Wednesday, August 31, 2011


OurCompassion is a cause-driven social network dedicated to connecting those committed to releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. This has been an amazing resource to me as a sponsor and as a child advocate with Compassion. 

In addition to the social networking piece with other sponsors and advocates, OurCompassion allows you to:

  • Ask any questions regarding letter writing, sponsor tours, or things to send to sponsor children. Within such a sort time, other sponsors reply with comments, suggestions, advice, and prayers in regards to your questions;
  •  Post journals about your ideas or experiences as a child sponsor; 
  • Share in joys and sorrows as a follower of Christ;  
  • Join interest groups surrounding topics you are passionate about;
  •   Learn more about your sponsor child's Compassion project; 
  • Network with other sponsors within the same project as your child. 

The list goes on! Please considering joining OurCompassion today and share in the joys of others who are working to release children from poverty in Jesus' name!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Water of Life

Its amazing how we can access clean water in so many ways, we can bring this opportunity to others! Compassion's Water of Life, a safe water system goes to the heart of one of the greatest and most urgent needs in developing countries today – providing safe drinking water to children and their families.

When you give to Compassion's Water of Life, you are not only giving safe drinking water, you are protecting a child from life-threatening diseases and allowing that child to go to school, to dream and reach their full potential.

Here are some action steps to get involved.

Donate to Water of Life: $55 provides:
  • Compassion's Water of Life system – safe water for life (over 1 million gallons) for a child and their family in developing countries. 
  • Education on improving hygiene and sanitation
  • Support for improving community water and sanitation sources where needed.
Vote for Compassion International in the contest to take over their Twitter account to raise awareness about the problem of unsafe drinking water and inadequate water supplies in the developing world. There are only 2 days left so vote now!

Get involved by either giving a Water of Life presentation with your church and or raising money towards the cause. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mail Call from Mexico.... AGAIN!!

Last week was such a great week posting updates from the letters I have received from my sponsor children. I was totally not expecting to receive ANOTHER letter in the mail. This letter came from my dear Nury in Mexico. It was dated June 10, 2011 and was received August 22, 2011.

Hello Sponsor,

I hope you and your family are in good health. I hope you can come here someday too. I'm going to finish 3rd grade and start 4th grade. I'm praying for you and your family. Thank you for all the letters you have sent me. Thank you for the sticker and the letter; they are so pretty. May God bless you and your family. Thank you for the magazines. How are your students? Tell them I send greetings to them. May God bless all your students and you. My school year starts August 22nd and finishes on July 1st. I have a dog named Ritch. Please pray for my family and for me. I would like to ask you how long you have been working? I want to thank you for all the letters you have sent me.


I was incredibly touched that Nury was praying for my family and I, but to also pray for my first grade students was the tear-jerker! I was also very happy to receive the beautiful new stationary that Michelle had mentioned in her blog

Here is a picture that I received this month of Nury and her birthday present of choice from the money I sent. So great to see a smile on her face. Looks great on her!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Growing Up in Compassion

I love photo updates of my sponsor children! I wanted to take a chance to share some of them here with you. I have updates for 2 out of my 3 children. Please also check back for for when I receive my correspondent children packets!

First is Chatchai from Thailand. I began sponsoring him when he was only 4. He is now 6 years old. Such a sweetheart and so glad to have received an updated picture!

Here is my Nury from Mexico. She is 10 years old now. I began sponsoring her when she was 9. Very soon after I received her child packet in the mail, an updated picture showed up online. She is growing up beautifully and looks so cute in green.

Last, but not least, is my dear Yamairy from Dominican Republic. I do not have an updated picture from her yet, but I look forward to seeing a big smile on her face when it does come.

Life is too short and we never know when our Savior will bring us home. I am just so blessed that for the time being He has brought these children into my life. I laugh and cry with what they share with me in my letters. I have all of the pictures they have drawn for me in a special folder that I pull out to look at from time to time. They soon will receive pictures from my of my new class and pictures of my family.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words... but I know for a fact that these kids mean so much more than that to our Lord. I encourage everyone to send pictures to your sponsored children as often as you can... even if you do not receive anything in return. Let them know that you are really there and that you love them and pray for them.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blogging for Compassion

Prior to my time on OurCompassion, I wasn't exactly one to follow a lot of blogs. The Compassion Blogs, however, have been more than just blogs. It has been a great resource for sponsors and potential sponsors alike. The Compassion Blog was actually the inspiration for creating this blog. I wanted to take the time to give credit to this wonderful resource that this incredible organization has provided us with. Here are some of my favorite and most helpful blogs in no particular order. I encourage you to check them out when you get the chance.

Top Ten Compassion Blogs (Not in any particular order)

1.      Funny Things Kids Say: As a first grade teacher, one of my favorite benefits aside from seeing all those “a-ha” moments are the funny things that kids say. This has reigned true with the things my sponsor children say. It can range from touching my heart that I want to cry, to just being so-darn cute!

2.      Sponsorship in Six Words: This one was a thinker – how to explain the impact of sponsorship into only six words was challenging – but I loved all the creative responses. Mine – “A child changed my life forever.”

3.      Write Your Child the Second Friday of Every Month: I never realized the importance of letter writing until hearing the stories of the children waiting for “mail day” and finding out that they did not receive a letter from their sponsor. This just broke my heart. Before, I would just write when I received a response from my sponsor child. Now, I just write whenever God puts them on my heart… regardless if I have received a response back or not. To them, it means more knowing that someone out there loves them and is thinking of them.

4.      This Is Where You Come In: This one hit close to home for two reasons. One, I love Compassion and support it 100%. Two, I have a brother with Autism who participates in Special Olympics. This was an amazing story of a young girl with special needs who went through Compassion International and Special Olympics!

5.      Delivering Hope: I participated in this! This was such great idea and opportunity to write letters to Compassion’s children who are still waiting for a sponsor. God does not let their prayers go un-heard!

6.      A Mission to Further Your Mission: Join Our Street Team: I love how Compassion is mission forward in this day in age to evangelize through social media. This is a great idea and I love completing orders to save up for a future sponsor tour!If you are interested in joining, please go to Helpful Links and click on "Compassion: The Official Street Team"

7.      The Real Problem is the Malaria: This video was the same clip I shared with my first grade class. We have been raising money for bite-back as a class community service project. It was only supposed to be for one month, but the students have been so excited about sharing about how malaria affects children their age, they chose to continue raising money for it!

8.      Haiti Earthquake Update: It was so devastating to hear that the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere had lost so much. This blog was a great resource to hear about what Compassion was doing in response to this traumatic situation.

9.      Should I Visit My Sponsored Child?: Like many other sponsors, I hope to visit my sponsor children someday. This blog was a great resource to evaluate my finances and the worth of taking a sponsor tour to visit my children.

10   Letter Writing Ideas: Though I know that sending money gifts are always an option, it is still something to know that I put time and thought into something I send to my sponsor children. This blog was a great resource to bounce off ideas with other sponsors.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mail Call from Mexico!

My third and final letter that I received this month was from my dear Nury. It was dated May 19, 2011 and was received August 15, 2011.

Dear Maria,

I hope you are in very good health along with all your family. I'm very happy for my birthday gift that was a very nice skirt with flounces (I picture a skirt either with tiers or with ruffles). May God Bless you and I hope you send me a picture and more letters soon. Thank you for all the letters you have sent me. I'm going to dance at school in July and I'm going to pass to grade 4 and I hope to have new partners (classmates?) and also my new teacher. Thanks for the magazine. My parents send regards and I do too. I want to tell you that I also love you very much.

Thank you because I received my birthday gift for my birthday.


Nothing warms my heart more than to know that these children experiencing the love of Christ through Compassion's ministry and in turn are sharing it with their families. I truly hope that one day I might meet Nury, Yamairy, and Chatchai.... Until then, I will treasure the letters I receive from them and continue to develop our relationship with each other and the Lord.

Have a blessed week and write to your sponsor child if you haven't already!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to be involved with child sponsorship on a tight budget

With today’s economy and political debate going haywire, it’s more important than ever to address our commitment to the children we sponsor. This is just as vital as connecting other un-sponsored children with sponsors.

When God puts a child on our hearts, it is easy to answer His call … at least initially. However, it can be difficult to remain invested in the commitment over time. And current economic circumstances aren’t making this any easier. Sponsors at my church have been experiencing financial hardships with gas prices, unemployment, and the overall cost of living. We were just squeezing by, paying what is necessary, but mostly going about things without passion.

