Technology v Snail mail

Now I know modern technology is amazing.  And I agree that it is fantastic to be able to connect with family and friends in different parts of the country, or on the other side of the world in just a few seconds and have real time conversations via apps like Skype and FaceTime.    But sometimes it’s  just wonderful to receive an old fashioned, snail mail, hand written letter, because usually when we get a handwritten letter  it’s from one of our sponsored kids!

A few months back we were very blessed in receiving a financial gift so we decided that we wanted to pass on the blessing by sending a bit extra to our sponsored kids.    It takes a bit of time for mail to reach our sponsored kids and for the replies to come back with translation and transportation etc etc.   But I don’t mind that because this week we received a lovely letter from Bekelu in Ethiopia.

Bekelu is 18 years old and  she writes …… “Thank you so much.   I received your gift and bought clothes, shoes, school supplies and one calf with the money” I have to confess to being ridiculously excited that she was able to buy things that she needed not only for herself but a calf which will help support her family too.

What made this letter even better is that we also received this photograph of Bekelu,  all dressed up  in her new clothes. img079 What a beautiful young woman she is and I feel privileged to be able to be part of her life even in such a small way.    I know that our sponsored kids are blessed by our support, but I am also so very blessed by them. If you don’t sponsor a child please consider it.   It will change your life as well as theirs….. contact Compassion UK  for more information, or leave me a comment and I will try to answer any questions you have.

Mama Linda

The postman was my best friend this week, not only did I get a wonderful letter from Brilly, one of my correspondence children (more about that later),   I also received the pack for the newest member of our little Compassion family, Sandra! Well done Compassion,  that was pretty quick work considering that she had to be transferred from the US site.    I first heard about Sandra on 6th June when an American friend, Amanda, was advocating for her.  That means it only took about 10 days to get all the paperwork transferred and her pack out to me here in Scotland …. impressive!!

Let me introduce this precious young lady to you…..

Sandra from Honduras

Sandra is 8 years old and lives in Honduras with her Mum, she is one of 4 girls and she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

To be honest I’m not sure how we ended up sponsoring Sandra,  my husband and I are in the process of selling our home and planning to move at the moment.   We had recently discussed that once we were settled again we would sponsor more children. But as the whole process is likely to take a few months I wasn’t looking at the moment.

However, God had other plans when an advocate friend posted on facebook that Sandra needed a new sponsor and …… bang……I had that feeling again, I just knew she was for me.   I told my friend I was interested but wanted to speak to my other half first.   I wasn’t sure what he would think but he took one look at her and said   “if you think it’s right just do it” ……. he didn’t need to tell me twice, I was back on facebook faster than you could say ‘do it’ and let Amanda know.

In the meantime someone else had also expressed an interest in Sandra and would sponsor her if we didn’t, so she was a bit disappointed when we decided to go ahead, but you can read about Svenja’s side of the story in her blog  here.

I don’t know why I am always so amazed at the way God works …. every child we have sponsored we have done so because we have felt God’s prompting.   I know that God has a plan and a purpose, and that the feeling I get when I really connect with a child is His spirit speaking to mine,  I just need to be obedient.    I know that He will use us for good in the lives of the children we sponsor and that both they and we will be blessed through the relationship.

I have already written my first letter to Sandra and I can’t wait to  receive our first letter from her.

I am always blessed by the letters we receive from our kids.  Not least by the lovely letter I received from Brilly, one of correspondence kids, this week.   He starts his letter with the words:

“Dear Mama Linda, greetings in Christ’s love” …. he continues by describing how his family celebrated Christmas  together (obviously the letter has taken a while to get here but that’s fine)  …..  he ends  by saying “I will continue praying for you Mama Linda and your family.  With love from Brilly”

What can I say!!   My heart just melts at the thought of being ‘Mama Linda’ to such a precious young man on the other side of the world, but that he also wants to pray for me and my family overwhelms me.   We have so much in comparison to those living in poverty and how it must break God’s heart to see us hoarding and living in luxury when so many have so little.

People sometimes ask me why do you sponsor children, does it really make a difference?   I could give you a thousand reasons but their stories are told so much more eloquently by the children themselves ………  if you have few minutes please watch this video entitled …  I Am Free…..

 

 

 

 

Voices of angels

It has been quite a while since I added a new post.  To be honest I’m not quite sure why.   My visit to Tanzania seems like a lifetime ago even though it was only last autumn.  Nevertheless I can still see the faces  of the children in my mind and I remember vividly the stories of struggle and trauma laced with the hope that Compassion has brought to their lives.

We met some amazing people and heard some incredible stories, like this brave and beautiful young woman who lost her single parent Mum while she was still very young,  she told us:

Talk 8 cropped

 

 “When my Mum died, Compassion became my mother and my father ….. they helped me find a safe place to live with a family that took care of me and they helped with my  financial support.   Now I am training to be a journalist,  if it hadn’t been for Compassion I don’t know what would have become of me.”

 

We met with a group of Mums and their babies at one of the Child Survival Programmes, what a precious day that was;  so many gorgeous babies and so many Mums just like you and me eager to share their stories of how Compassion had intervened and brought new hope into seemingly desperate situations.   Women who had been abandoned by their partners and left to fend for themselves in a country where there is no safety net for those who can’t work.   Women who had escaped violence and abuse and who were finding new hope in shared adversity and in support from the dedicated and caring Compassion workers.

One of the highlights of this visit for me (apart from getting to cuddle babies)  was listening to some of the women sing.   Truly voices of angels and I felt so blessed that they had taken the time to prepare this for us.

My trip to Tanzania confirmed what I already knew….. that being sponsored by Compassion makes a difference, it can make the difference of giving a child food, shelter, medical help and education.

Yesterday we chose to sponsor another child …. this precious little girl from Honduras.

Sandra from Honduras

Why?   Because I know that Compassion’s ministry works,  and I know that I will have to change very little in my life to give her a future.

Why would you …. ?

There are lots of times in life that we might be tempted to ask that question, ‘Why would you’   Why would I do this or that?   Sometimes it’s a hard question to answer,  sometimes not.    Now I’m not really what you would call a seasoned traveler to be honest,  in fact the last time I visited a developing country  I was robbed at knife point the day after I arrived.    So a week ago when I was sitting alone in Edinburgh Airport waiting for my flight to be called I was asking myself just that question.  Why would I be embarking on a journey that would take me half-way round the world, with people I didn’t know, to a country that (if I’m honest) made me feel more than a little anxious!

Tanzania 2013 -2 031

The reason I was stepping into the unknown is simple,  I have been an advocate for Compassion UK for around 3 years and every time I attend an event or speak at a church I feel a little frustrated with myself  because I would like to answer questions better, more effectively and accurately and be more informed about how Compassion works.    This was my chance, a God given moment, that I could actually go to Tanzania and see, with my own eyes, the difference Compassion actually makes.

Tanzania 2013 095

Home again now there is so much that I saw and heard and felt, it will take a while to process.   However, if you are interested, I invite you to share in my thoughts, feelings and observations as I tell the story of my trip over the next few weeks.   I have many stories to tell, not my stories, but the stories of those I met,  those who touched my heart and soul.   Stories that will inspire and encourage you.   You can make a difference, you can change the story for one child and who knows where that might lead.

You can change the story….

When asked why they’ve chosen a particular job I have often heard people reply that they wanted to make a difference, to somehow contribute to making the lives of others easier, more bearable or better in some way.   All of us can do that in our own small way by being kind and considerate to those we encounter every day, maybe even going the extra mile sometimes.   But what if you really could make a difference, if you could change the future for someone, if you could help them realise their potential and have the opportunity to speak love and hope into their lives.

Wouldn’t that be amazing?   Wouldn’t you do that if it was possible?

Thankfully it is possible!   Below are 5 amazing children in need of sponsors.  They may look just like ordinary kids but who knows what they might become if they hadn’t been born into poverty.  Born into poverty that rips the heart and soul out of parents desperately trying to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads, poverty that tells kids they don’t matter and will never amount to anything, poverty that destroys their hope……

Who knows what these children might achieve, given a chance?  Sponsorship through Compassion will provide these children with physical, spiritual and emotional support, but much more than that it will give them hope for a better future.

You can change their story.    For only £21 a month …. 70p a day isn’t much to us but it could mean the world to one of these kids.  If you would like to sponsor one of these precious little ones,  please send me a message using  the contact form below, include your email address and I will send you all the details you need.

Introducing Aba-amissah from Ghana

Born on 19th Jan 2009 Aba-amissah lives with her parents and two other siblings,  she helps at home by running errands and she loves playing with her friends.  When she gets a sponsor it will help ease the financial burden on the family where adults typically earn around £17 a month.

Aba-amissah Aug 13

Next is Ezequiel from Dominican Republic, this lovely smiley young man is only  3 years old, born on 31st Jan 2010, however he still has to help make the beds at home.  He lives with his Mum and Dad and is an only child.  Like any young boy he loves playing with a ball, but he needs someone to sponsor him.

Ezequiel Aug 13

Next are two young lads from Haiti:

First is Claridson, he lives with just his Mum and there are five children in his family.  He is approaching 8 years old, his birthday is on 4th November and he helps his Mum in the kitchen and loves to play with his friends.

Claridson Aug 13

Lens (also from Haiti) has 2 siblings and they all live with their Mum.   He was born on 25th May 2008 and one of his duties at home is to fetch water.   His favourite things to do are playing football, drawing and playing with his friends.  Employment is scarce in Haiti and adults who are able to find work would only earn around £14 a month.

Lens Aug 13

Last but not least is Grace from Ghana.  Grace lives with her godparents, and helps in the house by running errands and washing clothes.  Her birthday is 31st March and she is 6 years old.  She has 2 other siblings and she like to play with her friends.

Grace Aug 13

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, use the contact form below for further info.

Why am I surprised?

