Tag: Compassion International (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!

 

 

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.

Stink, Stank, Stunk!

November 22, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Balloons are so much fun, right? Everyone loves a balloon! They are colorful and can be twisted into fun animal shapes. Balloons usually signal a celebration, a party, definitely a fun time! Children, especially, love balloons. Give a young child a balloon and you made a happy friend! IMG_5565

In October, I was blessed to be able to serve with Compassion International in the Dominican Republic. At 2 Compassion Centers, we  interacted with the precious children through 4 Bible School stations:  Worship, Bible Lesson, Activities, and Crafts. I volunteered to lead the Craft Team and had super support from the Team. Generous individuals volunteered to fill any remaining space in their suitcases with glue sticks, markers, pipe cleaners, coffee filters, wiggle eyes, and  lots more.

We organized all the crafty supplies into one suitcase and  we were ready to go! This is going to be fun!  The children, divided into age groups,  rotated to the 4 different stations throughout the day. The Craft Team  had an ideal location, I thought. We could glue and create under a nice shaded area with picnic tables. However, a large generator was loudly running which required us to scream the instructions to the children. Thankfully, someone eventually pulled the plug and the screaming stopped.

For one rotation cycle, we had a large group of 4-year-olds coming our way. They marched proudly towards the picnic tables where the creative magic was to happen.

But wait! What were they carrying? Balloons? Really? Who gave them balloons? We want names and there will be revenge! How will we get their attention?  Our butterfly coloring pages can’t compete with a balloon!  Now what will we do?

In retrospect as the leader, I made a bad decision.  Yep, we took the balloons from them.  Nicely. We tried to nicely take the balloons from their little hands. Have you ever tried to take a balloon from a child? Don’t. It was just one of my many moments of insanity. We promised them in English that we would hold the balloons for them until the craft activity was finished.  It didn’t matter which language we spoke or which language they understood, all that mattered was what they were experiencing: strangers were taking their balloons! Grinch had nothing on us. Now, hand over the balloons! th3MKVA464

There were many confused little faces, even some tears.  The children loved their balloons; maybe it was the first balloon they ever received.

Then with all the handling of the balloons between the children and the mean strangers (yes, it gets worse), the balloons did what balloons tend to do. They POPPOP-POP-POP The loud “pops”  scared the children, which brought tears. Then when they realized they no longer had a balloon, more tears. Yeah, we stink, stank, stunk!

What a disaster! How did this go so wrong so fast? We had pure intentions. We wanted  to bless the children with a fun creative craft that tied in with our Bible School theme.  Our hearts’ desire was to bless them and love them, not make them cry.

When this young group eventually moved onto their next station (Hey, Bible Lesson Team, good luck with the balloons during your lesson!), some with their balloon back in their hands- the few that survived this terrible ordeal. But some of the children left holding the remaining pieces of latex and a butterfly coloring page. They cared more about the pieces of latex.

If I had a redo, what would I do? Just enjoy the balloons. Just play with the children. Just cause smiles, not tears.

But God knew our hearts. He knew what we had intended to do.  I am very thankful God knew our hearts so I could sleep that night and not take up drinking.  He knew we meant no harm.

Luke 16:15 “….God knows your heart.”                Acts 15:8 “God, who knows the heart….”

God knew we didn’t try to stink, stank, stunk. And that will have to do.

Note to self: Do not take a balloon away from a child.

Keep walking and take a balloon with you,

Krista

 

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:

IMG_4986     IMG_4086   IMG_4084    IMG_4082   IMG_4085    IMG_4083

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

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.

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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!

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