Letter from Lucia with a Photo!

I am going to miss this girl SO MUCH when she graduates in September. I’m grateful they were able to purchase so many groceries for her family again, and even some treats like Oreos!

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Lucia is 21 and lives in El Salvador

“Dear Alisa, it is a lot of blessing to me to write you another time, hoping that everything goes well with you. Today, I want to tell you about my home. It is a beautiful place because I can live together with my family, the house is built of bricks and the roof is built of metal sheet, the doors are made of iron, and there is only one room that I share with my sisters, but I sleep in my own bed, and I like to keep it neat because I want it to look beautiful. In my house there is also electricity and water that comes from a faucet, and there is also a gas stove to cook. How is your house? I would like to thank you about the snow and I feel so sorry that you got sick. And I would like to thank you for the blessing that you sent me. Please pray for me that I can go forward and have good health. With love, Lucia”

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Photo Updates of Manuel, Jorge, and Lucia

I love receiving photo updates and seeing new pictures of the kids and how they’ve grown!

First is Manuel, from the Dominican Republic. He attends the same center as Eliana, but their photos were not updated at the same time, as I received Eliana’s update in January. I thought Manuel looked old for his age in his last photo and now he definitely does even more so… he’s only 11!

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Next is Jorge, also from the Dominican Republic. He’s growing up! Jorge is 6 years old.

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And finally Lucia, in her last photo update before she graduates in September. She looks beautiful in the purple!

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Letter from Lucia

Could Lucia’s letters be any more adorable??

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Lucia is 21 and lives in El Salvador.

“Beloved Alisa, I send a warm and lovely greeting, hoping deeply God blesses your family with health. Throughout this short letter I want to tell you about my future dreams. What I want to be most is a chef. I would like to prepare delicious food but also, I would like to visit Egypt pyramids, and to know the tallest building in the world. I would be excited to sail by ship. Another dream that I have is to know my supporter because I love her, and I want to give her lots of hugs. I would like to meet a famous artist. Do you know the pyramids? I feel grateful because of the letter and three pictures, they are gorgeous. Here in trees live squirrels, birds, and snakes. There are fruit trees, such as: mangoes, avocados, oranges, zapote, how delicious they are! Please pray for me because I need His protection everywhere. With love, Lucia”

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She’s so cute. I love that meeting me was among her many dreams! Her dreams are sweet and ambitious and the genuineness of her writing is the best. I knew as soon as I saw Lucia that I had to be her sponsor, and I’m so very grateful that I am!

Letter from Lucia

I am this close to signing up for the sponsor tour to El Salvador this summer. The only thing holding me back is the possibility, however slim, of the dates working out for a trip with Manna 4 Lempira to Honduras. I’m not positive working Summer Diagnostics this summer at the school I teach at, but it’s likely and if I do and Manna goes in June, it won’t work. As someone who likes to have a plan, I hope I can figure it all out soon!

This letter is extra special because she wrote it by herself without the help of a project worker!

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Lucia is 21 and lives in El Salvador.

“May God bless you Alisa, I am very happy that this is the first letter I write to you. Today I want to tell you about my learning in the project. Here I learned to communicate with God by praying. I sing nice praise songs in the spiritual area. In the socioemotional area I get along with others and am supportive. In the cognitive area I take school reinforcement. In the physical area they teach us how to have a good diet in order to be healthy. Something very important they teach us about Jesus is that He gave us salvation. We can learn about Him at church and my family loves me. What is your favorite thing about my project? I tell you they taught us about self-esteem and my value to God. I also thank you for your letter and photograph. I crochet. Please pray that I improve my learning at school. With love, Lucia”

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I love the way she draws her people! I also love that she is learning about her value to God. Lucia is getting so many opportunities and experiences that she wouldn’t otherwise get if it weren’t for Compassion, and I’m SO grateful for it!

Letter from the Country Director of El Salvador

This week, I’m sharing the Country Director letter from El Salvador. This is where Lucia lives.

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“Dear Alisa, My name is Guillermo Muñoz. God has blessed me since 2004, when I became the country director of this wonderful ministry. Everything we do helps the most marginalized, the most forgotten, and the most underestimated by our society: children in poverty.

Thank you for joining us in our fight against poverty and hopelessness. Your love, support and faithfulness to Lucia make an eternal difference. I know sponsorship works. Compassion began working in El Salvador in 1977. We work with about 250 church partners, serving more than 60,000 children. Poverty hurts so deeply, and in the child development centers, children receive encouragement, vision, healthy food, medical treatment, vocational training, protection, and the love of God.

El Salvador has gone through decades of militarism and civil war. Now, in the post-war period, more than 45 percent of the population lives in poverty. More than 20 percent of children under five suffer stunted growth. Our country has a low-quality public education system and low attendance due to violence. Also, more than 95 percent of the population lives in territory at risk from floods, mudslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tropical storms. Finally, our children live in one of the most violent countries in the world.

Poverty tells our children there is no hope, no opportunity to have an education. They become targets of the gangs and never learn their identity in Christ. Amid these struggles, we find the local church that has the vision, passion, heart and unlimited love that only come from God. Our vision is to continue giving children the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God created them to be. We provide programs focused on preventing children’s involvement in violence, helping them discover their potential skills and talents, and opening opportunities for academic reinforcement workshops and nonformal education.

One example of transformational impact is one of our pastors, who is so passionate and willing to work with the gangs. He just sits with them, sharing a meal, showing the love of Jesus, and telling them there is hope no matter who you are. Many gang members have surrendered their lives to Jesus, and they send their children to the Compassion center. Now this new generation will not be the same, because they have hope! They are building an eternal relationship with God.

Talking about relationship, the connection children have with their sponsors through letters is so valuable, because they feel loved, appreciated and encouraged. I consider the loneliness of a 13-year-old boy who doesn’t have siblings; his mom passed away, and his dad is in prison. His sponsors (a married couple) made him feel like family despite the long distance between them. Their kind, loving words in letters encourage and bring him hope. This boy wants to be a civil engineer because his life was changed through letters from his sponsors.

We believe in a better future where children can overcome poverty. We plant seeds of hope in each of them, and you are part of this through your constant care for Lucia. I want to express my deep gratitude for all the support we get from you. You give Lucia the love of God. Thank you!

Please pray with us: Heavenly Father, give us wisdom, strength and enough love to reach out and support children who suffer a lack of opportunities imposed by poverty. We pray for those threatened by violence. We pray for a strong and committed church that upholds the cause of children, and we pray for our sponsors, who lovingly join the mission of releasing children from poverty in the precious name of Jesus.

Sincerely, Guillermo Muñoz”

Letter and Picture from Lucia!

I was thrilled to get a letter recently from Lucia, and a very sweet one that filled a page of stationery at that! But the best part was definitely a surprise photo attached! Typically, only a gift of $60+ gets a photo, although sometimes centers will send them for gifts of less. The gift that the photo was for was $20, so I wasn’t expecting a photo, but it was a wonderful surprise!

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Lucia is 21 and lives in El Salvador.

“Dear Alisa, Lucia greets you with affection and hopes that you are enjoying perfect health with your loved ones. On this letter Lucia wants to tell you how she has fun. At home she likes to color, run, do the cleaning, cooking, listen to worship songs, and make handcrafts to decorate the house. If she gets bored she likes to sleep on a hammock and swing. When she is outside she likes to write and go for walks. She likes to tell jokes with her friends. She would like to know: have you ever felt bored? What do you do in that case? She thanks you for the letter and the picture; she says that she is fine. On the computer she likes to draw and write and she thanks you for the blessing that you sent. She bought milk, cereal, beans, sugar, rice, soup, cookies, and salt. It was a great blessing for her and her family. Also she loves you and asks you to help her pray so she can learn more in her studies. She says goodbye wishing you lots of blessings.”

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This bubbly, lovely young lady has been a huge blessing to me so far. I know my sponsorship of her will only be for one more year, but I’m so blessed that God brought her into my life. And I’m so thankful that she has such a wonderful Compassion center that takes care of her and her mother and where she has friends and can learn and have fun!

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Letter from Lucia’s Pastor

I recently received a letter from the pastor of Lucia’s center. It’s shorter than most, but still a great letter and full of love that he has for these kids. I always enjoy pastor letters as extra insight!

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Lucia attends ES781.

“Dear Alisa, My name is José Miguel Serrano. I am the pastor of Tabernáculo Bíblico Bautista Sinaí las Conchitas Church in La Libertad, El Salvador. I minister to Lucia at the accompanying Child Development Center.

I am thankful to God with all my heart for your sponsorship of Lucia and that you her happy.

Right now our community faces many problems such as poverty and violence. These two problems affect our children. Our church is working through the Center to reach the children and their families.

Our vision as church and Center is to help our children and young people to study in college and train them to be good men and women for our community. The Center has been a great tool to make our children’s families come to church and seek Jesus’ love. Right now our church has a Bible school on Sundays and we also have other beautiful ministries in the community.

The young people and the children from our Center really value the support that their sponsors provide. They get so excited when they receive a sponsor letter. The correspondence from sponsors is very important for children, they keep every letter they receive and place it in a special place. They save all letters they have received and become part of their valuable belongings. Every day they ask to the coordinator if they have received a letter. It is something very important for them.

I am so glad to write to you and I wish you the best in all your dreams and plans.

Thank you for loving Lucia. Blessings in Christ, Pastor Miguel Serrano”