Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What to Write ~ Praise and Adoration

It seems that praise and adoration have been a recurring theme in my life the past couple months. It all started with the last "what to write" post when I wrote about prayer. You see, I ended up using the five finger method of praying as a springboard in my 4-5 year old Sunday school class. I realized that the concept of praise and adoration is not as easy to grasp as the concept of thanksgiving.

It was about the same time I was teaching my own girls and my Sunday school kids what praise is, that I discovered this instagram account and fell in love with the daily adoration posts.

(And then I was asked to be the featured photographer for the July adorations posts.)

I'm learning that praise and adoration is an art, and a wonderful way to soak in truths of who and what God is. It's a way to take a moment and tell God what we like about Him and his ways.

So this month, I'm writing about praise and adoration - specifically how God is using this to teach me more about Him.




Dear ......

How are you? We are doing well. 

Do you ever take time to think about who God is and praise Him for it? It's easy to thank God for what He does for us, but praising Him is a little bit harder to understand. Praising someone is telling that person what you like about him or her. 

For example, if you came to see me here's what I might say to you to praise you....

"Oh....it's so good to see you! I love to see the sparkle in your eyes and you always make me smile. You give me the best hugs and make me feel loved. I love how you always have a kind and encouraging word for me. You are so much fun to be around. You are a great friend and I know I can count on you."

That's very different than saying...."Thanks for coming and giving me a hug."

The Bible tells us so many things about God and we can take Scripture verses and turn them into praise. 

Here are a couple examples:


"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, 
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

YOU ARE THE GOD WHO THINKS ABOUT ME



"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior 
and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope."
 1 Timothy 1:1

YOU ARE THE GOD WHO IS OUR HOPE



"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

YOU ARE THE GOD WHO GAVE ME TODAY

So what do you think? Can you give it a try? I've started making a list and I write down one praise to God each day. Sometimes it's based on a Scripture verse and other days it's just me telling God what I like about him. I've even praised God for bringing you into my life!

I look forward to receiving your next letter. Please give your family my greetings.


Have you written to your sponsored child yet this month? If so, I'd love to hear what you wrote about. 







Monday, July 14, 2014

Fighting Modern Day Slavery (teaching kids how to)

For the third year in a row, I was asked to head up the missions part of our VBS. Two years ago I presented Bite Back, last year I presented Water of Life, and this year we talked about modern day slavery.

You see, the theme for our VBS was Wilderness Escape - how God led the Israelites out of slavery, so I thought it would be cool to raise money to fight modern day slavery that affects so many children in the world today.

This can be a tricky subject to introduce to kids because there is nothing straightforward about it. And there is that whole sex-trafficking industry that makes up a huge percentage of modern day slavery. Probably not appropriate for me to talk about.

The past two years we raised money for issues that Compassion directly addresses. And although sponsorship is a great way to address the issue of modern day slavery (I believe that sponsorship is a great way to prevent modern day slavery for many kids), I needed an organization that was directly involved in the fight.

I decided to use the Loose Change to Loosen Chains campaign from International Justice Mission.



I downloaded the toolkit and used it as my starting point. I also created a pinterest board with ideas I found on line.

In the past I've put on a Bite Back t-shirt or Water of Life t-shirt for my presentation, so this year I made a shirt with a big red X on it. I also put red X's on the children's hands each night to help them to remember to bring money the next night.


I always like to send the kids home with something tangible for two reasons:
  1. It serves as a possible conversation started between child and parent
  2. It serves as a visual reminder to bring $ later in the week


Each night I had 3-5 minutes to talk about our mission focus.

Day 1 - I simply shared what we were collecting money for and why.

Day 2 - I shared simple facts about modern day slavery and shared a personal story of a boy named Gopinath, whom was freed through the efforts of IJM.
  • slavery is illegal in every country
  • 27 million slaves around the world
  • 40-50% of those are children
  • Africa and Asia have the most slaves
  • India is the country with the most slaves
  • Gopinath's story - HERE
Day 3 - By this point we had raised $100 so we began to cut the chains off our "enslaved" child. Each chain represented $5, so I had the kids count by 5s until we reached $100. They loved this demonstration!



Day 4 - I showed this video....




Day 5 - I announced the total of donations that had been brought in - $303!! - and we cut the rest of the chains off our boy. I asked one of the kids to come up and pray over the money we had raised - that God would use it to bring freedom to some children who are caught in the cycle of slavery.


I love teaching children about some of the painful realities of our world. I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage them to see a need and do their best to meet it. I also love the conversations that were started between myself and several of the adults who were present. In those conversations we were able to talk about deeper things - like buying fair/direct trade coffee, chocolate and clothing.

My prayer is that through these opportunities, seeds are planted. In the years ahead, as these children grow up and begin to better understand the realities of this world, they will remember the seeds that were planted to help bring justice to the oppressed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creativity in Education

I came across this video this week and just had to share it here....makes me love Compassion a little bit more than I already did!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Letter Writing Photos by Hannah Hinojosa


Remember the post  about Involving Your Small Children in Child Sponsorship?

I thought I'd share some photos of our picture drawing for the Compassion kids this week! Juanito created a cute card with stickers at the local library story time. I asked him if he'd like to give it to one of his Compassion siblings and here's how the conversation went (with translation):

Me: "¿Quieres dar tu carta a un de tus hermanos de Compassion?" (Do you want to give your letter to one of your Compassion siblings?)

Juanito: "¡Si! A la princesa." (Yes! To the princess.)

Me: "¿Quién es la princesa?" (Who is the princess?)

Juantio turned to his photo book and showed me all the older teen girls (Nancy, Maria, Magreth and Maria, who are all wearing skirts).

Juanito: "Aquí." (Here.)

Me: "Ok, ¿cuál princesa?" (Ok, which princess?)

Juanito: "La princesa azul." (The blue princess.)

He pointed to Maria from Bolivia who is wearing a blue shirt in her photo.



I can't wait to tell the older girls that Juanito thinks that they're princesses! He then "wrote" in her card with a pen and purple marker.




Then he looked through the book and chose to give his tiger coloring/sticker project (also from story time) to Tresor! He then had to "write" a note to Tresor with the favorite pen and purple marker.



I just love when Juanito wants to write to the Compassion kids! What are ways that you love seeing your kids be involved with your sponsorship? I’m always open for inspiration and ideas!






About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Weekend Links to Share

Friends...it's been quiet here in this space lately. Sorry about that. It's not intentional....it's a combination of a lack of time, a lack of inspiration and a lack of motivation. Maybe it's because the weather is so nice and summer is in full swing here. My days are FULL and that's a good thing.

Regardless, here area a few links I ran across and wanted to share.


Also...here are some exciting updates concerning Compassion's ministry and growth. As you read through them, praise God for what He continues to do through this ministry! (there were shared with me directly from Compassion)

  • Compassion has earned Charity Navigator's 4 start rating for the 13th year in a row, According the the nonprofict watchdog's VP, "less than a dozen of the 7,500 charities we rate have received 13 consecutive 4-start evaluations and Compassion International is the only international charity to receive this distinction."
  • Sponsor letter writing has increased for the first time in 7 years - from 61% to 64% in fiscal year 2014. Advocates do an amazing work sharing the importance of letter writing with sponsors. 
  • In the month of April, U.S. sponsors wrote 140,000 letters to their sponsored children, the most ever in any one month.
  • In April, Compassion USA surpassed 900,000 children sponsored.
  • Compassion USA experienced its greatest month ever in sponsorships with 22,000 children sponsored in May.
  • Recently the Christian music group Casting Crowns became a Compassion band.
  • The second Mobile Experience truck will be put to use starting in September.

Do you have anything else to share with our community?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June Compassion Joys

God continues to blow me away with blessings month after month through the ministry of child sponsorship. I have a few regulars who join me each month in counting, naming and listing these blessings, but I'd love to see more of you join in.

It might seem silly at first, but I think you'll be blessed in the very act of remembering. Even if your list is short and sweet and lists the one letter you received, it's still a reason to give thanks. 

I dare you to join....


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!



letters from Rubi, Joseph, Josseling, Antoni, Nadege Jerry, Bulu, Nabudwa



Compassion Sunday



4 kids sponsored!






 Alex Mutagubya, formerly sponsored child in Uganda, 
came to speak at our "sponsor development" gathering





farewell lunch with Marlennis, formerly sponsored child in the Dominican Republic


Happy 14th birthday to Mwanzia Stephen in Kenya


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. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Involving Your Older Children in Child Sponsorship by Yvonne Reynolds



When we started sponsoring our first child through Compassion, my children were 15 and 10. I remember the mornings that we sat on the couch around my laptop, reading the blog posts of our friend who had traveled to India to visit with a couple of his family’s sponsored children. It was after reading those daily posts, that we started sponsoring Natalia from Colombia. So this was the first way we involved our children in our child sponsorship journey, we asked for their input on who we should sponsor as a family.

Over the past four and a half years, there has been many ways we have involved our children in our child sponsorship journey:

Map it out: Compassion is working through the local churches in 26 countries around the world. Print out maps of the different continents where Compassion is working and have your children locate the 26 countries on these maps.

Country flags: We were able to find printables for most of the country flags on the Crayola web site. Print these out and let your children color them with the appropriate colors. You can also send these to your sponsored children along with your own country’s flag.

What time is it?: Purchase an inexpensive clock and set it to the time where your sponsored child lives. This helps you to think about what your sponsored child could be doing at that time of the day.

Prayer prompts: In the welcome packet you receive when you first start sponsoring a child, there is a bookmark with a photo of your child, and on the back are daily prayer prompts. We created small daily cards to keep at our dining room table to remind us to pray each day for our sponsored children.

Volunteer at events together: Once your children are 13, they can start volunteering at events like the Compassion Mobile Experience and even help out by passing child packets at some concerts. As an advocate, you are able to sign up additional guests to come along and help out at events in your area.

Correspondent sponsor: My daughter (who is now 14) loves to write letters!! Not only are we sponsoring a child for her, but she is also a correspondent sponsor for 4 additional children.

Challenge your children: Is your child old enough to have a job? Suggest they consider being a financial sponsor for their own child. Does your child feel comfortable speaking in front of an audience? Challenge them to do the Compassion Sunday  presentation at your church. Does your child feel passionate about another one of Compassion’s programs? Have them pick a cause and creatively think of ways for fundraising to support the fund.

Are there other ways that you and your older have chosen to be involved together? Share your ideas with us in the comments.




About Yvonne Reynolds...Yvonne is very active when it comes to sponsorship and advocacy for Compassion. She maintains Compassion's Second Friday Letter Writing Pinterest board. Yvonne is a homeschooling mom who likes to read, bake and take photographs. You can find her blogging at Our Little Corner of the World.

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