Introducing Elaina

Just when I think I’m done for the time being, I’m reminded again that it’s not my plan; it’s God’s. This little sweetheart is my newest sponsored child, and I couldn’t be more in love. Somehow, some way, I ended up coming across her picture. Her radiant smile immediately caught my attention. But when I read her bio, I knew without a doubt, I was supposed to be the sponsor for Elaina. Elaina lives with only her father, mom is out of the picture, and her father is unemployed. I see this sweet little smiling 6 year old, her picturing showing how taken care of and loved she is, despite her family’s difficulties. I can only imagine how hard it must be for him, and my heart is so full of wanting to reach out to both Elaina and her father, helping and encouraging them, and letting them know that they matter and they are loved. It also so happens that the Dominican Republic has been on my heart for a long time, and I knew I wanted to eventually sponsor a child there, so with that being where Elaina is from, it was another sign of the puzzle pieces all fitting. I wrote to all of my kiddos last night, including Elaina’s first letter, as Mondays are letter writing days for me. But when I logged on this morning before work, I was shocked to see that Elaina’s letter had already gone through the translation process and was available to view as a completed letter! Wow! I feel so blessed to begin my journey with this sweet girl, and I pray that I am able to bless her and her father in the way that God has planned.

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Photo Update!

Hearing everyone else’s good news about getting letters so fast makes me very happy for them and hopeful, but it is testing my patience a teeny tiny bit, because I haven’t had anything new come from Compassion in awhile, including photo updates, a new correspondent, and the letters I have sitting “in translation” that don’t seem to be going anywhere. I was a supporter of the new system from the beginning, and I’m not complaining in any way. I just keep telling myself that they’re all going to be SO worth the wait! 🙂

Cristofer’s letter to me has been in translation since May 2nd, and while I’ve been stalking the website anxious to be able to read it, I was very excited to see a photo update for him today! Cristofer is from Peru and 9 years old. I became his correspondent in February. Before that he had only received a couple letters, but now he’s already received lots from me! I’m so glad to see a smile back! And he is looking more grown up and less “little boy”. But he looks great!

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Monday Mail Call!

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I’m so excited to share my first letter from Heidy- I couldn’t wait to open it when I saw the mail from Manna 4 Lempira! This was written in March, before I sponsored her, as a first letter, of course, but it still gives me more insight into her and I get to know her a little better!

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Translation: Dear Sponsor, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, wishing you encounter good health alongside of all your family. I want to give you special thanks for the beautiful gift that you sent me. I received from you a backpack, a toothpaste, pencil sharpener, a ruler, gloves, and pencils. These will be very useful for me to go to school, and I am thankful to you with all my heart. I tell you that I go to church every Sunday and I am learning about God each day. I like to sing and to pray. My church is very pretty and many children come. It is by the side of the highway. There are many trees and the weather is very fresh and rainy. I am very thankful and I send you many greetings.

I love the drawing! I also love to hear all the great, practical things that Manna 4 Lempira is able to purchase for the kids with our sponsorship money. It makes me so happy that she is able to receive these things that in a family with 12 children, her parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford for her.

In other news, while I am still interviewing and searching for a new job, I did get offered something for over the summer for a district I interviewed at last week (I’m still waiting to hear back on the full-time job for that same place). In special education, we have something called Extended School Year, where students who would benefit greatly from further education and working on IEP goals in the summer, so they don’t have as great of a gap without school, can attend if recommended by the team. While I wasn’t planning on doing this anywhere over the summer, since I’m focusing on finding a job, but when the opportunity was presented, it felt like the right thing to do. One of the thoughts that hit me after deciding to accept was that I could use the extra, unexpected money, to go on a Compassion trip next summer. This makes me really excited! I will be doing a lot of praying and asking God to direct me in terms of what trip He wants me to go on. I’m limited to a summer trip due to being a teacher, but there are 4 trips right now upcoming in summer 2017, so it’s all in God’s hands!

Mail Call Monday

So last Monday I was so excited to find 2 exciting envelopes in the mailbox: one from World Vision and one from Compassion. Since I had already gotten the letters I first received online in the mail as well, I was hoping maybe it would be a new letter I hadn’t seen before. Unfortunately, it was yet another copy of Elvis’ letter that I already had. Compassion is aware of the issue and is working on it, as several other sponsors have had the same thing happen. I got my hopes up, but it’s okay, I thankfully had TWO letters from Maria in the other envelope to make up for it! I was just thinking that it had been longer than usual since I had heard from Maria. I’m very blessed to get many letters from her, because I write to her often as well. Since I started sponsoring her in November, I’ve received 8 letters now from her already, so it’s easy to say as of now I have the best relationship with her. My letter from Cristofer still says it’s in translation on Compassion’s site, and as of this morning, I also have a letter in translation from Angeles, finally! So I can’t wait to get to read both of those soon!

Maria, Age 6, Mexico

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Letter 1:

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Hello, Alisa! How have you been? I spent this week with my grandma because she is very sick. That makes me sad, and that is why my dad gave me three puppies. They still drink milk, but I do not have money to buy milk for them, and so I give them coffee. Well, I bid you farewell. We are going to take my grandma to the doctor, because she has high blood pressure and her sugar level is high because she is diabetic. I hope Our Heavenly Father God will heal her. See you soon. Have a good day.

