Letter from the Country Director of Peru

Just like last week I shared the letter from the Country Director of Bolivia, this week I’m sharing the letter I received from the Country Director of Peru. All of these letters can also be found on your Compassion account on the profile page for any child you sponsor/correspond with. I have two children in Peru: I sponsor Angeles and correspond with Cristofer.

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“Dear Alisa, My name is Cristina Zavala, and I have been the country director of Compassion Peru since 2005. Compassion began ministering in Peru in 1984. We serve around 75,000 children through more than 250 partner churches. We want to open more opportunities this year, growing to serve more than 80,000 children.

My country has a rich history, beautiful places, and warm people, but also extreme poverty, broken families, and vulnerable children. Due to their living conditions and lack of economic resources, children face hard situations of abuse and neglect that erode their self-esteem and sense of belonging. The difference in a sponsored child is mainly the impact of being loved and cared for by people who value and give him or her dignity in a safe environment.

The economic situation works against families and parents, pulling them away from their children when the situation is pressing. They leave their children alone with little protection and supervision. Access to education, medicine, and potable water is still limited in the most impoverished regions of Peru. Some villages don’t have medical centers, or the facilities lack staff. Other areas get water directly from rivers or contaminated water channels. Young people have no opportunity to learn marketable skills, and no dreams of progress and development.

We want to change the situation. We are working to help children improve their reading, writing, and math learning and to learn and develop healthy habits. Little ones who first arrive at the child development center often suffer from malnutrition. We are working with complementary funds to offer filtered and safe water. Together wit hotel church partners, we talk to government institutions to improve medical care centers, and we keep on teaching Christian values and principles. We are also coordinating scholarships with private technical schools and helping young people to study a technical career such as computing, accounting, etc., or to study a major in college.

We also teach leadership courses to outstanding students. One young man who will complete the program this year faced many troubles as a sponsored child. His father is an alcoholic, and his mother did not want to hear a word about God. But this young man found affection, care, and shelter at the center. He had the chance to learn work skills; now he is going to school to study bakery and pastry, and he is also a leader in his church. From being immersed in poverty, he has discovered his great potential, and he now has big dreams. Another young man received a social volunteer entrepreneur honor from the United Nations for organizing teachers to give school tutoring in impoverished parts of Lima.

Children who enjoy a relationship with their sponsors feel the love and care of people who value them and give them dignity and the desire for a different future. Having a sponsor makes children very happy. They think sponsors are relatives who live very far away but send letters that bring them closer. Sponsors’ letters have a high emotional value for children; when they get a letter, they feel they have some physical token from their sponsors. Please write your child as often as you can.

Our partner churches are also ministering to their own communities by creating work opportunities and education and development programs that radically change families’ inappropriate ways of living. Join us in prayer for every church partner that is working hard and doing such an amazing job.

I want to express my gratitude to you for your continued love and support for Angeles and Cristofer. Together we can offer the valuable gift of hope to change the lives of the voiceless and suffering ones.

In Jesus Christ, Cristina Zavala”

A long awaited letter from Angeles!

Guess which letter finally came through? The one I’ve been waiting on since January! Yes, that’s right, January. It’s been in the system “in translation since then. It’s now August. The letter discusses Christmas preparations. But I’m just so glad to finally have received it!

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Angeles is 7 and lives in Peru.

The letter template is Christmas in My Country. She celebrates Christmas with her parents and siblings, and celebrates at the Student Center. They have a Christmas lunch there, where they have Christmas cake and hot chocolate. The letter says “Dear Godmother, Hello! I hope you have fully recovered from your surgery. My family and I are in good health. Thank you for your letters. I want to tell you that I have two siblings that I play with. At school I play with my friends and my teacher is good. I promptly attend the Student Center where I learn how to pray and sing songs. Please continue to pray for the well-being of my family. I will close with a kiss and a hug. Blessings, Angeles”

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The new school year has officially started and I’m back to the daily grind. I have a new batch of cute little preschoolers that I adore already, and I’m already feeling the exhaustion. But I love what I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Letter from Angeles

Before I get to the letter, I have been getting some updated profiles of Manna for Lempira kiddos. Each year, we get updated profiles on them. It’s fun to see what changed, of course their sizes, sometimes their favorite colors, school subjects, career choice, and favorite activities. My favorite update so far, though? Junior went from wanting to be a mason when he grows up to wanting to be a teacher! Not that there’s anything wrong with being a mason, but I’m hoping this means that he will stay in school and complete it, which will give him so many more opportunities and a better salary and a more stable career in the future. I’m proud of him that he’s setting his sights higher, and I hope it continues. After having my oldest Manna child decide to not continue school and therefore have to leave the program, I’m encouraging all of my children in this round of letters to stay in school and invest in themselves.

