Marcus always looks so serious in his photos, but he is such a great young man in his letters! Here is his latest photo:
You can really see how much he’s grown!
And little Jose isn’t as little anymore!
(click on the photos to see them larger)
I’ve had quite a few photo updates (and new correspondents… but that will come later) while I was on my posting hiatus getting adjusted to my new job. I get so excited to get updated photos of the kids and see how they’re growing!!
First is Maria, my longest sponsored child and my only World Vision child. Here is her new photo:
And a look at all of her photos as she’s grown! (click to see them larger)
And Rikelme is looking even more grown up in his new photo:
Here are all his photos to compare! (click to see them larger)
I received a new letter from Marcus last week. This is my second letter from him!
Marcus is 14 and lives in Brazil
“Hi dear godmother, how are you? I am fine. Here at school I finished elementary school and now I’ll go to high school. I am very excited to start classes. My favorite thing to learn is about English. I’ve already got some practice and I hope I’ll learn more. Thank you for your letter and pictures. I hope to receive more of them. I have many questions to ask you. Do you have kids? Are you married? At school I am taking many courses to focus in the area I hope to work at. With love, Marcus”
I’m very proud of him that he’s going to high school and he’s excited about it! Marcus lives in an area where gang violence is prominent, but it seems like he is staying focused, which is so awesome. It’s also great that he’s learning English! Of course I’ll be asking him which area he hopes to work in.
This is my first letter from Maria! I started sponsoring her in December.
Maria is 9 and lives in Brazil.
The letter uses the My First Letter template. It says that she lives with her parents and 2 brothers. Her house is located near a school and a church. Her favorite food is beans and rice. The letter says “I was so glad to hear from you. Thanks for choosing me. I’m Christian. I’ll pray for you and your family.” And the verse included is Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”
I love this letter! It is simple but very sweet and heartfelt. And the sentence “Thanks for choosing me” makes my heart melt.
Rikelme is 14 and lives in Brazil.
“Greetings, Beloved sponsor Alisa, how are you? I hope you’re well with all of your family. My family and I are well and healthy. Christmas is coming and on this time everything is so pretty and full of lights. I usually spend Christmas at home with my relatives with a simple meal. How do you spend the birthday of Jesus? With your family or at the church? I wish you a Christmas filled with love and blessings from the sky, and a new year filled with accomplishments. I keep doing karate, which is my favorite sport, and I also take other classes that happen in the project, as soccer and others. Here is so cool, thank you for helping all of us. Regards to all your family and here I say goodbye with love in my heart. Rikelme”
I think it’s great that he’s learning karate at his project and so into it!
Since the beginning of December, I kept feeling called to browse through the waiting children on Compassion’s website. I knew that if I was meant to sponsor one, I would know it in my heart. Night after night, I kept feeling called back to browse, but I never felt that calling to sponsor any of the waiting children. I was unsure where God was going with this, but I trusted and obeyed. I saw amazing and wonderful and loving children, but none of them were “mine”. Finally on December 16th (yes it took that many days), I came across Maria, and the feeling was different. I already have two other sponsored children named Maria and I already have two teen boys from Brazil, but I couldn’t pass this girl up. It was God saying “this is the one”.
Literally days before I was going to be making a trip to the home of Mickey, Maria’s Minnie Mouse shirt certainly helped to seal the deal too. I can’t wait to get to know this girl and see God’s plan unfold!
Marcus is 14 and lives in Brazil.
“Hello my dear godmother, how are you? I’m fine and my family, too. Do you have kids? Here in the project, we will have a retreat and the Beach Park and I hope to go to both of them. Did you travel anywhere in these months? In the project, I do basketball and computer courses and I learned a lot about God. Do you go to church? I hope to write more for you and to receive your letters and photos. Until next letter, Marcus”
It was great to hear from him, and I can’t wait to get to continue getting to know him!
Rikelme is 14 and lives in Brazil.
“Greetings! Hello Dear Sponsor Alisa. I am happy and excited to write you a letter. How are you and your family doing? I hope this letter finds you all doing well, in Jesus’ name! My family and I are doing well, praise God! I am always praying for you and your family. I would like to know more about you and I am excited to hear from you. I want to meet you in person when I grow up! My family and I send you hugs and blessings from God! Psalm 121 for your meditation. God bless you. With affection, Rikelme”
This week, I’m sharing the Country Director letter from Brazil. This letter comes from Jose Carrasco again, remember, he’s a very busy man! I correspond with Rikelme in Brazil.
“Dear Alisa, Greetings in Jesus’ name! My name is Jose Carrasco. I am the South America area director, and I’ve been privileged to serve as the interim country director of Brazil since 2014. I was born in Peru. I have a wife and two wonderful children.
I am proud to tell you that Compassion has been serving Brazil for 29 years. We currently have about 185 child development centers in Brazil, and we are serving more than 43,000 children. The impact of Compassion’s holistic program in the life of a child is huge. We would not be able to reach all these wonderful children without sponsors’ generous and selfless giving. You have made it possible for Rikelme to receive love, care, nurture and support through your sponsorship and your prayers. You truly are making the difference in your child. Thank you so much for your support!
A sponsored child has a safe place to go each day and is taught about the love of Jesus. At the centers, children have the opportunity to identify their strengths, develop their gifts and talents, and overcome difficulties. They learn that they are special because they are children of God.
Allow me to share just some of the struggles we face daily. Compassion serves the most impoverished children in Brazil, and their families. There are high rates of childhood sickness and even death. Many children face violence; many come from broken homes. They also face financial crisis. Widespread unemployment and the high cost of living make life increasingly difficult for those who live with few resources. Lack of water and access to good medical care are common. Hospitals lack the medicine and equipment needed to serve their communities.
The coming year brings many challenges, but by God’s grace, we will continue to go forward and face these struggles. Compassion Brazil has improved its program and materials to better empower the churches to fulfill their mission. We are encouraged by the willingness of the churches to work hard and diligently to better serve the children through training, facilitation visits, materials and local mobilization.
Compassion Brazil has excellent plans in place to develop child protection networks and early childhood and youth development strategies. It is possible to change the lives of more children and help them to become strong and productive Christian adults. We have seen it so many times!
Nourishing the relationship between the sponsor and the child is critical. I encourage you to write letters. When a child receives a letter, it’s like receiving a special gift. It means so much to a child. Your words really encourage and nurture your child positively. Children feel loved and appreciated when they know someone far away is praying and thinking about them.
There are no words to express the gratitude that my heart feels for your sponsorship for Rikelme. Your giving has changed the destiny of your child, and that is priceless! I gladly express my appreciation for your generous giving. May the Lord bless you and your family. Please pray for us; we promise also to pray for you.
Sincerely in Christ, Jose Carrasco”
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!