Month: October 2015

The Gift of Friendship

Matilda. James. Beatrice. Happy.

All best friend names.  All special gifts of my Compassion children. 

Recent letters from several of my children focused on who are their friends and why they are friends.

IMG_0623

I enjoyed learning the names of their friends. (Mental note: another conversation starting point for me when I write back.)  I also loved their honesty to the question of why this particular person is their best friend: they run with me, they are with me when I am in trouble, we have fun together, they love me.

Isn’t that great?! Don’t we want our friends to fit that description (except maybe the running part)? Don’t we want friends that love us, have fun with us and are with us when we are in trouble? It gives me great joy to know my children have friends like this. I know they are not alone on their walk of life.

Maybe they fetch water together, maybe they sit beside one another at their Compassion Center, maybe they share their hopes, dreams and fears. Maybe they found enough plastic bags to roll into a homemade soccer ball.  Maybe they like to be silly and just giggle together. Maybe they found a stick that makes a great baseball bat. Whatever they do, they do it together. That is a friend and that is a special gift. They give love and Matilda, James, Beatrice, and Happy give love back.

How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it.

How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it.

How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em.

How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.

Shel Silverstein

 

 

Enough Hope

October 28, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Everything changes when a child finds hope! We need to put that on sticky notes around our homes as reminders that our words speak hope to a child and it changes them! Recently I heard Santiago “Jimmy”  Mellado, President of Compassion International speak. He spoke about giving our children “enough hope to make the next move.”FullSizeRender (9)

Enough hope to keep working hard at school, enough hope to resist joining a gang, enough hope to make wise choices, enough hope to stay pure, enough hope to place their trust in a forever-friend named Jesus Christ.

That is what our words can speak into a child’s life. Enough hope. When they have even just a speck of hope they begin to realize: Somebody knows my name. Somebody is praying for me. Somebody is encouraging me. Somebody loves me.

When we take the time to write hopeful words, God blesses the message and powerful change happens.  Not only within our child’s life, but also in his/her family, their community, and their Church/Center. Because our letters are read, re-read, passed around and shared.  Then this awesome, amazing, God-inspired phenomena occurs: hope spreads, it ripples  throughout the community! What a beautiful image!  You are doing this every time you pick up a pencil or turn on  your laptop. So let’s get busy. We need to spread enough hope!

IMG_5001

Your Happy Place

October 26, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Writing to my Compassion children takes me to one of my happy places. I hope each of you have a happy place. Perhaps it is an actual physical place that makes you happy (for my husband, it would be a golf course). Maybe it is just being with certain people, doing certain activities.

One evening we were doubled-over with laughter with our missionary friends enjoying  crème-filled doughnuts. Definitely a happy place! Friends + food = happy place

One recent happy place was at my dining room table making some Christmas cards for each of our Compassion children. I cluttered the table with paper, markers,  scissors, stickers and glue sticks. And there was glitter! Anytime there is glitter, you know it is a happy place. I had so much fun! I was definitely in my happy place. I wasn’t thinking about the laundry that wasn’t folded nor the dishwasher that wasn’t loaded. I got lost in the faces of our children. I remembered how each and every correspondence is such a precious gift to them.  So I cut, glued and wrote.  I wrote of Jesus’ birthday and of His enormous love for each of them.  I poured out my love for each of them. I was in my happy place and didn’t want to leave.

You can do this too! If you doubt your creative ability, do not fear. This is a win-win! Your child will love whatever you create. I was so  happy writing and I know they will be happy reading! Win-Win!

Go find your happy place! (with lots of glitter) star

A Joyful Walk Part 2

October 23, 2015

Dear fellow travelers,

What a joyful mailbox day part 2! I reached in to find 2 letters! One from our little boy, Goodluck, and our little girl, Hilda. They both live in Tanzania and attend the same Center.  But, wait, there is more……I also received a packet of information on  the latest addition to our family. A handsome young man named Wilmer from El Salvador. We will be corresponding with him. As his correspondent, we have the privilege of exchanging letters and developing a relationship with him. We  encourage him, shower love on him,  and share Bible verses with him. We are not his sponsors though. I love that Compassion gives this option. Some corporations or individuals are not letter-writers. No problem! They find people who are! So a big welcome to Wilmer!! He just celebrated his 12th birthday and his picture is already up on our wall. I have requested additional correspondent children so perhaps there will be more surprises in my mailbox very soon.

You may not think letter-writing is very important to your child. But I am telling you…..it is HUGE! If you ever have the opportunity to go on a sponsor trip, you will witness how the  children and parents value each and every letter as a precious gift. They truly do! On a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, we were welcomed into a home of a single mom. She has 4 children. The two oldest girls are both in the Compassion program. One receives letters from her sponsor and proudly produced them for us to view. The other one does not receive any letters. She is 14 years old and that speaks volumes to her. She cried as the translator shared with us how sad she was. Why did her sister receive letters on a regular basis but she did not? Was there something wrong with her? Oh the immense hurt and pain in those tears!

Wrapping up our visit and upon returning to the Center, our group decided to take action. We decided that we will write letters to that young lady ourselves. We grabbed paper and pen and with the help of our amazing translator began pouring out our love and encouragement! (The representative from the Center would hand deliver them for us.) This precious child of God would know how  much she is loved.

So write, write, write.  The children, of all ages, matter and so do your letters!

A Joyful Walk

Walking to get my mail at my mailbox is part of my daily routine.  I may be splashing through rain puddles or plodding through  snow depending upon the season. Currently, I  am enjoying the colorful display of fallen leaves crunching beneath my feet.  Opening my mailbox and finding a cream-colored envelope with blue lettering from Compassion, always brings a smile to my face.  Who wrote to me? Is it from our dear little Israel in Peru or precious Angel in Mexico?  Perhaps it is from one of our children in Tanzania?

What news did they want to share with me? Are they well? Are they safe? How are they doing in school? How is their family? What news has traveled many miles and now I hold in my hands?  What will I learn about this special child? What prayer needs will be revealed? With my envelope in hand, this is no longer a routine walk, but a joyful walk!  I have the privilege of connecting and developing a relationship with a child and his/her family somewhere far beyond my zip code.  Exchanging letters with our Compassion children, moves our relationship from merely sponsorship into a deeper friendship. When you sponsor a child with Compassion (check out the link in  “Their Walk”), you too can experience a joyful walk from your mailbox when that cream-colored envelope with blue lettering arrives. Oh Happy Day! IMG_4913

 

A Painful Walk

Dear fellow travelers,

Two different women. Two different continents. One common pain: domestic violence. One lives in a still-developing country and one lives in my neighborhood. Physical pain at the hands of someone who is suppose to love you is an incomprehensible pain.  I asked her if she is safe. “I am as long as he is in jail, ” she replied in front of her 12-year-old daughter.  How does this affect this impressionable  girl? Her father beat her mother. Her father broke several of her mother’s ribs. How do you  process that? The future is scary and unknown.  She knows that she will need to move once he is out of jail, but she doesn’t know where she will go. In the States, thankfully there are shelters available but in Malawi (and other still-developing countries), a woman often lives in her husband’s village far removed from any help or safety. Where do they turn? What will they do? When does their painful walk end? There are no easy, quick solutions for either of these ladies. My heart breaks for them.

I will give my husband an extra long hug tonight.

 

The Hard Walk

Dear fellow travelers,

I confess that I prefer paper and pencil. I journal almost everyday and I love a nice sharpened pencil and a blank page (an eraser helps too). I can pour out my heart thoughts and my prayers on that page privately yet open to God Almighty. It is my safe place. So I promised myself that I would blog for 1 year. Let’s see how the blank computer screen compares to my journal. Will my fingers fly across the keyboard as they do with my #2 pencil? Time will tell and trees will be saved.

“A Hard  Walk” comes following the death of a friend in a life-ending car accident. It only took a few seconds to end his 56 year-old life. It only took a few seconds to change his family’s life forever. They walked a very difficult week and I will not pretend to understand their pain and anguish, but Jesus gets it. Only He can comfort them since He struggled under the weight of my sin and your sin as God, in the flesh, willingly made a hard walk to the Cross. Why? Because He loves us that much.

The Most Important Walk

Dear fellow travelers,

Look at us! We are starting this journey together! I wasn’t certain how to begin, but after experiencing a very holy moment recently in the Dominican Republic, I knew this is where we must start.

Carlos and Maria welcomed the Team ( 8 of us traveling with Compassion International) warmly into their modest home on the side of a hill in the Santiago area. If you have had the privilege to travel to a still-developing country, you understand the meaning behind “modest”. They shared, we shared. Then they said (through the help of a translator) they wanted to receive Jesus into their hearts! We rejoiced but the angels were rejoicing more loudly! We prayed with them. There were tears and hugs. It was a holy, precious moment.

That is it. The most important walk anyone can take is the one into the ever-open arms of Jesus. Carlos and Maria made that walk. Hope you do too.

 photoleaf