Introducing Marcus!

My wait on the Compassion correspondents waiting list was looong but I knew it was in God’s time, because He had the right child for me, and that child just needed to become available. Last week, this finally happened as Marcus was added to my account!

Marcus is 14 and lives in Brazil, just like Rikelme. In fact, their project numbers are just one off from each other. Rikelme is such a sweetheart and I love Brazil since I visited there back in 2004, so I was very excited to have another Brazilian teen! His favorite school subject is math and his hobbies include bicycling, marbles, soccer, and toy cars. I’m looking forward to getting to know him!

Letter from Elvis!

I always love hearing from Elvis and his tutor Eva. I love Eva so much, and she is so much a part of my wonderful experience in sponsoring Elvis, that I recently wrote a card just for her to thank her and make sure she knows what a wonderful job she does and how much I appreciate her. In the latest letter, I got to hear back from both of them!

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Elvis is 6 and lives in Bolivia.

The letter uses the My Community template. Elvis’ community is located in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. People speak Spanish and Aymara and the weather is cold. Typical food is plato paceño. “Beloved Sponsor Alisa, It is a privilege to write you again. Greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior. We feel very happy to get your pretty letters. Elvis is happy to hear more from you. He thanks you for the pretty correspondences. His three wishes are to be a professional (doctor), help the rest, and that his parents go to church. As tutor, I feel happy that my child Elvis gets to know you more, he loves you a lot and he looks forward to meet you soon. Until another opportunity, with lots of affection, Elvis and Eva. He asks with lots of respect prayer for his dad that works a lot, you are always in our prayers day by day.”

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I pray that Compassion offers a summer sponsor tour to Bolivia so that I can go visit, because I will make it work and be there in a heartbeat. This is the first I’ve heard that his parents do not attend church, so I will be praying extra for them that their hearts will be opened. Usually it’s an exciting moment when a child starts writing letters on his own, but when Elvis does, it will be bittersweet, because I will miss Eva writing them with him!

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Photo Friday

In Honduras, our Manna 4 Lempira children celebrated the Day of the Child at their centers. We were able to receive photos/videos of them having fun! I got to see a couple of my kiddos celebrating.

I caught some glimpses of Junior in the Mi Betania video (he’s in the yellow shirt):

I almost missed Cristian in the El Tablon video, but caught him the second time around (in the white shirt):

And the Mercedes centers posted photos, where I got to see several of Ludvi!

I’m guessing that’s one of her sisters that she’s holding.

Yeyson was pictured writing a letter in a photo at his center recently, too. I can’t wait to receive it from him!

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And finally, I’ve been getting to see lots more posted pictures of the United with Hope tutoring program in India, where Ramya attends. The amount of photos I receive of her is truly massive, and I love it! Here are just some of my favorites:

Letter from Luna

I received a letter from lovely Luna earlier this month!

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Luna is 13 and lives in Colombia.

“Dear Alisa, God bless you dear godmother, may the glory of God fall on you. Today I’ll give you these lines. I’m especially glad to share with you this letter and tell you my school vacations have been fun. I wake up late, I’m in my home and watch TV, visit my sister and talk with her, and she gives me lots of tips. I also tell you that my school vacations last about 30 days. I don’t have a favorite food. I like all sorts of food. During my vacations I like to share with my family. In my next vacations I would like to go to Medellin, I think it’s a very nice place. For me it is important to express my gratitude for all the letters you sent me and the gifts I receive from you. I would love to know, how long are your vacations? What season are you in now? I leave you hoping for a quick response. I wish you again that God bless you!”

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Introducing Albia

Little Bia is my latest Compassion sponsored child. She is my first and only child from the Philippines and it was a God moment, what else can I say?

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Bia is 5 years old. I sponsored her on the day after her birthday this year. She lives in a very low income community with her parents, grandparents, and two siblings. Her parents struggle with employment. Bia attends preschool, and her hobbies include art, dolls, hide and seek, play house, toy cars, running, and walking.

Isn’t she just precious? I love that I get to watch this sweetheart grow up!

Letter from Evelin About our Day Together!

