Bringing Gifts to my Sponsored Children

I leave for Honduras tomorrow!!

Long before I was ready to pack for this trip, the thought of it just stressed me out. I can tell you now, actually having been going through it, that the act of packing is no less stressful. It’s funny to me now that I was worried about packing all of the gifts for one child and for centers when I went to Guatemala. This time I had to pack gifts for 13 children, plus small family gifts for each of their families!

I did have a blast shopping for all of them, though. There are some things that are consistent for every child. Each one is getting two shirts, a bathing suit, and a stuffed animal (I figure any age loves a stuffed animal to hug, right?) I went through and assembled each bag, took pictures of its contents, and then disassembled everything to pack it as tight as possible. The pictures will help me to reassemble everything when I get to Honduras! Here is what I packed for each child, starting with the boys:

Brayan, age 5:

rbthvuOUTS6bPkqNW7bodA_thumb_3f3b

a purple shirt (his favorite color), a striped shirt, a pair of swimming trunks, a toy train, a blue superhero cape, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a stuffed goat, a fidget spinner, and a paw print bag (these are the same ones my students got at our school picnic, which I figure the kids will get a kick out of)

Diego, age 6:

Y1XY3dFnR6mnCrnmcLhg3A_thumb_3f33

a dinosaur shirt (he’s a dinosaur fan), a Chicago Bears shirt, swimming trunks, a large toy car, a blue superhero cape, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a stuffed dinosaur that makes noise, a fidget spinner, and a paw print bag

Yeyson, age 9:

nyVRCDaqRRaQVVdiwG%kXw_thumb_3f32

a blue shirt (his favorite color), a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, swimming trunks, a stuffed dog, a harmonica, an Angry Birds kite, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paw print bag

Junior, age 10:

U9Ui01NlQvSSvcKEp789sg_thumb_3f34

a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, a future rocket scientist shirt, swimming trunks, dominoes, a harmonica, a stuffed horse, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paw print bag

Cristian, age 12:

beb3OOpBRbONcaUZEz16BA_thumb_3f3f

a Rainforest Cafe from Downtown Disney shirt, an Old Navy shirt, swimming trunks, a stuffed dog, glow in the dark stars with removable putty, a bag of marbles, a fidget spinner, a Jesus loves me bracelet, dominoes, and a paw print bag

And now onto the girls… Angie, age 3 (and the youngest of all my children):

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3f37

a pink bathing suit, a kitten shirt, a yellow floral shirt, a stuffed cow, a mermaid doll, two ponies, a reversible sequin bracelet, a Shimmer and Shine doll with a locket keychain, and a summer tote bag

Greysi, age 3:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3f39

a pink bathing suit, a red and white striped shirt, a rainbow shirt, a stuffed deer, a Shimmer and Shine doll and locket keychain, two ponies and hair accessories, a barbie, a reversible sequin bracelet, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a summer tote bag

Valery, will be 4 by the time I meet her:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3f3d

A stars bathing suit, a blue and white daisy shirt, a planets and sun shirt, a stuffed rainbow tiger, a reversible sequin bracelet, a barbie, a Shimmer and Shine doll and locket keychain, a mermaid doll and some little fish friends (when she mentioned in her latest letter that the animal she wanted to see in person was a mermaid, I had to find something related to give her), a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a paisley tote bag

Helen, age 8:

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_3f36

a rainbow bathing suit, a Frozen shirt, a chambray and lace shirt, a stuffed pegasus, a Minion journal with a lock and keys and extra stickers (more on the back, too) and a pen (I loved these sets from Walmart!), a turquoise choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a barbie, a flamingo tote bag

Jenny, age 8:

TajnbZxIQJG1zOVHpky+NQ_thumb_3f2c

a pink bathing suit, a white tribal shirt, an Olaf Frozen shirt, a stuffed horse (she has a real horse at home), a Frozen journal with a lock and keys and a pen and extra stickers, a turquoise choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a barbie, and a flamingo tote bag

Ludvi, age 10 (as of yesterday!):

6qvp2t7%Qn++TXB1FEPdug_thumb_3f2b

a tropical bathing suit, a chambray and lace shirt, a blue floral shirt, a journal set of 3 notebooks of different sizes, a turquoise choker, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a barbie, a stuffed unicorn, a Jesus loves me bracelet, and a pink striped purse

Heidy, age 12:

AxSkHnbUSHWkn9ep4IJRKA_thumb_3f30

a mermaid bathing suit, a black shirt with an attached necklace, a tribal fringe shirt, a stuffed dog, a brown choker, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a set of 3 pouches/cosmetic bags of different sizes, a journal set of 3 notebooks of different sizes, a Jesus loves me bracelet, embroidery floss to make friendship bracelets with instructions, a black Old Navy purse

Maria, age 13 (my oldest Manna child):

DrmJel0xT%2G0joQdP1GyQ_thumb_3f2f

a pink tie-dye bathing suit, a polka dot chambray shirt, a coral draped tank top, a pineapple “pura vida” journal, a set of 3 pouches/cosmetic bags of different sizes, a stuffed penguin, a brown choker, a Jesus loves me bracelet, a set of 5 rolls of washi tape, a thirty-one bag (really excited about that find)

Then there were the family gifts, which I needed 12 of, because Yeyson and Greysi are the same family, so they only need one family gift between them. I’m giving each family a set of 4 plastic cups, a bamboo wooden spoon or spatula, and a dish towel.

