Meet Luna, and a Challenge

IMG_2345

This beautiful girl is Luna. She is 12 years old and from Colombia, and we share the same birthday. She is the newest addition to my Compassion sponsored children. Here’s what happened… Last night, as I was reviewing my sponsorship campaign site (more on that in a minute), I felt inexplicably drawn to browse through the children waiting for sponsors. It always pulls on my heartstrings when I see pictures of these children, and I like to pray for them that they find the right sponsors and soon. However, when I saw Luna’s picture, I felt something else; something more. I saw her and I knew, she had to be my newest Compassion daughter. I’ve found with my other children, that when you feel a strong pulling towards a child, as I’m sure any of you sponsors do, that that is the hand of God. Still, I decided to pray. I prayed that if Luna was supposed to be mine, that God would let me know by keeping this calling in my heart. I walked away and did other things to see if when I came back, I still felt that calling. Well, I did. I had it within my means to take on another sponsorship and still be ok, at least right now, so I clicked through to start the sponsorship and immediately I felt a combination of excitement and peace. You see, I have an income through the rest of the summer, but I chose to resign from my current teaching job at the end of May due to many changes to the district and practices that affected me and my students this year that I am not comfortable with. I don’t currently have a job lined up yet for the fall, although I am actively working on it. It is quite scary, leaving a job without having another one lined up, but it is a huge exercise in trusting in God.

Considering all of this, I thought back to one sponsor who shared her story this past weekend during the Act for Compassion Conference. After saying the Lord’s Prayer one day, she reflected on the line “give us this day our daily bread”. She realized that she had more than enough, and she wasn’t giving God the opportunity to truly provide her daily bread, since she had enough to provide it herself and more. As a result, she felt called to sponsor a large number of children, and ever since, God has provided and she has miraculously had enough to fund their sponsorships month after month. Her amazing story really stuck with me. And if she could sponsor many, many more children, I could certainly sponsor Luna, and trust that God will help to provide us both our daily bread.

Which brings me to my sponsorship campaign. After the conference, I was inspired to create a campaign through Act for Compassion, with a goal of getting 5 children sponsors. Now, thanks to a push from God, I have 1 child out of 5 sponsored. So, I challenge you this: whether you’re already a sponsor or not, I challenge you to take a leap of faith and put your trust in God to sponsor a new child. My page features children who have been waiting the longest, but you can specify more or other search conditions within the page. Just click this image below to get to it:

act for compassion

Just look at some of the beautiful faces who have been waiting so long to hear those life changing words that they’ve been sponsored:

waiting children

Who will you release from poverty?

Linking up with:

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.

BO4150992-Fullshot-200w

Letter 1:

elvisletter.jpg

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.

Upcoming Conference and Letters from Maria

It’s been awhile since I said I would post the received letters. I went on vacation a couple weeks ago and was very busy with the packing and planning before that, but I guess better late than never!

I also am so excited that I’m going to the Act for Compassion Conference in 2 weeks! When I saw it shared and found out that it’s actually quite close to where I live in the Chicagoland area, I couldn’t believe it! I know it was a sign that I was meant to go, so I registered right away. I can’t wait, because I know it’ll be an amazing and powerful weekend, filled with people with the same values and passions as mine.

I’m going to share the letters I’ve received so far from Maria first. Maria is the child I sponsor through World Vision, and I have to say, I receive far more letters from her than my Compassion kiddos. Since I started sponsoring her in November, I’ve already received 6. The first 2 came a day apart, and the last 2 came together on the same day- that was such an exciting surprise! I absolutely adore how she traces her hand on each letter. I can hold my hand up to hers and pray for her. And I hope as she gets bigger, she’ll still do it and I can see her growth. It’s such a sweet, personal touch.

170890-UWSV_20151029_022709_CGP

Letter 1:

FullSizeRender 31.jpg

Translation: Hello! This is Maria. I like to paint and to play at school. I am the flag bearer of my class color guard. I will attend elementary school soon. How are you? Are you fine? I hope you continue writing to me. I say goodbye. See you soon! I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (My mother helped me write this letter.)

Letter 2:

FullSizeRender 28.jpg

Translation: Hi, I got your letter. My favorite color is blue. I go to church on Sundays too. I am happy because I got your letter. I know how to write a little bit. I bid you farewell. May God keep you safe. See you soon.

Letter 3:

FullSizeRender 33.jpg

Translation: Hello! This is Maria. How are you? I am fine. I am back to school now. I would love to meet you in person. I got your letter. I had a great year. I thank to God because my cousins are back to us, because their parents are separated. I pray to God to protect them and help you in your work! (My cousin, ____, helped me to write this letter).

Letter 4:

FullSizeRender 29.jpg

Translation: Hello! How are you? I am fine. I went to the church or Christmas Eve. I got together with my family on December 31st, but I thought that I missed you there. I hope you are doing well. May God care of you at your home and your work! I say goodbye for now. I hope to hear from you soon. With love, Maria

Letter 5:

FullSizeRender 30.jpg

Translation: Hello, I am happy because I got your letter. I keep all your letters that you have sent me. How are you? I am fine. My father’s name is ___. My mother’s name is ____. My brother is ____. The weather is cold here now. There are many trees with fruits. I live in the state of _____ close to the state of Veracruz. I hope you have a wonderful birthday! I send kisses and hugs to you. Maria

Letter 6:

FullSizeRender 32.jpg

Translation: Hello, I am happy because I got your letter. I really enjoyed the sheets that you sent me. I hope you send me more sheets. The weather is colder now. I got cough and flu, but I am taking medicine. See you soon! Maria

If all of these sweet letters aren’t motivation to always keep writing and not let her down, I don’t know what is! She is the age of the kindergarteners that I work with this year, so I love that connection, and she sounds like such a little kindergartener learning to write in these letters. Whenever I see an orange and white envelope in the mail from Mexico, it’s a happy day 🙂

A Connection and Prayer for a Child

lettersangeles

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!

PE5810088-Fullshot-200w

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.

BO4150992-Fullshot-200w

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

Letters and more letters

At a time in my life when each week feels like a month, it’s hard to wait in between the letters I send to my little sweethearts. If I could, I would send them an email letter almost every day, although I realize that would be too much. But after getting Elvis’ packet in the mail this week (yay!!) I sent a package letter off to him, complete with some goodies and a birthday card, as his birthday is in late January. I hope he’ll get it right in time. I’ve also sent some letters off to my sweet girls, including a package one to Maria. I’ve been reading other sponsor blogs to bide the time, and reading up on my kiddos’ countries. This next week I should be getting Angeles’ packet and hopefully it won’t feel like too long before I get my first letter from one of them.

My letters to each of my little ones this week talked about Thanksgiving. I told each of them how thankful I am for them, because they are a member of my family now. As a teacher, we have the philosophy that once a child is our student, for however long, they become one of our kids for life. Talk to any good teacher and you’ll see how passionate she or he is about her/his “kids”. They’re our own. It’s definitely the same way with child sponsorship, I’m finding. From the moment I saw each of their pictures and fell in love, and then clicked ‘confirm’ on the sponsorship, they became mine. And I can only hope I can have a positive impact on their lives, too. I want them to feel showered in love ❤

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin