Compassion Project EC420, Darwin’s Project, is fortunate to house not only a Child Sponsorship Program but also a Child Survival Program. The Child Survival Program is much like a prequel to the Sponsorship Program, educating the mother or primary caregiver, before and after her child is born, about providing critical care during the earliest years. What’s more, the program teaches the moms a trade skill, empowering them to earn additional income and support their families.

MomCrafterEC420

Let me tell you, these ladies are talented. The beautiful mother pictured above, she made that scarf I’m wearing.

GoodsforSalein420

And that’s not all she can do. The ladies also knit child-sized sweaters; string beautiful beaded necklaces and earrings; crochet handbags, ponchos, and scarves; create their own shampoos, and sew fleece child-sized pant sets, printed fleece blankets, and fleece scarves.

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Ready for the shocker? The shampoos are $1 per bottle. The ponchos are $5. The earrings are $0.50 a pair. The necklaces? $1-$2. Seriously. All of that time, all of that effort – $5. But you know what? That $5 might mean her family gets meat at their meal, a toothbrush for each member, warm blankets for the baby, or so much more that we take for granted everyday.

sewingroom420In this way, Compassion is not only providing the mothers with essential Early Childhood Development Education, they are providing tangible ways for the mothers to take charge of their own situations – all while sharing hope and love through spiritual teaching and faith-based learning.

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DarwinSmWant to help a family in EC420? Darwin is still looking for a sponsor. I have his packet until Friday – let me know if you’d like more information and I’ll happily answer any questions I can. Interested in sponsoring a Mother and Child? Click here to read more about Compassion’s Child Survival Program.

 

 

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This is Darwin, he is 9 years old and needs a sponsor. For 11 months he’s been desperately waiting for that positive force in his life; someone who will share their love with him, who will encourage him, who will tell him that he matters. Could you be that person?

Darwin attends EC420, a project that I was fortunate enough to visit just a few days ago.

EC420

And while I was not able to personally meet Darwin, I can tell you that the workers in his project and people in his town are nothing short of amazing. The project is located just north of Riobamba, in the highlands of Ecuador. See those rosey cheeks? They’re caused by the severe wind that chaps exposed skin. Houses in the area are typically constructed of dirt floors, brick/cement walls, and thatched roofs. Running water is a luxury.

I have Darwin’s packet until Friday, October 18, and will be sharing stories from his project and town every day until then. If you are interested in becoming his sponsor, please let me know and I will give you all the information you need to get connected with this very special young man.

In the dark of the midnight, have I oft hid my face; while the storm howls above me and there's no hiding place. Mid the crash of the thunder, precious Lord hear my cry. Keep me safe 'till the storm passes by.

'Till the storm passes over, 'till the thunder sounds no more, 'till the clouds roll forever from the sky; hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of thy hand. Keep me safe 'till the storm passes by.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more let me stand in thy pressence on that bright peaceful shore. In that land where the tempest never comes, Lord may I dwell with thee 'till the storm passes by.

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, till the clouds roll forever from the sky; hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of thy hand keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan tells me there is no need to try, for there is no end of sorrow there's no hope by and by; but I no thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise where the storms never darken the skies

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more, till the clouds roll forever from the sky; hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of thy hand keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

(“'Till the Storm Passes By” Words and Music by Mosie Lister; copyright 1958)

Praying for all those affected by this week's terrible storms.

Looking for ways to help those in Oklahoma?

  • Text FOOD to 32333 to donate $10 to the OKC food bank
  • Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to disaster relief
  • Text “STORM” to 80888 to make $10 donation through the Salvation Army

 

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Tomorrow is Compassion International’s One Meal One Day Campaign. Per the event website, “One Meal One Day is an annual event that unites thousands of students and leaders to skip a meal, experience hunger and give funds so that children in poverty can receive the help they desperately need.”

The premise is simple, and participating is easy: just skip one meal tomorrow, March 27, and donate the money you would have used on food to Compassion.

