New Photo of and Letter from Eliana

I had been eagerly awaiting a photo update of Eliana, because I knew it was due to update any time. She looks so grown up in her new photo, but still just as happy and smiley as before! Here are the two photos side by side:

“Blessings Alisa, How are you? Eliana is very well, thanks God. She wants to know how you did in the summer. She did not go out but she went to the activities of the center and she played a lot with her cousin. Please pray for her and her family.”

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Letter from the Country Director of the Dominican Republic

This week I am sharing the Country Director letter from the Dominican Republic. I sponsor sweet Elaina there.

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“Dear Alisa, My name is Kleber Lora, and I am the Country Director of Compassion in the Dominican Republic. I joined Compassion in 2005 after a time of prayer, asking the Lord for an opportunity to serve the impoverished. My wife Layla and I have three children. Our older daughter came to us as a foster daughter when we were asked to be a transition home for her for a week. That time became 10 years! Now she is a teacher in a Christian school and has three beautiful children, my grandchildren.

Making a difference one child at a time is what Compassion has been doing in the DR for the last 46 years. My heart rejoices, knowing that we have reached so many children. Currently, more than 60,000 are receiving help through 175 church partners, thanks to sponsors like you. I am so grateful for your love and support for Elaina.

Some of our country-specific struggles include a high mortality rate in children under five and a high mortality rate for mothers in childbirth. Nearly 40 percent of the population is living in poverty, and 15 percent don’t have access to adequate drinking water.

Loren Eiseley wrote a story, often retold, about a man on a beach. He noticed someone else bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The other person was throwing starfish into the ocean, because the tide had washed them onto the beach, and they couldn’t return to the sea by themselves. In most versions, the observer tells the thrower he can’t possibly make a difference. The latter replies, after throwing another starfish as far as he could, ‘It made a difference for that one!’

This story reminds me of a boy who was found walking without shoes by a neighbor. His mother and grandmother had passed away; his father, cousin and aunt were working. The child slept on the floor; he used to eat at his neighbor’s. Nobody was taking care of him. That neighbor, who used to be a tutor in a Compassion child development center, saw his need and talents. She brought him to church. He found a sponsor, and now he has become a responsible, obedient Christian teenager who plays the piano at church and dreams of going to college. Isn’t it amazing how God uses us to change the life of a child?

As the children hear the Word of God, they have the opportunity to receive Jesus in their hearts, and their families do too. Our impoverished communities don’t have safe places for the children to play; they find that place at the center. Also, the children receive love, care, curriculum classes, meals and vocational training that equip them for a better future. This brings hope to our hearts.

The center is like the second home for the children, but having a sponsor is a unique blessing for each child. Children wait with all their heart for their sponsors’ letters. A sponsor becomes a friend that encourages them, tells them that they’re loved, that they are in their prayers, and also asks them in detail about their life, parents and school. This is a highlight of the program. I encourage you to write as often as possible.

Currently, in the DR we have more than 300 churches applying to open a Compassion center in their communities. In 2017, we want to provide new sponsorship opportunities to thousands of children in need in partnership with at least 16 new church partners. Also, after implementing more than 20 water-purification plants in the last five years, we want to help provide access to adequate water in at least three new communities in the next year.

Thank you for your commitment to help those who don’t have a voice. Thank you for your effort and support that make such a difference to Elaina. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him!

In Jesus, Kleber Lora”

Letter from Elaina

I received a letter last week from my Elaina, and it’s the first letter she’s written herself- always an exciting milestone! My dilemma with Elaina, is that sometimes, like in this one, her letters spell her name as Eliana. It’s common for kids to switch up spellings, especially the ones in Latin America, I’ve noticed, but this would change the pronunciation as well, so I want to make sure I’m getting it right. I’ve had Compassion sometimes list kids as going by a name that they don’t go by, so I’m wondering if there might have been a typo when they entered her name?

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Elaina is 7 and lives in the Dominican Republic

The letter uses the What I Like Best Template, but she left this side blank and didn’t fill it out 😉 I knew right away that she used marker, though, because you can see the marker coming through on the front! The letter says “Dear Alisa, Receive blessings! How are you? I’m well, thanks God. I want to tell you that I’m anxious and happy for the outing from the center to the Zoo. It has been of great happiness. I ask you to pray for me and my family. I will be praying for you. With love, Eliana”

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Letter from Elaina

Here is my latest letter from Elaina. I’ve been receiving quite a few letters from her lately and I’m loving it!

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Elaina is 7 and lives in the Dominican Republic

The letter uses the My Dreams template. Elaina marked that when she grows up she would like to be a doctor and someday she would like to meet me (“my sponsor”). Someday she would like to visit an amusement park and travel on a plane. The letter says: “Dear Alisa, Blessings. How are you? I’m very well, thank God. The weather in my country is a little rainy. I have never gone to the sea, but I do go to the beach. Thank you for the letter that you sent me. I liked it. I’d like to do a sleepover with you someday. I’m sorry about your grandmother. I ask you to pray for me and my family and I will pray for you.”

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I was actually about thisclose to going to the Dominican Republic this summer, which would have been last month, but in the end, the trip I made the very difficult decision to attend was to Guatemala this month. So hearing her say that she would like to meet me and have a sleepover plays on my guilt and pulls on my heartstrings. But ideally, I’ll get to visit the DR in the future, too. So Elaina, one day, I hope. I’d love to meet you, too.

Letters from Elaina

I’ve received 3 more letters from Elaina since my last update.

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Elaina is 7 and lives in the Dominican Republic

Her first letter used the “My Friends” template. I learned the name of her friend, and that they like to eat ice cream. She said her friend is special because she loves to share, and they met in their neighborhood. Her tutor writes “Dear Alisa, how are you? I hope you’re fine. The girl is fine, thank God. Thanks for the letter and stickers, she liked it. We have nice weather because Christmas is coming. She asks, how do you feel after surgery? She hopes you’re fine. Please pray for her. Regards.”

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Her second letter used the “Festivals and Holidays” template. Elaina’s favorite holiday is Christmas, she likes to eat chicken on Christmas and have dinner with her family. They celebrate New Years with relatives and friends. It says “Dear Alisa, Hello! How are you doing? This letter is written on behalf of Elaina. She is doing very well thank God. She hopes you are doing fine. Elaina lives with her father, grandmother, and sister. Who do you live with? She wants to know if you are doing better from your surgery. Please pray for her and her family. She will pray for you and your family.”

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The third letter came through just a few weeks after the second! It’s such a treat to get 2 letters from a child in one month! It used the “My Project” template. Elaina goes to her project 2 days a week. She usually eats oatmeal there. A typical activity is listening to Bible stories. It says “Hello dear Alisa, I am writing to you on behalf of your sponsored child Elaina. Blessings Alisa! The child is very well thank God. She wonders how are you? She hopes that you are very well. She thanks you for the picture that you sent to her and she liked it so much and she expects more. How did you spend Christmas? She spent it very well. She thanks you for the project’s dinner and bonus. She hopes that you pray for her and her family. She says goodbye to you with a lot of love.”

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Letter from Elaina

I received Elaina’s introductory letter! I may be having an opportunity to visit her in June, now that I know the June dates for the trip to the DR. I’ve always wanted to go to the DR, and I’ve sponsored Elaina slightly longer than Adali, but I feel that I’m cheating Adali if I choose Elaina over her. I’m praying about my decision that God guides me in the right direction. In the meantime, here’s a letter from this cutie!

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Elaina is 6 and lives in the Dominican Republic.

In her letter, I learned about her family, that she likes dolls, that she lives in the city, and that her house is made of blocks. Here is the letter:

Dear Alisa. Hello! How are you? I hope very well. I’m writing you on behalf of the child Elaina. She is very well, thanks God. She wants to share with you that she really likes vegetables and meat. She likes green color. She asks which one you like. Her favorite animals are dogs, and her favorite subject is math. She is greatly happy for your sponsorship. Thank you very much! I ask you to pray for her family and for her. She will remember you in her prayers. Yours, Elaina.

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Introducing Elaina

Just when I think I’m done for the time being, I’m reminded again that it’s not my plan; it’s God’s. This little sweetheart is my newest sponsored child, and I couldn’t be more in love. Somehow, some way, I ended up coming across her picture. Her radiant smile immediately caught my attention. But when I read her bio, I knew without a doubt, I was supposed to be the sponsor for Elaina. Elaina lives with only her father, mom is out of the picture, and her father is unemployed. I see this sweet little smiling 6 year old, her picturing showing how taken care of and loved she is, despite her family’s difficulties. I can only imagine how hard it must be for him, and my heart is so full of wanting to reach out to both Elaina and her father, helping and encouraging them, and letting them know that they matter and they are loved. It also so happens that the Dominican Republic has been on my heart for a long time, and I knew I wanted to eventually sponsor a child there, so with that being where Elaina is from, it was another sign of the puzzle pieces all fitting. I wrote to all of my kiddos last night, including Elaina’s first letter, as Mondays are letter writing days for me. But when I logged on this morning before work, I was shocked to see that Elaina’s letter had already gone through the translation process and was available to view as a completed letter! Wow! I feel so blessed to begin my journey with this sweet girl, and I pray that I am able to bless her and her father in the way that God has planned.

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