Sunday, February 26, 2012

Eating Like My Children

All Compassion Advocates received this book by Chris Seay.  It is divided into 40 readings, so it lends itself to a Lenten reading.  I began reading last Wednesday, so I'm four days late starting on the following plan.

The idea is to eat as the poor eat, the children we sponsor.  I am always frustrated by how much we have in this country.  I rarely watch TV, only for sporting events, but when I see the commercials for the incredibly unhealthy and overindulgent food, it makes me ill.  Not ill because if I actually ate that food, I would be ill (because I would), but ill because we have so much, and so many have so little.

For me to participate in this eating plan is very important, a way for me to try to avoid the ridiculous amounts of unhealthy food that we consume in this country every day.  So tomorrow I begin eating beans, corn, potatoes (rice is an option, but I really dislike it), soup, and fruit.  Most of my children eat bananas, but I'm allergic to them, so I have to adjust that a bit.  I am already happy about this for one reason--I was amazed at how low my grocery bill was today.  It was about half of what it usually is for a week, and I don't even buy the prepackaged, calorie and fat laden food that most people buy.  I'm excited to see where this leads me spiritually and physically.

However, I'm feeling a bit sad.  I haven't received a letter for more than two weeks, and with 12 children, I sort of thought I would have had another by now.

I feel as if I'm failing as an Advocate.  A friend sponsored a child last spring after listening to me talk about my children, and that's what made me think about becoming an Advocate.  I've only been one for about 6 months, but I have not been able to get any new sponsors.  I have raised money for Bite Back, but that's it.

My church won't let me present Compassion on Compassion Sunday, although I might be permitted to have a sponsor table, but I'm still waiting to find out.  I'm going to try to present to Sunday School classes, but I feel pretty discouraged about even trying.

I teach preschool Sunday School every few months.  Today was my last day for this month (duh).  The last Sunday of the month is always movie day.  First, my helper met me at the room and said he couldn't help because he wanted to go to the service.  Then I burned the popcorn in the dilapidated microwave.  The children weren't very interested in the movie and kept wanting to play with the toys instead.  The people who came in to teach the 11:00 Sunday School complained about my popcorn fiasco and said, "All you had to do was push the popcorn button on the microwave."  Well, that's what I did!  And look what happened.

So I feel like a failure today, but at least I can feel as if I'm identifying with my Compassion children by eating like them, and I can feel an even deeper connection to them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

¡Las Fotografías!

I love getting letters with pictures of the kids, not just the posed Compassion pictures, but pictures that their moms or workers at the centers take, especially with gifts.  I used to see other people on OurCompassion post pictures they received and was bummed that I didn't receive any, and then I started receiving them.  Yay.
First is Alberto with the gifts he received for Christmas:  a blue athletic suit, a purple and white sweater, and brown shoes.  :)  Is he beyond cute, or what??  I just want to squeeze him.  

Michelle asked me to pray that her mother would find a job, so I sent a $50 family gift.  Well, Michelle's mom let her spend it all on gifts for herself.  I will meet her mother one day, I have decided.  She loves this little girl so much.  And Michelle loves pink!  I posted a picture of her with last year's birthday gifts that included a pair of pink shoes with rhinestones.  Notice that she has again bought pink shoes along with a pink towel (Disney princesses--the dreams of a little girl), a pink shirt, and some pants.  According to the letter, she also bought other clothes.  Michelle is one girlie girl, and even though I'm not, I LOVE it!!  Just look at how proud she is.  :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Compassion International Changed a Life

*I copied this--with permission--from a journal post on OurCompassion.  This young man's life was changed because of the sponsorship he received from Compassion International.  You cannot read his story without being inspired.  Pray for him, please.



Am Laurent HATEGEKIMANA, I was born in Burundi in 1987 where my parent were migrated due to 1959 war in Rwanda. My Father passed away when I was 2 years and my mother had pregnance of my young sister. At that time the life became very difficult for us because my mother was jobless and didn't have other support elsewhere.

At the age of 6 years old, the 1994 Tutsi genocide started; at the same time in Burundi also there was a war. At that time we were asking ourselves where to migrate because in both countries we were wanted to be killed.
After Genocide we shifted from Burundi to Rwanda, we came with nothing and found that our family members lived in Rwanda has been killed during the genocide. Life was really difficult because it was like to start new life with nothing in new country and we didn't have hope of the future.
Unforgettable day that lead to a change in my life is a day I have been selected to be sponsored by Compassion International. Because I could not afford school uniform, school fees and other materials needed at school before. But with compassion my family became some how stable .then I stared primary school with all materials needed at school, after primary school I sat for national exam and succed with good marks, then I went in Secondary school.

