Bringing Gifts to my Sponsored Children

I leave for Honduras tomorrow!!

Long before I was ready to pack for this trip, the thought of it just stressed me out. I can tell you now, actually having been going through it, that the act of packing is no less stressful. It’s funny to me now that I was worried about packing all of the gifts for one child and for centers when I went to Guatemala. This time I had to pack gifts for 13 children, plus small family gifts for each of their families!

I did have a blast shopping for all of them, though. There are some things that are consistent for every child. Each one is getting two shirts, a bathing suit, and a stuffed animal (I figure any age loves a stuffed animal to hug, right?) I went through and assembled each bag, took pictures of its contents, and then disassembled everything to pack it as tight as possible. The pictures will help me to reassemble everything when I get to Honduras! Here is what I packed for each child, starting with the boys:

Brayan, age 5:

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a purple shirt (his favorite color), a striped shirt, a pair of swimming trunks, a toy train, a blue superhero cape, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a stuffed goat, a fidget spinner, and a paw print bag (these are the same ones my students got at our school picnic, which I figure the kids will get a kick out of)

Diego, age 6:

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a dinosaur shirt (he’s a dinosaur fan), a Chicago Bears shirt, swimming trunks, a large toy car, a blue superhero cape, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a stuffed dinosaur that makes noise, a fidget spinner, and a paw print bag

Yeyson, age 9:

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a blue shirt (his favorite color), a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, swimming trunks, a stuffed dog, a harmonica, an Angry Birds kite, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paw print bag

Junior, age 10:

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a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, a future rocket scientist shirt, swimming trunks, dominoes, a harmonica, a stuffed horse, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paw print bag

Cristian, age 12:

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a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, an Old Navy shirt, swimming trunks, a stuffed dog, glow in the dark stars with removable putty, a bag of marbles, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, dominoes, and a paw print bag

And now onto the girls… Angie, age 3 (and the youngest of all my children):

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a pink bathing suit, a kitten shirt, a yellow floral shirt, a stuffed cow, a mermaid doll, two ponies, a reversible sequin bracelet, a Shimmer and Shine doll with a locket keychain, and a summer tote bag

Greysi, age 3:

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a pink bathing suit, a red and white striped shirt, a rainbow shirt, a stuffed deer, a Shimmer and Shine doll and locket keychain, two ponies and hair accessories, a barbie, a reversible sequin bracelet, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a summer tote bag

Valery, will be 4 by the time I meet her:

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A stars bathing suit, a blue and white daisy shirt, a planets and sun shirt, a stuffed rainbow tiger, a reversible sequin bracelet, a barbie, a Shimmer and Shine doll and locket keychain, a mermaid doll and some little fish friends (when she mentioned in her latest letter that the animal she wanted to see in person was a mermaid, I had to find something related to give her), a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paisley tote bag

Helen, age 8:

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a rainbow bathing suit, a Frozen shirt, a chambray and lace shirt, a stuffed pegasus, a Minion journal with a lock and keys and extra stickers (more on the back, too) and a pen (I loved these sets from Walmart!), a turquoise choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a barbie, a flamingo tote bag

Jenny, age 8:

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a pink bathing suit, a white tribal shirt, an Olaf Frozen shirt, a stuffed horse (she has a real horse at home), a Frozen journal with a lock and keys and a pen and extra stickers, a turquoise choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a barbie, and a flamingo tote bag

Ludvi, age 10 (as of yesterday!):

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a tropical bathing suit, a chambray and lace shirt, a blue floral shirt, a journal set of 3 notebooks of different sizes, a turquoise choker, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a barbie, a stuffed unicorn, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a pink striped purse

Heidy, age 12:

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a mermaid bathing suit, a black shirt with an attached necklace, a tribal fringe shirt, a stuffed dog, a brown choker, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a set of 3 pouches/cosmetic bags of different sizes, a journal set of 3 notebooks of different sizes, a Jesus loves me bracelet, embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets with instructions, a black Old Navy purse

Maria, age 13 (my oldest Manna child):

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a pink tie-dye bathing suit, a polka dot chambray shirt, a coral draped tank top, a pineapple “pura vida” journal, a set of 3 pouches/cosmetic bags of different sizes, a stuffed penguin, a brown choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a thirty-one bag (really excited about that find)

Then there were the family gifts, which I needed 12 of, because Yeyson and Greysi are the same family, so they only need one family gift between them. I’m giving each family a set of 4 plastic cups, a bamboo wooden spoon or spatula, and a dish towel.