My first letter from Evelin since my visit to Guatemala to meet her had been in translation for almost a month, and it was a challenging wait. But I was so excited when it finally came through! I also have another letter from her in translation, which I will hopefully get to read soon too. It was well worth the wait, though, because she talked all about our day together at the zoo and it was wonderfully sweet! I think back to how much I prayed about which child from Guatemala to sponsor and which country to visit this summer. Each step of the way, God brought me to this special girl. I think about how it was an instant connection when we saw each other. I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t possibly love her any more than I do.

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Evelin is 8 and lives in Guatemala.

“Hello Dear Friend, Evelin is writing to thank you for visiting her. She thinks that it is a great blessing to have you here, in her country, and being able to meet you, because she was not expecting such a great surprise. May God bless you for your great love. Evelin wants to thank you for your gift which was a doll and a coloring book. She really liked the stickers as well as the map of where you live, the notepad and the crayons. She also wants to thank you for the English book and the prayer book, because she is using them in her backpack. She wants to tell you that you look very pretty and she really likes your hair. She wants to thank you for taking her to the zoo with you. She really liked the elephant and the giraffe that she fed. It made her very happy. She is especially grateful for having spent time with you. She thanks you for all of the love that you have given her and she says that she loves you very much. She asks you to pray for her family so that God will bless them and will watch over them. She wants to know what is the name of your dad, your mom, and your brother? She wants to thank you for your beautiful gifts and for your love.”

 

My heart is so full and I am a very blessed sponsor!

Letter from the Country Director of Ghana

This week’s Country Director letter is from Ghana. I’ve been sponsoring Oxford there since January, and in 6 months time I already received 3 letters. The communication seems to be frequent and the turnaround time very quick, at least in my experience.

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“Dear Alisa, I am Padmore Baffour Agyapong. I have been the country director of Compassion Ghana for five years. Compassion Ghana is 11 years old. We are currently supporting more than 68,000 children in about 250 child development centers.

I sincerely wish to express my utmost appreciation to you for sponsoring Oxford in Ghana. The challenges the children and their families face include high unemployment rates, low income levels, lack of health facilities, inaccessibility of potable water and toilet facilities, harmful cultural practices, child abuse, and inadequate infrastructure.

Schools in the rural communities are largely inadequate and dilapidated. Some children must walk long distances daily to attend school. Some schools lack libraries, computer centers, and trained teachers. In some places, health facilities either do not exist or are seriously under-resourced. Lack of access to health care is so serious in some communities that children and their families lose their lives from preventable and curable diseases such as malaria, worm infestation, and tuberculosis.

Sponsorship makes a tremendous impact on the lives of children and their communities. Children receive age-graded Bibles and learn God’s Word. As a result, many confess their faith in Christ and are able to demonstrate the love of God to other people.

Before one boy entered Compassion, his single mother could no longer take care of her children, so she abandoned them and left the community in search of a job. She could not find a job, yet she failed to return. When the child was registered, the center staff followed up on the mother and brought her back to the community. Not long after, her child’s sponsor sent them a family gift that she used to open a bookshop. Profit from selling books now serves as her regular source of income, and she is able to support her family.

Children have access to medical care and receive an annual comprehensive health screening, after which center staff follow up to ensure that all required care is done. Last year, several children had surgeries that their families couldn’t have afforded. Children receive everything necessary to stay in school (school uniforms, books, supplies, tuition fees, tutoring, etc.), and are also trained in income- generating skills such as sewing, bead-making, shoemaking, baking, etc.

When they graduate from the program, these children will be physically healthy and economically self-sustaining. Literacy rates will be higher. This coming year, we will focus on children’s water, sanitation and hygiene needs and also roll out a new youth development strategy. In addition to Compassion programs, our partner churches minister to the community through activities such as evangelism, community cleanups, and other outreach programs.

The exchange of letters between sponsors and their children creates a close bond between them. Encouraging words from sponsors mean so much to the children. They feel loved and treasured. The thought of having caring sponsors abroad who write to them makes them feel special. Children who do not receive letters from their sponsors look sad when their friends receive letters. These children always look forward to the day when their sponsors will also write to them; some actually pray about it. I wish to kindly request you to write to your sponsored child as often as possible. Children cherish the letters.

I am grateful for your deep love and concern for Oxford. Your sponsorship has opened the door of hope for the future of your child. We will continue to pray for God’s blessings for you and your family.

Thank you, Padmore Baffour Agyapong”