Category: Compassion (page 2 of 2)

Goodluck

What are little boys made of?  According to the popular 19th century English nursery rhyme, “Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails.”  Growing up with three sisters and raising two daughters, I am mostly ignorant about little boys in general.  They are a mystery to me. I understand dolls, playing house, and doing our hair and nails.  But in a few months, I will have the opportunity to spend time with a very special little boy, Goodluck. Time to learn about what makes little boys tick!

Goodluck lives in Tanzania, Africa. My husband and I are blessed to be in his life by sponsoring him through Compassion International. image

Developing a relationship through letter-writing is a challenge with a 4-year-old  boy. I imagine Goodluck would rather spend his time playing and not answering questions and I don’t blame him. From past correspondences, I know he loves football (soccer). His time at his Compassion Center would involve some play time and that is what little boys enjoy the most: playing (so I am told).

I envision him trying hard in football games but getting overpowered by the older boys. His time will come though.  Just keep trying, Goodluck!

When we meet him, he may be hesitant and quiet; that is to be expected. We hope to break down some barriers with a gift of a soccer ball. Will that bring a smile to his face? We hope so. We would love to bless him with some sneakers too! That would help him with running and jumping and playing! Little boys need sneakers, right?

While my husband and the rest of the Blood, Sweat and Compassion Team trek to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, I am privileged to be able to spend more time with Goodluck.

I have the opportunity to visit his home and meet his grandmother and grandfather who are his guardians. It will be an honor to be welcomed into their home and spend time getting to know each other. Two very different worlds under one roof.  With the help of an interpreter, I will express my love and support for all of them. I will ask how I can pray for them. I will try to answer any questions they have for me.

This will be very precious time spent together. Sitting together, sharing about our lives. (The goose bumps are starting already.) Everything becomes so much more personal when we gather in each other’s homes. Less pretense; more reality. Where do they get their water? What meals do they enjoy? How does Goodluck help around the home? How is their health? Do they know Jesus and do they attend the local church?

I will be humbled and ashamed too. Humbled by their hospitality and friendliness; ashamed of my excessive, American lifestyle. I bet there will be tears. I will leave a different and changed person. I came, I saw, I loved. There is no going back after that.

Another day, I am scheduled to be at Goodluck’s Compassion Center held in the local church on Saturdays. I will get to see him in action! There will be singing and dancing! I may be brave and join in as we joyfully praise our Same God. Will I see him battling for the football during play time? If so, I will be his very loud and enthusiastic cheerleader. Go, Goodluck!!image

Goodluck turns 5 soon after we depart. I will leave him with a gift and this special card made just for him. (Thanks, Kathy Jo! You are awesome.)

Being so young, Goodluck may not remember this visit. But I will never forget it. When I take his little hand in mine, I will thank God for this precious little boy and I will know exactly what he is made of: Love.

Let’s Walk Worthy!

 

 

Your Smile

See if you can name the song with these lyrics.

Advantage to the 40+ crowd.

When I see you smile, I can face the world,

Oh, you know I can do anything.

When I see you smile, I see a ray of light

Oh, I see it shining right through the rain.

When I see you smile, Baby when I see you smile at me.

When I See You Smile” was a #1 hit released by Bad English, an American/British rock band, on September 16, 1989. This song popped into my head when one of my sponsored children asked an awesome question.

Angel, my sponsored child from Mexico, wondered, “Why did you choose me?”

I didn’t have to think hard or ponder long, “Why did I choose him?I knew exactly why. So I wrote him and told him…..

It was your smile 🙂 

Angel’s smile. It is beautiful and pure. It melts my heart. It makes me smile; almost  giggle. ME1470100-Fullshot-200wIt causes me to want to write more  and advocate more and shout from the roof tops that there are more  children waiting. It reminds me to pray more. It encourages me to count my blessings more. It fuels my resolve to “keep on, keeping on” for all the children. It is a ray of light shining through the rain.

When I open my Bible (hopefully daily), I see Angel’s bookmark that I received with his packet. I see his picture with his smiling face. I see him smiling back at me and I smile! Yay! I love it! The tremendous love I have for this smiling, precious boy whom I have never met is of God and by God. That is so cool and goose-bumpy!

Why was he chosen? What a great question! Does Angel see other children who are not chosen? Does he have friends or neighbors who have been waiting and waiting to be chosen? How do children process all these difficult emotions?

Has your sponsored child asked you this question? Do you remember what drew you in and filled your heart? And from that moment, you just knew this child would be a member of your family? Was it their name, their birthdate, or perhaps their amazing smile? I would love to hear your reason of why.

When I see Angel smile, I am ready to face the world again.

 

Build

 

building blocksBuild

That is my One Word for 2016.  I want to be a builder.

Build, as a verb, requires action. It forces me to do something. To Build is to establish, increase or strengthen. Yes, yes and yes. It is constructive rather than destructive.

My first construction site in need of some renovation is my tongue. I want to build up others with encouraging and loving words. I want to heed my mother’s wise advice, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” (My daughters heard that more than once growing up too.) Too often I use my words to tear down and criticize. Pause before speaking. Think and consider, “Will these words build up or tear down?” I don’t have all the answers, so why do I speak to others like I do?

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29

Are my conversations construction zones or demolition areas?   Is there cement or dynamite in use? Cement adheres; dynamite destroys. IMG_6467IMG_6465

Besides speaking more kind words, I want to use the tools on my tool belt to write more thoughtful notes, offer more helpful hands, give more loving hugs, and simply smile more. 🙂 Even when a smiley face is not offered in return.

My second site in need of repair is in my relationships; I want to build stronger and deeper ones. I want to know God, my husband, my family, and my sponsored children better. All these relationships need some work and I am the foreman for the job. No hammer or nails needed; instead lots of time, effort and intentionality.

I want to go deeper with God; to approach humbly with open ears and a closed mouth more. May my “quiet time” reflect that I am truly actively listening.

I don’t need a tape measure to prove that I am coming up short in some my family relationships. I have known my husband since he walked into my 8th grade  science class in 1974. But there is more to learn and understand about him. I have only scratched the surface even after 32 years of marriage.

I want my 2016 blueprints to show that I purposefully will spend more time with all my family members; not use distance, driving and schedules as excuses.

I want to write, write, write to my sponsored Compassion children and my correspondent children. I want to ask better questions and pray seriously and persistently for each concern they share. Frequent communication  and creatively employing outside-the-box ideas will build these relationships and speak clearly the message of how precious and loved they are.

I’ve got some work to do. Building takes effort and time and some sweat. But I have an extra day (366) this New Year to start hammering away on these building improvements and I am pumped!

legos

What is your One Word for 2016? One Word that you will revisit throughout the year? One Word that will keep you focused when the world-fog settles in around you? Think ahead to March 16 and June 21 and September 7.  What is the One Word that will guide you back to where you want to be?

In this world of noise overload, pause a moment to sift through the mumble-jumble and find the  golden-nugget of One Word that God has just for you in 2016.  A long list of resolutions tends to depress me and weigh me down. Just too much to get my mind wrapped around. And when I can’t live up to my own expectations, I get in a funk and eat way too much junk (that rhymes).

So let’s keep it simple. One Word. I would love to hear your ONE WORD. IMG_6468

Please shout so I can hear you over all the building noise!

 

 

My Michelangelo

IMG_5806Mira lo que dibuje para ti   (Look what I drew for you)

IMG_5811I have a little Michelangelo who blesses me with his artwork. I love opening his letter and seeing his latest drawing – an original from the artist himself!

How beautiful and made just for me!

My Michelangelo is only 7 years old and lives on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. I may be a little biased but look out Sistine Chapel!

In my letters, I praise him and encourage him to keep drawing, coloring and creating! I have been neatly filing his artwork in a folder (in an attempt to take care of it) and that folder has been going on a shelf. Now I am realizing these masterpieces don’t belong hidden in a folder on a shelf. Art should be displayed for all to enjoy and appreciate especially this beautiful art made by such a precious artist!

What if when my holiday guests gather at the table, they look down to see a laminated placement featuring these pictures? Someone is going to ask a question. Art fuels questions and conversations. When the question arises,  “Who is the artist?” I can proudly say, “I know him well. Let me tell you about him and how you can help other budding artists around the world.”

What about designing a small card with the artwork on the cover and additional information on the back about Compassion International? There are lots of possibilities to showcase my little Michelangelo’s work. The story behind his life in Peru and his artwork  are both too important to be put away for safe keeping.

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So let’s display the creations of our Leonardo’s and Mary Cassatt’s.

Let’s look for ways to start conversations about our artists and see how God leads.

Make it Special

Some of my most memorable birthdays are not  about a specific gift but about a specific feeling. I felt special. On my special day, I felt very special. That was a great feeling as a child. That is what has stuck with me. Not a gift that I eventually  outgrew or broke. But the lasting feeling of “I am special. ” Isn’t that how we should feel on our birthdays? The God of the universe created each one of us unique and special. I am His Handiwork and that makes me extremely special.

Psalm 139: 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Money was tight growing up but my mother always made sure to make our birthdays  special. I am the third of four girls. I am not the oldest or the baby. I was just “one of the middle” girls. Pretty easy not to feel special.

My birthday is in the fall which meant I even had to go to school, most years, on my birthday. But when I got home and finished my chores, I knew I could count on a special dessert. Following  our evening  meal,  I was tickled to be presented with my very own perfect-size birthday cake! While my sisters and I were at school and not underfoot, my mother had time to bake. She creatively used  3 small round aluminum pans from our play kitchen set. She stirred up some chocolate  cake batter and spooned it carefully  into the  greased and floured tiny cake pans.

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(The remaining batter was  put in a regular-size cake pan for my regular, non-birthday, non-special siblings.  zing-zing) When the toothpick came out clean, she knew they were ready. She carefully extracted them  and  stacked them one on top of the other. Then the creation was covered with vanilla icing and topped with one candle. Yummy! It was my very own special, tiny 3-tiered cake! I was special indeed.  A special cake for my special day. God created me special and my mother did this small thing to make sure I felt special.