I realized that I never shared this letter that I received from Angeles earlier in the summer, which is the first letter I’ve received from her since her home was destroyed from the floods. The drawing breaks my heart. 😦 In good news, though, this is the first letter she wrote completely on her own, and she did a great job and her handwriting is awesome! I sent a family gift right after I heard the news that their home was destroyed, and I’m anxiously awaiting a letter about what they purchased with the gift. I want to know if I need to send more and what their needs still are.

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Angeles is 8 and lives in Peru.

The letter used the My House template. I’m not sure if it’s describing her house before the flooding or where she has been staying with relatives nearby. It says the house is made of straw mats, she gets water from a faucet, it has no floor other than the ground, it has a tile roof, and they have light from power. The letter says “Dear sponsor Alisa, I greet you in the name of the Lord. I tell you that I am fine. Answering to your questions, my advice would be to behave well and not to go out alone. I would tell them to be good children, practice the values, and learn the language and the dances of my country like Marinera. Thank you for your very beautiful letters. Goodbye, I send you hugs and kisses. I love you so much. Your photos are very beautiful. Bye. Angeles”

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Letter from Cristofer

Last night I was very excited to get a new letter from Cristofer! From the first letter I received from this boy since I became his correspondent close to a year and a half ago, he has always been eager to share all kinds of details with me, always filling in all the available space, and he is definitely one of my best letter writers. Sometimes I forget he is only 10 years old!

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Cristofer is 10 and lives in Peru

“Dear Godmother Alisa, I send you and your family my affectionate greetings. I hope you are in good health. I want to thank you for your beautiful letters, pictures, and coloring pages. I also want to thank you for teaching me about my name’s meaning and for your beautiful words. Now, I would like to answer your questions. My family and I are doing well because I know Jesus takes care of us every day. I would advise other children to serve God because I’m learning it is important to do so and be like him. I would like other children to learn more about my country and know that there are archeological regions. Our ancestors were the Incas. This month we will celebrate Independence Day, and at school we always make a presentation with traditional dishes such as Ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime), Arroz con Pato (traditional dish made of duck and rice cooked in coriander), Papa a la Huancaina (boiled potatoes topped with a cream made of Peruvian yellow chili, cheese, and milk), and Juanes (dish made of rice, meat, olives, hard-boiled egg, spices, and wrapped with macaw-flower leaves). We also have drinks made of purple corn, corn, and star fruit and dance presentations from the three regions. Hugs and kisses. I hope to receive a letter from you soon. Dear godmother, I ask you to pray for us. Love, Cristofer”

 

I loved hearing about the ways they celebrate Independence Day in the school and the traditional dishes, which sound very good! This isn’t the first time Cristofer has used Peruvian food terms in his letters, so the manual translators have their work cut out when he writes! He’s so sweet to always comment about what I send him and answer my questions, while also giving me lots of great details each time. I love my letters from this awesome boy!

Letters from Cristofer

After not hearing from Cristofer for 11 months and being worried (I had sent an inquiry), I finally heard from him and received 2 letters 12 days apart!

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Cristofer is 10 and lives in Peru

First letter: Dear sponsor Alisa, Hi, how are you? My family and I are doing well. I’m happy for the pretty letters you sent me. Thanks for all the good wishes for my life and my family. My family and I went out to eat Peruvian roasted chicken, we also drank soda. I ate cake with my grandpa and mom. My wish for this new year is God to always protect my little brother who was born on January 8th. This way I can play with him while he’s growing up. His name is Aarón. We are in the summer season, so we go to the pool, and eat lots of food, like “bodoques” (same as freeze pops but with a different shape, word used in the north of Peru), ice cream, and freeze pops to refresh ourselves. Do you like “bodoques”? We don’t have any special trading for the fall season, but we do see the leaves falling from trees to let new leaves born for the spring season. I’ll be praying for your health, so God takes care of you and gives you more years to live. You look like a really cute baby next to your grandma. I pray God gives you and your family comfort to overcome these painful moments. The photos of your children in pajamas are cute. I’ll paint the pictures you sent me these days. I would like you to pray for my country, it is raining a lot these days, and lots of families have lost their houses. I’ll say goodbye with love, wishing you blessings. I send you hugs and kisses. Cristofer”

Second letter: “Dear sponsor Alisa, I greet you with the love of our God. I wish from the bottom of my heart that you are fine and with good health. I am fine here with my family. I thank you for writing to me, I want to tell you that I go to school and I have a new teacher, I study in the afternoon and they chose me as school monitor (they wear plastic badges and colorful cords as part of their school uniform). On Friday 05 of May, they will put me in the cordons, mine will be orange with white. Each school monitor has a different color. I have good grades in the first exams that the teacher gave to us. During the break I spin a top with my friends. Also, we play soccer when we have physical education. I want to tell you that my little brother Aarón is going to turn 4 months, he is very fat, without hair and very healthy. In the church we are learning about the life of Daniel, his story is an example to pray always. The second Sunday of May we are going to celebrate Mother’s Day. We are going to do a beautiful letter decorated with flowers and stars. Where you live, do you celebrate Mother’s Day in the same date? If yes, I wish you many blessings and that you have a beautiful day with your family. I will pray for you, I hope that you write me soon because I would like to know, how are you? I ask you to keep praying for us. Hugs. I say goodbye. Cristofer”

It’s not easy to find a 10 year old boy that is this great of a letter writer. He writes and writes and fills the pages, and his handwriting is incredibly neat, too. Cristofer also has a huge heart. It’s just so good to hear from him again after so long. He is a correspondent I’ve felt close to from the beginning, and one that I would take on the sponsorship for if his financial sponsor ever canceled.

Letter from and Update about Angeles

Since my last post about Angeles, I received an update about her family in terms of the flooding. In case you weren’t aware, this spring, Peru experienced severe flooding that caused loss of some lives and loss of many homes. I was very worried about Angeles and Cristofer, who both live in Peru. I was actually more worried about Cristofer, because based on where the flooding was, it seemed he lives closer to it. However, I never received any updates about him and have received letters since that haven’t mentioned any devastation, so it seems, thankfully, that he is okay. Unfortunately, though, I did receive a letter with the sad news that Angeles’ family lost their home and everything they had in the flooding. This includes school supplies, their methods of livelihood, and so much more. They’re staying nearby with family and receiving help from Compassion. To say it’s heartbreaking, hearing this news as a sponsor, would be an understatement. More accurately, I feel helpless. I wish there was more I could do. I feel guilty that I already have so much more than they ever had, and now they have even less. I feel upset that this would happen to people who don’t deserve it. But I’ve done what I can do as a sponsor. I’ve prayed, and prayed, and prayed a ton. I’ve given a family gift. I’ve sent letters to let them know I’m praying and thinking of them.

I have a new letter from Angeles, that was likely written after the flooding, I’m assuming, working it’s way to me now, but stuck at “Has a Problem” on Compassion’s site. I really hope I can view it soon. In the meantime, I did receive a letter from her recently, but it was written back in February, before the floods. Still, it was good to hear from her.

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Angeles is 8 and lives in Peru.

The letter used the template “My Holiday/School Break”. Her school break is in December, January, and February. During it, she likes to eat arroz con pollo (rice with chicken, onion, cilantro, carrots, and peas). During her school breaks, Angeles likes to go to the park. One person she would like to visit is her aunt. And during a school break in the future, she would like to play with friends. The letter says: “Hello sponsor, I hope you are in good health. I am fine. Thank you for the letter and the images you sent me. In my church, we sing carols and my favorite is “Burrito Sabanero” (Little Savannah Donkey). Do you have any children? What are their names? I’d like you to keep on praying for me and my family. My sister Any sends you regards. I say goodbye with a strong hug and a kiss from far away. May God pour many blessings on all your family. I will wait for news from you. Angeles”

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Letter from Angeles

Since my last update, I received a letter from Angeles, and also have another in translation. It has been in translation in January, though, and I’m told nothing can be done to push it through any faster. I’m sure it will be worth the wait after all these months when I finally get to read it!

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Angeles is 8 and lives in Peru.

Her letter came in the “What I Like to Do” template. What she likes to do best with friends is playing with dolls and playing blind man’s bluff. She marked all of the options for the chore she likes best 🙂 These include sweeping, washing dishes, and watering plants. What she likes best about the project is drawing, painting, the delicious food, and working in groups. What she likes to do best with her family is to go down the road to the  farm to collect beans, mangos, and lemons; also going to the canal to wash some clothes in the afternoons, and watching TV with everyone. Her tutor writes “Dear sponsor Alisa, the child greets you in the name of Jesus. She hopes you are healthy. She thanks you for the letter you sent and the lyrics were nice. She wants to ask you: which is your favorite Biblical text? She asks your prayers for her life and her family. She says goodbye with a hug and a kiss. God bless you.”

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