I’m not sure if you’re experiencing this same tension, but I suspect that with finances being tighter, some of us are investing less time or financial support in Compassion’s ministry to children in poverty. We’re having to reassess the decisions we’ve made about our time, talent and treasures.

I held a Compassion Sunday at my church, but given the tough financial times my pastor and I felt it would be best to not participate in next year’s Compassion Sunday campaign. We wanted to give full attention to the needs among our congregation.

Taking our church’s situation into account, my pastor suggested that I continue to encourage existing sponsors within our church and community. That way, when we do give another presentation, we will have more families who can testify to what a wonderful organization Compassion is and encourage others to sponsor children.

So after meeting with my pastor and my advocate coach, we began to implement activities to help keep sponsors engaged and keep Compassion’s ministry present at our church. I also came up with some strategies to welcome new sponsors and acted as their contact person should they have any general questions about the ministry. Here are some of the ideas we have started or are in the process getting off the ground:
  • Welcome Kit for New Sponsors I purchased pocket folders in bulk. They were inexpensive and served as a nice addition to the child packets sponsors receive upon beginning their sponsorship.Inside each folder, I included quick facts about poverty, information about Compassion’s financial integrity and its holistic child development model, and a few other pamphlets affirming the new sponsor’s decision to get involved.
    One new sponsor told me she was impressed to see how Compassion is committed to serving Christ and serving His children. She mentioned that she keeps the letters from her sponsored child in the welcome-kit folder I had given her.

    Inside each folder, I included the CI Fact Sheet (IN017), Financial Summary (IN255), CI’s Child Development model (BR041), and the brochure “God’s Mandate, Our Challenge” (BR007). I also hand-made the Sponsorship Collection Bank (PM401) so that it was ready for use.
    For those of you who are advocates, you can access the order form on Compassion's advocate website to receive these supplies to help support you in your advocacy.
  • Compassion Board I purchased a world map from Barnes & Noble to create a Compassion board in our church gathering area. I then called Compassion with the names and numbers of the children who are sponsored from our church. Compassion sent us pictures of the children and we posted them on the map near each child’s location.
    The Compassion Board encouraged others to be in prayer for the children. We also placed a brochure display in the gathering area should someone wish to start a sponsorship.
  • Compassion Sponsors’ Letter-writing Potluck Any time you can involve food, you can get people to come and fellowship! The idea is to get sponsors together once a quarter for a letter-writing potluck.

    In addition to bringing their favorite dishes to share, participants also “potluck” letter-writing supplies. For example, one person brings envelopes and another brings a variety of stationery. Others bring small items we can include with our letters, such as stickers, paper frames to put pictures in (construction paper cut into the shape of a frame with contact paper around it), paper dolls, small children’s magazines, etc.

    The potluck creates a place for everyone to give updates about their children and to encourage one another as we continue our relationships with our sponsored children through Compassion.

  • Bible Studies/Book Groups About Compassion  I was doing a Compassion-related Bible study on my own when a friend asked about it. As I described Compassion’s commitment to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, she mentioned that she wasn’t in a place where she could financially support a child sponsorship, but that she would like to do so in the future.
    I told her she could pray for children in poverty and that God’s hand would be upon the Compassion ministry. She asked if she could borrow the study after me so that she could learn more about God's direction to us about serving the poor. We also plan to do a study together in the future.  

    I recommend “Hope Lives: A Journey of Restoration” by Amber Van Schooneveld and “Passport to Prayer: A Journey of Compassion” by Amber & Michael Van Schooneveld. They can be found in the Compassion store online and are also available on Other great books for a book group are “Unshaken” by Dan Woolley and “Too Small to Ignore” by Wess Stafford. Both are available on  

I know that God has pressed it upon the hearts of others to explore ways to keep the Church involved and to encourage existing sponsors while looking for new ones. It would be great to get fresh ideas to use. What are some ideas you can share with us?

Mail Call from Dominican Republic!

The second letter I received was from Yamairy in Dominican Republic. It was dated June 20, 2011 and was received August 6, 2011. She had two messages in this letter. I will share them both here.

Hello dear Maria,

The child greets you in the love of Jesus. She says; my family is well and now I am on vacation because school is over. I like visiting the church. When I grow up I want to be a doctor. In my community there are people who work as sugar cane cutters and sowers, tractors drivers and teachers. I would like to learn to cook cakes and bake bread, and some ways how I can do this is by paying attention, practicing and attending school. The child thanks you for the letters. In school I am learning to add and write. I got the magazines; thanks for them (again, these are the extra Scholastic News magazines from my classroom)! They are beautiful. The story I like the most was when Jesus shared the bread and fishes (I believe this is in response to when I asked what her favorite bible story was). Do you have a dog? I ask you to pray for my father. God bless you!