Compassion helped me to get school fees, materials needed, I had health insurance not only that, but also I spiritually grew up because every sutarday we used to have bible study and even I learnt to live in society.
While in School, I thought that the only way to improve my life was to work hard, and I was determined to do so. I wanted to pursue a career that would be meaningful. When I took biology and Chemistry option In secondary school because I realized that I wanted to became a Dentist .To do this ,I had to work even harder ,and I did my best not to disappoint my self , compassion or family who was striving to take care of me . I completed my secondary school with good marks then the government awarded me to continue studies in Kigali Health institute (K.H.I) and then sponsored by government in my studies.
Really Compassion International changed my whole life, now Am student In Dentistry and I'm proud of it, I chose it purposefuly because When I was in secondary school I suffered from Oral disease then the compassion gave me all care needed and spent alot of money for being cured. Therefore I took a decision to work hard so that I will study dentistry and get knowledge about oral disease which will make me able to make difference in my country and help my Society not only that but also to go beyond the borders to prevent such diseases and give all care needed as they did for me .
With few means and skills, I have already started to give Oral health Education and start with children helped by the compassion at RW 342 Gakinjiro project and I wish to continue to the other projects of the compassion.

Finaly I will never forget the great benefit I have received in Compassion International, so this time and in the time that will come, I will continue to enable others to enjoy the same advantage as possible as I can.





I'm Going to Peru!!!

Okay, this is major, big time, scary, putting-it-all-in-God's-hands stuff for me.  My journeys out of the U.S. thus far have included Canada, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

About 18 months ago, Jack, the soon-to-be 16-year-old boy I sponsor in Peru wrote that his father had died and that his father's family then made him, his mother, and his sister leave their home.  He told me that he was very sad and lonely and asked if I had ever had to go through anything like that in my life.  I wanted to rush to Peru and hug him then.  At that time, he was my correspondent child, but shortly after that, his sponsor dropped him, so of course, I had to pick him up.  He had already lost so much.  He still writes that he misses his father and is very sad.
I have always thought it would be amazing to join a sponsor tour, but my mindset is that things like that are always for other people.  There's no way I should ever spend that much money to go on trip.  It will never work out for me.  Really awesome stuff like that isn't meant for me.
I decided if I could ever visit someone, it would be Jack because he is my oldest child.  Then the letter about his father and the following letters have made me want to visit him even more.
So I decided to pray.
Recently, a friend from OurCompassion asked me if I would ever want to join her on a sponsor tour.  I asked her which countries we have in common (our sponsorships), and she said, "Only Peru."  Well, not only is it Peru, but it's the exact same project in Peru.
However, there were no trips to Peru planned for 2012 at that time . . . well, not that we knew about.
A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from Jack telling me that his prayer request was to meet me in person.  I can't even begin to find the words that describe how that made me feel. There are none.
On January 30th, I received an email from Compassion about a sponsor tour to Peru with an Advocate discount.  I wanted to pray about it for at least a week, but the tours fill up fast, so I knew I might miss my chance.  Besides, I had already been praying for months, and it was too obvious that everything was falling into place for this.
So I took the huge leap (my heart is pounding even as I type this) and registered for the tour.  My mind was telling me that I shouldn't spend so much money (have only paid the deposit so far), that I have no experience traveling in a foreign country, especially into the poor parts, especially into the JUNGLE, that I have to get my passport renewed, that I can't even guarantee getting the days off since it's in October, and that's next school year (I'm a secondary educator).
But my heart told me this is my chance to minister to the poor, to use the Spanish I've been working so hard to learn, and most importantly, to meet Jack, to put a smile on his face, to let him see that I love him enough to travel all the way to his country just to hug him.
Peru Sponsor Tour

Friday, February 3, 2012

First Letter from Child Survival Program

I have been supporting a Child Survival Program in Haiti for almost a year.  I've been wondering when I would hear from someone in the program, and today I finally received my first letter.  There's not much I can say to enhance the simple message from this young mother, but it thrills me to think that I can help her and her sweet child with just $20 a month.

This is a picture of Cap-Haitien that I found in an Internet search.  Not so appealing, huh?