Letter from the Country Director of Peru

Just like last week I shared the letter from the Country Director of Bolivia, this week I’m sharing the letter I received from the Country Director of Peru. All of these letters can also be found on your Compassion account on the profile page for any child you sponsor/correspond with. I have two children in Peru: I sponsor Angeles and correspond with Cristofer.

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“Dear Alisa, My name is Cristina Zavala, and I have been the country director of Compassion Peru since 2005. Compassion began ministering in Peru in 1984. We serve around 75,000 children through more than 250 partner churches. We want to open more opportunities this year, growing to serve more than 80,000 children.

My country has a rich history, beautiful places, and warm people, but also extreme poverty, broken families, and vulnerable children. Due to their living conditions and lack of economic resources, children face hard situations of abuse and neglect that erode their self-esteem and sense of belonging. The difference in a sponsored child is mainly the impact of being loved and cared for by people who value and give him or her dignity in a safe environment.

The economic situation works against families and parents, pulling them away from their children when the situation is pressing. They leave their children alone with little protection and supervision. Access to education, medicine, and potable water is still limited in the most impoverished regions of Peru. Some villages don’t have medical centers, or the facilities lack staff. Other areas get water directly from rivers or contaminated water channels. Young people have no opportunity to learn marketable skills, and no dreams of progress and development.

We want to change the situation. We are working to help children improve their reading, writing, and math learning and to learn and develop healthy habits. Little ones who first arrive at the child development center often suffer from malnutrition. We are working with complementary funds to offer filtered and safe water. Together wit hotel church partners, we talk to government institutions to improve medical care centers, and we keep on teaching Christian values and principles. We are also coordinating scholarships with private technical schools and helping young people to study a technical career such as computing, accounting, etc., or to study a major in college.

We also teach leadership courses to outstanding students. One young man who will complete the program this year faced many troubles as a sponsored child. His father is an alcoholic, and his mother did not want to hear a word about God. But this young man found affection, care, and shelter at the center. He had the chance to learn work skills; now he is going to school to study bakery and pastry, and he is also a leader in his church. From being immersed in poverty, he has discovered his great potential, and he now has big dreams. Another young man received a social volunteer entrepreneur honor from the United Nations for organizing teachers to give school tutoring in impoverished parts of Lima.

Children who enjoy a relationship with their sponsors feel the love and care of people who value them and give them dignity and the desire for a different future. Having a sponsor makes children very happy. They think sponsors are relatives who live very far away but send letters that bring them closer. Sponsors’ letters have a high emotional value for children; when they get a letter, they feel they have some physical token from their sponsors. Please write your child as often as you can.

Our partner churches are also ministering to their own communities by creating work opportunities and education and development programs that radically change families’ inappropriate ways of living. Join us in prayer for every church partner that is working hard and doing such an amazing job.

I want to express my gratitude to you for your continued love and support for Angeles and Cristofer. Together we can offer the valuable gift of hope to change the lives of the voiceless and suffering ones.

In Jesus Christ, Cristina Zavala”

Letter from Cristofer

Last night I was very excited to get a new letter from Cristofer! From the first letter I received from this boy since I became his correspondent close to a year and a half ago, he has always been eager to share all kinds of details with me, always filling in all the available space, and he is definitely one of my best letter writers. Sometimes I forget he is only 10 years old!

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Cristofer is 10 and lives in Peru

“Dear Godmother Alisa, I send you and your family my affectionate greetings. I hope you are in good health. I want to thank you for your beautiful letters, pictures, and coloring pages. I also want to thank you for teaching me about my name’s meaning and for your beautiful words. Now, I would like to answer your questions. My family and I are doing well because I know Jesus takes care of us every day. I would advise other children to serve God because I’m learning it is important to do so and be like him. I would like other children to learn more about my country and know that there are archeological regions. Our ancestors were the Incas. This month we will celebrate Independence Day, and at school we always make a presentation with traditional dishes such as Ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime), Arroz con Pato (traditional dish made of duck and rice cooked in coriander), Papa a la Huancaina (boiled potatoes topped with a cream made of Peruvian yellow chili, cheese, and milk), and Juanes (dish made of rice, meat, olives, hard-boiled egg, spices, and wrapped with macaw-flower leaves). We also have drinks made of purple corn, corn, and star fruit and dance presentations from the three regions. Hugs and kisses. I hope to receive a letter from you soon. Dear godmother, I ask you to pray for us. Love, Cristofer”

 

I loved hearing about the ways they celebrate Independence Day in the school and the traditional dishes, which sound very good! This isn’t the first time Cristofer has used Peruvian food terms in his letters, so the manual translators have their work cut out when he writes! He’s so sweet to always comment about what I send him and answer my questions, while also giving me lots of great details each time. I love my letters from this awesome boy!

Letters from Cristofer

After not hearing from Cristofer for 11 months and being worried (I had sent an inquiry), I finally heard from him and received 2 letters 12 days apart!