Around the world, children’s birthdays come and go and they don’t know how  special they are.  Poverty gets in the way. But TODAY is a very special day for a young boy or girl because it is their birthday!  TODAY a birthday child is waiting to feel special and loved. YOU can help by clicking here Happy Birthday

TODAY you are changing a child’s life on his/her birthday! How cool is that? That is special cool!

A Very Bright Day

November 14, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Today I found a brown box at my front door! An unexpected gift! Yay! My day brightened! But what could be inside? My birthday had come and gone and it is a little too early for Christmas. Hmmmm.

A  quick slit through the top and I discover lots and lots of  colorful  feet! I love them! They are so cool! I love the bright colors and I appreciate that someone took the time to brighten my day with this surprise! They purchased the fun feet, scattered them throughout the  tissue paper-lined box. and included a very loving, encouraging card. They drove through traffic to the post office, probably stood in a long line, and paid for shipping. They were intentional. They knew what this would mean to me. They knew this would brighten my day. That shows their kind heart. IMG_5327

The card revealed the mystery gift-giver. So I made a  quick phone call to say “thank you so much”  and my day turned even brighter. She tearfully told me that she just started sponsoring two dear little boys in Indonesia!A day can’t get much brighter!

It is hard to put into words how sponsorship truly changes a child’s life; how this will impact these 2 young boys. It is a very special relationship and it is a God-thing.

I told her their packets will show up within the next several weeks. They will include picture bookmarks,  pictures for on her fridge, and introduction letters to get the relationships started.  I suggested that the boys probably like soccer (most little boys do) so go buy some soccer ball stickers to send with your letters. Lots of fun ideas were popping into my mind. This is so exciting! Oh, the ways you will brighten their days!

Yes, my day was brightened with my box of happy feet. But when these 2 boys in Indonesia learn that they are sponsored, their days will be brightened too and their lives will never be the same. It was a very bright day indeed!

 

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54 Reasons

Looking for a reason to start sponsoring a child?  Well, here are 54.

These are my 54 reasons why I sponsor. One reason for each year I have been alive. Maybe one of my reasons will speak to  you and encourage you to  start your sponsorship journey.  Maybe your reason will be “Because of Judah”. Check out: Fall in Love with Judah

 

Why do I sponsor?

  1. Because it is so much fun
  2. Because Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. ” Matthew 25:40
  3. Because I want to help change a child’s life
  4. Because there is proof that  sponsorship works
  5. Because I love to write letters
  6. Because 17,000 children die every day, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. (UNICEF)
  7. Because Jesus loves children,  “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
  8. Because I live in a country of excess and plenty
  9. Because I love beautiful smiles
  10. Because I want  children to learn about Jesus and His love
  11. Because I love to receive letters filled with love and pictures
  12. Because I have the privilege to pray for my children and their families
  13. Because I have quality health care
  14. Because I want my worldview to be stretched
  15. Because I worship freely and openly
  16. Because I can share my favorite Bible verses with children
  17. Because I love a big family
  18. Because I have indoor plumbing
  19. Because “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
  20. Because extreme poverty still exists and affects children the most
  21. Because an extra gift to the Dominican Republic provided medication
  22. Because I drink clean water every day
  23. Because an extra gift to Peru provided a mattress for my child
  24. Because I want for nothing
  25. Because I love pictures on my refrigerator
  26. Because I want to be a difference-maker
  27. Because my  own daughters were born healthy
  28. Because “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest. ” Nelson Mandela
  29. Because of new friendships and relationships that are developed and nurtured
  30. Because my family and I have  been immunized
  31. Because I don’t sleep under a mosquito net
  32. Because a gift to Tanzania helped a family start a firewood business
  33. Because I have a car and money for gas
  34. Because of beautiful artwork from little, budding artists
  35. Because I want children to  know someone cares and someone knows their name
  36. Because I want them to see Jesus in me
  37. Because I have more than 1 room in my house
  38. Because I love to encourage others
  39. Because “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17
  40. Because I have plenty of clothes and shoes
  41. Because you are never too old to pick up your crayons and color a picture to send to a child
  42. Because I love to make them special cards for Christmas and birthdays
  43. Because I own 8 Bibles
  44. Because it is so easy to email letters and attach pictures
  45. Because “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment,” Wess Stafford.
  46. Because God’s Kingdom is being built one child at a time
  47. Because each Compassion Center is based out of the local church
  48. Because I have the opportunity to  visit the children and give hugs
  49. Because Compassion has financial integrity
  50. Because I am the only sponsor for this child
  51. Because my home has a non-dirt floor and  there are no holes in my roof
  52. Because I  eat at least 3 meals a day, everyday
  53. Because I feel safe in my home and community
  54. Because of these beautiful blessings:

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If you  found your reason, click on “Say Yes to a Child” and start your amazing journey of sponsorship. Your life will never be the same. Say Yes to a Child

Blessings,
Krista

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