Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: Reaffirming God's Promises

I wanted to share with you what I wrote for my September letter to my kids. I decided to focus on God's promise to never leave us:

God loves you so much that he's writing your special story. He knows your life. Whether you are going through a good or a bad time, he sees the future and only wants what's best for you. NEVER forget that he loves you. So even if life seems hard right now, he knows how your hard moments will lead to the good moments. You just need to continue to trust in him. And you are never alone. Jesus is with you always. He will never leave you and never stop loving you. When you feel sad, scared or happy and excited, pray and he will answer you. You are never alone, dear (brother/sister). And no matter what, I am always thinking of you and praying for you. You are special to me and I love you. You are my family.

I meant every word too. My kids are so special to me. I long for the day when I can hold them in my arms. 

Yesterday, I got an email from Compassion International about a trip to Honduras next June.While I'm not sure if I'll be able to go, I will definitely be praying about it. I do hope that I can go though. It would be so special to see Fadi and Ali face to face.

Please consider sponsoring a child from HONDURAS

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wild About Kindergarten: Week Two

End of week two!! And I have to say that this week went a lot better than last week. For one thing, I felt like I did a lot more in the classroom.

I love how fast the day seems to pass by but I always go home feeling rewarded and exhausted. I really enjoy being with the kids all day. They all are so unique and so sweet and I'm very thankful to be working at Sahel this year.

This week, we finished up learning about the letter "T" and started in on "I". Our color of the week is Red and I think we'll be having some sort of party on Friday having to do with the color.

What have my duties been? I sit with the kids and keep them on task while they work at their desks. At recess, I help the teacher on duty and then I make sure that my Kindergarteners get their hands washed after recess and before lunch. At naptime, I help lay out their mattresses and then try to keep them quiet while others nap. Actually, we've only had two kids in the last two weeks fall asleep but they're learning.

~ Highlights ~
1. The look of satisfaction and joy on a Kindergarteners face when they master a concept in class. It's absolutely adorable and it makes me happy too

2. Getting hugs from the older elementary kids when they see me during lunch and after school

3. One of the little kids LOVES to talk. Last week at naptime he told Mrs. S and I that naptime was "a waste of time." Well, he was the only one who fell asleep yesterday afternoon. And when I went to wake him up, the second that his eyes opened he said "Hey!" and began talking nonstop.

4. The kids being very, very happy with receiving stickers. It reminds me of my sponsored kids. They thank me a lot for the stickers that I send with the letters

5. Being prayed for during the staff meeting and also being told that I have a gift with kids. I love hearing that. Warms my heart!

6. Kindergarten smiles!

~ Tough Moments ~
1. Telling the kids to do something and then being ignored

2. Sometimes I wish that the kids had longer attention spans so that we could spend more time on a certain subject, like the Bible. They ask a lot of good questions or make interesting comments but sometimes it's hard to discuss with them.

~ Prayer Requests ~
1. A few teachers approached me on Monday and told me that they could see me going into Psychology or becoming a Social Worker because of my love for children (and being a voice for the voiceless). I do love advocating for children and I am really praying about this different career choice. Please pray for me too!

2. Some kids in secondary and in elementary have been getting sick. Please pray that it wouldn't spread and that the kids would stay healthy.

3. My mom has traveled for this week. Please pray that God would keep her safe


Check the blog each week for a new update. Some will be short and some will be long! 

Click HERE for last week's "Wild About Kindergarten" post.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: Thankful

I was originally going to post something different for this week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post but decided not to after receiving some happy news yesterday morning.

For those of you who keep up with me on either Desert Violet's Facebook Page or my personal one, you'll know that for a while, I worked to send gifts to Fadi and Ali. There is a Compassion International trip to Honduras in October but unfortunately, I don't have the money to go. But last summer when there was a group going, I was able to send some gifts to Fadi and Ali (What was really cool was that I received a picture of Fadi with the bag of goodies that I sent to her. You can read more about that HERE).

This summer, I was able to find someone fairly quickly who was going directly to Fadi's center and volunteered to bring my gifts (I am very, very grateful that she was able to do this for me and am looking forward to hearing whether or not she actually got to MEET Fadi) but had more trouble with Ali. However, just a few weeks ago, a very sweet lady volunteered to send the gifts to him on her trip to Honduras. And around that same time, she and another lady both volunteered to each buy a bag of marbles to send to him, his friends and to his twin brother:


This October, Ali will be celebrating his 10th birthday and I pray that all these gifts will be a real blessing and enjoyment to him. I truly hope that this will also be one of the best birthdays for him as he and his brother will both be receiving gifts and also all of his friends. I pray that it will be a special time for him.

                                     

While I am thankful for the wonderful sponsors that God sent into my life to deliver these gifts for me, I am also very thankful to be a sponsor myself. Fadi, Ali and Lucy have blessed me and my life would not be the same without them. Letter writing day each month is one of my favorite occasions and I always look forward to the next one the day after I send the letters. Praying for my kids is also special for me because I am entering into their world and loving them more and more. And lately, I have been spending an awful lot of time daydreaming about meeting them all face to face. 

Ali is my little miracle sponsored child because I still feel like God really came through for me. Basically, if you have not read my many posts about how I ended up sponsoring him, Ali started as my correspondent sponsored child until he was no longer able to be financially sponsored (this was about a month after I sent my first few letters). I was heartbroken and after a few days of lots of signs from God and A LOT of money raised to support my little guy, I became his sponsor. 

Fadi was my first sponsored child and she will always have a special place in my heart. She is so beautiful and I can just feel her energetic and sweet personality in each of her drawings and letters. I am also very thankful that her mom writes her letters. Meeting her one day will be an absolute dream for me.

Lucy is my "quiet" co-sponsored child just because I have not received more than two letters from her. She is my little butterfly and I enjoy writing her letters. I am thankful to be on the same continent as her and am able to understand more of what her life is like (because I see aspects of it every day). I long to receive more letters from her but she is still close to my heart.

One day, I hope to sponsor another child from Honduras but for now, I have asked to be added to the Correspondent Sponsorship waiting list. I'm impatiently waiting for my next correspondent child. 

I'm so thankful to be a big sister to Lucy, Fadi and Ali and am VERY thankful to be a sponsor!

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post:


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wild About Kindergarten: Week One


Well, my first week as a teacher's assistant is officially over! And sadly, it wasn't even a full week. I got sick on Friday. But I'll talk more about that later.


Wednesday (August 13) was the first day of school. I arrived early and helped Mrs. S (the Kindergarten teacher) welcome in the 6 adorable Kindergarteners. We currently have a class of five boys and one girl and all of them are of a different ethnicity.

On the first day of school, everyone (K-12th grade and parents and staff) gathered in our all-purpose room and had the opening assembly. This was probably the first year where I wasn't sitting in the back with my friends. I was in the first row trying to quiet a group of very excited Kindergarteners.

The assembly was very nice (I even got to stand up while I was being introduced) and it ended with everyone dancing to a fun song. During Assembly, I took one of the kids to the bathroom which was actually a sweet experience because she looked so proud of herself when I praised her for washing and drying her hands.

Because we were all new to school and working together as a class, Wednesday was all about learning the rules and learning to get along. Mrs. S and I kept the kids on task which was actually a lot of fun for me. I loved watching them interact and learn to raise their and and sit quietly at a desk.


Thursday was very similar to Wednesday. The kids continued to learn the rules and play together. One of the kids knows very little English but although there is a language barrier, he has had no trouble making friends and keeping up with the work. I enjoyed reading a story to the class and singing Bible songs with them. They are all an absolute delight!

During lunch on Thursday I began to feel achy and feverish. Actually, I had gone to school feeling a bit out of sorts but didn't want to miss school. It's weird. When I was a student, missing school was the best thing for me. Now that I'm a "teacher", I REALLY don't want to miss it. Anyway, I chose to hang on for the remainder of the day because I didn't want to miss out on anything.

Friday morning, I was not well so I texted Mrs. S and the school letting them know that I wasn't going to come. Honestly, I was disappointed. But I ended up sleeping all day and just laying in bed. Later in the afternoon, Mom took me to get a malaria test and thankfully the test was negative. However, the malaria test wasn't fun because my finger wouldn't bleed and I had to be pricked three painful times. Ouch . .  I spent the weekend resting and watching movies.

Monday I was very excited to return. It was very sweet that a lot of the staff members and students asked if I was feeling better. I spent the morning laminating some fun activities for the centers. Each day, we let the kids spend some time "playing". They each are given a specific activity to do for 10-15 minutes like sorting colors, using playdough to making numbers or putting together a puzzle. While the kids think that they're just playing for fun, they're actually learning and strengthening motor skills.

While we were working at our desks, it began to storm outside. The thunder was incredibly loud and I'm ashamed to say that Mrs. S and I were probably more frightened by it than the kids. Recess was pretty interesting because it was muddy and wet but none of the kids came back too dirty.

I read to the kids some more and then participated in "Show and Tell". Now, that was a bit embarrassing because I hadn't really brought anything so I showed them all my iPod and talked about its importance to me. Two of the kids remembered to bring their special items and got to tell the class about them. It was very sweet and I had a smile on my face the whole time.

