Introducing Tsegereda!

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Just try to resist the smile of this adorable little cutie from Ethiopia. I know I couldn’t. There’s more to the story than that, though. I am a preschool teacher, as I’ve mentioned before, and I work at a public school district teaching at-risk and low income children. After I got my teaching license, I went through the classes to get my English as a Second Language endorsement. As a result, I get lots of students whose families are from all over, which I love. This year I have a student from Ethiopia, whose family just moved to the US recently. In learning more about her country, the culture, the language, etc. I was moved more and more by the desire to sponsor a child from Ethiopia through Compassion. Having an Ethiopian child that I was getting to know and love more each day made it all the more real to for me to picture a real child in Ethiopia that I could help, if that makes sense.

One evening, I couldn’t resist the urge any longer and made up my mind to start looking at the available children on Compassion’s website and see if I felt connected to any of them. When I saw Tsegereda, I instantly fell in love. I continued to look through many more children, but none of the rest of them felt right after her. What sealed the deal was reading that the average income in her community is only $8 a month. So in need, so much more than I would ever know in my life, but an undeniable light radiating from this little 3 year old. If I could somehow reach across all the distance to Africa, I’d scoop her up in my arms right now and give her the biggest hug!

Photo Friday: New Photos of Yeyson and Greysi!

I recently received new photos of my Manna 4 Lempira siblings, Yeyson and Greysi. I was very excited because previously, I only had one photo of each of them. These photos were taken before anything I sent had been distributed, so in the next set of photos, they’ll be holding something from me and knowing they have a sponsor!

Yeyson is 8 (soon to be 9) and Greysi is 3. They live in the El Tablon community in Lempira, Honduras.

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Letter from Luna

My birthday twin recently turned 14, but I received this letter before our birthday.

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Luna is 14 and lives in Colombia.

“Hi dear godmother Alisa. God blesses you richly. I tell you I am happy to write you again. In this opportunity, I want to tell you about my friends: Nayarith, Daniela, Viviana, Valeria, and Andrea. I like talking and doing work in groups. Also I have a friend, she is Nayarith, she and I are best friends, we met at last school. I like to have friends to go out, talk, and play with them. Why do you like having friends? Who is your best friend? Godmother, I am happy to get your letters and presents. I feel thankful because your presents are valious. I tell you I am doing well at school. I like seeing movies and going to the park with my friends and sister. I am fine, thank God. I say goodbye and I hope for your reply soon.”

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Letters from Evelin and Family Photos!

Since visiting Evelin, she has been writing very frequently! I love it, and I love how she still mentions our time together. It means so much to me that it meant so much to her. I can’t wait until I’m able to travel back to Guatemala to visit again in a future year, because this girl and her country absolutely have my heart!

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The first letter was about her medical checkup. It was held at the project and her mother took her. She received talks about how to wash her hands and how to brush her teeth. The letter also had a second page attached so more could be written 🙂 All together, it says “Hello Dear Alisa, Evelin is very excited about writing to you. She loved having met you in person. Evelin wants you to take good care of yourself. She loves you very much! She thanks you for the very nice card, she loved it! What is your grandmother’s name? To answer the questions that you asked, 1. The weather is hot and sometimes it is cold. 2. She has been to the ocean once. 3. Her grandmother is doing very well and in good health. 4. She wants the children from other countries to know that Guatemala is beautiful. 5. Evelin would advise children her age to behave very well. Evelin has learned math and she thinks that other children should also learn it.”

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The second letter uses the template My Community. A common job in Evelin’s community is teacher, they harvest fruits and vegetables, and they have a specific market day. Cars are used and most houses are made of adobe. It says “Dear Sponsor Alisa, Hello! Evelin thanks you for the letter and the pictures. She wants you to know that her house is surrounded by flowers and some trees. She says goodbye and wishes you a beautiful day! Evelin”

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The last letter was after an inquiry for a gift that I had sent 6 months prior and hadn’t received photos from. I was thrilled to get two photos of her and her family, and to get a glimpse of their house. I got to meet her mom on our visit day, so it was really cool to see what her dad and siblings look like. I knew her siblings names and ages and was able to send gifts for them too, and now I get to put faces with the names.

“Dear Sponsor Alisa, How are you? Evelin hopes you are very well. She wants to thank you for the nice gift you sent in May. She could buy food supplies for her family, clothes for her, nice leggings, a dress, and a blouse she liked a lot. She wants you to know that classes at school are over. She is on vacation now. She will return to school at the end of January next year. In the meantime, she likes to play a lot. She enjoys playing. She has time for getting ready for her next school cycle. She loves you so much and she wants you to know that she always thinks about you. She sends you hugs. Please pray for her studies. Do you like hot weather? Are you ok? She wants to thank you for her gifts and your love.

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The line “She loves you so much and she wants you to know that she always thinks about you” just melts my heart…

Letter from Cristofer and a Photo Update

Cristofer’s photo updated a little early, which was a great surprise! I also really like the bright green wall as a backdrop. Since I’ve had him as a correspondent, his photo has updated twice. Here is is latest photo first, and then all of the photos together to show his growth. I adore this boy.

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Cristofer is 11 and lives in Peru.

The letter says “Dear Sponsor Alisa, I am happy to write to you. Greetings in the love of our Lord Jesus. My family and I are fine. Thanks for the letter you sent me, the Bible verses you wrote me, it is true that God created everything. I will decorate the drawing of the shoes these days, I promise. I will do my best to do it well. Let me tell you that I am studying again because teachers were on strike. Thanks God, they had an agreement with the authorities from the Education Ministry and I am doing well in my classes. I got 20 in math and I will keep doing my best to do well in all subjects. I know with God’s help I will get it. By the way, which subject did you get the best grade? In the church, I have fun learning about God. Please pray for the children in my country. Goodbye with love. Thanks God for you and your family. Bye. Cristofer”

I was very glad to hear that the strike was over, as these children need school even more than they do in countries like the US. Cristofer’s great about keeping me updated about all kinds of things 🙂

Letter from Mugisha Isaac

I always love receiving letters from Mugisha, my boy with the barely there smile.

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Mugisha Isaac is 6 and lives in Uganda.

The letter uses the My Typical Week template, which I enjoyed. He typically gets up at 7:00am and in the morning he bathes, smears himself, and gets dressed. He goes to school on weekdays and in the evening he washes utensils. His favorite day of the week is Monday because it is the start of the week at school. “Receive warm christian greetings from Isaac. He thanks you so much for the letters you always send him. Isaac went on to thank you for praying for him and said that he and his family members always pray for you. He went on to say his friends and family members send you greetings. Isaac concluded by saying you continue to pray for him so that he continues to perform well at school and also to have good health.”

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The letter is very sweet, and I always love hearing when they are written in the kids’ words when a tutor is helping to write. I just love the drawing! And I’m glad that he loves school so much.

Introducing Velery!

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As I shared in yesterday’s post, in early October, I had the opportunity to add two more Manna 4 Lempira children to my Honduran family. I knew I wanted Diego to be one of them, but then I had the challenging task of choosing just one more. I say it was challenging because I wished I could have sponsored all of the waiting children! I’ve always liked keeping my Manna numbers of boys and girls even, so I was looking for a girl this time. When Kim and the Manna team visited Honduras over the summer, she was able to take videos of many of the newly registered and waiting children. I loved the videos, because they give you an extra glimpse into the child’s personality and show more than a photo can. I just adored everything about little Velery. Her curls, her love of french fries, how she hammed it up in front of the camera… and I felt very sure in my decision that she should be mine.

Velery is 3 and lives in the Mercedes community of Lempira, Honduras. I also sponsor Brayan and Ludvi in this area, and Velery and Brayan go to the same school. Velery’s favorite subject is art, her favorite color is pink, and her favorite activity is playing with dolls. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She is an only child and lives with her mom and dad, who is a farmer.

Like I mentioned yesterday, I was quickly able to shop and send out backpacks to Velery and Diego, and I’m so grateful!

Here are some stills of Velery’s video. She seems like a total girly-girl, full of personality and spunk, and I can’t wait to get to know her more!