Letter 2:

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Hello! How are you? I hope you are well. This week, I hurt my foot. I stepped on a nail. I was walking; I did not realize that there was a piece of wood with a nail on the floor. I am now recovering. The people from World Vision brought me a gift today. I am happy. See you soon. May Our Heavenly Father God take care of you. Love you, Maria. I hope that I will meet you in person someday.

Oh my goodness, 3 puppies, and drinking coffee, no less! Do I mention enough how much I love this little girl though?? And do you want to know the most amazing thing? This is the second time that something in her life is paralleling something that is going on/has gone on in mine. First it was her cousins who she hadn’t seen in awhile due to an ugly custody battle, the same situation that happened to child cousins of mine years ago. Now, while her grandmother is sick, so is mine, who has been in and out of the hospital and rehabilitation this past month, a long story, but I just can’t help but be awed that this little girl in another country with different circumstances has so many similarities to my own life. God clearly led me to sponsor Maria, and I’m starting to see some of His plan revealed as to why. There’s no more amazing feeling than that!!

It worried me to hear that she stepped on a nail, but thankfully it does sound like she’s doing ok and recovering. I am praying that she has access to good medical care so that there is no infection. Poor sweetheart.

Bags on the Way!

Since the Manna 4 Lempira staff will soon be traveling down to Honduras, we are able to send sandwich-sized bags filled with items for our sponsored kids this month. The staff will be packing these bags in their luggage to bring down, which is why the size is small. But I will say, while a sandwich bag sounds very small at first, you can fit quite a bit in it! I had lots of fun shopping for things for Heidy and Brayan’s bags, and my love of tetris came out when trying to get it all to fit!

Here’s what I fit in Heidy’s bag:

  • a personalized small decoration that I painted and decorated with her picture and name
  • a glow stick with a necklace string
  • a crystal growing kit
  • a notebook for her to write in, with a little message to her inside
  • 2 pretty pens to write with
  • a painted letter “H”
  • 4 fabric stretchy hair ties
  • a small sparkly compact
  • a toothbrush
  • a flower decoration
  • a handmade fabric bracelet

I have a sweet girl in family that I am very close to who is the same age as Heidy, so I kept her in mind when making Heidy’s bag. I wanted some things to make her feel special, things she could use, and things to brighten up her home a little bit, that were personalized. I can’t wait until she gets it!

Here’s what I fit in Brayan’s bag:

  • a personalized small decoration that I painted and decorated with his picture and name
  • a glow stick with a necklace string
  • a toothbrush
  • colorful building toys that can connect vertically or horizontally
  • a box of different colors of chalk
  • a pair of socks
  • letters to practice with that are also magnetic
  • a toy car
  • dissolvable capsules with sponge dinosaurs inside

I’m quite familiar with 3 year old boys, since I’m an early childhood teacher. Since his school performance is listed as above average and his favorite subject was numbers, I wanted things that he could use for learning and play, as well as things he could use as well. These little blocks are great and I was so glad I was able to fit them nicely in the bag, as there are so many ways to build with them to inspire his creativity. While they didn’t have small numbers like these letters, I thought the letters would still be great to work on learning them and as he gets older, start to spell with them too. And chalk is fun to be used just about anywhere!

I’m so glad I get the chance to send them these little packages of some extra goodies! I packed them carefully with love, and I’m sure they’ll be excited to get to open them. Thinking about putting a smile on their face as they open and as they get to use the contents makes me smile too!

New Pictures of Heidy

Sunday night, pictures were posted from the Mi Betania letter distribution through Manna 4 Lempira. What a great late Mother’s Day gift to see new pictures of my newest sponsor daughter, and I’m so glad I stayed up to wait for hers to be posted! It makes me feel so happy that this is the last time she will be without letters at distribution. I already got my letter off to her that was due a few days ago, and you can bet I won’t miss any months. I can’t wait to see her next time, posing with her letter!

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Meet Brayan

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I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by now that I wasn’t done yet with just Heidy, and that God will make his sponsorship plans known to me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to help one more. I decided to pray about it throughout the week, to see if I still continued to feel that way, and if a specific child stood out to me. Well, I still felt called, but at first, I never really felt that “clicking moment” that I have felt with each child I’ve sponsored so far, including Heidy. Then I saw Brayan. I don’t know if I had missed him before, or if I just wasn’t ready, but this time when I saw him, there was that feeling. I knew. I prayed about it for the next couple days, checking back to see if he was still available, but I could not get this boy out of my head. So now, he is my newest (and youngest!) sponsored child!

Brayan is 3 years old. His school performance is listed as very good, and his favorite subject is numbers, bless his heart! His favorite color is purple. I couldn’t love this little guy anymore. His favorite activities are playing and singing, and he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Oh, my heart is just bursting! Brayan has 5 siblings, and I shopped for his bag too as I shopped for Heidy’s. I found it surprisingly easy to find things for my youngest child, probably because early childhood is the population I love to teach more than anything! Want to see even more adorableness, if that’s even possible? I found some more pictures of Brayan on Manna 4 Lempira’s Facebook site:

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