With much love,


Second message....

The child says; the school year runs on September and ends in June. Here in Easter we hold a beautiful big service to the Lord in the church and they make dramas and pantomimes and cook tasty sweet beans (beans cooked with milk, sugar and raisins). I love you. Talk to you soon.


Yamairy also drew me a picture of here at I believe to be her school or the Compassion project. It was labeled, "the child is assisting the sick."

I am so proud of this beautiful little girl! She is working so hard in school and has such motivation to be successful in all she does.

Come back again for the final letter from my third Compassion child! Also, please stop by the Compassion Family blog to enter to win a correspondent kit to help you in your letter writing!

Mail Call from Thailand!

Every time I go to check my mail, I shuffle through the envelopes to find big, bold, blue letters that read, "Message from your sponsored child!" I was so happy to receive letters from all three of my sponsor children the past several days. (Thank you to Michele from Blogging from the Boonies for the picture!)

The first letter I received was from my dear Chatchai from Thailand. It was addressed May 31, 2011 and was received on July 23, 2011. Since he is still young and unable to write, he dictates his letter to Compassion worker.

Dear Maria,

Hello! I write this letter to you on behalf of Chatchai because he can't write the letter to you by himself. He would like to thank you so much for sending him the birthday gift. He spent the money to buy the clothes. He keeps some money to buy the sweets. Chatchai and his family are fine now. He likes to study about sculpture the most. He likes the book that you sent to him (extra Scholastic News magazines that I had from my classroom). The pictures are very beautiful but he can't read that book. He bought the cake and and ate with his friends at the Project. He likes the dog very much but he has the pigs and the chickens at home (I asked him what his favorite animal was). However, he like the dog. He likes to study about spiritual part because it's fun. He learns to know many stories such as Chinese millionaire that he likes. On a Christmas, the Project had the celebration. Chatchai and his family went to join in the Christmas celebration at the church (which was awesome because his parents have not come to Christ yet). He showed dancing and doing many activities. He got a lot of fun. His parents grow plants, They didn't get any effects from the earthquake happened. I would like you to pray for his trip to the Project. May God bless you and your family.

Love and Respect,

The Project's manager

I love Chatchai's energy in his letters as he tries to answer all the questions I ask him in the letters I send him.

Please stop back again to read letters from my other two Compassion children.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Importance of Letter Writing

This past Friday was the monthly Virtual Letter Writing Night, which takes place the second Friday of every month. Just in time for the letter writing night, I received letters from two out of my three sponsor children. It is always a joy for me to receive their letters. Admittingly, I do feel a little disappointed when I check my mail and do not find an envelope from Compassion in the mix with all the others. I can only imagine how our sponsor children feel.

Last December, I participated in a Christmas card basket for un-sponsored Compassion children in Ecuador through Day Spring. I read about how these children are eagerly waiting to get sponsor and look sadly at the children who receive warm letters of their own. I also learned about the little ones who are sponsored, but hardly ever receive anything from their sponsors.

Philippians 2:5 says, "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus." What kind of sponsor relationship would Jesus have with these kids? Many of us would love the opportunity to visit our children or go on a missions trip, but not all of us will get the opportunity to go. Letter-writing is our way to access another child in a poverty-stricken area to give them the good news of Jesus Christ. This is the relationship that God put on our hearts to build. The only way these children will know that there is truly a God out there who loves them, is if we show them Christ's love through the letters we write.

If you haven't already written a letter to your sponsor child, please do. You can access the stationary for a written letter here. Or you can send your child an e-mail here. Please refer to this link for general questions about letter writing. There are also letter writing tips available to you as a sponsor.

You can read more about the importance of writing to your child at the following Compassion Blog.

If you currently do not sponsor a child and would like to, please click here to look at pictures of children in need of sponsorship.

Write now and brighten your child's day! God Bless you in your letter writing!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Graders Bite Back!

 My first grade class was learning about communities and community workers for the month of December. I decided to expand this unit to learning about communities around the world to show how the lives of children their age are in other countries. I introduced the Bite Back! campaign from Compassion on December 1st. We watched a short clip about malaria and what these children face each day. I sent a letter home to parents explaining that we were collecting coins to raise money for children in malaria infected areas. Because of tax purposes (and being in a public school setting), it was restricted to coin money only. However, I did leave it open for parents to contact me if they wished to make their own donation and receive a tax receipt for it.
We had from December 1st through December 22 to bring in as many coins as we could. The school I work at is the poorest in the district with a little over 70% of it’s population receiving free or reduced lunch. I wanted to be sensitive and realistic about this mini-service project, so we set a goal to raise $10 in coins to provide 1 insecticide treated net.

The kids were so excited and shared with their families that they wanted to empty their piggy banks to bring into school. It was so moving and fun to see how these 6 and 7 year olds were sharing with the other teachers at school about how malaria spreads, and about the different countries/continents around the world are affected. I brought in the sample bed-net that was provided with the presentation kit that Compassion provided. The learning from this service project was incredible!

At the end of the month, my class raised $44.04! I pitched in the remaining $5.96 (towards our class piggy bank) to make an even $50. They were so proud to help raise money for 5 insecticide treated nets! Many students asked how long we would be collecting money. When I told them it was only for the month of December, the entire class voted that we continue to raise money for the rest of the school year. God bless their little hearts! I made a making a month by month chart that showed how much money we were raising for Bite Back! I was so happy to do more with this project in a public school setting. At the end of the school year, we brought in a total of $110 for Bite Back! It would have been more, but we had a few other organizations were raised money for such as Pennies for Patients and Ronald McDonald House. Nonetheless, I cannot tell you how proud I am of my class. This shows that you can be an advocate for poverty at any age! You can also help by going to and then click on donation.

Courtesy of Compassion International:

Monday, August 8, 2011

How the children of Compassion International have changed my life....

I'm 1st grade teacher in MN. Our school district has been housing many Karen/Burmese refugees from Thailand ... many of which are in my classroom. We are receiving newcomers every month! This has been an exciting experience for our school as well as my own personal and professional development as teacher.  One of my boys, Kyarke, passed away on June 24, 2009... right before re-committing myself to the Lord. Since working with the Karen/Burmese community at our school, I have learned how much they love the Lord and are grateful to the Christian Missionaries they have met in the refugee camps. When Kyarke died, at the age of 6, I was welcomed into the Karen/Burmese refugee community with open arms. When I would go to visit them to offer my support as Kyarke's teacher, I found that many would come to me to see how I was doing. Such faith that they knew this wonderful little boy was in heaven with the Almighty!  They put it so simply, "because you love him, and you are his teacher, you are family." Seeing how little these people have - yet are so rich at the same time because they see what truly makes life rich - has changed my life in a way I cannot explain!

After being brought into this community, and following the passing of Kyarke, I was inspired to sponsor a child from Thailand in his memory. I came across a Compassion banner while I was browsing - one of my favorite websites for Christian apparel. The first sponsor child's name is Chatchai. I have been his sponsor since October of 2009 and look forward to receiving his letters. It has been an exciting and blessing experience ever since I joined as a sponsor. In August of 2010, I received my packet for my second sponsor-child named Nury in Mexico! In December of 2010, God put it on my heart to sponsor a third child. My third sponsor-child's name is Yamairy from Dominican republic. These three little ones have changed my life. It amazes me how at such a young age, they are praying for me on a daily basis and committing their lives to Jesus.

If I could, I would sponsor so many more children.... I wish I had the funds to do so! I still wanted to do more to help release these children from poverty in Jesus' name. In September of 2010, I became Compassion Child Advocate. I have been setting up displays and brochures around my community about child sponsorship, gave a Compassion Sunday presentation to my church, and even got my 1st grade classroom to raise money towards the Bite Back! campaign for Compassion.

It is exciting and scary at the same time. My wish is to for God to use me in a way that will help advance his kingdom. I just hope that I am up for the test! I encourage you to visit the link below. I am not asking for donations or for you to sponsor. That is not my place... I am simply here to share my story. If you are called to respond for these little ones, I have faith that God will put it on your heart. I only ask that you simply pray for the children and workers of Compassion. They are constantly in prayer for their families and future sponsors.

Jesus said in Mark 10:14, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them." Pray that poverty won't stand in the way of these children knowing Jesus and what He has done for the world.

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