Finding Treasure

When I got home from work the other day my husband informed me that he had knocked my jewelry box over while vacuuming.

The first thought that went through my head was that I wanted to choke him. But the look on his face as he pointed to the pile of jewelry on his dresser while breaking the news caused a second thought to go through my head… It was just a jewelry box and I needed to let it go.

I must admit that even though I decided to try let it go and not say anything mean to him there was still a part of me that was really angry with him for not being more careful!

And once I opened the drawers and saw that everything else inside the box was now jumbled up mess the idea of keeping my mouth shut became even harder!

Now, this is where things begin to get interesting….

As I began the task of matching pairs of earrings together and untangling necklaces I realized that I have collected quite a lot of jewelry over my 53 years of life. I began finding things I had forgotten I had or that were gifts from different people in my life.

Suddenly instead of cleaning up a mess I was on a journey down memory lane and a pile of dumped jewelry had somehow become a pile of treasure, and I was having fun!

Later that day I told my husband that when he had first told me he’d dumped my jewelry box I was really upset with him, but that now I had changed my mind and instead I was thankful that he had dumped it 🙂

A God Inspired Decision

 

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Walkiris – Dominican Republic

It’s been over two weeks since I was given this Compassion Blogger assignment and I am not sure why but of all the Compassion blogging assignments I have received this one for some reason gave me writers block. I know that’s sounds silly because if you are a friend of mine you know that the children of Compassion are where my passion is and I usually cannot stop talking about those kids.

So why then would this assignment be so hard for me?

The assignment this month was to write about what it was that inspired me to sponsor a child. I do know the answer to this question and my answer to the question is – My decision to sponsor a child was God inspired.

I know that sounds like a simple answer and I guess I could have just left it at that and been finished with my writing assignment way before now but there was just so much more to say and I had a hard time putting it all into words. So tonight I decided to just start writing in the hopes that it puts into perspective all the things floating around in my head.

I will start with the first time I was asked to sponsor a child…It was 2010 and I was a brand new Christian. My friend David asked me to sponsor a child and I told him no.  I knew nothing about Compassion except for a few status’s that he had put on his Facebook page and what he had told me about his own sponsorship’s. I really did think I meant no at that time but gradually I found myself becoming very intrigued by Compassion’s website. What I did not know at that time was that God had used my friend to plant a seed for those children in my heart.  I soon began visiting Compassion’s website almost every evening and while I was there I found myself reading about poverty and looking at pictures of the children who were waiting for sponsors. On May 3, 2010 as I was looking at the pictures of the children a cute little face with a big giant smile jumped out of the page at me.  The more I looked at the little girl’s picture the more the pull to sponsor her became stronger.  Even though I still had reservations there was  no fighting it, I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to sponsor Walkiris from the Dominican Republic.

I didn’t know it at the time but that day 4 years ago was the beginning of something that has now become a very important part of my life!

Choosing to sponsor Walkiris was a God inspired decision for sure and the thing about something that is God inspired is it usually turns out in the end way bigger than you could have ever imagined it could.

Some God inspired things seem to me to be way out of my comfort zone and sponsoring a child may sound easy to some people but for me it was way…WAY out of my comfort zone!  First off I was going to be making a commitment to a monthly payment I wasn’t sure I would always have the funds for. Sponsoring a child also meant taking a chance on something I knew nothing about. I did not know a whole lot about Compassion and back then I had big time trust issues. From where I stand now looking back to that time in my life, for me to sponsor a child back then was pretty huge!

At that time in my life Jesus was also very new to me and I had only been a Christian for about 2 months. I did not feel equipped to be writing about him in a letter to a child and to me the letter writing seemed like a big responsibility because I didn’t have a clue what I would say to a child that I didn’t know and to top that off she was from another country so our cultures were different and she spoke Spanish (thank you for Compassion translators).  I will be honest with you when I sponsored Walkiris though I said yes to God I was not totally sure if I was really all in on the whole sponsorship thing.

Thankfully it did work out and I soon found out, letter writing was easy, it was fun, the funds always seemed to be there and I also eventually realized I was really ALL in.

Since the day I sponsored Walkiris several other things have been God inspired.