This year, the donations collected will be used to help impoverished children in Ethiopia. Children like this sweet little one.OMOD_2013_boy3

And this one with the precious smile.

OMOD_2013_boy1

Such a small thing, willingly skipping a meal. And yet, it can make such a big difference – and not just on the lives of the children that benefit from this fundraising effort. The impact it will have on you – physically and spiritually – is perhaps the biggest benefit. You will get hungry. You will probably feel some form of hunger pains. And then, then you will realize that it was a choice – and that’s huge – you made the choice to go hungry for a little while. There are so many people, so many children, across the globe and across the street that don’t have the luxury of that simple, small choice.

Michelle, from Blogging from the Boonies, posted this photo and quote on her facebook page last Saturday:

This is what Haitians eat when they have no other way to find food. Dirt cakes- oil, salt and dirt baked in the sun and sold for pennies. And we complain about needing a certain “brand” of food or that our food is not perfect in a restaurant or that we’re hungry when we eat 3 meals a day? We need to slow down and THINK and re-evaluate what WE can do to change not only our attitudes but HOW we can make a difference. You will NEVER see a child in Haiti complaining about what food is placed before them. Interesting…

The thing is, we can make a difference and not even miss what we give up. $10 – the average cost of lunch at a restaurant in my area. $10. In some countries, that’s more than workers earn in a week. $10. A small gift with big potential. $10.

To find out more about One Meal One Day & how to donate, click here. 

If you plan on participating, let me know! I’ll prayerfully join you as I skip my own meal & together we will save lives.

Well folks, this is it. The very last day of 2012. Anyone got big plans? A night of fireworks? A cozy evening in with family?

Usually I’m the stay in type. I try to avoid the midnight drivers and excessive crowds. But this year, I’m focusing on my One Little Word and being courageous – I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and making some memories. Jessica and I are headed out to dinner and a midnight movie, and I can’t wait.

I’m also pretty excited for 2013. I’ve been mulling over several plans for this space and am excited to start implementing some of them. But, until then, I hope you’ll enjoy this round up of my most popular posts of 2012 (mixed with a few of my lesser read favorites). Happy New Years!

12. 10 Things to Do & Not to Do During a Letter Drought

11. 10 Advantages to Straw Bale Gardening

10. I’m Fine, Really

9. Identifying with the Older Brother

8. An Open Letter to the 16 Year-Old Me

7. Are You There God? Do You Hear Me?

6. 31 Days of Slow Cooking Deliciousness

5. A Few of My Favorite Things: A Letter Template for Sponsors

4. My Time as an Awana Commander Comes to an End

3. A Wish for You: A Birthday Letter Template

2. Lessons from a First Grader

1. 10 Recipes I Love When I’m Sick

 

Did you know today is #GivingTuesday, the unofficial start of the giving season? Never heard of it? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either until several of my blog friends shared the basics with me.

In essence, Giving Tuesday is a day to remind us to “share the wealth” so to speak. After several days of holiday shopping and deals, it’s nice to have a day where the material goods take a back seat to acts of human good. If each of us picked even a single way to give back in some manner today, imagine the amazing things we could accomplish! So, with that in mind, I’d like to share five ways you can give back on Giving Tuesday.

 

5 Ways to Give Back on Giving Tuesday

  • Take Flowers, Cookies, or Other Goodies to Nursing Homes, Elderly Neighbors, Single Friends, or Those Unable to Go Home for the Holidays. The Holiday Season can be a very lonely and depressing time to those who are separated from their loved ones. Those left alone often feel forgotten, unloved, and unworthy of time. Brighten someone’s day by showing them that they are not forgotten.
  • Pack a Shoe Box Online. Although the deadline to pack your own shoe box full of goodies for a child in need has passed, you can still visit Operation Christmas Child and “virtually” pack a box for only $7!
  • Send an Unexpected Card of Appreciation. Who doesn’t love to get an unexpected, personal card in the mail (as long as it’s not attached to a bill, right?). You can click here to download a free, printable card to send to some lucky person.
  • Sponsor a Child. Perhaps your in a place in your life where you could change the life of a child – you can volunteer with the local Boys & Girls Club, help with an after-school program in your area, or even financially sponsor a child in poverty ($38 per month through Compassion International; $35 through World Vision).

You can learn more about Giving Tuesday HERE.

What ideas do you have for giving Tuesday? I’d love it if you’d share your ideas with me in the comments :)

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Today is going to be a great day. Today is going to be a great day.

I repeat it to myself, reassuring myself, forcing the doubt from my mind.

What was that verse we learned yesterday?….

Oh yes, Psalm 10:17  ”You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,”

And I have cried for this day, and I have been hurt by it, and I have hoped for it.

But today, this day, it’s going to be a great day.

Today is letter day at the Project. Today is the day I will hear my named called for a letter from my sponsor. I just know it!

Oh please, God, please let today be my day.

I’ve been so good, God. I’ve said my prayers, I’ve learn your Word, I’ve studied and gotten good grades in school, please let this be what my sponsor wants. Please let me be good enough, please let them love me.

I wrote my sponsor exactly 4 months ago, so today should be the day she sends her answer to me.

Please let her love me. She is so important to me.

I just want to know more about her, you know? Like what does she do for a living? Is she married? Does she have any children?

I just want to know her. I want her to know that I am so thankful for all the support she has provided for me. I want her to be proud of me, to see what I have done with her help. I don’t want to disappoint her. I want to make her smile like she makes me smile.

I have one letter from her. Just a single letter to cling to – and it’s 2 years old already. A lot can change in two years. Has she finished university? Is her father’s health better? Does she like her new church?

Perhaps she has forgotten me, my sponsor…

Ok. Deep breath. I can’t think like that. No, Today is going to be a great day.

I’m almost there, almost at my project. And when I arrive, my pastor, he will call my name for a letter.

Today is going to be a great day.

Ready? Here we go….

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While the story above is just my fictional story, an assignment for Compassion International’s Blog Month, there really are children who wait daily for letters from their sponsors. Sadly, most Compassion children rarely, or worse never, hear their name called on letter day.

But you have the opportunity to write the ending to this story. By sponsoring a child through Compassion International, you can build a relationship with a boy or girl thousands of miles away. You can instill love, support, grace, and hope in a life that has been lacking.

You can make today a great day.

Please click over here to pray for a child waiting on a sponsor. And please say a quick prayer for those children who are already sponsored but are waiting on the precious letters – the tangible account of love.

Guess what? It’s Monday! and that typically means a look back at the mail I’ve gotten from or sent to Compassion International in the last week. On Mondays around here, you’ll find posts about letters received from sponsored kids, letters sent to sponsored kids, letter-writing templates, and anything else that has to do with mail and Compassion :) Enjoy!

 

This week, I did not get any letters from my kids, but I did get my starter kit for my Advocate journey- Super exciting!

Anyway, with my kit came the packets of two beautiful children who are looking for sponsors. If either of these precious kids calls out to you, please let me know and I’ll send you their information. And, if you choose to sponsor either of these kids, I’ll send you a niftly package chock-full of letter-writing goodies including templates, stickers, and stationary. I have these 2 amazing kids until May 25, 2012, so if you feel called to sponsor either/both of them, please let me know before then. Thanks!

Even if you are not called to be the sponsor of either of these children, please take a moment and send up a prayer for them, their families, and their sponsor, that they might all be united together soon.

Janet lives with her father and her mother. She is responsible for helping in the kitchen and cleaning. Her father is sometimes employed and her mother is sometimes employed as a laborer. There are 5 children in the family. Playing group games is Janet’s favorite activity. In kindergarten, her performance is average and she also regularly attends church activities.

 

Kevin makes his home with his father and mother. Cleaning is his household duty. His father is employed as a seller in the market and his mother is employed as a seller in the market. There are 3 children in the family. Playing with friends is Kevin’s favorite activity. In kindergarten, his performance is above average and he regularly attends church activities.

 

PS: Don’t forget the Compassion Bloggers are in Tanzania this week! You can click below to follow their amazing stories.

I’m joining the Gypsy Mama and her Five Minute Fridays. Rules are: for only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. Won’t you join us?

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Earlier this week I received an email from Compassion. Thankfully it was not relating to my sponsored children (2 of which live in flood declared disaster areas of Equador), but instead, was a response to my advocate application that I had turned in last Fall.

It had been so long since I sent it that I had actually come to the conclusion that it just wasn’t mean to be forgotten about it. But, nope, they wanted to set up a phone interview with me and have me watch/review some training webcasts.

No problem-o, Bob. I quickly scheduled my interview (for this afternoon) and set out to watch the videos.

And amid all of that, I realized that Compassion Bloggers would be making a trip to Tanzania soon, Compassion Sunday events are being held all over North America, and even something as small as this blog is impacting sponsors and potential sponsors around the world.

You. Me. Our neighbors, our families – all connected and making a difference in this world – together.

Some of us will make a difference locally – helping a student struggling with school work, stocking a community food pantry, shopping a locally owned businesses, simply sharing a smile

Some of us will make a difference regionally – volunteering in afterschool programs, leading church groups/classes, hosting in(RL) link-ups, supporting farmer’s markets, offering to carpool when someone needs transportation

Some of us will make a difference globally – growing our own food, supporting missionaries, participating in Operation Christmas Child.

But there is one way to make a difference at ALL levels – Sponsor a child in poverty. When you sponsor a child, you not only make a global impact, but you also impact regions and local communities. Your sponsorship directly provides for benefits that an impoverished child would otherwise be unable to obtain: education, healthcare, self-worth. You also provide benefits to that child’s family and community. You’re directly growing regional and global leaders. Compassion sponsored children have gone on to serve in their countries’ supreme courts and legislative bodies, changing standards and situations for children across the world.Not to mention how, if you let it, sponsorship can change you. For a little over $1 a day, you come to find that a cream-colored envelope in your mailbox is one of the world’s best hidden delights. You suddenly find yourself more globally-aware; “where was that earthquake on the news? Not near my child- I hope.” And, if you’re like me, you find a renewed passion and sense of purpose.And, if you already sponsor, there’s a small person, many miles away who anxiously waits to hear from YOU. Your words, your letters, your love, means more to them than any amount of money.And so,Together, we CAN make a difference. One child at a time.

If you haven’t already, I urge you to check into Compassion or World-Vision and sponsor a child today.I you already sponsor, I urge you to take 5 minutes and send up a prayer for your sponsored child and their family. Drop them a postcard in the mail; send a letter; a hug; some love. Let them know you care.Who knows, you might just find a beautiful photo like this one waiting in your mailbox one day:

Emily and Her Family

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Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

It is estimated that as many as 27 million people are currently enslaved… 1/2 of them are children.
They are forced into the sex trade.

They are forced to become soldiers.

They are forced to torture, to kill, and to endure hardships we cannot even imagine.

And it’s not just “over there”

There have been human trafficking cases reported in all 50 states, with over 17,500 men, women, and children trafficked INTO the United States each year.

“I remember in particular one girl who was crying as she told her testimony. She wasn’t crying because she had been forced into the sex trade. She wasn’t crying because she had been beaten and raped. She wasn’t crying because she had been stripped naked and chained. She wasn’t crying because her so called “parents” had shoved a baton down her throat to get her to do it. She was crying because after her rehabilitation, which was coming to an end, she had nowhere else to go other than to return to those parents.” ~Julia Ormond, President of Asset Campaign

Please spread the awareness. Help end human trafficking. Do Something, ANYTHING, for these children who have nothing.

Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZTN0TbsRYA;feature=youtube_gdata_player

Sites for more information: