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!

Introducing Nicholas and Shadia

I have developed such a passion for Uganda. This country and its beautiful people have definitely made its way into my heart. So when I heard of the small organization, Living Life in Abundance Ministry, run by an incredibly kind and generous woman named Joy who lives in Uganda and knows these families and their needs, I contacted her to ask for a correspondent. I told her I didn’t have any requests, and I’d be happy to have any child. She assigned me Nicholas, who is 3 years old. He and his sister live with their mother. They recently lost their father to HIV/AIDS. His first picture with his sad face and torn shirt broke my heart, but then I saw his smile, and I was happy that I could hopefully give him a little more to smile about. I sent off a letter and a couple weeks later, I sent a donation to Joy so that she could purchase gifts for him, whatever he and his family needed.

Well, when I had contacted Joy to ask for a correspondent, I had first contacted the wrong email address. Several weeks later, though, she replied to my first email asking if I still wanted a correspondent. I replied that I was assigned Nicholas, but would be happy to have another one if there were more children in need. I was thrilled to be assigned his sister, Shadia, so that I can love on this whole family even more! I quickly sent another donation so Shadia wouldn’t be left out with gifts. Shadia is 4 years old. I’m grateful God had planned this “unplanned addition” all along!

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Introducing a New Correspondent

I have a beautiful new correspondent child, but not through Compassion. Like I had talked about smaller organizations when I shared about The Bridge of Hope, I also discovered another smaller organization: Revive a Rural African Child. This Christian organization is run voluntarily by one man with a huge heart for the children of Uganda. Eddy runs Revive a Rural African Child, and he cares for the children and has started the Visionary Learning Center, a place for children to study and learn that is run by teachers and volunteers. They are in the process of building a library. What is different about RRAC is that there is no sponsoring of children; only penpals. I was definitely intrigued how this worked.

You can sign up to be a penpal to a maximum of two children, and you send the letters directly to Uganda. You can also send packages. Since you aren’t sponsoring the child financially, only corresponding, you should be committed to writing regularly before signing up. While there is no monthly sponsorship commitment, there is obviously a cost for Eddy to send out mail to us, as well as to pick up each package at the post office that he receives, so there is a way to donate. But there is no set amount, and you can give what you have to give when you have extra to give if you want to; there is no requirement or obligation. Now, keep in mind that if you are used to corresponding with children through an organization like Compassion, RRAC is obviously different, because it’s run by one person and not hundreds. Eddy is very busy with the children, as he should be. He is fantastic, though, at providing updates on the work he is doing, and posts photos and videos with explanations several times a day! As a new supporter of this ministry, I love getting to learn about all the wonderful things they are doing and learning! Just look at the Facebook page to see some examples!

If you would like to be a penpal or find out more, there is a Facebook group to join: Revive a Rural African Child Penpals, that is separate from the main page. Some lovely ladies volunteer their time to help run the group and match penpals and children. They just posted a very informative FAQ post, that explains a lot!

After learning all of this, I decided to sign up to be a penpal. I figured I’d start with one child for now, and then add another in the future. Since there isn’t anything to go by but a list of names/gender/ages, I trusted that God would lead me to the right name. My new penpal is Nusura, and she is 6 years old. My heart melted when Eddy sent me this picture!

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I just love this photo with this beautiful smiling girl holding this sweet note! I can’t wait to get to know her better!

I sent her a letter as quickly as I could, although I’m sure it will take some time to arrive in Uganda. Eddy lets us know and takes pictures when he receives anything. Nervous about sending a package on my own, I thought I’d try sending one through Amazon Global. It took quite awhile to find something that would actually ship to Uganda- many things don’t, even in Amazon Global- a fact that you don’t find out until you’re partway through checkout. But finally I was able to send something through. It’s one of my favorite kids books ever “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes”. My students loooove Pete the Cat, so I figured she would too. It’s just something small, but it’s a start to see how it goes through. And I was able to send a gift message with it.

I spotted Nusura in a picture posted to the Facebook page recently of some of the kids receiving school supplies. Look at that smile!

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Another Letter from Rikelme!

I’m editing this post to add that WordPress just informed me that this is my 100th post on Letters with Love- hooray! 🙂

I received this letter just one week after the last one! His financial sponsor must have sent him a gift in May for his birthday, which is great. And I’ll happily take another letter!

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Rikelme is 14 and lives in Brazil.

“Dear godmother may God’s grace be with you, it is with a big hug I write this letter to thank you with all my heart for the nice letter and the gift you sent. I was very happy, may God reward you for all your love to me. I am in vacation and I will play a lot with my cousins and friends and fly kites and play ball in my vacation. It will be very nice and fun. What do you plan to do in vacation? See you next letter, may God give you good health, peace, love and more of God. Kisses, Rikelme”

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Another kite drawing- that’s two in a row! 🙂

Introducing Alex, and a letter!

I was assigned Alex as a correspondent in late April. He is my first Haitian child, and I am very excited to get to know him! I received a letter from him already, which is awesome!

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Alex is 7 and lives in Haiti.

The letter uses the The Weather template. It says that in his community, the weather is often cool. On his birthday (in January), the weather is usually cold. During the summer, the weather is warm and he likes to play football. When it is rainy, he likes to visit the fields, and during Christmas, it is cold. The letter says: “Alex is really glad to communicate with you. He is very satisfied for your correspondence and the photos. His family and he are well. He likes blue best and to play football. He knows God loves him because He takes care of him and his family. Pray that he’ll grow up in God’s love. He wishes that you’ll succeed in all your enterprises.

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Letter from Mugisha Isaac

I got a second letter from Mugisha Isaac, my correspondent in Uganda, and it’s a great one!

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Mugisha Isaac is 5 and lives in Uganda.

The letter uses the template “My Hopes and Dreams for the Future”. In the future, he hopes to learn about different characters in the Bible. He wants to learn how to farm and drive. When Mugisha Isaac grows up he wants to be a teacher (always excited to hear that!) He hopes to visit Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, and he does want to go to the university when he grows up. The letter says: “Dear Alisa, Isaac and his family greet you in Jesus’ name. He says he loves and likes the letters you send him and would love to let you know that he is enjoying school and the time at the community center. His family appreciates the dedicated support you have offered and pledge to pray for you always. They end by wishing you God’s blessings.”

I have to say, I really enjoyed this template. I also liked the facts about Ugandan agriculture that it had printed on the letter. The facts include: Maize is the most common staple food in Uganda. Banana (matooke): Uganda produces the 3rd largest amount of bananas worldwide. Coffee is one of Uganda’s main exports. Most children in Uganda like eating jack fruit. Pineapple is one of the most common fruits in Uganda.

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The picture prompt is a great idea, too. Gotta love how hard he clearly worked on this drawing, erasing and redrawing parts.

The more I hear from this boy with the shy smile and his family, the more my heart grows for them.

Introducing Mugisha Isaac, and a letter!

A month and a week ago, I was assigned my second child from Africa, a new correspondent, Mugisha Isaac from Uganda. And now, I already received a first letter from Mugisha, which also answers questions from my first letter to him! How incredible is that?? Before Compassion’s new letter writing system, it could easily take 6 months to receive a first letter, which would have been written before the child received any letters from you. Such an awesome improvement! And I love how it looks like he’s trying to hold back a smile in his photo.

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Mugisha Isaac is 5 and lives in Uganda.

His Introduction Letter says that he lives in a village and gives the names and ages of each of his family members, as well as the names of his best friends. If he could visit anywhere, he would go to Kisoro because there are many cars. His favorite school subject is reading, his favorite food is rice and something I can’t read, his favorite color is orange, his favorite game is sports (football), his favorite Bible story is the story of David, and his favorite song is He is Good He Did Me Good My Heart Praise the Lord! The letter says “Dear Alisa, Receive Christian greetings from Isaac and his family. He says he is excited to know you as his friend and also excited to receive your letter with amazing pictures. He says he would like you to always call him Mugisha, that in his language it means blessings and he also asks how he can be calling you and that him and his family would like to know how they can be praying for you.”

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I asked him what he would like me to call him, and I think it’s so cool to know that his Ugandan name means ‘blessings’. I don’t know what the drawing is of but I love it, and I also love the fingerprint!