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 ( 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:

Thursday, July 31, 2014


"Brothers and sisters, look at what you were when God called you. Not many of you were wise in the way the world judges wisdom. Not many of you had great influence. Not many of you came from important families. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and he chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose what the world thinks is unimportant and what the world looks down on and thinks is nothing in order to destroy what the world thinks is important. God did this so that no one can brag in his presence. Because of God you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God. In Christ we are put right with God, and have been made holy, and have been set free from sin. So, as the Scripture says, 'If people want to brag, they should brag only about the Lord."

I heard this verse at church and it really made me think. Read it again. God chose the weak, "foolish" and the unimportant in the world's standards to be his children. This he did so that we wouldn't be bragging about our relationship with him. 

God wants to humble us because being in a relationship with him is not based on works - instead, it is based on grace. God CHOSE the ones that the world CHOSE to neglect like the poor, the ones committing the "unacceptable sins"(you know, like the stealing, killing, raping, homosexuality, divorce..), the forgotten, the prostitutes, the thieves, the murderers... He took them all and loved them because he can look past the sin. We can't. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that he he's ok with the sin being there. On the contrary, he loves us so much that he wants to help us the defeat the sin in our life. Although we have been chosen, we too have to realize that we're living in sin and change our ways. This happens through repentance. 

Think about this: those who are humble and have accepted what God has done for them are the ones who are truly changing the world. In other words, when you realize how terrible you are covered in your sin and how you will NEVER measure up to anything, you seek out God and see that he is greater than you. And even though the God of the universe is greater than us, he chose to love us and send his one and only son to die for our sins.

People begin to serve God and change the world when they realize this because they humble themselves and become nothing in the presence of God. They say "Lord, please mold me into the man/woman that you want me to be." He will not hesitate to answer our pray and before we know it, we find ourselves having the faith and the power to move mountains. And that's awesome.

So, read the verses above once more and then thank the Lord for choosing you and pulling you out of your sin. Then, ask him to mold you into the person that he wants you to be. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Catch Movie Review

Last week, I stumbled across an article written about a former Disney actor: Actor Reveals How He Found Success In Hollywood Without Compromising His Faith and Values. Why did it stand out to me?

Well, think about it. How often have we read in the news about celebrities who have stayed true to their beliefs and values throughout their career in the entertainment business? Rarely. So, I clicked on this article to see what this guy did to stand out.

Photo by Benjo Arwas
If you clicked on the article, you'll see that it's about actor (and now director) David Henrie. He is best known for his roles in Wizard of Waverly Place and How I Met Your Mother. And recently, he directed his first movie: Catch.  I've known about David for a while but didn't really follow his career because I wasn't allowed to watch his Disney show when I was younger. And then I found out that he's a strong Catholic and while his former Disney co-stars Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus have sometimes made the news because of unwise decisions, he has stayed true to himself and beliefs.

David is only 25 years old but has wanted to direct his own movie for years now. The short film that he put together follows the story of an 8 year old boy who goes to drastic measures to spend time with his father. It stars William Mapother, Robyn Lively and Jet Jurgensmeyer.

For his first film, David has proven to be an incredible director. In the film's webisodes, one cast-member made note of his paternal instinct as he directed Jet Jurgensmeyer (who plays 8 year old Jimmy). He always got down to Jet's level to explain how he wanted something done. Not only do directors need to know how to communicate their thoughts and ideas for their movies but they also need to know how to do it well.

The film is just about 11 minutes long but even in that short amount of the time, the message comes through clear and strong. And not only does the film have a great message but it also showcases the kinds of movies that David wants to continue to be involved in (whether in front of the camera or behind). Hollywood needs more uplifting and challenging films with strong morals.

David Henrie and Jet Jurgensmeyer
The movie was first released on iTunes a week before Father's Day (because it's definitely a film for fathers to watch!) so it's a shame that I only heard about it a few days ago. But it's definitely worth the watch.

All over the world, with parents working long hours of the day, it's important to remember that even though they're doing a great thing by stepping up and providing for their family, children still need that love and quality time.

For me, I got proof of this the day that I first watched the film. I've been working all summer at a day camp and I spend a lot of time with one of the little girls. She explained to me how much she enjoys her Saturday tradition that she and her dad do together (Pajama Day!) but sometimes, he'll get called into work leaving her to stay at home and just watch TV.

Catch is challenging and inspirational. It shows the impact that a father's words and actions will have on their children. But it also shows that even when a father doesn't keep his promises and seems to have neglected his family, his children won't stop loving him.

When you buy Catch, you will also be supporting a non-profit organization called "Family Works" that focuses on supporting families across the U.S.

At the end of his final webisode about his movie, David Henrie said:

"This to me is the perfect short film to showcase who I want to be as a filmmaker and the types of projects that I want to be involved in. I couldn't have picked a better story to embody who I want to be."

Please watch the trailer below:

And you can buy the movie for yourself HERE or on iTunes.

Keep up with David Henrie:

** Photos found at David Henrie's Official Facebook Page

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: What Inspired Me?

For those of you who keep up with my blog, you will know that I am a Compassion Blogger. And every so often, I am given an assignment. This time, I have been asked to blog about what first inspired me to sponsor a child. You have all heard my story before but here it is again. Please read and then share in the comments below about what first inspired you!


I was about 12 years old when I first heard about Compassion International. I was reading through my Brio magazine and came across an article about how a few of the staff had traveled to Kenya to meet their sponsored kids. Ashley Boyd has written the article and I immediately began to look up to her because of her heart for her child and for reaching out to those in poverty.

Unfortunately, I was 12 and had no way of earning money. I prayed and prayed that God would let me sponsor a child because I wanted to make a difference. But I also knew in my heart that there was no way that I'd be able to raise enough money each month. So, put the desire in the back of my mind and forgot about it for a while.

4 years later, my passion for sponsorship returned. I was reading a blog post about another writer from Brio and she was talking about meeting her sponsored child. A video was included and I just fell to pieces over her little guy. I just knew that I needed to sponsor too.

So, after praying for a bit, I talked to my parents and they told me that God would provide if this was what he wanted me to do.

And in November 2012, I sponsored 6 year old Fadi from Honduras:

Fadi at 6 years old!

So . . . what inspired me to sponsor? God placed that article in my favorite magazine and forever laid sponsorship and compassion on my heart. Even now, when I think about the billions of little boy and girls around the world with no food, shelter, parents or hope, my heart breaks. We can't just sit back and wait for someone else to act. God is calling each of us to do something for his children.

 Since sponsoring Fadi, I have also sponsored two more:

Ali at 9 years old!

And a few months after becoming Ali's financial sponsor (you can read more about my journey with him HERE), I still desired to impact another child but did not have the money to sponsor a 3rd child. So, I co-sponsored again and that is when Lucy entered my life:

most recent picture - Lucy at 7 years old!

Now, I want to be clear on something. Even though I keep talking about how I wanted to impact a child's life and make a difference, I have also had my life impacted and I have been blessed through Fadi, Ali and Lucy. Each of them has told me countless times that they pray for me. They tell me that they love me and encourage me in my faith in Jesus. Fadi, Lucy and Ali draw the most colorful pictures for me and I know that they do their best in school for me. I am so blessed.

If you'd like to read more about Compassion International and my sponsorship journey, all you need to do is look to the right and click on the "Sponsorship Saturday" "Passionate for Compassion" labels.

If you feel that God is leading you to sponsor, please do not hesitate. Click on the link at the bottom of this post and let God change your life forever.

What inspired you? 

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

                                                                   Sponsor a Child