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Cristofer is 10 and lives in Peru

First letter: Dear sponsor Alisa, Hi, how are you? My family and I are doing well. I’m happy for the pretty letters you sent me. Thanks for all the good wishes for my life and my family. My family and I went out to eat Peruvian roasted chicken, we also drank soda. I ate cake with my grandpa and mom. My wish for this new year is God to always protect my little brother who was born on January 8th. This way I can play with him while he’s growing up. His name is Aarón. We are in the summer season, so we go to the pool, and eat lots of food, like “bodoques” (same as freeze pops but with a different shape, word used in the north of Peru), ice cream, and freeze pops to refresh ourselves. Do you like “bodoques”? We don’t have any special trading for the fall season, but we do see the leaves falling from trees to let new leaves born for the spring season. I’ll be praying for your health, so God takes care of you and gives you more years to live. You look like a really cute baby next to your grandma. I pray God gives you and your family comfort to overcome these painful moments. The photos of your children in pajamas are cute. I’ll paint the pictures you sent me these days. I would like you to pray for my country, it is raining a lot these days, and lots of families have lost their houses. I’ll say goodbye with love, wishing you blessings. I send you hugs and kisses. Cristofer”

Second letter: “Dear sponsor Alisa, I greet you with the love of our God. I wish from the bottom of my heart that you are fine and with good health. I am fine here with my family. I thank you for writing to me, I want to tell you that I go to school and I have a new teacher, I study in the afternoon and they chose me as school monitor (they wear plastic badges and colorful cords as part of their school uniform). On Friday 05 of May, they will put me in the cordons, mine will be orange with white. Each school monitor has a different color. I have good grades in the first exams that the teacher gave to us. During the break I spin a top with my friends. Also, we play soccer when we have physical education. I want to tell you that my little brother Aarón is going to turn 4 months, he is very fat, without hair and very healthy. In the church we are learning about the life of Daniel, his story is an example to pray always. The second Sunday of May we are going to celebrate Mother’s Day. We are going to do a beautiful letter decorated with flowers and stars. Where you live, do you celebrate Mother’s Day in the same date? If yes, I wish you many blessings and that you have a beautiful day with your family. I will pray for you, I hope that you write me soon because I would like to know, how are you? I ask you to keep praying for us. Hugs. I say goodbye. Cristofer”

It’s not easy to find a 10 year old boy that is this great of a letter writer. He writes and writes and fills the pages, and his handwriting is incredibly neat, too. Cristofer also has a huge heart. It’s just so good to hear from him again after so long. He is a correspondent I’ve felt close to from the beginning, and one that I would take on the sponsorship for if his financial sponsor ever canceled.

A Very Happy Mail Call Monday!

My letter from Cristofer, my first letter from him that’s addressed to me (last one was addressed to financial sponsor/previous correspondent), finally came through after being in translation since May 2nd! I have been so very eagerly awaiting this letter to come through, and I knew, with all the waiting I had to do, that it would be worth it. I am so happy to say that it absolutely was!! It is such a long letter that it even went on to a 3rd page!

Cristofer is 9 years old and from Peru.

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Translation:

Dear sponsor Alisa, Hello! I want to thank you for the letter and the photos you sent. I am so thankful to the Lord because he is taking care of my mom and me. I want you to know that during my vacation I went to “La Granja” and when I got there I was very happy because there were many elks and I caught a big gray one. The water of the pool was refreshing. We are in summer and the weather is very hot. I also want to tell you that the kids of the student center and I went to a playground. I have a new teacher at school who loves us very much. When she gives us an exam, my classmates and I get very nervous. On my birthday I am going to invite my friends and my cousins to celebrate my birthday on October 12. When is your birthday? I have a little dog which is a mutt dog but he’s cute. Do you have a dog? My mom bought me a soccer ball. I enjoy playing soccer with my friends after church. Before school began, I was going to Pimentel Beach every Sunday because it is a really nice beach. I enjoy making sand castles and I have my rubber ring. At church we had a Bible knowledge contes and I am memorizing many Bible verses. At the end of the month we are going to participate in a dance contest. We are rehearsing because we would like to win. Well my beloved sponsor, I pray to Jesus that He might look after you. I love you. Please pray for my grandpa and for my mom. Goodbye, Cristofer

What an awesome and sweet kid he is! He is so open and has so much to say, and I was able to learn so much more about him! With having had 2 previous sponsors and receiving very few letters between them, I was expecting it to take awhile for him to open up this much.

Photo Update!

Hearing everyone else’s good news about getting letters so fast makes me very happy for them and hopeful, but it is testing my patience a teeny tiny bit, because I haven’t had anything new come from Compassion in awhile, including photo updates, a new correspondent, and the letters I have sitting “in translation” that don’t seem to be going anywhere. I was a supporter of the new system from the beginning, and I’m not complaining in any way. I just keep telling myself that they’re all going to be SO worth the wait! 🙂

Cristofer’s letter to me has been in translation since May 2nd, and while I’ve been stalking the website anxious to be able to read it, I was very excited to see a photo update for him today! Cristofer is from Peru and 9 years old. I became his correspondent in February. Before that he had only received a couple letters, but now he’s already received lots from me! I’m so glad to see a smile back! And he is looking more grown up and less “little boy”. But he looks great!

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Mail Call and Outgoing Mail

Last week, I got a letter from Peru, from the pastor at Cristofer’s church! I like how the pastors’ letters give more insight into the churches and the programs offered, as well as the challenges facing the area. They all seem to have such big hearts and to be doing such great works, and I love that. In more exciting news, it looks like I will be getting a letter from Cristofer himself soon, too! I noticed today I have a new letter from him that is “in translation”, so I can’t wait until I get to see it! This new online system makes things that more exciting to know when we have letters on the way. And I may or may not stalk it in hopes of seeing that good news…  😉

Cristofer is 9 years old and from Peru. He attends PE303.

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Dear Alisa,

I am Francisco ___ ____, pastor of Nazarene Church and Santa Rosa Student Center, where your sponsored child attends, located in Chiclayo city, Lambayeque department, in the north area of Peru.

By this letter I want to extend my gratitude to God and to you for the generous help you give to Cristofer.

Our community is located in a poor area of the city and most of the residents sell many products in the streets, do survival jobs, etc. The most common problem of the families is unemployment.

In our center we have to deal with many problems that families face, such was dysfunctional families, which are damaging the integrity of our boys and girls and restraining the proper development because they are damaged in the emotional, physical, and spiritual areas.

Our vision is to reach more families for Christ because we believe that only in this way our society will improve and the lives of our boys and girls will be transformed for GOd’s glory. Every day we feel the need to share the love of Jesus with our children so they learn to trust him to solve their personal and family problems. Consequently, some of our sponsored children have been directly influenced by the Word of God and this year we will have 10 new believers. They are now taking discipleship class and will be baptized very soon.

We have medical checks twice a year; provision to buy medicines when they are needed; school reinforcement for students with low grades; and various spiritual retreats for boys and girls, teens, or families.

Although this year we didn’t have the privilege to have a sponsor visit, we are looking forward to the visits of next year. Most of our sponsored children received letters and they have answered them because we understand the importance of communication between sponsor and sponsored child. We are very happy to know the sponsors are always writing letters to our children because it is very important for children to be in touch with them by letters and they like to hear how the sponsors are. Also our children write their prayer request and interact.

We thank God for your valuable support for Cristofer from our community. We ask you to keep praying to the Lord for the children and teens of our community.

We pray that our beloved God will supply all your needs and give you good health to continue being a blessing.

Sincerely,

Francisco ___ ____

Here is a picture of his center that I got from the Compassion app!

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And after painting with kindergarteners last week, I felt inspired to pull watercolors out on my own and paint something. Since all of my kids speak Spanish, I decided to write a simple but important message in Spanish, “eres especial”, or “you are special”. Since Compassion now scans items digitally to send, I decided to scan it myself, so that I could send this same painting to all of my Compassion children this way, and still have it to send on to Maria too. I’m getting used to and enjoying the ways the new letter writing features can be used. Here is what my painting looks like after uploading it as an extra full page that my kiddos will get:

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Pichuberries, Luna, and and Life

 

When I was grocery shopping at Mariano’s this weekend, a fruit I had never seen before, the Pichuberry, caught my eye. These interestingly named fruits come from Peru, where both Angeles and Cristofer live. Curious and always up for trying new produce, I got some. They are little plump orange balls, with a somewhat similar taste to a tomato, but much sweeter than the sweetest tomato. And they are less liquidy inside. Probably more similar to a tomatillo, but still much sweeter. Looking it up, they are also packed full of vitamins and minerals and are VERY good for you! It was fun to try something new from their country, and I like them a lot! I’ve been putting some in my salads this week and eating them by themselves too.

 

I got some more information about Luna, as well as her previous photo. Look at how timid she looks in her first photo, and how she is radiating with confidence in the latest one! THIS is Compassion in work, right here in her transformation in 2 years time. And Luna has had 2 previous sponsors and only received 3 letters between them, as well as 3 gifts. Something tells me this girl is going to be teaching me things, and I cannot wait until I start to hear from her!

I’ve posted little bits before about my job situation not being good at all this school year (I’m a teacher). Last month, after talking with others and determining that it was the best option, I resigned effective the last day of school. Which means I don’t have a job right now come fall, which can be a very scary thought. I am trying to put my trust in God, and know that He will lead me to where I’m supposed to be, but, being human, there is still some anxiety present because of the direness of the situation. One lyric that has been really helping lately is Casting Crown’s “Just Be Held” when he says “You’re world’s not falling apart it’s falling into place.” It helps to believe that I went through all I did this year to have to find a new, better job, which is where I’m supposed to end up. That all being said, I have 2 interviews the next 2 days, one of which is at a place that I especially love. I’m so hopeful that I’m starting to get them, but interviewing tends to make me second guess myself. If you are reading this and could spare a few seconds for prayers, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you