Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Compassion Sunday

Coming up in just a few months, this year’s Compassion Sunday falls on April 21st!

From the Compassion Sunday webpage:

“Compassion Sunday is a special, annual event that draws the attention of the Church to the needs of the world's poorest children.

This is your opportunity to share your heart for the poor with those who could help change their lives forever.

We anticipate that 10,000 children will find hope and a new life story on this very special day. With God's blessing and the participation of sponsors like you, perhaps even 15,000 children could be sponsored!”

Whether you are an official part of Compassion’s Advocate Network or you are a sponsor who is passionate about the work of Compassion International, you have the ability to spread the word and share Compassion with your church or any church in your area!

Compassion makes it so easy, with lots of resources including a presentation planning guide. This walks you through a basic presentation and even gives you a short script you could use if you need it.

Perhaps the thought of speaking in front of a crowd scares you. I get that and I was pretty nervous before the first time I hosted a Compassion Sunday.  Compassion has several videos available that could be played before or after the church service.

As I said, I was incredibly nervous before sharing Compassion Sunday with our church in 2011. I prepared a short presentation and went over until it was almost memorized. The night before my presentation, I had a dream that had my pulse racing.  I dreamt that everything that could go wrong for the presentation, did go wrong.  My microphone wouldn’t work, the overhead wouldn’t turn on, I tripped on my way up to the pulpit, I stuttered and lost my place several times.  I woke up in a panic. Then the thought came to me – No matter what happens, it certainly can’t be that bad!

My presentation went off without a hitch. As I was speaking to our church family, this overwhelming feeling came over me, like I was on auto-pilot.  I realized that the Holy Spirit equips us and helps us in times like this.

Reminds me of something I have heard before.

Perhaps you feel the Lord calling you to stand up on Compassion Sunday and share the mission of Compassion with others. If you would like to learn more or sign up, please stop by the Compassion Sunday webpage.

I also want to share this post from fellow Advocate Karen Spencer which shows how, even if things do not go according to plan, we are still serving Jesus by our willingness to speak out for His children.

What’s A Little Chaos on Compassion Sunday?

If you are already planning to have a Compassion Sunday at your church, please leave a comment and let me know! I’d be happy to pray for your event! If you have questions about Compassion Sunday, or if you’re considering it and are seeking prayer, feel free to contact me!

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

Several Mondays each month, Compassion International sponsors link up to share the news from their sponsored children around the world.

The windfall of letters slowed down a bit this week, but we did find one Compassion letter tucked among the bills, junk mail and catalogs this past week.

We heard from Precious in Ghana, who was the first child we sponsored in 2009.

We used to receive two letters a month from Precious, but when Compassion made some changes in the letter writing policy, that changed drastically.

While letters from Precious are not coming as frequently as they used to, I was happy to find a letter filled with lots of details. A staff member still helps Precious write letters, but I think that we probably get more information that way then if she had to write the whole letter herself.

Precious says the entire family are proud of you and thank you once again for numbering her among your family members.”

We are blessed with a huge number of photos of Precious and her family thanks to my friend JD, who was able to visit the family in 2011. We feel a strong bond with this family and we actually count them all among our family members. It is my hope that I might be able to meet them! (Kaya also has a very close bond with Precious and she would love to meet her sister in Ghana as well!)

We are also told that Precious is now able to cook food without the help of her mother and that she helps elderly people and assist the younger ones in the home and in school. She goes on to ask what kinds of food we had at a Harvest Dinner at our church this past fall.

The letter closes with Precious’ prayer for us and prayer requests as well as a memory verse. Precious drew a leaf at the bottom of the page and I hope that some day soon she might write her own name and even a few words all by herself.

What about you? Did you receive any letters from your sponsored children recently? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section or by joining our Mail Call link-up below!

If you join in on the Mail Call, please be sure to tell your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging From The Boonies’ Mail Call Monday and link back to this post! You’re free to grab the Mail Call image at the top of this post as well!

Also, if you participate in Mail Call Monday, I am also going to ask that you visit at least one other participant and read and comment on their post! Thank you!

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

Several Mondays each month, Compassion International sponsors link up to share the news from their sponsored children around the world.

 

I know that content here at Blogging from the Boonies has been lacking lately as I have been reevaluating my focus and time management. It is hard for me to find balance, sometimes and I wonder how much impact I am having with the time I devote to various ministries.

Still, I enjoy sharing bits from the letters that arrive in my mailbox. This last month has been so wonderful, with letters coming every few days!

This week, we heard from Onen, the young man from Uganda that is sponsored by our church!

OnenPatrick

 

In his introductory letter, we learned the names of his family members and best friend.  He also shared things like favorite subject, favorite food, favorite game and so on.

Onen shares that he would like to visit America because it is a beautiful country. I can’t help but wonder if he will visit one day!

On the back, there is a drawing of a church with a rainwater collection container that is beneath a gutter downspout.

OnenDrawing1

I think Onen is pretty talented! In the letter written on the back, Onen shares that he enjoys drawing with his friend, Brian.

I was inspired to make simple drawing books for Onen and his friend.  I used cardstock for a front and back cover and put 20 sheets of copy paper in between.  I had to use our heavy duty stapler, but I managed to hold each book together with three staples as a binding.  If the boys are anything like my girls, they’ll go through the paper pretty quickly, so I may have to send more drawing books soon!

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I was also shocked to receive another letter from Obwini Stephen, the young man that is co-sponsored by members of the BFTB community. We had recently received our introduction letter from him, so it was surprising to receive another letter so soon!

Based on the letters we have received from Kwagala Deborah and Obwini, I have to say that the teens from Uganda seem to be so sweet, kind and loving.

Tears came to my eyes when I read the letter. In one of the first letters to Obwini, I had shared that my mother in law lives with us and that her husband passed away.

I’ve received the letter you send to me, Sorry may his life rest in peace and let us pray god will comfort us with His peace and love…. Let God hold us for that sad news and let us pray for her peace.”

The tender words of condolences remind me that these children have the ability to bring comfort to us, as much as we can for them.

Obwini also shared that he hopes to take a course in electronics installation and it is good to know that he is learning a trade in school.

With the financial gift that we sent just after sponsoring him, Obwini was able to buy a goat “and now they are five of them”.  Goats are a good way to provide meat and milk as well as income.

All in all, we’ve received nine letters in this past month and I have been so happy to read and learn more about our Compassion family around the world!

What about you? Did you receive any letters from your sponsored children recently? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section or by joining our Mail Call link-up below!

If you join in on the Mail Call, please be sure to tell your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging From The Boonies’ Mail Call Monday and link back to this post! You’re free to grab the Mail Call image at the top of this post as well!

Also, if you participate in Mail Call Monday, I am also going to ask that you visit at least one other participant and read and comment on their post! Thank you!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

Several Mondays each month, Compassion International sponsors link up to share the news from their sponsored children around the world.

It has been so nice to be finding letters in our mailbox these last few weeks! This past week, we were blessed with two letters from young men we sponsor through Compassion International.

We received our first letter from Obwini Stephen, the young man that is co-sponsored by members of the Blogging from the Boonies community.

The day this letter arrived, I was planning to call Compassion just to check and see if a letter from Obwini was on the way.  We started his sponsorship in August and I had been anticipating his first letter and learning more about him.

The “Introduction Letter” format allowed space for Obwini to share the names and ages of family members as well as his best friend.  He also shared things like favorite food, school subject and song.

I looked up “Biriba Bitya”, the song Obwini mentioned, and was happy to find a music video for it on YouTube! It is a catchy tune and I can see why he likes it!

On the back, Obwini drew a few pictures and had some space to write on his own.

"Thank you for choosing me to be your best friend.”

The entire paragraph is filled with thanks and praise and he closes by telling is that he will always write to let us know more about him and his family. He seems like such a wonderful young man and I am blessed that the BFTB community has come together to co-sponsor Obwini, as well as Kwagala in Uganda. (If you would like to help in the co-sponsorship of these two, you can make a donation through the ChipIn buttons at the very bottom of this blog.)

The other letter we received last week was from Magid in Ghana, which was a surprise seeing as we had a letter arrive from him already this month.

 

While the letter was written December 1st, Magid makes references to letters we had sent since sponsoring him at the end of September.

“Thank you for being my sponsor and sending me letters and thank you for the pictures, they are cute.”

I had asked if he had any animals and he responded:

“We have beautiful animals in the house like sheeps and cats and I see how beautiful the sun sets and the sun rises.”

He tells us that he is learning to use the computer at the project and he helps his mother at home with kitchen work and sweeping the compound. He says he likes to help people do chores.

In sharing what he is praying for us, he adds that he asks God to help Jay “earn well in the carpentary”.

While there have been some bumps in the road as Compassion has made changes in the letter writing system, I am finding that we have had quite a few letters coming recently and I have been learning a lot about our children around the world.

What about you? Did you receive any letters from your sponsored children recently? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section or by joining our Mail Call link-up below!

If you join in on the Mail Call, please be sure to tell your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging From The Boonies’ Mail Call Monday and link back to this post! You’re free to grab the Mail Call image at the top of this post as well!

Also, if you participate in Mail Call Monday, I am also going to ask that you visit at least one other participant and read and comment on their post! Thank you!

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

Several Mondays each month, Compassion International sponsors link up to share the news from their sponsored children around the world.

In this past week, we were blessed to hear from a number of our beloved Compassion children!

Reciprocal Kenya letters seem to be coming, based on our experience and what I am hearing from other sponsors.  While we heard from Alice in Kenya the previous week, we also received a letter from Ncheshia last Wednesday.

While a project staff member wrote the letter for Ncheshia, the information filled the entire front of the writing sheet. He opened by telling us that he was very excited to be able to talk with his very good friends and he passes love and greetings to us.

He thanked us for our letters that we’ve sent to him and added that “Kaya and Luna look wonderful in the pictures.” This brought big smiles to both of my girls!

Ncheshia tells us that December brings hot and dry weather to his region. He shares that he is preparing for his exams in school and is working hard so that he might go on to the next grade.

Then, Ncheshia tells us that he is taking guitar lessons at his project and that he hopes to be a good guitarist some day.

I love that Compassion shares skills like this with the children. When a child learns something like this, their confidence and self-worth can grow and help them tackle other things in their lives.

In a past letter, I had told Ncheshia that we were going over the book of Daniel in church and I asked if he knew what happened after Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den.

“He has heard this story from his Sunday school teacher and he adds that Daniel was not eaten by the lions thanks to God’s protection.”

Ncheshia closes his letter with love.  Like our Alice in Kenya, Ncheshia seems like he enjoys telling us more about his life. Over the years, I think we will have a chance to really get to form a relationship with our children in Kenya!

On Saturday, we received another letter from our Rodrigo in Bolivia.

Rodrigo tells us that he is doing well in school and he is working hard to get ready for his third quarter testing. He says that his teacher is very good and that he is working on division with two numbers currently. Rodrigo goes on to tell us that the Bible verses we send to him are very good and that he also learns them in church.

We’re told about Rodrigo’s soccer team that he has formed with his brothers and I can’t help but wonder if he uses the soccer ball we were able to send him last year when a friend travelled to Bolivia.

In school, Rodrigo is excited for an upcoming exposition of the traditional foods in La Paz.  Just like any growing boy, an event centered around food is sure to be a favorite!

Rodrigo closes the letter by telling us that he thanks us very much for all of the letters we send to him and he sends his love.

Today, I found a first letter from our Magid in Ghana.

Written on the form letter stationary, which I am not a huge fan of, we learned a little bit about our young man from Ghana. Things like the names of family members, favorite colors, favorite toy and favorite pet were shared on the front. The answers were filled in by a project staff member.

I also noticed that, under “Child’s Name” on the back, the spelling is listed as “Majid” which may shed some light on how we should pronounce it.  I had been using a hard “g” but it might be more of a soft “g” instead.

Also today, we received the packet for our newest correspondence child, the lovely Uwera from Rwanda.

 

Uwera2013

When Compassion announced the need for correspondents on their Facebook page, I volunteered to take on some new children.  What a blessing to have three new children added to our family in December!

What about you? Did you receive any letters from your sponsored children recently? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section or by joining our Mail Call link-up below!

If you join in on the Mail Call, please be sure to tell your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging From The Boonies’ Mail Call Monday and link back to this post! You’re free to grab the Mail Call image at the top of this post as well!

Also, if you participate in Mail Call Monday, I am also going to ask that you visit at least one other participant and read and comment on their post! Thank you!

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