Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In case you missed these...

This first one made me cry...this is so beautiful.

Friday, October 17, 2014

One Meal One Day


SKIP A MEAL
       Change a life


BE HUNGRY (ON PURPOSE)

If you knew that skipping a meal could change a child’s life – would you do it?


One Meal One Day is about serving children in extreme poverty by skipping a meal and raising funds and awareness to fight hunger.

Pick a day...any day...
or join fellow advocates all over the nation on 
November 5, 2014



One Meal One Day 2013 from Compassion International on Vimeo.



You can get more information from the One Meal One Day website or simply go HERE to donate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jessie's Well

I ran across this story and video recently, and it's too good not to share. To read more about the story, head HERE.




Jessie's Well from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Monday, October 13, 2014

When God invites us to tell His story...

Six weeks or so ago...
I wrote on here about releasing our kids to fly... more specifically about how my heart is handling the fact that my girl was about to unfurl her wings and soar away.

And fly she did... spending 10 days with a filming team from Compassion Canada, in the Philippines, a Compassion International field country which also happens to be the country of hubby's and my births... filming a youth curriculum that they are producing which my girl is hosting for them.

She soared... on wings like eagles, drawing strength from our Heavenly Father... even when her eye migraines persistently flared up.

A few weekends ago, the same filming team was here with us from Friday morning to Sunday night to film the Toronto segment of this project.


Now that the filming is over, the waiting starts.

I can't wait to see the final product {to be released early next year}... and can't wait to see how God will use it to tell His story of redemption for this broken world in which we live.

As my girl wrote on her blog last week:
It was wild, crazy-God-beautiful, unbelievably tough, mind-blowingly fulfilling and so much fun.

Each time I started a day of filming or shared a moment with a child in the Philippines or opened my mouth to speak, I could only think How blessed are we, that God would choose to include us in His Kingdom work?
Think about it guys... He doesn't have to, yet He does. That is the kind of God we serve.
Friends, you can hop on over to her blog to see more photos and to read the rest of her reflections on being involved with this project and also to read this one... this beautiful glimpse into the very real struggles which her heart is processing upon returning home. Such wild grace!

And then, a couple days after the film crew left...
We found ourselves involved in yet another media project. This time, my boy was invited to appear on live TV to promote the newly released Rubik's speed-cube.


You see, my boy is a speed-cuber. He attends multiple competitions every year and he loves to wear his Compassion t-shirts to these events. You can also see the Compassion t-shirt featured in many of his YouTube videos. This is his way of advocating for Compassion! 

While my girl loves to speak and write about Compassion, my boy advocates mostly without the use of many words! I love the fact that, although they are polar opposites, both are equally passionate about their advocacy of Compassion's ministry!

On this particular day... although a dress-code wasn't specified, we weren't sure if he would be allowed to appear on air representing the Rubik's cube, but wearing his Compassion t-shirt.

But we decided that he would wear it to the studio anyway... but pack a backup t-shirt in his backpack, just in case! We also posted a prayer request on the Compassion Canada Advocate Network Facebook page and enlisted our fellow advocates to pray.

And... as you can see from the photo above, God answered our prayers! He was able to wear his Compassion shirt on air that day! You can click here to watch the clip from the show. Such wild grace!

I am blown away...
... by God's relentless love, His constant goodness and His amazing grace.

On this Thanksgiving Day {today is Thanksgiving here in Canada!}, as I reflect on these things, I can't help but be deeply grateful and be in awe:

Because... God continuing to use a family as broken as ours for Kingdom purposes blows me away.

Because... God using unqualified ordinary people such as us to create something beautiful and radical blows me away.

Because... God choosing to use our family's story to inspire others to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him utterly. blows. me. away! 

We truly serve an awesome God!
To Him be all glory, honour and praise... He has done great things! And the beautiful thing is... He invites each one of us to tell His story, whether with lots of words or without many words... in order to make this world a better place. 

Let's join Him, friends... and leave a Jesus-mark in this world!
It doesn't matter who you are, how big your audience or your bank account, you can make a mark.
You can do it. Jesus did. He is the example, the eternal Truth we love because he loved us first. We serve because he served first.
~ Jeremy Cowart, What's Your Mark?





About Aimee Esparaz...Aimee is mother to two teens and is passionate about living out Micah 6:8 with her family. She is a sponsor and advocate through Compassion Canada and works in global marketing. She loves to read and garden, and blogs at A Mom On A Mission.

Friday, October 10, 2014

What to Write ~ Fruit of the Spirit ~ JOY

It's the second Friday of the month...the unofficial designated day to write to your sponsored kids!

I've started a series of "what to write" posts on the topic of the Fruit of the Spirit. In the first post, I introduced the Fruit of the Spirit and asked my kids to memorize Galations 5:22. In the second post, I focused on LOVE. Today, I'll continue down the list and write about JOY.




Dear
   
How are you? We are well. The seasons have changed and that means cooler weather and less 
daylight.

A couple months ago I asked you to memorize Galatians 5:22....
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Last month I shared some thoughts with you about love, and today we’ll move on to the next fruit of the Spirit in the list….JOY.  There are so many good Bible verses about joy. Several times in Scripture you will find instructions to “shout for joy”.
Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music. ~ Psalm 98:4
So what is joy? Is it being happy? I would say that joy is more about knowing God is in control of every part of our lives and that we choose to praise Him in every situation. It’s the opposite of worry.

When I think of what makes me joyful I think about the fact that God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to earth as a baby. When the angel appeared to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of Jesus they said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10

Because of Jesus - his life, his death and his resurrection - we can be joyful in all circumstances because we know our hope is in God. 

I'll leave you with two more of my favorite verses about JOY. It seems that God is commanding us to be joyful. 

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again - rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4 

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ 2 Thessalonians 5:16-18
What is your favorite Bible verse about joy? I'm praying for you - that God will fill you with JOY and that you will strive to joyful always.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My "Twins"

In Crystal's recent post, she talked about creating a birthday buddy billboard. It inspired me to put something together since my youngest daughter and her birthday buddy will be turning 8 this weekend.



We aren't having a party with family or friends coming over, so I'm not sure who will see it, but at least it's a reminder to us that Kayleigh isn't the only one turning 8 this weekend. And who knows, maybe one of my violin students will notice it.

Several years ago I wrote a little book called "Birthday Buddies" for my oldest daughter. In it I tell the tale of two girls - born on the same day into very different situations. I pulled information from the letters Yoselin had written and created a story that showed the relationship that was developing through letter writing.

I should probably update this one and write a completely different one for my younger daughter.








I feel like there is a need for more resources to help our young kids understand the relationship part of sponsorship. Sure...they can experience the letters coming in and going out, but what kid wouldn't love to read a story about themselves?

So...if you are creatively inclined, give it a try and write a story about one of your sponsored kids. I "illustrated" mine with photos and maps. Nothing fancy or complicated. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Compassion in the Bathroom....and Other Places

I had just turned the lock and set my purse on the door hook when I heard the lady in the stall next to me speak. Not to her cell phone, but to me. And not to ask for toilet paper, either.

Well, that's something that's never happened to me at JC Penny's before! 

I couldn't see her, and given that I'm not really used to listening through bathroom stall walls, hadn't really been paying attention the first time she spoke. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

She cleared her throat. "I said that I have a little girl in Ecuador! And we just love her!"

I glanced down at my shirt, a walking billboard for Compassion International. Now her comment made sense, though her timing was a bit strange. But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

"Our girl is in the Philippines!" I replied. "We love her too!"

Yes, women are capable of connecting anywhere. Moving on.

Maybe you're just catching the Compassion bug (trust me, sponsoring children becomes addictive) but don't have the guts or access to a large crowd of people. Maybe you want to do just more than work a table at a concert. Or maybe you're just not the pushy type who likes to "bug" people about this sort of thing.

Trust me, I get it. Yet there is so much more to spreading the awesomeness of Compassion than presentations or pitches. Try these easy ways and see what happens:





Wear Your Heart
Compassion has a pretty awesome store. I have several cute fitted tops (because I do NOT wear T-shirts) from there as well as some racing gear and I love them all. But more than fashion, they have allowed me to share Compassion with the world without saying a word.

Last month, at my most recent half-marathon, I was lining up at the start when a woman approached me. "I'm a sponsor, too," she said, "and actually we just got back from visiting our girl in Uganda." (Insert British accent). Instantly, I felt a connection, and as we chatted she said she'd pray for me (although no amount of prayer could get me to PR on that day!).

When people read your shirt (or whatever else you choose to wear), it's a natural conversation-starter. Give it a shot -- you never know when the nearest bathroom stall may talk to you.


Birthday Buddy Billboards
 Many sponsors choose their kids based on their or their children's birthdays, AKA "birthday buddies."  I've written before how this is a fantastic way to involve your biological kids in ministry; it's an awesome practice I highly recommend. But didja know you can use birthday parties to let others in on the fun? See Exhibit A:




This is a sign we posted in the entryway of our oldest son's first birthday. It reads, "Hello, my name is Barbie Gicale Albatera, and I am Jack's Compassion sister from the Philippines. Today is my birthday, too! I am turning 7. Please consider supporting a Compassion child like me!" And of course, I had to place a (borrowed) Barbie doll in her stead.

This is a low-pressure, creative way to get people to ask questions, not to mention reinforce to your own children that this person they see taped to the refrigerator (well, their picture, I suppose, but doesn't that make you giggle a little?) is realand matters.

Be That Annoying Bragging Parent
You know when you meet new people and they ask you how many kids you have? And you eagerly bust open your wallet to show them Junior in all his Mini-Me cuteness? Guess what: you can do that with your Compassion babies, too. Compassion sends you handy-dandy wallet-sized photos of all your kids. Stick them in your purse. Include their names and locations in your conversations with strangers. Like,

"Do you have children?"

"Yep, I've got three at home, then two in Africa, two in Asia and two in South America. Wanna see some pictures?"




Usually, that line is so unusual that the person you're talking to is bound to ask for an explanation. And there's your opening! "Yeah, have you ever heard of Compassion International? It's one of the largest child-sponsorship organizations in the world and my family absolutely loves being a part of it."


For example, while on a trip recently, we found out that our room stewards were from Nicaragua and Bolivia. Which just so happens to be where two of our sons' birthday buddies are from! So out come the little cardboard photos, and just like that, we're having a conversation, making a connection with someone we may have been tempted to just ignore beforehand and spreading awareness.

Which, when you think about it, is a lot better than what usually gets spread from a bathroom.


About Crystal Kupper....Crystal is a passionate sponsor and advocate for Compassion. She is a military wife, mom to three kids and is a freelance writer, currently living in the UK. You can find her blogging at Crystal Kupper




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