I’ll be assembling them once I get in Honduras, and they’ll look something like this:

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I also made tags for each child’s bag, but I forgot to attach them before I packed the bags, oops! So they’re packed, along with more ribbon, to attach in Honduras:

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When you look at each of the individual pictures, it doesn’t seem like much, but when you put it all together, it really is!! This is a glimpse at what only part of my suitcase looks like:

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Yeah, yikes! Here’s hoping my bag doesn’t weigh over the weight limit… I can’t wait to give these gifts to my beloved children and most importantly spend time with them!

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Letters from Angie

Angie is my fourth and final child at the Mercedes church through Manna 4 Lempira. Tomorrow, I’ll post letters from my children at the Mi Betania church. Angie just came to me very recently, so these letters still aren’t addressed to me yet, but it’s great to have them and read them. Her mom seems wonderful, and I can’t wait to meet both of them. Angie is very special, because her joining my Manna family was the sign that gave me the final direction towards committing to this trip!

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Angie is 3 years old

“The purpose of writing you this letter is to tell you that I am very obedient with my parents. This year, I hope to go to kindergarten, but my mama doesn’t want me to because I am still little. I will turn 3 on November 22. I am very happy because my papa is going to buy me a cake and some clothes. Christmas is near, and I really like Christmas. Behold, I have chickens. My papa tells me that he is going to buy a dog. My papa always thinks of me because I am his only daughter. I love you so much. I dismiss you with a strong hug. I love you very much, my dear sponsor. Kisses! Blessings!”

“I greet you with much love and affection. I thank God for suffering me to have sponsors like you. I love very much. I ask God to guard and protect you always. I also thank you for the things you sent me. My papa says that he is going to send me to kindergarten because I am very smart. Thanks for everything. May God bless you. When you write again, send me a photo please so that I can meet you. Blessings, dear Sponsor! With much love, Angie”

“My favorite animal is the dog. I like them because they run a lot. I also like cats, dogs, chickens, and ducks. I would like to see a deer in person. I have chickens and dogs and home. (Psalm 23: 1-3)”

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“Hello Sponsor! I hope that you are well with all those who surround you. I hope that you have had a happy Holy Week. I had a great time with my papa. He took me swimming every day at the river. Tell me what you did with your family. I hope that you respond with much love and affection. God bless you and your family. I send you a rose so that you know how much I love you.”

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Photo Friday: New Photos of My Manna Mercedes Children

We recently received new photos of our Manna 4 Lempira children receiving the letters we sent them and new Bibles. I’m going to break them down by church, starting with Mercedes. It’s hard to believe that in just 29 days, I’ll be arriving in Honduras and seeing these children very soon! I still have some more shopping and lots of packing to do, but I’m so excited to meet them and spend time with them in person!

Brayan, 5, usually always has the same serious face in all of his photos (except one). But this time he attempted a smile! 🙂 He’s also wearing a shirt I sent him, which is very big, but at least he’ll grow into it.

Ludvi, 9, seems to be wise beyond her years and I love the peaceful look on her face with the natural background outside.

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Velery, 3, has her hair is blowing across her face, but she has the most adorable curly hair. I have a feeling she’s going to be a big personality.

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Angie, 3, is my newest Manna child. The Mercedes fun day is definitely going to be my busiest day with 3 little ones!

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Introducing Angie, My Little Sign for my Summer Plans

Deciding between two sponsorship trips is a very difficult task, because it’s like choosing between your children. To have to say no to some, even if they won’t know it, feels awful. That’s why it took me so long to decide between going with Compassion to El Salvador or with Manna 4 Lempira to Honduras this summer. In addition, because they’re two different organizations, there were other factors, like the fact that I’ve traveled with Compassion before and know what to expect, or the fact that the Honduras trip is a little longer and a little less money. After a lot of praying, weighing pros and cons, and asking some questions about the Honduras trip, I was leaning strongly in that direction. Then, last week, I received the sign I had been praying for all along. In circumstances that only God could have orchestrated, the opportunity to add little Angie to my Honduran sponsored family arose.

I knew it was God saying that I needed to go there and meet her… along with my 11 other Manna children in Honduras. To be able to meet so many of the children I love so much and have dreamt about giving hugs to in person is an excitement that’s hard to even describe! I’m praying that everything continues to work out and that it will soon be official that I will be traveling to rural Honduras in June!

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