I’ll be assembling them once I get in Honduras, and they’ll look something like this:

pqLYJvJgS8q1eZ7METWQAw_thumb_3f40

I also made tags for each child’s bag, but I forgot to attach them before I packed the bags, oops! So they’re packed, along with more ribbon, to attach in Honduras:

yHaExJ5sQTKA7OJkeZ8w2Q_thumb_3f38

When you look at each of the individual pictures, it doesn’t seem like much, but when you put it all together, it really is!! This is a glimpse at what only part of my suitcase looks like:

iXfLY1U%TwWVeCAbGMh4VQ_thumb_3f42

Yeah, yikes! Here’s hoping my bag doesn’t weigh over the weight limit… I can’t wait to give these gifts to my beloved children and most importantly spend time with them!

SaveSave

Letters from Junior

Junior and Heidy, two of my kiddos from Mi Betania, another church through Manna 4 Lempira, are two that I can always count on for long letters, extra letters, and incredible sweetness. Not that I don’t get those things from the others, also, but I get it consistently every time with these two.

30515786_982723195211285_8759535957096529920_o

Junior is 10

“This moment is wonderful to take this pen and paper in my hands to tell you that my family and I are well here in Honduras and that you re well with your dear family. I thank God for the privilege He gives me to write you another letter. It is to tell you that I finished my vacation week. Monday, the 17th of the same month, I returned to classes. I tell you that in this Holy Week, I did not swim in the river. One day I went to see my aunt, my father’s sister. One day I went to visit my mother’s sisters. I walked with my sisters and my three nephews/nieces. My favorite games are soccer, marbles, and to walk in the neighborhood. I love to see you and your students in the photo. I would rejoice for you to come visit so I can meet you so we can shake hands and I could give you my hug. My mother and I are praying for you. I pray a lot for you that God blesses you each day. May God protect on your trip to our country, Honduras. Receive this letter with much appreciation. Receive hugs and kisses through the distance. May God bless you today, tomorrow, and always.”

He didn’t know I was coming to visit when he wrote this, obviously, so to hear him say that he was already praying for my visit there is still pretty incredible for me to think of. Junior always tells me he wants me to come visit, but to hear him specifically say he’s praying for protection on my trip, which he had no clue about, shows me I’m clearly on the right path with this trip.

“I greet you with much love and affection, hoping that God keeps you well. Well, after this short greeting, I continue. I tell you that it is already almost Christmas. We make tamales, bread, and pork. We set off firecrackers on the 31st. We blow up a doll with firecrackers. I would like to know how you celebrate Christmas in your country. It is also near the time of coffee harvest where we can earn money to help our parents. We enjoy cutting coffee. I go with my brother and my father. My mother takes care of my niece. Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year! May God shower you with many blessings. With much love and affection, Junior”

IMG_3104

“Hello my dear sponsor! I am happy for your wonderful gift. i am grateful to God and to you for the gift you sent me. Thanks a lot! May God continue blessing the lives of you and your family. I hope that you receive this short letter. My family and I are very well. My parents, siblings, nephews, and I have been very well. I am on my vacations, but I return to classes on February 15. I am going to 5th grade. I will enjoy my backpack, my notebooks and my shoes. I tell you that I go to the field to cut coffee because we are in coffee season. Thanks to God He is giving us health and intelligence to cut gallons. We earn money to buy sweets and cookies and to take them to school. I hope to meet you, dear Alisa, so that I can put my arms around you and give you many hugs. My mama also says that she wants to meet you. I am now going to say goodbye. May God continue blessing Betania. We will receive you with open arms. These are my few words. Receive many hugs and kisses through the distance. I love you very much. I miss you.”

“My favorite animal is the elephant. I like them because they have big trunks. I also like lions, tigers, and dogs. I would like to see a lion in person. I only have a dog at home. I love you very much. I ask God to continue pouring blessing on your life and the lives of all your family. I also ask your prayers for me. I am very grateful for everything you have given me because all of it is useful. Thanks a lot! TKM (te quiero mucho)- I love you very much”

IMG_3115

 

Just yesterday I learned (as some of the team is already in Honduras and visiting the churches), that Junior experienced a bad truck accident in May and he’s still recovering. Manna 4 Lempira is such a blessing, because they’re getting him in to see a specialist next month. The doctors at the hospital think he will continue to recover. I was shocked and devastated to hear the news, but so thankful that he is alive and that it could have been so much worse. I’m so eager to go give him hugs and encouragement in whatever condition he’s in, and I can’t help but think, again, that the timing of my trip isn’t an accident.

Photo Friday: New Photos of my Manna Betania and Quelacasque Children

15 days until I arrive in Honduras with Manna 4 Lempira! It’s exciting how close it is! I leave tomorrow for another trip, and then when I get back I get to start packing to go see these awesome kids. I hope everything fits!

Heidy, 12, was my first sponsored Manna child, so she’s very special to me. In the over 2 years that I’ve sponsored her, I’ve watched her grow and blossom into a more confident young lady. She still has the kindest heart. In both of these pictures, which were taken on separate days, she is wearing a dress I sent her.

Junior, 10, has never stopped smiling in the 2 years I’ve “known” him. He is such a joyful personality and I can’t wait to see it in person! He is looking so much more grown up in these latest photos.

Diego, 6, is the one out of all of my Manna children that I’ve seen the least photos of and gotten the least letters from. I’m hoping getting to meet him and his family in person will strengthen their attendance at church and the program. I didn’t receive a photo of him this time.

Jenny, 8, is my only Quelacasque child. I won’t be there for the church visit and fun day for Quelacasque, unfortunately, but thankfully she still will get to join along on one of the other fun days so that we still get to meet each other. I haven’t sponsored her for very long, yet, but sometimes she looks like she bears a burden. I’m so happy to see her big smile here!

30656929_983319715151633_6099192729592397824_o

Photo Friday: New Photos of Heidy, Junior, and Diego!

The next new Manna 4 Lempira photos I’m sharing are of my children who attend the Mi Betania feeding center in rural Honduras.

First is Junior, who I’ve had as a correspondent for over a  year and a half, and I have never seen this boy without a smile. He is just amazing!

27503322_945139972302941_6382266787126408584_o

I was blessed with some extra photos of my 9 year old Junior. I love getting to see him open his backpack! Two of the other boys in his very large family happen to be sponsored by the family who runs the Manna program. I didn’t know this until after I chose him, and it has often meant extra photos, which I happily treasure!

Next is beautiful Heidy, my first Manna child. This newly 12 year old girl has my heart.

Her confidence in that smile and pose mean the world to me. Last year, the barbie doll was definitely her favorite of the things I sent her. This year I picked out an Anna from Frozen barbie, because I know she is an Anna fan!

And then there’s Diego, a more recently sponsored child and one I actually have the fewest pictures of. I was so eager to see new pictures of him, and these certainly did not disappoint!

Diego is 5 and so stinkin’ cute. I hope he loves the soccer ball. He had been waiting a long time for a sponsor when I chose him, so to see him with my letter and the backpack I sent him makes me very happy. Plus he’s wearing yellow and a dinosaur! Clearly we’re meant to be connected! 🙂

 

Letter from Junior

Last month I received an envelope full of joy- it contained letters from 9 of my Manna 4 Lempira children! Since I had just sponsored Jenny, I knew I wouldn’t have a letter from her, so out of my other children, the only one I didn’t receive a letter from was Diego. While I would’ve loved to hear from him, I was so happy to read through the love that had traveled from Honduras. Here is the first of these letters, from Junior:

19787331_836585616491711_1976722124131258879_o

Junior is 9 and lives in the Mi Betania community of Lempira, Honduras.

“How are you? My dear godmother, I hope that you are doing well in your daily labors. I tell you that I like to play soccer with my friends and play hide and seek. I tell you that I had exams this week in school, and I hope that I got good grades. I feel happy that the month of September is near in which we will celebrate the Day of the Child and Independence Day here in my country. I hope to hear from you soon my dear godmother. I am thankful for all you have sent me. I hope to meet you soon. God bless you. Hugs across the distance.”

IMG_3174

Photo Friday

I’m happy to have a few new photos of some of my Honduran kids to share on this Photo Friday!

When looking back through old Manna 4 Lempira videos, I found Cristian making silly faces in one! I think this video came out before I sponsored him, and I never went back and watched it until now. Here are a few screenshots:

Also from Manna 4 Lempira, I got to see some new photos of Junior. Never one to shy away from a camera, Junior always seems to find himself in front of it!

Here he is on the right with family, as they opened letters received:

And here he is getting his medical check up when the team visited during the summer. What’s cool is that I also have photos from his medical check up last year, too!

 

Photo Friday

In Honduras, our Manna 4 Lempira children celebrated the Day of the Child at their centers. We were able to receive photos/videos of them having fun! I got to see a couple of my kiddos celebrating.

I caught some glimpses of Junior in the Mi Betania video (he’s in the yellow shirt):

I almost missed Cristian in the El Tablon video, but caught him the second time around (in the white shirt):

And the Mercedes centers posted photos, where I got to see several of Ludvi!

I’m guessing that’s one of her sisters that she’s holding.

Yeyson was pictured writing a letter in a photo at his center recently, too. I can’t wait to receive it from him!

21083061_1625274167503451_9083767146354740204_o

And finally, I’ve been getting to see lots more posted pictures of the United with Hope tutoring program in India, where Ramya attends. The amount of photos I receive of her is truly massive, and I love it! Here are just some of my favorites: