Mail Call!

The Act for Compassion Conference was absolutely amazing! So uplifting and inspiring. I will be sharing more on that soon, as I gather all of my thoughts and the information together.

I’ve received 2 new letters already online with the new letter writing system! One from my dear sweet little Elvis from Bolivia, and the other from my new correspondent child, Cristofer from Peru!

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From Elvis I got the All About Me form and I learned some more about him. I learned his parents names and his siblings names and ages. What he says he does really well is drawing, and yes he does! He is about 3’4″ tall, he has black hair and black eyes, and his favorite game is soccer.

Translation: Appreciated sponsor Alisa, we greet you with much affection in our Lord Jesus Christ’s name. Elvis is very thankful to you for the help you give him. He wants to be a policeman when he is older to help other people. His favorite Bible story is about Noah’s arc. He likes to go to school and his favorite subject is language. He asked with all his love and affection and with all his heart that you take care. He also asked you to pray for him. We hope to hear news from you soon. Until the next opportunity. We wish you a lot of success. God always bless and keep you. With much love and affection, Elvis and Eva (tutor)

So sweet how much love is sent through in this letter! I absolutely love it! Now I know that I can send him more things with Noah’s arc, and how cool is it that the name of his center is Arca de Noah? 🙂 And I can see how big his heart is already in that he wants to be a policeman to help other people. What really impressed me was the drawing. Wow! So much progress from his first letter, and so beautifully done for a 5 year old! Trust me, I work with 5 year olds, and not a lot of boys this age draw this neatly. He has a talent for sure! 🙂

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I just started my correspondence sponsorship with Cristofer in March, so I didn’t expect to hear from him already, but this letter was actually addressed to his financial sponsor still. She had sent him a financial gift as well, so it also came with the added bonus of a photo! I’m sad for her that she doesn’t get to see it, but I do love getting to see more of Cristofer and getting to know him a little!

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Translation: Dear Sponsor ******, I want to tell you I am praying for you so God will bless you. I thank you for your gift of *****. I bought clothes. I want to ask you: How are you? How will you spend Christmas? I also want to tell you I am happy because I passed to 4th grade. I know, with the help of God, I will make progress and I will be an outstanding pupil. I say goodbye sending greetings and kisses for all of you. God bless you!! Cristofer

How great that he was able to get some new cartoon shirts with her gift- what boy doesn’t love those?? It sounds like he has a great little head on his shoulders, and I will definitely be praying for God to help him be an outstanding pupil too! And what a sweet drawing. I  love the smiley face on the sun! I’ll have to ask him if he has a bike that likes to ride!

Letters from Elvis

I have received 2 letters so far from Elvis’ center. The first one was from his pastor and the second from him, written with the help of his tutor, of course. I’m not going to post the pastor’s letter because of how long it is, but it’s very nice and was very informative to read. It also made me feel good to hear from someone who is right there working with Elvis, his family, and the other kids and families in the program. The city areas of Bolivia can be quite dangerous, and I’m so glad they have a safe, loving place to be where they can learn about God.

The picture that Elvis drew in his letter is the cutest and makes me so happy! All of that detail is amazing. He was probably still 4 when he drew it. As an early childhood teacher, you have to really work hard to get that much detail out of a lot of kids. I could just picture him drawing and coloring away with enthusiasm, excited to share with me, just as I’m excited to share with him in each of my letters to him.

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Letter 1:

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Translation: Dear sponsor, We greet you with the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who writes this letter is Elvis’ tutor. He and his family are thankful for choosing him and decided to be his sponsor. Elvis is a happy kid and thank God he is doing well. He likes to play soccer, and with his little cars. He also likes to watch cartoons on the TV. His favorite fruits are banana and watermelon. His favorite meal or dish chicken soup. He likes to draw and color, so when he does it he is so enthusiastic and with all his effort. We hope to know more about you soon and Elvis will know more about you through these letters. Until the next opportunity, With love, Elvis and his tutor. Prayer Request: He will be praying for you and for blessings. May God bless and care you, and we hope you will be doing well in everything.

A Connection and Prayer for a Child

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I received my packet for sweet Angeles in the mail yesterday and I was so excited! I’ve already sent her a couple emails, so this isn’t my first letter, but I’m sending my first handwritten letter in the mail to her. Not a ton of goodies this time, but in a week or so I’m going to be sending a special batch of letters to each of my kiddos with some goodies, so this will be good for now, plus I designed my own stationary for the letter- hope she likes it!

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While my current position in work is far from what I want to be doing or where my heart is, and I’m facing a lot of adversity and negativity day in and day out, the one thing that I don’t hate about it is the sweet little kids I work with, and some days like today I’m reminded that I am still making a difference, albeit a different one than I’m used to. The students in the classroom I work with in the morning are from families that come from Mexico, have Spanish as their first language, and are learning English, although most of them can talk to me in English by now with no problems, which is good, because my Spanish is very limited. As a bonus part time teacher in the classroom, I work with 2 students who need extra help especially, but I work with all of the students too. Having been moved to this position in the middle of the year, it took me some time to get to know all the faces, names, and personalities. One little guy I remember as one of the kids that stood out to me early on, though.

I guess you could say that if I was looking at a page of children waiting to be sponsored, he would be the one that I would be drawn to. Something about that face has such innocence, but wears such a burden on it at the same time. In the beginning of the year he barely talked, and even now he can be very quiet sometimes, but he has started talking more. And when he smiles, I can’t help but smile too. He’s been struggling a lot in math lately, as we’ve been progressing further. It’s not for lack of working hard, because I see how hard he works and tries, it just takes him longer than the majority of the class, and because he’s so quiet, he can easily slip through the cracks. I’ve taken him under my wing since I’ve started there, spending time many days kneeling by his side, guiding and encouraging. When I see the despair on his face through math, it breaks my heart. I give him extra high fives and have him “move his clip up” when he completes a hard problem or I see him giving it his all. Sometimes just a look and a smile goes a long way. I’ve seen the chance in his disposition when I do all of this.

Today as the children were working independently in math and I walked around the room checking in, I saw him with his head down on the table. I kneeled down beside him. He had shut down, at first not answering my questions at all. Completely overwhelmed at what he had to do, feeling hopeless. I patted him on the shoulder, gently, to let him know I understood. Slowly, patiently, I continued and he started to answer me, not with words, but by pointing cautiously with his pencil. I’d encourage him each time, and was so proud to see as we continued to progress with the problems, he got the answer correct each time. I made sure to give him lots of “good jobs” and smiles along the way. When we got to the end, I held my hand up and he gave me a big high five while I told him how awesome he is. “See,” I said, “you did it! You’re smart, ____. You really are smart. You know how to do all of this. You did it.” His face lit up as he beamed with pride, and I was busting in pride inside for him. If nothing else, if I can instill confidence in this little guy, if I can make him believe that he can do anything he sets his mind to, I will have done something meaningful.

I then looked at him and noticed what he was wearing today, which brings me to where this story connects. He was wearing a thin white turtle neck, just like my Elvis is in his picture. Looking slightly disheveled as well, he was also wearing navy blue pants with it.

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I realized how easily this little guy in front of me could be Elvis. And they’re only a year, maybe a year and a half, apart in age. I thought about how my prayers and dreams for Elvis have been that he believes that he can do or be whatever he wants, without feeling any limitations. I can’t be there to hug Elvis in person, or to high five him, or share a smile. But hopefully through Compassion and through my letters, I can still have that impact on him.

Linking up with

November Joy through the Tears

I am going through some things both with my personal life and work right now that, especially in November, have made it at times a month I wish was over with already. Looking back at the month now, though, I can see that the call I felt to sponsor children came from God specifically this month as a way to help me through it. I can feel Him saying “I know you’re suffering my child. But I know how much you love children. I’m calling you to share your love with some of my children who are in need the most, and through this, you will find comfort and joy.” And that I did.

I started sponsoring 3 little sweethearts this month and on those days and at those times that were especially hard, I looked at their pictures and smiled. When I was suffering, I thought about their suffering and prayed for them and their families. I found joy and excitement in sending them letters and getting information packages.

First Maria pulled at my heartstrings, that face so full of cautious hope. Then Elvis and his thumbs up reminded me of all my loving little guys I teach and rendered me unable to pass him up. Finally, as a way to pay it forward on my birthday, I couldn’t resist Angeles’ sweet, kind smile.

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As a side note, things at my job that have been boiling for awhile are really coming to a head right now, so if you have a few seconds to spare a prayer, I would appreciate it more than I can say.

I’m linking this post up with Compassion Family’s Compassion Joy Dare. Check out the other posts!

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The Little Man who Stole My Heart

Excited about sponsorship, I started reading blogs and others’ experiences. Which got me even more excited. I longed to sponsor more. Somehow or another, I ended up on Compassion’s website wanting to browse. I searched by the children who had been waiting the longest, because my heart broke for them that they would have to wait so long while their friends were being sponsored, that they and their families might begin to doubt and question. As I scrolled through the faces, I wished I could help them all. But once face in particular shouted right out to me and took my heart on the spot. There was no denying that the 4 year old boy named Elvis from Bolivia with the toothless smile and a thumbs up would be my newest sponsored child. I couldn’t believe that people could have passed up this face for 277 days!

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As an early childhood teacher, I absolutely love 4 year old boys. And as I told him in my first letter to him, when I saw his thumbs up, I knew we were going to get along great! I just want to scoop him up and squeeze him right now!!

But Elvis, sweetheart, know that while we’re separated by distance, I’m still embracing you in hugs of love and prayers. I can’t wait to get to see more of your beautiful personality and spirit come out through your letters that I get a glimpse of through this photo. Love you, buddy!