Do you find that sometimes you have low expectations?  It’s a bit like when we share the gospel, sometimes when people respond we are surprised by it, not because we don’t expect God to work ….. it’s just that sometimes we don’t expect Him to work through us!

I have had the great privilege of wearing my Compassion Advocates’ hat  quite a lot recently….. well it’s a t-shirt actually, but you know what I mean…. but I’ve attended a number of events and have had a few opportunities to speak at churches and groups.  I have been totally amazed at the way God has been working, we have seen lots of children sponsored  and sometimes in the most unlikely situations.   A few weeks ago I was invited to share Compassion at a very small church which consisted of about 5 or 6 families in total, as I shared about the work and the children whose profiles I had brought along I mentioned that as this church was partnering with a project in Africa the 10 child profiles I had brought along would be available to them exclusively for a month and after that would go back into the ‘pool’.   After I had finished speaking the Pastor rose to speak again,  his words blew me away!  He said….

 “As a church we will sponsor 5 of these children …. £105 a month is very little out of our budget.   My wife     and I will also sponsor another two children personally.   These children have been allocated to our church, I believe it is God’s will they have come to us and I am not sending them back…… so we are not going home until we get the other three sponsored” …… and Praise God they were!!   God is good!!

As if that’s not enough I was invited to a youth group last Sunday evening.   This youth fellowship had been group sponsoring a child for quite a while and those who began doing it a few years ago had grown up and moved on, so the leader wanted someone to explain to the newer members what the ministry of Compassion is all about.   I believe it’s good to tell young people about Compassion, even if they can’t afford to sponsor a child at the moment you plant a seed for the future.   I didn’t expect to get any sponsors but felt it would be a worthwhile visit anyway.  As it turned out it was a great evening, a lovely bunch of young people and some very godly leaders, including the church Pastor.   And guess what?  God surprised me again ….. I came away from that meeting with another 3 children sponsored.

I’m not sure what God is teaching me through this, many things I suspect.  But I’m going to try and stop assuming that I can guess the outcome …..  and I’m going to start trusting God for big things, I know He wants the children we advocate for lifted out of poverty and these words that we so often hold dear for ourselves are for them too….

jeremiah-29-11-plans-cover

Not much of a TV fan to be honest……

I’m not much of a TV fan to be honest, most of my free time is spent reading, doing stuff online or doing something creative.    I posted a few months ago about my favourite place in the house being my conservatory, that’s where I spend a lot of time and it has been declared a TV free zone, by order of the management ( well by me, that is!).    However in the UK there has been a programme on over the last few weeks that has tempted me to sit in front of the box (although I suppose they are not really boxes any more …. but let’s not get technical).

You may wonder what could have enticed me to do such a thing?   The good ol’ Beeb  (BBC)  decided to bring sewing out of mothballs and created a competition type programme called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’.   All I can say is that I am thankful I recorded it and am looking forward to watching it again in a marathon 4 hour long viewing session, accompanied by copious amounts of tea and biscuits and maybe the odd cucumber sandwich.

What a breath of fresh air, a competition that was marked out from the rest by the grace and kindness of not only the participants  but also the judges were kind, encouraging and well mannered.   I may be biased because of my great love of sewing in any shape or form BUT it is one of the best shows I have seen in years!   The contestants all produced brilliant work and when the winner was announced no-one was left sitting with their jaw hanging open wondering if the judges had been watching a different show.   The finalists all created work of a superbly high quality but one person’s work was of a consistently high standard throughout the series and she won……. how refreshing!

Great British Sewing Bee3

However, there is another side to this, I am a keen sewer and have many and varied projects on the go at any given time.   I have many PhD’s   (projects half done)  and there are frequent sightings of UFO’s    (un-finished objects) in my workroom (aka: the conservatory) but I don’t mind a  bit.      I’m a fabric ‘collector’ ….. my husband tries valiantly to distract me  when we pass fabric shops, it rarely works, I can sniff one out a mile away ….. but then he’s a bit of a wood collector so I think that makes us even, and my fabric takes up less space!

But this programme enthused me, and this from someone who is already over-the-top enthusiastic about sewing.   So  last week I had an overwhelming urge to start a new project ….. which I am delighted to say I also finished in a couple of days.  I made a handbag out of some beautiful Harris Tweed, which I bought when we holidayed on Harris a couple of years ago, and I am thrilled with the result.   And I’m sure I was not the only one in the country who was inspired to pick up a needle as a result of this programme either.

Harris Tweed handbag 001

There is something so deeply satisfying about creating things with your own hands, whether it is with fabric, paint, or any other  medium ….. it does our souls’ good and for me it can be a very spiritual experience, I can get lost for hours working on a project, deep in thought, enjoying the freedom of not having to focus on mundane need,  but revelling in the joy of creating something beautiful.     I believe creativity is innate in all of us, we may not all be Monet or Da Vinci but we each have the ability to create something beautiful if we will allow ourselves the time and space to explore our potential …… when was the last time you followed your heart to create something new?  Carve yourself a bit of ‘me time’ and experiment , and as well as doing yourself some good, you might really surprise yourself with your own abilities.

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