keep you and bless each day. I live in Honduras, in the department of Lempira. My age is very beautiful because I have learned and enjoyed getting to know God. I am grateful with God for having you cross my path, and to be able to know a person as special as you. Also I have two brothers. I wish them the best. I love them very much. I thank you for the trust and friendship that you offer. I have always wanted to have a friend like you. My friends are Estrella, Beylin, Belkis, Lixi, Sulmy, and especially you. I really like the school. My favorite class is Math. I love to work with numbers and natural science. I would like to give classes of 3-4 years. I thank God for the backpack which has been very useful, and for the notebooks and everything else. Thank you. May God bless you! TKM- Te quiero mucho- I love you very much.”

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Back home from Guatemala

I returned home from Guatemala 3 days ago, but a part of my heart still remains there. I, like everyone in our amazing group, fell in love with the beautiful land and people of Guatemala. Compassion Guatemala’s slogan is “Hope in a Multi-Colored Land”. Without a doubt, we felt that hope last week. We met some strong individuals going through incredibly tough situations, but with God, there is still hope there. And oh, in the children, there is so much hope and potential! I arrived home late on Saturday, after a long day of travel, and since I’ve been getting some rest and getting back into normal life. So I plan on posting about the trip over the span of about a week, giving each day its own post, which I will get started as soon as I can.

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More letters and photos from Junior!

Junior is my correspondent through Manna 4 Lempira, and the other child I have at the Mi Betania center, along with Heidy. When I sponsored Deylin, I was able to choose a boy who had been waiting as a correspondent, and Junior’s sweet smile and information drew me in. He’s another child with 10 siblings! And some of his older siblings have their own children living in the home too, so there are a lot of people in that family under one roof. Every time I’m lucky enough to see pictures of them, though, they always look so happy. And if Junior is any indication, they’re clearly doing a fantastic job. This is the happiest young boy I have ever seen, and his letters are truly long and heartfelt. Amazing for a boy who just turned 9!! I’m very blessed to get to call Junior part of my Manna family.

From December 2016

From December 2016

From April 2017

From July 2017

 

First letter (addressed to previous sponsor): “I hope that you are well alongside your dear and beloved family. I am Junior. I am 8 years old. I am in second grade. I like to read, to write, and to pay attention in classes. I really like soccer, marbles, and trompo. I also like cows. I go to church. I pray for you a lot. I have a wish. I want you to meet me so I can know you and spend time with you. Hopefully you arrive someday. We hope in God that you visit. That is my wish. Receive many greetings from my family; from me receive many kisses and hugs through the distance. I love you very much. Thank you for being my sponsor. Thank you for the letters that you wrote. God bless you very much! From Junior with much love”

Second letter (addressed to previous sponsor): “I greet you very affectionately, wishing that you are well alongside your family. After this short greeting, I tell you that I go to school and church. My father has a cornfield. It is very nice. Soon we will have ears. I ask that you pray for me and my family. That God guards and keeps us always. I feel very glad to write you again. My family wishes to meet you. I hope you come so my mother, father, and siblings meet you and your children who are beautiful. I hope that when you come to my house, I am going to show you to my teacher and my classmates. I will teach you all that I have in my house that is very nice. My favorite text is Psalm 136:26. May the Lord guard you and keep you wherever you and your family are. I love you very much! With love”

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Third letter (addressed to previous sponsor): “Hello my dear sponsor, I hope that you are well alongside your dear family and friends who surround you. It is a happy moment that I took pen and paper in one of my hands to write you this little letter to tell you that I’m thinking of you. I am very well with my parents and siblings. I am serving God. I go to the church of Betania on Sundays and Wednesdays. It is a great blessing for my life. I tell you that I go out to the fields to cut coffee so I can buy seeds for Christmas. We are going to eat many things like roasted pork, tamales, cakes, and bread with many friends. Receive many hugs through the distance. I love you very much. God bless you!”

Fourth letter (addressed to me): “Hello my dear sponsor! How are you? How is your dear family? I tell you that I feel happy to write you this letter and to know that you felt happy to read my letter. We are in Honduras. I live with my parents. My father works hard every day because our family is big. We are 10 siblings, but my 3 sisters are already married. Seven brothers stay in the house and one niece and one nephew that my parents are raising. I am the last of the family. They love very much. I smile a lot. I like to go to church. My Bible teachers are very friendly. They teach us a lot from the Word of God. They teach us to pray for each one of our sponsors. We sing. We play. We feel very happy, but most when I found out you are my new sponsor who I will love with all my heart. I tell you that I enjoyed my vocations cutting coffee in the field. I really like it. Thanks to God because He gives us health, strength, wisdom, and also you. Thank you for my backpack and the other things and the surprises. I will use it all when I return to classes on February 20. I will be in 4th grade. My favorite food is fried beans, eggs, and rice. I like to play marbles and cars. I like to ride bikes. My favorite verse is Ephesians 2:1: ‘He gave us life when we were dead in our sins and trespasses’. I hope to write you another letter soon. I hope you travel here so I can know you better. I will be praying for you and your family that God provides for you. I ask your prayers to move forward in my school. Until soon, my dear Alisa. I say goodbye with much love and affection for you. God bless you!”

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What a long letter, huh? I’m sure he has an awesome sibling who helps him. I would love so much to go visit him someday, like he talks about in his letters. Kim’s family, who runs Manna 4 Lempira, sponsor his nephew, so I’m sure he’s very eager for a sponsor to visit him, since he’s clearly very close to his nephew since they’re never far from each other in pictures.

Photos, Letters, and a Video from Heidy!

I have received several more letters from Heidy and lots more photos of her since my last update on her. Heidy is the first child I sponsored with Manna 4 Lempira, and I’m extremely fond of her. She has 9 siblings. Having only 1 sibling myself, that’s hard to imagine even here in America, let alone in Honduras living in poverty! She has a quiet, sweet spirit and a beautiful heart. And knowing that she likely doesn’t get a lot of individual attention, I love being able to shower her with love through my letters.

From October 2016

 

From December 2016

From April 2017

From July 2017

First letter: “Dear Alisa, Hello! How are you and your family? My family and I are well. I am very happy that you are my sponsor. I tell you that in the school, I enjoy spending time with my friends. I also like to spend time with my family. Also, I go to church every Sunday because I learn more of God and His word. Also, I tell you that February 2 of next year is my birthday. I hope to pass it well. It is a pleasure to see you and your family in the photo. Your cat, Emma, is very pretty. You and your family are very special for me. With much love, Heidy”

Second letter: “Dear Alisa, Thank you for what you have sent me. How are you and your family? I hope that you are very well. Thank you for all that you sent me; special things I can enjoy. Thanks to God that we can send these letters. Dear Alisa, I know what you sent me, but I send you letters with love for you, sponsor. Thank you for making the effort to send me what you sent me. Have a Merry Christmas with your family.”

Third letter: “Dear Sponsor, How are you? I hope you and your family are well. My family and I are well. Alisa, thank you very much for the backpack and everything. I tell you that we begin classes February 13. I am using the backpack that you sent me. Thank you for the doll of Barbie. I really love it. May God give you a life full of health every moment and every hour. Many, many thanks. Blessings and thank you!”

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I’m so glad she loved her barbie so much. I realize how much it probably means to her to have one of her own. Knowing how much she loved it and that she’s an Anna from Frozen fan, clearly an Anna barbie is in her future for her next backpack! 🙂

Then the best surprise came Monday morning, when videos of some of the sponsored children were posted on the Manna 4 Lempira page. I was excited to look, wondering if one of my children would be in one, but enjoying watching them all even if they weren’t. Then I saw Heidy. And I got to hear her voice for the first time. And the best part? I’ve seen the biggest smiles from her in this video than I’ve ever seen in the over 14 months I’ve been sponsoring her! It’s always a treat when I see a smile break through in her photos, because they’re not always there. I get it and I know she’s happy from her letters. And when there is one, it’s usually tiny. But in this video, these are big, toothy smiles! She is so adorable, and I couldn’t stop watching it again and again. It meant the world to me that my Heidy was featured. Especially on a morning that I was in a lot of pain and very tired, thanks to the rain and not getting any sleep the night before.

Here are the video and a couple screenshots. I love this girl so much!!

(click on the photos to see them larger)

Introducing Cristian, photos, and letters!

Cristian is the other child I sponsor at the El Tablon center with Manna 4 Lempira. He is the newest of my sponsored children with Manna. I found it hard to believe he didn’t have a sponsor yet, with his fantastic smile. I also knew that his older brother had a sponsor, and Cristian had been waiting quite awhile. When I added him to my family at the end of April, it made it so that I now have one boy and one girl at each of the 3 centers, which I love! Plus his child ID number is also my favorite number, which was another sign it was meant to be 🙂

Cristian is 11, his favorite subject is math, and his favorite color is red. His favorite activity is playing soccer, and he wants to be a mason like his father when he grows up. He has 2 siblings.

When Cristian was first registered

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From December 2016

From April 2017

From July 2017

I also got 2 letters from him, both written before he had a sponsor. It can’t be easy, especially as a kid, writing when you haven’t been chosen yet. But he is so thankful and a very talented artist! I can’t wait to get the next letter from him, which will be the first since I sponsored him!

First letter: “Hello. How are you? I am Cristian. It gives me much pleasure to know that I have a sponsor that is so kind with us children of Honduras. I have a very happy family. May God bless you. I know that you will be very happy and receive blessings from God. From Cristian for you with love and caring.”

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Second letter: “Hello sponsors of the United States. I thank you very much for the help that you give us. Many thanks. I hope you continue helping us. We always put it in God’s hands. Thanks. Thanks a lot.”

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More Photos of Maria from Manna and letters too!

I haven’t provided updated photos and letters from my Manna 4 Lempira kids in awhile. They are long overdue. I sponsored Maria back in October, not long after the El Tablon project opened. Her smile full of light drew me in, and the confirmation of God’s calling I got after made my love for her that much greater. I’ve since received two letters from her and several photo updates. In fact, the Manna team just got back from Honduras, so I was just treated to her most recent photos in the past week. And I can’t stop looking at them and smiling.

When I began sponsoring Maria

From December 2016

From April 2017

From July 2017

She just has that twinkle in her eyes and a light that glows from inside that I hope she never loses. I love this girl.

The first letter was a general introduction letter: “I am grateful for the backpack. May God bless you for all your life for the supplies. May God keep you well. Many thanks for the supplies that help me continue going forward. I wish you much luck.”

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Second letter: “Alisa, With love, I hope you are well. All is going well in school because you give me support. May God bless you. I hope you are well. With love for the supplies that you gave me. Know that I love you very much. Until soon. I will see you. I like to play ball and to play chase. Hope you are well. Thank you. I am in sixth grade. May God bless you.”

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Almost time for Guatemala

In just 3 days, I will be stepping foot in Guatemala. A place that has been on my mind and in prayers so much lately, especially near the end. I’ve even had dreams about it most nights, although in reality, I can only eagerly imagine what my actual experience will be.

At times, most times, I feel no nerves at all. I just feel in my heart a sense that this feels so right, so natural. Now that it’s been closer, though, I have moments of nervousness. But I’m sure that’s normal. Nervousness about traveling. Nervousness about taking this journey with complete strangers. Nervousness about meeting my sponsored child and the unspoken pressure of that day. Nervousness that my family and friends won’t react with the same enthusiasm or passion that I’ll have to the stories of the Guatemalan people when I return. But God put this trip in my path. He also put Evelin in my path. And the people that I’ll be traveling with are no coincidence either. And He did all of this for very important reasons. Lives will be touched. I’m sure mine will, along with, I believe, at least some of the people I meet in Guatemala. And if my journey also convinces one other person to change a life by sponsoring a child, you bet I’ll be thanking God for that being a part of his reasons, too.

My bags are packed. Gifts are lovingly placed inside, picked out carefully, for Evelin and her family. Things for the centers we’ll visit that now still sit in packages inside of a suitcase will soon be in the hands of smiling, laughing, wonderful Guatemalan children. And I’m so blessed that I’ve been lead to this moment.

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