Tuesday I laminated some more activities for the centers and then listened in on the end of the Bible story. The kids are currently learning about Creation and how God created the 7 days. Mrs. S brought out her iPad and showed different pictures of unusual (and hilarious) animals for the kids. A lot of them I had never seen these animals before and I was just as intrigued as the 5 year olds. God is absolutely amazing!!!

I felt like I interacted a lot more with the kids than I had on previous days because I sat with two of the kids and helped them write their names. One was taking a VERY long time but the proud look on his face made it all worth it.

~ Highlights ~
1. Teaching one little kid to make the lowercase "N" by putting "a camel hump after the stick." Even on his own, he was reminding himself to "make the camel hump". Soo cute!

2. Hearing the kids remind each other of the different rules that Mrs. S had told them. They learn very quickly

3. Reading to them

4. Singing Bible songs with lots of actions ("Father Abraham", "My God is So Big", "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes")

5. Recess - I'm the assistant at recess duty and a lot of my older elementary buddies will sit with me and just chat. I really cherish that time because this year, I won't be able to participate in Buddy Day (a student council activity where a secondary student is paired with an elementary student for the year).

6. Listening to one of the kids pray for the class. I couldn't hear a word that he said but they all had their hands together and their eyes closed. Also, at the opening assembly, we were all told to get on our knees and pray for the year. I got a little emotional as the Kindergarteners sat on their knees and prayed with everyone else. Special moments like this don't happen at public schools.

~ Tough Moments ~
1. Feeling a bit inadequate. I am 18 years old and the youngest member on staff. A lot of the staff members were my teachers the year before.

2. Telling the kids to do certain things about 100 times in one day. Little kids have a very hard time listening to instructions and following through.

3. Getting sick AND missing school (not fun when you're a teacher).

4. Nap time. The kids are still getting into the groove of school and haven't actually been sleeping.

~ Prayer Requests ~
1. Pray that we would all stay healthy and safe this year

2. Pray that if there are any students (specifically Kindergarteners) who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, they would ask him into their hearts this year

3. Pray that I would instantly obey God this year as I serve and gain experience


All in all, through the good and the bad, I am very happy that God gave me this opportunity to serve at my school and spend all day with the Kindergarteners. I am looking forward to a very exciting, blessed and experience-filled year!

Check the blog each week for a new update. Some will be short and some will be long! 


** There is a special little girl that I helping to find a sponsor for. She is 5 year old Carol from Honduras. You can read more about her AND view her beautiful picture on my Facebook Page. She has touched my heart and I myself wish that I had the money to sponsor her. If you'd like to sponsor her, please let me know and I will notify her Compassion Advocate. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: 5 Reasons Why You Should Become a Correspondent Sponsor



As I was beginning to write this post, I remembered that I now have a new picture of sweet little Lucy. The one on the right is my most updated picture of her. Isn't she beautiful? I spent a lot of time looking at this picture when I first received it. Look at those eyes. She looks so sad. I wish I knew why she looks like that but I am blessed to be her correspondent sponsor.




I've mentioned correspondent sponsoring (or co-sponsoring) a few times on this blog - especially when talking about Ali. But I wanted to write about it again. Just yesterday, I emailed Compassion International and asked to be added to their correspondent waiting list. I still don't understand why more people don't co-sponsor. So, here is a nice little list of different reasons why YOU should become a correspondent sponsor:

1. No cost

Unfortunately, a lot of people shy away from sponsorship because it costs money. It doesn't matter whether or not they have it, they just don't want to spend it in this way. If you're one of those people, then co-sponsor could be for you. When you are given a correspondent sponsored child, you are not their financial sponsor. This means that you are not paying the $38 a month. It's your choice if you decide to send money gifts to the family whether for birthdays or just for their families. With correspondent sponsoring, you are not obligated to pay a thing.

2. Invest in a life

The great thing about sponsors is that they become a big part of their sponsored child's life. Sometimes, sponsors take on the role of another family member in their child's life because they are so special. When we write letters, we get the opportunity to encourage a child trapped in poverty and let them know that not only do we love them, but so does Jesus.

Unless you're a sponsor, you will not understand the feeling of knowing that a little boy or girl on the other side of the world surrounded by hopeless poverty is kneeling by their bed and praying for you. And in turn, I am able to pray for them and let them know how special they are to me. I send at least one letter to Lucy every month and include stickers and pictures that I've drawn. I love to tell Lucy that she is as beautiful as a butterfly. And I know that because of what God is doing through me and my co-sponsorship, Lucy will never forget me or stop loving me. That's an AMAZING feeling!

3. Only write letters

As mentioned in my first point, co-sponsors do not financially sponsor their children. All that you are required to do is write at least 3 letters a year. I choose to write Lucy once a month, regardless of whether or not she chooses to write me back.


4. Grow closer to God

Compassion International encourages sponsors to pray for their sponsored children because prayers are very powerful. Almost every night, I ask God to bless my kids and keep them safe and healthy. The more that I pray, the more I learn to trust God. As much as I want the best for Lucy, there is little that I can do because we're so far from each other. That is why I'm grateful for prayer. I can place my worries in Christ's hands and know that he will take care of my kids. I have learned more about trust. I have also learned to read my Bible more as I search for special verses for Lucy and learn to enjoy the Gospel.

5. Just as important as financially sponsoring 

Compassion International also stresses the importance of writing letters because this is where you truly change your child's life. As you offer encouragement, promises only found in the Bible and stories from your own life, you're also offering hope. And this is very beneficial to a small child - especially one living in extreme poverty. So, even though you're not sending $38 a month for your child to go to school or to eat healthy meals, you're playing a big part in his or her life.


What if you learned that you only have this ONE opportunity to change a child's life? What if you learned that the words that YOU send to this child are going to lift them out of poverty and change their life forever? What if God put you on this Earth knowing that you were the ONLY person who could give this child hope?

So, what are you waiting for?? If you feel that God is leading you to become a correspondent sponsor, email Compassion (CICqueue@us.ci.org) and ask to be added to the waiting list. You can ask to co-sponsor a specific age, gender or from a specific country but you may have to wait a little longer for them to match you up with a child.

* Similar to my "Sponsorship Saturday" post on 6 Reasons Why Teens Should Sponsor

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post here:



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

Just this morning, I got online and found a tweet from a friend who told me about the passing of Robin Williams. Honestly, I was in shock. I was shocked that he had been suffering with depression and had apparently committed suicide.

So, how did I react? Well, first, I cried a little. It broke my heart that he had gotten to a point in his life where he believed that only way to escape the pain, emptiness and sadness was through death. Then I prayed for his family. And then I began to realize that while the rest of the world was hurting from this loss, God was hurting the most.

What can we do after hearing about him and his passing? When we read about any person living in so much pain that they choose to end their lives, we CANNOT remain the same as we were before hearing the news. How can we react? What can we do?

1. Pray. This should be the first and most important thing that we ever do because God hears and answers our prayers. And not only are our prayers answered but he also moves and works in us too. So, today, pray for the hearts and lives of the Williams family and for everyone else who was affected by the news. Ask God to bring them hope and comfort in the most unexpected ways and lead them to his Son.

2. Encourage. Second, we should be encouraging others to pray with us. When the body of Christ kneels together in front of God, incredible things happen. Share the news and ask others to pray too.

3. Invest in Lives. Continue to build into the friendships that you already have. Be a friend and let others be a friend to you too.

4. Become a Friend to the Friendless. Find someone in your school, church or community that appears to be struggling with something and really reach out to them. Get to know them and be their friend. Not only will you make a new friend out of this but you'll also save a life. Seriously. Also, check out this post  (To Save a Life) where I talk about using YouTube to prevent suicide and save lives

5. Share the Gospel. No person can have true hope in their lives without trusting in Jesus. He gives you a reason to live, love and exist. Don't hesitate to share that with someone else, especially someone who may also be broken and struggling

6. Let Your Heart Be BrokenDon't be ashamed to feel upset or sad when you hear news like this. Let God break your heart for what breaks his. News like this is especially heartbreaking when the person did not know Jesus. But don't just let your heart be broken. Let it be changed


When we hear any kind of news about suicide, we should not just think of it as news. Realize that while a very devastating thing has happened, God is also giving you an opportunity to save a life, make a new friend and prevent another suicide. 



Please take the time to specifically pray for the Williams family during this difficult time. Also, take the time to watch your favorite Robin Williams movie and thank God for his talent and his life. 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: Be a Blessing

I've been struggling all week with what to write for this week's "Sponsorship Saturday". I've been working and have been tired so I haven't had the energy to put a lot of thought into my posts.

Then, last night, I came across this on Facebook and decided to share it with you.

The last few lines are so true and so touching:

"Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."

May this be true for sponsorship too. Understand that Christ commands us to care for the poor. Lift them from poverty in his name. And I PROMISE that you will be blessed by your children. 

I am blessed by Ali, Fadi and Lucy every single day. They pray for me, they draw me pictures, they write me letters . . . and I do the same in return. They have become family to me. I no longer refer to them as sponsored kids in my letters or when talking to friends. They are my little brother and sisters.I know of some sponsored kids who refer to their sponsors and second moms or dads. Sponsored kids become family. 

Change their lives and let them do the same for you in return. I have heard INCREDIBLE stories about sponsored kids whose lives have been changed because of their sponsors. And I've heard stories about sponsors who have been blessed because of the prayers, lives and letters from their sponsored kids. 

Be a blessing. Sponsor a child. 

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post here: