Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Importance of Letters {part 1}

We have recently received pastor letters from almost all our sponsored and correspondent children. It's been a lot to read through and digest. In fact, I'm still working on the stack. Instead of sharing each letter with you, I thought I'd share what the pastors have to say about letter writing and how it impacts the sponsored children.

from Garcia Fernando Vargas ~ pastor of Centro Cristiano Atalaya Church in Colombia
We are very grateful to the sponsors who send letters to their children. When receiving them, it makes them very happy and they are very excited and are looking forward to responding. On the other hand, it is something sad and painful to know that there are many children who do not receive the letters and in their innocence, they are very sad. They wonder why they do not receive letters when their friends did receive them.

from Wilfredo Galindo Veliz ~ pastor of New Life Evangelical Baptist Church in Bolivia
Children really look forward to your letters, so please write always, to keep more in touch. It is sad to see that sometimes sponsors do not write to their sponsored children, and they live in the hope of someday receiving a letter from their sponsors. I must share that a teenager sponsored student was greatly encouraged by the letters he would receive from his sponsor. They were the reason of his achievements. The words in the letters were the strength to help him to keep going since he had so many problems at home.

from Ramon Jose Vasquez ~ pastor of the Assemble of God Church in the Dominican Republic
Our children and their sponsor are maintaining a good relationship through the exchange of letters. Letters allow our children to write to their sponsors about events of their lives, about their family and about how they are doing at school and how they are doing their development in the Center. Letters also allow the sponsors to keep their sponsored child aware of what is happening in their lives. The letters are a link that connects the child and the sponsor and maintains their friendship. If sponsors would stop writing, it would break the bond between them. Because of this, I pray you will frequently write to Hondy. 

from Florentino Corporan, pastro of Iglesia de la Christianizacion in the Dominican Republic
You can't imagine the happiness on the faces of these children, and their families, when they receive the special letters from the sponsors. The bond between each sponsor and the sponsored child creates a feeling of great gratitude. Please believe that you are considered to be a special aunt or uncle, and a gift from God for the family of Antoni. It is wonderful to see the joy on the face of each mother when we tell her that there is something for her child at the Center. 

from Arturo Klee ~ pastor of Jerusalem Baptist Church in El Salvador
When children get letters from their sponsors they are happy that someone cares about them and thinks about them. They sometimes read their letters many times and read them to their parents. This brings everyone great joy. They express such happiness when they receive correspondence and letters. For this,I ask that you please bless your child by writing letters often.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Step Into My Shoes ~ Our Experience: Steps 6 and 7

Today I'll wrap up sharing about our experience going through the new resource for families called "Step Into My Shoes".

In case you missed my earlier posts:



STEP 6



After reading the Bible passage and talking about it, we watched the video "Enough Education". The activity was to think of ways you can bless others at school, but we are a homeschooling family. So instead we made some love notes for our friends and cousins (it just happened to be the week of Valentine's Day so it was perfect timing!) 


We also read the story of Jesus blessing the children in Mark 10. I got this idea from the other (earlier) version of the Step Into My Shoes journey guide. They suggested either acting it out or drawing it and my girls chose to draw it.




And then we reviewed the memory verse -

"'Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?' 
 Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sate down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish." - John 6:9-11

STEP 7



We started off by reviewing all we had done in the previous steps. None of this was really new to my girls, as we've done many activities like this before, but it was interesting to see what was significant to them about this particular experience. When we started this journey, I had just returned from my trip to Nicaragua and the girls were very eager and excited to hear about my experience there.

After reading the Bible passage, we watched the video "Enough Food".

We talked about the ways our family is already sharing our "more than enough" with those who have less. And then we talked about how we still have more than enough - even after we share. So we set a timer and gathered items we were willing to give away. I love decluttering so this activity was right up my alley!

We also went over the final memory verse -
"Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made and opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.'" - Mark 2:3-5

Friday, April 10, 2015

What to Write ~ Fruit of the Spirit: Faithfulness

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

I am continuing with the Fruit of the Spirit series In case you missed them, you can find them here...
And now for FAITHFULNESS


Greetings dear one! How are you? We are well, and it is with great joy that I am able to write another letter to you.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galations 5:22

Today we are learning what it means to be faithful or have faithfulness. So what is faithfulness? It’s the act of being loyal, constant and steadfast. When God is faithful to us, He is always there – in every situation and in every circumstance. His love for us is constant. When we are faithful to God, we are loyal to Him in every situation and every circumstance. We are obedient to His commands no matter what.

There are many Bible verses that tell us God is faithful to us. I love the imagery of Psalm 36:5.

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Can you even imagine that? Go look at the sky and then imagine God’s faithfulness reaching that high – His love reaching through to the heavens. It’s pretty amazing.

Another verse I love is Psalm 86:15

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Other verses like Joshua 24:14 tell us that we should be faithful.

Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.

And verses like 1 Samuel 26:23 suggest that we will be rewarded for our faithfulness.

The Lord rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness.

Being faithful requires effort and work. It’s easy to be faithful when we are happy, but much harder when things happen that make us wonder if God really loves us. Sometimes life is hard and we are sad or angry or confused about what is happening. But God still wants us to be faithful to Him, just as He is faithful to us.

I’ll leave you with my favorite verse about God’s faithfulness – this one is good enough to memorize, so I encourage you to hide this in your heart.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Because God is faithful to us, we need to be faithful (loyal, constant and steadfast) to Him.




Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Step Into My Shoes ~ Our Experience: Steps 4 and 5

I've been sharing about our experience of going through Step Into My Shoes - a new resource for families from Compassion. 

In case you missed my earlier posts:



STEP 4



After reading the Bible passage and talking about it, we watched the video "Enough Hope". 

We talked about what our specific "callings" might be in terms of how God has gifted us and how He has given us certain talents and interests that are unique to us. We then brainstormed about ways we can give of ourselves to God by giving to others. We gathered items to represent our ideas.

We can give money to others in need and to causes like Compassion. We can draw or make cards for family and friends. We can pass down our clothes and toys to others. We can share our music with others. We can write letters and share God's love with our sponsored children. We can donate food to others. 

our alternate offering

And we reviewed the suggested memory verse...
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39


STEP 5


The big activity for this step is to mark off a 10x10 area and sleep there as a family. We did NOT do this. We've done this before and I just wasn't up for it. The girls have even slept under mosquito nets before so we just talked about and looked at our photos from Thailand.



We watched the video "Enough Safety" and then prayed that God would use what we have enough of to help others. We traced our open hands to show that we want to be generous and then each girl chose 5 of our sponsored children and wrote their names on each finger.


Our family also helps out a local family shelter and we talked about how what we do there is helping homeless families have a safe place to live and sleep.

Then we worked on the next suggested memory verse -

"'Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?' 
 Jesus said, 'Have the people sit down.' There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sate down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish." - John 6:9-11

Monday, April 6, 2015

Compassion ABCs: O is for


O is for...

ONE

Through child sponsorship, we can change the world ONE child at a time.

Compassion links ONE child to ONE sponsor for the duration of the sponsorship. 


according to the Compassion website...
Each child has only one sponsor, which is why the sponsor's prayers, letters and support mean so much to a child. We believe that the relationship that develops between sponsors and children is instrumental in a child's growth and development. In addition, this one-to-one relationship provides children with the message that they matter, that they are valuable and that someone outside of their family cares about them and their future.





Thursday, April 2, 2015

Step Into My Shoes ~ Our Experience: Steps 2 and 3

Recently I had the opportunity to go through Compassion's new family resource Step Into My Shoes with my girls, ages 8 and 10. I'm sharing about our experience, and you can read my first post "Getting Started and Step 1"  HERE.


STEP 2


Today's focus was about belonging to a group and we started out by talking about the different groups of people we belong to (family, church, homeschool, etc.)

Then we watched the video  "Enough Love" and practiced our memory verse
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." - Matthew 6:9-13




STEP 3

This step started out with some fun activities and we did them all. Then we watched the video "Enough Water"

One of the suggested activities is to limit yourself to one water source for a certain amount of time, but we altered it and did something else. (We've done the other before and I wanted this to be a different experience). I had the girls get water from outside and then bring it in to boil it. That was the water we would use for drinking and cooking the rest of the day.






I also had them choose an article of clothing in the dirty laundry and had them wash it out by hand.



Then we practiced the next suggested memory verse...
"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:37-39

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Compassion Joys ~ A Link Up





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!


We received quite a few letters this month.
Here are some highlights...

Nadege ~ pray for broken foot
Nabuduwa ~ bought 3 hens with $ we sent
Orm ~ favorite Bible verse Romans 12:1
Jackson ~ bought flour for bread, loves oranges ( the taste and color), bought mattress and goats
Luis ~ taking computer classes, sister graduated from high school
Lian ~ bought clothes with birthday $


We also received 6 pastor letters


I hosted a "Compassion Night" at my church and shared about my trip to Nicaragua


Happy 11th Birthday to Preeti in India



Happy 17th Birthday to Hondy in Dominican Republic






my husband custom decorated a "Compassion" guitar





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 you have trouble linking up, simply leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit your blog.

***If you don't have a blog, share your blessings in the comments!


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