God inspired sponsoring Thierry… 

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Thierry – Haiti (Thierry has now graduated from Compassion’s program)

God inspired me to become an advocate for other children who are waiting for sponsors…

God inspired me to start this blog… 

God inspired letter writing with Sanbor…

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Sanbor – Bangladash

God inspired a visit to Haiti to meet Thierry. (Read this story here)…

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Me and Thierry March 2013

While in Haiti meeting Theirry God inspired sponsoring Rose (Read her story here)…

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Rose – Haiti (in the mint green dress)

God inspired me to join Compassion bloggers and He inspires me to write about the kids at Compassion…

And just this past year God inspired sponsoring Ericka…

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Ericka – El Salvador

God has inspired writing letters full of words of encouragement and full of love…Tears of joy have sometimes flowed down my face when I read the letters from my children. I cry because I see the love in the pictures they draw for me…or the first time I saw Walkiris’s tiny blue finger print signature because she was to young to write. I loved watching as over time the finger print was replaced by her own crooked signature and then finally the joyful day that the letter arrived fully written by her in her very own handwriting.

I love how the letters from these kids give me a glimpse into their lives. The most profound thing I have learned through all of this is that I could fall in love with someone I have never met in person.  The love I feel for them is real and I feel like they are my own children.  I have also found out that these children love me as much as I love them.  Their letters to me are written with love and also full of encouragement for me.  Every single one of them has told me that they pray for me and my family. What I have received out of all this has been a totally unexpected gift.

What started out as me helping them I think somehow has also been them helping me?!?  

During the past 4 years God has taken this heart of mine and broken it into a million tiny pieces while at the same time he has been picking them up and putting them back together again, molding them into a heart that is full of trust, hope and love.  Those things all rolled together form a heart so full of  joy at times that it feels as if it may burst.  This whole ‘God inspired’ thing has blessed me beyond anything I could ever have imagined and I am thankful to be a part of something so life changing on all sides of the story.

When looking at Compassion’s website and seeing all those faces of children looking back it can be really hard to imagine that sponsoring just one child could make any difference at all, but I know now without a doubt that it really does make a difference. The truth is sponsoring a child not only makes a difference for that child’s life but also for his whole family and it can also change the sponsor’s life too.

Below is a video by Caitlin Jane.  She is a singer songwriter and also a Compassion sponsor. When she was visiting her sponsored child in The Dominican Republic she was inspired to write this song.

What is God inspiring you to do? If he is inspiring you to do something then go for it! I know you won’t regret your decision to do it if it’s God inspired.  If you would like to share what God is inspiring you to do please tell me about it in the comments below, I really would love to hear about it.

If you feel God is inspiring you to help make a difference in the life of a child consider leaving this blog post by way of clicking the link below which will take you to Compassion International’s website. While there you can view pictures of children who have been praying for someone to choose them and to be their sponsor. YOU can be that person…YOU can make a difference…YOU can change the world — one child at a time! http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day,

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Who's Scribbling?

I don’t remember a whole lot about my life before the age of 5 other than I always loved to dance and sing but most of all I loved to draw pictures and color them.

When I was 5 years old as most children in my country do, I headed off to my first day of kindergarten.   I was so excited to be going to school.  I was not a baby anymore and was headed off where the big kids got to go spend their days.  I could not wait to play with the other kids and make whole a bunch of friends.

When my mother took me to my classroom I saw some of the other kids were crying and clinging to their moms but I was not scared at all, I was so happy to be there.  The classroom was full of tables and we each already had a place picked out just for us.  I found my name tag taped to the table marking my seat and I sat down.  It was going to be the best day ever!

Shortly after our mothers left the teacher gave us work to do.  We were to draw a picture of what we did over the summer.  I loved to color so this made me very happy.   I had my brand new cardboard school box filled with crayons, pencils and paste and I could not wait to use them!

I began coloring my masterpiece,  I felt so happy but then something awful happened.   I heard a little girl at our table whisper to the boy sitting next to her; she said “who is scribbling?”  I looked around the table to try to figure out who she was talking about.  “Where was this scribbling person at our table?” I thought to myself.   I did not see anyone scribbling.  Then I saw that same girl who had whispered to the boy and she was pointing at me!   As she pointed she said “It’s her,” with a look of disapproval on her face.

