Letter from Ingrid

This is the second of the back-to-back letters I received from Ingrid, and it’s such a fantastic, long letter!

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Ingrid is 7 and lives in Guatemala

“Dear Sponsor, Ingrid greets you with love. She loves you so much. She sends you kisses. May God keep you from danger. Regarding your questions: Ingrid says that she is thankful to her family and for having a sponsor like you. Ingrid says that her Christmas was so happy along with her family, uncles, and aunts. It was so much fun. Her Christmas tradition is eating tamales. She likes it a lot. She also drinks hot fruit punch, and it is delicious. Ingrid says that there are Christmas trees decorated with lights. She loves the lights because there are different colors. Ingrid says that her New Year 2018 resolution is going to church with her parents and staying in the paths of the Lord. She also wants to get good grades at school and pass her grade. Ingrid says that you answered her questions in your last letter. She is glad to know your favorite food and fruits. She is glad that you work with children that are her same age. She says that she likes Bible stories and plays dolls and teddy bears with her friends during recess at school and the project. Ingrid says that she has a favorite Bible verse, Psalm 4:8. Her mom reads it every night before going to sleep. She sends greetings for your students. She loves the pictures of the kids and the school work they do. Ingrid says goodbye with lots of love. She asks you to pray for her family that God bless them at work and give them health. Ingrid would like to know: what is your favorite color? What is your favorite Bible character? Ingrid thanks you for being her sponsor, and for the pictures and letters you have sent her.”

Letter from Evelin and a Photo Update!

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Evelin’s photo update, and was so excited when I saw it! I had the amazing pleasure of spending a day with Evelin in July when I visited Guatemala, and in this is photo she is radiating all the same confidence, intelligence, kindness, and beauty that I saw that day. Here are her old and new photos:

Evelin is 9 and lives in Guatemala.

The letter uses the My Favorites template. Her favorite food and drink (given the choices) are eggs and milk. Her favorite color is purple and her favorite Bible character is Noah. The letter says “Hello! Evelin greets you with love. She thanks you for the present you sent her in February; with this money she bought a beautiful pair of shoes. Evelin wants you to know she hopes to pass all of her classes and attends a church called “Ebeneezer”. There is an apple tree near the house and she wants to learn more about God. For Christmas, her family eats together as a tradition and there are lots of decorated trees and houses. Evelin asks: What is the name of the church you attend? Evelin says goodbye.”

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Letter from Ingrid

I received two back to back letters from Ingrid! Here is the first one.

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Ingrid is 7 and lives in Guatemala

The letter uses the My Favorites template. Her favorite foods (out of the choices) are eggs and rice. Her favorite drinks are milk and coffee. Her favorite colors are purple and yellow, and her favorite Bible characters are Jonah and Moses. The letter says “Ingrid sends you greetings with affection and she thanks you for the letter you sent her. She answers your questions. She lives in a place called Cantel a village of the state of Quetzaltenango. Ingrid says that the animals that live in the trees are birds and squirrels. The fruits that are planted in her area are apples, plums, and pears; and the vegetables are broccoli, broad beans, tomato, and cauliflower. She says goodbye with affection. Sincerely Ingrid (written by her tutor Maria)”

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Letter from Ingrid

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Ingrid is 6 and lives in Guatemala.

The letter uses the My School template. At school, Ingrid learns how to write and sing. At recess time, she likes to play. At break time, she likes to drink juice. The letter says “Ingrid sends you greetings. She wishes you peace and love from God in your life. Ingrid thanks you for the letter and pictures you sent her; she likes them very much. She hopes that you like Guatemala and her Child Development Center. She wishes you could have said hello to each other in person. Her 3 wishes are to have a happy family, more work for her dad, and to visit other countries. Ingrid likes to eat fruits and vegetables. Ingrid says goodbye with a warm hug.”

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I’m praying for more work for her father and happiness for her family.

Letters from Evelin and Family Photos!

Since visiting Evelin, she has been writing very frequently! I love it, and I love how she still mentions our time together. It means so much to me that it meant so much to her. I can’t wait until I’m able to travel back to Guatemala to visit again in a future year, because this girl and her country absolutely have my heart!

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The first letter was about her medical checkup. It was held at the project and her mother took her. She received talks about how to wash her hands and how to brush her teeth. The letter also had a second page attached so more could be written 🙂 All together, it says “Hello Dear Alisa, Evelin is very excited about writing to you. She loved having met you in person. Evelin wants you to take good care of yourself. She loves you very much! She thanks you for the very nice card, she loved it! What is your grandmother’s name? To answer the questions that you asked, 1. The weather is hot and sometimes it is cold. 2. She has been to the ocean once. 3. Her grandmother is doing very well and in good health. 4. She wants the children from other countries to know that Guatemala is beautiful. 5. Evelin would advise children her age to behave very well. Evelin has learned math and she thinks that other children should also learn it.”

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The second letter uses the template My Community. A common job in Evelin’s community is teacher, they harvest fruits and vegetables, and they have a specific market day. Cars are used and most houses are made of adobe. It says “Dear Sponsor Alisa, Hello! Evelin thanks you for the letter and the pictures. She wants you to know that her house is surrounded by flowers and some trees. She says goodbye and wishes you a beautiful day! Evelin”

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The last letter was after an inquiry for a gift that I had sent 6 months prior and hadn’t received photos from. I was thrilled to get two photos of her and her family, and to get a glimpse of their house. I got to meet her mom on our visit day, so it was really cool to see what her dad and siblings look like. I knew her siblings names and ages and was able to send gifts for them too, and now I get to put faces with the names.

“Dear Sponsor Alisa, How are you? Evelin hopes you are very well. She wants to thank you for the nice gift you sent in May. She could buy food supplies for her family, clothes for her, nice leggings, a dress, and a blouse she liked a lot. She wants you to know that classes at school are over. She is on vacation now. She will return to school at the end of January next year. In the meantime, she likes to play a lot. She enjoys playing. She has time for getting ready for her next school cycle. She loves you so much and she wants you to know that she always thinks about you. She sends you hugs. Please pray for her studies. Do you like hot weather? Are you ok? She wants to thank you for her gifts and your love.

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The line “She loves you so much and she wants you to know that she always thinks about you” just melts my heart…

Letter from Evelin About our Day Together!

My first letter from Evelin since my visit to Guatemala to meet her had been in translation for almost a month, and it was a challenging wait. But I was so excited when it finally came through! I also have another letter from her in translation, which I will hopefully get to read soon too. It was well worth the wait, though, because she talked all about our day together at the zoo and it was wonderfully sweet! I think back to how much I prayed about which child from Guatemala to sponsor and which country to visit this summer. Each step of the way, God brought me to this special girl. I think about how it was an instant connection when we saw each other. I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t possibly love her any more than I do.

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Evelin is 8 and lives in Guatemala.

“Hello Dear Friend, Evelin is writing to thank you for visiting her. She thinks that it is a great blessing to have you here, in her country, and being able to meet you, because she was not expecting such a great surprise. May God bless you for your great love. Evelin wants to thank you for your gift which was a doll and a coloring book. She really liked the stickers as well as the map of where you live, the notepad and the crayons. She also wants to thank you for the English book and the prayer book, because she is using them in her backpack. She wants to tell you that you look very pretty and she really likes your hair. She wants to thank you for taking her to the zoo with you. She really liked the elephant and the giraffe that she fed. It made her very happy. She is especially grateful for having spent time with you. She thanks you for all of the love that you have given her and she says that she loves you very much. She asks you to pray for her family so that God will bless them and will watch over them. She wants to know what is the name of your dad, your mom, and your brother? She wants to thank you for your beautiful gifts and for your love.”

 

My heart is so full and I am a very blessed sponsor!

Letter from the Country Director of Guatemala

This week I’m sharing the Country Director letter from Guatemala. This one is especially near and dear to my heart, since I just traveled there in July, falling in love with the country and all Compassion is doing there. I will forever support and be an advocate for Compassion Guatemala, and I feel I’ll be back to visit one day, too. I hope so! I sponsor Evelin and Ingrid in GU.

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“Dear Alisa, My name is JosĂ© Carlos Prem, and I have been the country director of Guatemala for eight years. I am a chemical engineer, and I also graduated from the Central American Theological Seminary.

Compassion started working in Guatemala after a terrible earthquake in 1976, and it was officially registered in 1989. We currently have almost 200 church partners that are helping us release more than 53,000 children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

I want to express how very grateful I am for your thoughtful sensitivity in ministering to Evelin and Ingrid in Guatemala. I feel certain that your contributions represent a decision you did not make quickly or lightly, and I want you to know how much it means to Evelin and Ingrid. I am able to see firsthand the work of Compassion in the most impoverished communities around the country. I see how our children speak and show the love of Jesus to their families and those around them. I have also seen how a timely intervention can save a child’s life.

I like to ask our children what they like best about attending a child development center. Many say that they get to play; some say that they like to hear Bible stories. But one child told me his favorite thing was getting a plate of food and being able to ask for a second one if he was still hungry.

This child was able to see God’s love through a plate of food, or in this case, two plates of food. Hunger is just one of the many problems our children and their families have to overcome daily. It is an overwhelming reality, but we decided to focus on five of our most urgent needs: violence, child abuse, malnutrition, parents’ unemployment, and poor access to health care.

Official statistics show that in our country, one out of two children under five has chronic malnutrition. Guatemala is the fifth most violent country in the world, and there are more than 3,500 reports of child abuse every year. More than half our population lives in poverty, and there is only one doctor for every 5,000 people. These facts are devastating and may discourage people, but for us they are a reminder that there are still many things we can do to continue the work that Jesus started here on earth.

In developmental work, resources are not always enough to meet the needs. That is why we are working with strategic alliances. Some of these alliances are providing purified water to distant communities and offering vocational training, counseling, pastor training, and youth discipleship.

Thanks to sponsors, all our efforts become more meaningful to these children. They know that somewhere in the world there is someone who cares about them. Letters are especially important in fostering this bond. As children grow, they understand how important a sponsor is to their lives. I met a little girl who lost both of her parents. When her sponsor found out, she decided to become a motherly figure and a role model for her little sponsored girl. In two years, the girl received dozens of letters, and she told me she felt the love of a mother through her sponsor’s words. It makes our children feel special and loved when they know someone took time to think of them and write them. Please write your child as often as possible.

Please pray for our future plans as we move toward growth in the ministry. In the last four years, we have grown from 30,000 to more than 53,000 children, and in the coming years, we are expecting even bigger growth.

Thank you for following God’s direction and for expressing, through your sponsorship, your devotion to Evelin and Ingrid.

Thankfully, JosĂ© Carlos Prem”

 

Those 5 most urgent needs that he discusses are very much hallmarks of what they focus on. They represent each one with a different color in order to help remember them better. During our tour, we focused on and learned more about a different social problem, as our leader called them, each day. Each day, the leaders and translators would all wear the color of that problem, to further drive home the point and help link it with memory. We also received a multi-colored hacky sack ball among our gifts from the country office, which has each of these 5 colors on it. It’s a great reminder now, being home, of the social problems whenever I look at it. In addition to being the fifth most violent country in the world, Guatemala also has the fifth highest rate of malnutrition in the world (and the four above it are all from Africa). I was surprised to hear that, as well as many other statistics, but it shows just how important Compassion’s work in this country is- and they are doing an amazing job!