Friday, October 31, 2014

October Compassion Joys

It's that time of the month when we take a few moments to name all the gifts and blessings God has brought our way through the ministry of Compassion. Join us!

This month was mostly about birthdays for us....

Happy 17th Birthday to Josseling in Nicaragua!
Perhaps the most exciting part of this month is that I'm making plans to go meet Josseling in January 2015....
Lord willing, I'll travel to NI with my mom and we'll meet our sponsored kids (who attend the same project).
We've been dreaming of taking a trip together for several years and it's exciting to actually be planning it.
Our very dear friends go to NI every year for mission work, and we'll be with them while we are there.
My husband was able to go meet Josseling a couple years ago (with the same friends).

Happy 10th Birthday Lian in Colombia!

Happy 8th Birthday Joylyne in Kenya!

birthday buddies Joylyne and Kayleigh

another HUGE highlight of the month....
if all went as planned, I met Yvonne Reynolds on Monday in San Francisco!
I'm writing this ahead of time, but our plan is to meet and spend the day together. 
We've been online friends for a couple years now, and she's a regular contributor here, 
so it's very exciting to meet face to face. I'll add a picture when I get back!

And now it's your turn! Here are some guidelines for you to follow for this link-up:
  1. Link up by entering the URL to your blog post (make sure it's a link to the actual blog post and not just your blog).
  2. Be sure to link back here to Compassion Family and tell others you are doing so. Feel free to grab the button code for your post (it's on the right side of the blog).
  3. Set aside some time to visit the other participants and leave some comment love.
  4. Begin taking notes and making a list for next month.
I should also mention that I reserve the right to remove anyone's submission if it fails to meet the link-up requirements or is inappropriate. 

***If the link up isn't working, simply leave a comment with a link to your post and I'll be sure to visit.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Compassion in Kenya - a letter from a CDSP director

We recently received two letters from two different Compassion center directors around the world. As much as I love letters from my sponsored children and letters from pastors, these letters are a gold mine!

If you want to know how each Compassion project is run, then this type of letter will give you all that information. I don't know for sure, but I would guess that most Compassion projects within a country operate in a similar fashion. So even if your child doesn't attend this particular project, chances are he or she experience a similar thing in their Compassion project. I know that it varies greatly from country to country, but within a country...probably not so much.

You can read past letters I've shared from NicaraguaTanzaniaEast India, Ghana and Bolivia.

Dear Kevin and Jill,

Please receive my greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am Mr. Thomas Amisi, the Project Director of Lweya Child Development Center where your sponsored child Joylyne Awuor attends. The project is located in the Lake basic region, Siaya County of the republic of Kenya. The project is about 3 km off the shore of the largest fresh water lake in the world, Lake Victoria, and is about 80 km from Kisumu city.

I wish to sincerely thank you for encouraging and supporting Joylyne.

The children receive the most far reaching programs at the center. The program is curriculum lead, delivered by the center staff and qualified teachers who are Christians and of high reputation in the community. The center has designed books on spiritual, social emotional, cognitive and physical development which are used to teach the children when they come to the center.

The younger children between the ages 3-11 years are taken through age appropriate games as playing with balloons, swing and merry go round. They also learn the Word of God through songs, Bible stories and memory verses, whereas the older children of 12 and above are taught income generating skills as fashion and design, cookery, agriculture skills beside learning the Word of God through Bible study.

Along with the activities that take place in a typical day at the project the sponsored children are also given individual attention through regular home and school visits. This kind of attention is given to provide guidance and support to the child. Each child is assigned an adult project staff or volunteer who walk with him/her through the challenges of life. During such visits the development needs of the child's family are identified and appropriate intervention taken.

The caregivers are empowered through trainings in modern agricultural technics and small scale business. These efforts are made to ensure that the caregivers to these children are empowered to enable them to provide the basic needs for their families. The caregivers are periodically trained on parenting skills and children right issues where they learn how to bring up the children in a positive manner.

Many sponsored young persons in this community have acquired secondary school education with a few of them acquiring even university degrees. This can be attributed to the sponsorship program that has ensured that the children access education and other educational support. This situation is quite different among the other children in the community who did not have the opportunity to participate in the sponsorship program.

The number of children that profess that Jesus Christ is Lord and engage in service activities in the church and community is higher among the sponsored children compared to those children who are not sponsored thanks to the spiritual nourishment the sponsored children get at the project. 

The epic of sponsor-child relationship is realized when a sponsor visits the child. This is a very exciting moment for the child. It is the only opportunity when the child meets the sponsor face to face. The sponsor normally takes this time to know the child's family background and also meets the family members. Such a visit has the most far reaching impact in cementing the sponsor-child relationship.

Children also enjoy receiving letters from their sponsors. The words shared encourage the children and build their self-esteem. 

Finally, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to you for being a sponsor to Joylyne in this community. May the God continue to shower you with His sufficient grace. 

Thomas Amisi
Lweya Child Developement Center, Kenya (KE 808)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014-2015 Gift Catalog

It's here....
Compassion's 2014-2015 Gift Catalog

I absolutely love Compassion's annual gift catalog and each year it seems to get better and better. The photos are beautiful and the gifts are so practical and come in so  many different categories and price points. There really is something for everyone in here. 

You can order your own catalog(s) HERE (they come in two sizes this year!) 

You can also see an online version of the catalog HERE can create a wishlist and share it with others right HERE

Finally, you can get widgets and banners and videos and all sorts of resources HERE

Gift Catalog FY15 - How it Works - Short from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Gift Catalog FY15 - How it Works Video from Compassion International on Vimeo.

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

       Change a life


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.

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