I began looking around the table at the other children, all eyes were on me. I remember the boy next to me scooted his chair away from me making sure the others did not think he was the “scribbler’s” friend.   I looked down at my picture which I had thought was beautiful a few minutes ago.  I also looked around at everyone else’s pictures.  Though I was just a little girl I still can remember the feelings I had inside.  I was so embarrassed as I felt the tears begin running down my face.  I wanted to run and hide but I was stuck there in that classroom at that table in an unfamiliar place and my mother who I always ran to, was not here to protect me.

I think that was the first time in my life I wanted to please other people who were not behaving very nicely.  I was only in kindergarten but in my child mind, I wanted them to think my picture was pretty and I wanted those kids to like me.  I remember looking at my picture wanting to hide it because they made me feel like it was ugly.  I wanted run away go back to my home where my mommy was where everything I did was beautiful and everyone liked me.

I wish I could say that I continued “scribbling” my picture and being myself not caring what the other kids thought, but I did not.  It was actually the beginning of a life of trying to please others.  I was just coloring a picture and some little girl pointed out I was not doing things like everyone else.  It can be really hard the first time you realize you are not like everyone else, even if you are only 5.

I still sometimes as an adult wonder where do those feelings come from?   Why do I have the need to feel that I have to please others .  I think its because we all need approval and we just want others to like us. We don’t want them to think we are odd or different or not smart.  I was reading my Bible the other day and I came across the story of Peter denying Jesus. The night before Jesus was crucified his faithful disciple Peter denied him.  Jesus even warned him he would do it and I do think Peter truly believed he would not do that sort of thing to his friend.

He warns Peter in Mark 14:27-31

  •  “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd,and the sheep will be scattered.’  But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”  Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.

As you read on farther in Mark we can see it is true Peter did deny Jesus, as shown in 14:66-77

  • While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.  When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.  “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.  But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.  When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.  After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”  He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”  Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept

I think that Peter feared for his life here and became afraid. I also think in our own lives we have a lot of reasons for wanting to please other people.  Fear can be a huge reason we try to please others.  We can fear harm to ourselves or just fear of being alone.

I feared others not liking me I also feared being picked on.  But the bottom line is we as people just really do not like it when we feel not liked or unloved.  No matter what the reason it can be scary.

I do believe we were made to please.  But I do not believe it was people we were made to please.  We were made to please one thing and one thing only and that is God.  What God thinks of us is all that ever has and ever will truly matter.

Don’t take me wrong when I say that.  This does not give us permission to go around acting like a jerk.  We should truly care about others and love one another and doing acts of kindness are wonderful.   We all should be nice to one another.  But we should never be who we are not meant to be to please another person.

Being a Christian can be hard sometimes because we have to go out of the box.  We have to say and do things that non believers may think are just plain nuts.  Sometimes even the believers may think we are nuts.   Our friends and family may think we are nuts too and guess what?? They may even not like us.  But if we stay pleasing to God we are on the right path.

Thankfully a lot of things have changed since that day in kindergarten.   We start learning our lessons in life as a young child and sometimes the lessons learned are not the right ones to learn.  Until I sat in that kindergarten classroom it never dawned on my child mind that someone would not like me because I was me. Thankfully now I do know who I need to please.  Something else I noticed along the way is if I just be who God made me to be, most people like me anyway, and if they don’t that’s ok . I also have realized that when I am not trying to please anyone except for God I actually like me too:)

Don’t worry what others think of you and go be who God made you to be.

Gelatians 1:10  Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 

Colossians 3:23    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Thank you for reading and God bless you 🙂

Spiders, Airplanes and Fear

This week has been a week of revelation and great joy for me.  A lot of things have been learned these past few days. First thing I would like to say is as I am writing this I am on my way home from a 3 night visit to my favorite place in the world, Jamaica.  I am at 38,000 feet in the air on an airplane without my seat belt on and there is a lot of turbulence at the moment.  I never go with out the seat belt and especially not on a flight with turbulence.  Though I am a travel agent I am extremely afraid to fly.   But for the first time in my life I am not afraid and I finally realize that God is in control of this plane and of my life.

This vacation started with me going to bed on Tuesday night to try to get some sleep knowing I had an early flight to catch the next morning.   As I was just settling down to sleep I looked up and happened to notice on the wall behind my bed my number one biggest fear in the world, a spider. Gosh I do not like spiders.  I think they are absolutely the most creepiest creatures I have ever seen.  Those long creepy legs send goose bumps up and down my spine.  I can not hardly even bare to look at them.  

Upon trying to smash the spider he dropped to the floor still very much alive and proceeded to crawl around behind the headboard of my bed.  I waited impatiently for him to come out all the while keeping my eye on him watching him crawl up an down the wall never quite coming close enough from behind the safety of the headboard so I could kill him. It was almost as if he knew I was there and was messing with me.  He would come out and as I would try to hit him then he would run.  Then to my horror on my last attempted to smash him he went behind the wall trim never to be found again, my worst nightmare!  What was I going to do?  There was no possible way I could sleep with a spider on the loose in my bedroom and so close to my bed!   I just knew if I dare close my eyes for one second he would come creeping out and climb into bed with me.  I decided that was the end of my sleeping for the night and in frustration I laid down at the bottom of the bed so I could keep a close eye on the wall trim where he had magically disappeared to.
As I was laying there watching the trim,  I thought of something my friend Judy had said to me one day about praying for spider grace.  I was planning to go on a mission trip with her next Winter and was told a story of spiders that they had encountered on a previous mission trip. I had told her how I was worried about spiders being there for this one and said I did not think I would be able to take lots of spiders very well.  She had then said to me we will pray for you to have spider grace.  I never really had thought about her saying that again since.  I am not going on that trip now and by the way not because of spiders. That is another long story I may put here one day but not today.  This story is plenty long enough

Anyway… as I was laying there watching for Mr. Spider to come back out I thought about spider grace… I wondered what that could be…but thought maybe now would be a good time to find out so I began to pray. I know that may sound weird to you but I prayed to God to please give me spider grace.  I do not sleep well and on a normal night without any spiders I would have had a hard time sleeping anyway but about 2 minutes into my prayer the next thing I knew I was waking up and it was morning! Spider grace…wow God had given me spider grace! I had just managed to sleep through my worst fear and was getting ready to face my next biggest fear…flying.  If God could get me through spiders I knew flying would be a breeze.

We arrived at the airport and found that the plane was full.  We were flying charter so you get your seats when you arrive at the ticket counter.  We were given 2 seats across the isle from each other.  I ended up with sitting with a couple of which the man was afraid to fly. So at least I had company.  We talked about our fear of flying and it actually seemed quite odd hearing another persons reasoning as to why they are afraid to fly.  That conversation seemed to take my mind off of my own fear a bit.   I do not like take off at all and do not like landing to much more other than it means I am going to be safely back on the ground soon.

I will have to admit at take off I was afraid but I did know that Jesus was with me holding my hand.  I am not afraid of dying but I do have to admit I do not want to fall out of the sky and think about hitting the ground on my way to Heaven.  As we were shooting up into the sky and the fear was building all the sudden I found myself feeling peaceful as if He were whispering to me “its ok I got this” and he did have it.  The rest of the flight I was great. We even ended up in the sky about an hour longer than expected because we had to go around a storm in the gulf.   We landed in Jamaica safe and sound.

The first thing I saw when we left the airport was the slum area.  As always it tugged at my heart making me wonder how it is possible that such poverty can sit on one right there in the middle of a tropical paradise overlooking the dark blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.  Shortly after passing that we arrived at our luxurious resort.  I thought to myself, why has God chosen for me to be on vacation here and those who live here are in such need?   While I was there in Jamaica I found my self finding hidden treasure everywhere the whole time I was there.  I found treasure in small animals such as birds and crabs, flowers and of course the ocean.  I always feel closest to God when I am by the ocean.  I think it’s because when I see it I realize his awesome power.  Did you ever think about how we are floating on a ball through space and we don’t fall off and the water does not pour off? How could there not be God?

The next morning my husband and I noticed a couple who had been on the plane with us coming in with their suitcases leaving the resort.  We talked to each other about them wondering what had happened and why they had cut their vacation short. Did they not like the resort? Did something happen at home?  We later forgot all about them but  then the next afternoon we saw them at the resort again.   Again we talked about them.  We wondered why they left with suitcases and then came back?  They were like a mystery couple.  Again we forgot all about them and continued with our vacation.

Now to today, we missed our shuttle ride to the airport because they had changed the pick up time and we did not know it.  We had to get a taxi to the airport.  Because we were flying charter we did not have assigned seats on the plane and we were last in line.  When we got up to the counter we found out that there were only 2 seats left on the plane that we could have and they were not together.  I did not want to ride away from my husband so asked about the preferred seating.  I was told they had 2 seats not together but across the isle from each other and they were only $20 a piece so we decided to buy them.  With those seats you also get special perks.  One of them being, you get to board the plane before everyone else.

When we began to board I was close to the front of the line to being first on the plane and guess who got pulled for a full search? Ya, you guessed it, ME!   They went through my suitcase, my purse and checked my pockets.  They also gave me a full body pat down while everyone else in line got to go right by me and get on the plane, so much for my getting on the plane first perk.   It was not really my best day so far as you can tell but I do get to sit in the front of the plane and across the isle from my husband so that is a blessing.  As I got on the plane I silently prayed to God?”  Could you please let me sit by someone nice on the plane?”

I entered the plane, had a hard time finding a place to put my carry on because by now the bins were full, but finally I arrived at my seat.   Imagine my shock when I realized of all the people on that plane my seat mates are the mystery couple we had noticed at the resort 🙂  Nobody can tell me that God did not fully orchestrate this whole seating arrangement.

We began to chat and immediately I discovered that I really like these people.   They are so full of Jesus and joy its spilling over into my seat.  They won their vacation from a local radio station but of the 2 full days they had for vacation they chose to bring in supplies for the needy and they spent one whole day going around giving them out.  They visited schools, clinics and homes giving out clothing, school supplies and toiletries.  They are full of stories and just bubbling with joy left over from their visits.

**The captain just illuminated the seat belt sign so much for writing this seat beltless and the turbulence is really rough now. Have to put away my kindle, we will be landing in about a half and hour so will finish this at home on the ground.

Safely on the ground now and its Sunday… hopefully I can remember where I was going with this and finish it up, its no longer a blog its a book lol

During the plane ride home, after talking to my seat mates for a while I listened to music while I read. even slept and of course wrote half this blog.  The plane ride had a lot of rough turbulence that day.  I don’t remember being upset at all even found it kind of fun.  I found out after we got home there was a tropical storm in the gulf that we were going around.  We landed about an hour late again.  I was talking to my Dawn my neighbor again after I had to put away the kindle and quit writing.  A funny thing happened that day.  I was so busy talking to her we landed and I realized I did not pay to much attention that we were landing.  I looked around when we were on the ground and said “oh my gosh!  we landed?” to my husband.   If you have ever flown with me you know I do not miss landings because I am usually digging my nails into my palms of my hands as I close my eyes.

This next thing I am going to tell you is a secret I have been keeping for a while. Most people do not know this about me.  In the past I had used alcohol as a way to escape my problems or to numb pain or fear.  I have never been one to drink on the job or drink and drive or do anything to get myself in to trouble, but alcohol was my drug of choice when needing something to turn to for comfort.  Flying is one of those occasions where I would drink so as not to be afraid. Every bit of turbulence I would have pushed the call button and asked for more wine.

Before this trip I prayed to God to please lead me and show me what his plan is for me. I know it was not an accident I ended up sitting next to those people on the plane.   I also know for a fact his plan for me is mission work and I know I am already involved in it a tiny bit and who knows where its going to end up going.  I can not wait to find out!  I’m sure there will be lots more turbulence and maybe spiders (lol this is so long I forgot I started with spiders) but I am not scared I am excited.  I also know that his plan does not include alcohol to distort my view along the way because it does not give me peace and makes me not be the person I am supposed to be.  Something else I discovered these past few days is that on a plane is not the only place I have found turbulence.  My life has been kind of like a plane ride.  Most days I am flying along smoothly and happy.  But then there are those days I hit a few small bumps but then I recover pretty fast and do not even notice.  Then there are other days that I hit a really rough patch and bounce all over the place trying to get my self back on a smooth path and find I need a call button.  Do I push the call button and ask for wine?  No way! I have the ultimate call button now.  I have a direct call button to God.  I do not need wine because I have Jesus he comes and takes my order, takes my hand, calming me.  Just like on a plane turbulence is always expected.  It won’t ever fully go away and the same is true with my life.   I can chose to be afraid and numb it up with some alcohol or I can truly find real peace knowing He is there helping me to me relax and enjoy the ride.

I have one more thing to add to this, along with the preferred seating I mentioned it came with perks.  One of those perks was I was given ticket vouchers for 2 free alcoholic beverages of my choice I chose a cranberry apple drink and did NOT put the vodka in it.  It was not needed God is all I need 🙂

2 Timothy 1:7   For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

John 14:27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Thanks for reading and God Bless you 🙂

A Very Special Letter

“I got your letter today, Though I have never met you I feel as if I know you and I love you” ~ T

If you would have told me three years ago I would be a child sponsor I would have told you that you were nuts. Approximately two and a half years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would consider sponsoring a child through Compassion, I told him no. My excuse I gave myself was that there are a lot of children in my own country who are poor and need help. The problem with that excuse was I was not helping anyone in my own country either. No matter what I told myself I still felt something pulling me to the children he had spoken of. The more I tried to push it away the more I began to find myself intrigued with the whole thing. I did not know it yet but God was working on my heart. I was a new Christian and that part of me had not changed yet. Every so often I would go to Compassion’s website and take a look around, just to see what it was all about.  Of course,  there was no way would I ever sponsor a child I would think to myself. Besides, I really did not have the money to sponsor a child. We had a budget that did not have a lot of wiggle room to add and extra $38 a month. As time went on I would find myself looking at the faces or the children and wondering about them. Who were they? What about their families? Did they go to school? All the information about each child was there to read. It was very interesting reading. They also have a page with facts on poverty, there were a lot of things I never ever thought about or had any idea were going on in the world on that webpage.

I copied some of the facts from the Compassion website to share with you today.

Did you know????….

*Roughly 12 percent of the world’s population, or 884 million people, do not have access to safe water.

*Approximately 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This is around 5,000 deaths a day.

*More than 140 million or 25 percent of all children in developing countries are underweight and at risk from the long-term effects of malnourishment.

*One in six children 5 to 14 years old — about 16 percent of all children in this age group — is involved in child labor in developing countries.

*An estimated 1.2 million children — both boys and girls — are trafficked each year into exploitative work in agriculture, mining, factories, armed conflict or commercial sex work.

*An estimated 130 million of the world’s 15 to 24 year-olds cannot read or write.

*At least 1.6 billion people globally do not have electricity in their homes, and approximately 54 percent of people in developing countries lack access to modern forms of energy.

*More than 3 million children under age 5 die each year from diseases because of environment-related causes and conditions

*Each year, acute respiratory infections kill approximately 2 million children under age 5. Worldwide, 60 percent of acute respiratory infections are due to environmental conditions.

*Nearly 1 million people die each year because of malaria. Of these deaths, 80 percent are children under age 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. Up to 90 percent of malaria cases are attributed to environmental factors.

*An estimated 20 million children worldwide have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict and human rights violations

And the list goes on and on…..

I was shocked at what I found out. I really had no idea that this sort of thing went on in the world. I really had no idea what real poverty was.

Each evening I usually get online for a while and one particular evening I found myself at the Compassion website again but this evening was different. As I was looking at the pictures of the children, this cute little smiling face jumped out at me. A lot of the children do not smile in the pictures but this little girl was smiling big and bright, her eyes big and sparkling with joy. She had a feisty look to her that just told me she loved life and felt joy no matter what her circumstance was. That giant smile of hers melted my heart. I knew at that moment I was supposed to sponsor her. God had been working on me and now he was telling me to sponsor her. On May 3, 2010 I sponsored cute little Walkiris Reyes Medina from Dominican Republic. I remember thinking to myself what if I could not afford to pay for her each month? What if it’s a scam? What will I write letters to her about? Lots and lots of questions and doubts filled my mind but God reassured me it was the right thing to do. What a scary step for me. This was way out of my comfort zone. Right away Compassion sent me a packet in the mail telling me all about my sponsored child’s life. I remember being so excited to get it yet frightened and thinking what have I done? Three months later I got my first letter from Walkiris. She was only 4 years old at that time so she could not write me a letter but her parent wrote the letter for her and she drew me pictures. On th signature line was her little fingerprint. That letter made me just stop and think… “Wow. this is a real child, a child from another country and I am getting the blessing of a small glimpse into her life”. God had crossed my life with a family from another country in a way I can never ever describe to you here. From the moment I got the first letter I was hooked. I found myself checking the mail hoping for a letter. Unfortunately mail between the children and sponsors does not move as fast as mail here in the United States does. The letters have to be interpreted first and a lot of other things before they make it to me. When they did finally get here it was amazing. In her letters I found out her favorite foods are rice and beans, who her best friends are, about her school and her family. In one letter she asked me to pray for the children in Haiti who had Cholera that was something I never thought of before, we do not have Cholera here in the United States ever but this child lives with it on a daily basis. In another letter she asked me to pray for her teacher whose baby had died at birth. In her country its quite common for babies to die at birth, and if they live many never see their 5th birthday. She told me of how much fun it was to go to school, her involvement in the Compassion program and her church. She drew pictures for me in each letter. As she grows her pictures become better and better. I can see her growing by how her pictures are evolving. One of her letters made me stop and think hard. She asked me to please pray for the poor people. I remember thinking she does not even feel she is poor? Wow, she lives in complete poverty but yet does not feel poor she prays for the poor. I have learned so much from those letters. I have learned that she is rich, richer than I could ever imagine. In her country they do not have riches like we have in the United States. They live in small 1 room houses with barely anything to eat. Her family’s income is $84 a month, and no that is not a type error, really $84 a month. Many people would say she is not rich but that’s because they do not know what rich really is. Rich is not having a bunch of stuff. Rich is the joy a person has when they know what the important stuff is. Knowing that the important stuff are things like family, friends, love and most of all Jesus. She does not have a bunch of meaningless stuff to distract her from the important stuff.

Almost exactly a year from the day I sponsored Walkiris I found myself  looking through the Compassion website again and a face jumped out at me. A teen age boy, there was something about him. I knew it was the same as with Walkiris, God was calling me to sponsor him. On May 2, 2011, I sponsored 13 year old Thierry Ridji Macon from Haiti. I can not ever begin to explain the connection I have to this boy. The minute I got his first letter I knew that God was working in his life. He talks about school how much he loves it. He is also and artist, I am shocked at the talent he has. He draws pictures of churches for me and they are beautiful. He talks about Jesus all the time and is always telling me he and his family are blessed because of God. He tells me that he prays for me. Something that I never considered was that my sponsored child would also be praying for me. Recently in one of his letters he wrote ” I love you you because you are my mother” that sent me into tears. I still do not know why he wrote that but I can assure you he feels to me like he is one of my family now… my son.  I have never met him but I love him so much. I could go on and on about what this boy who lives so many miles away has done to my heart. He is such a blessing.

Both of these children have been a huge blessings to me. In the beginning I thought I did it for them. I never could have imagined at that time that it was somehow also for me.  Two precious gifts from God.  They have been two of the greatest blessings of my life. I love these children as if they were my own children and they have taught me what true richness in life is.

About a year ago I felt God calling me to do more. I sometimes wish I could sponsor them all but I know that I can not. One thing I can do is use the blessings God has given me from my own experience to speak up for the children. About a year ago I answered his call to become an advocate for those beautiful children. Those children I see on the website, the children who are praying every day for a sponsor. With his help I hope to let him use me to help those precious children receive a special sponsor of their own. One who will write them letters and tell them how loved they are.  They all need a special someone to help them know that there is hope.  A sponsor who will one day unexpectedly find out just as I have that the blessing was somehow also for themselves.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

If you would like to find out more about Compassion or have interest in sponsoring a child you can click this link for more information- http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431                                                                                                             

If you do decide to sponsor a child I can promise you it will change your life.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” – when you already have it with you.  Proverbs 3:27-28

Do you have a child sponsor story you would like to share? I would love the hear it.