Crying Out for Congo!

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 9 out of 10 mothers will lose a child before it reaches the age of 5, and children in the Congo face malnutrition rates of 3 times higher than the rest of the world, according to World Vision. This is also an area that has been severely affected by the HIV and AIDS crisis, leaving many children without parents.

There is something you can do to help these children. World Vision is working with communities in the Congo, and you can sponsor a child there for only $35 a month. Your sponsorship provides a child and his community with improved healthcare and support, emphasizing assistance to those affected by HIV and AIDS. Children will attend school, and farmers will be offered seeds and training on new farming methods.

The following children are available for sponsorship in this area, where many families live in small mud and brick homes with tin or thatched roofs.

Magy lives in this region, with her mother, one brother and one sister. Her mother is a market vendor and struggles to provide for the family. Magy is 4 years old, likes to play with dolls, and helps at home by running errands. Her birthday is Jan. 1, 2009.


Magy, 4

Dany, 9, lives in the Congo with his father, three brothers and one sister. His father is a market vendor. Dany enjoys mathematics in school, likes to play soccer, and helps at home by carrying water. His birthday is Aug. 7, 2004.


Dany, 9

Verro, 4, lives with her parents, two brothers and four sisters in the Congo. Her father is a social service worker, and her mother is a market vendor. She likes to play with dolls, and her birthday is Jan. 1, 2009.


Verro, 4

Platini lives in this area with his parents, two brothers and six sisters. His parents are farmers. Platini, 9, enjoys reciting poems and stories at school, likes to play soccer, and helps at home by running errands. His birthday is Aug. 14, 2004.


Platini, 9

Jeremie, 9, lives with his grandmother in the Congo. He has one brother and two sisters, and he likes to play soccer. Jeremie’s birthday is Aug. 1, 2004.


Jeremie, 9

Please contact me if you are interested in sponsoring any of these children, or click here if you wish to see other children living in the Congo who are available for sponsorship. You can also view a short video about the Congo by clicking here.

Giving Thankfully: Love in Letters

There isn’t much that delights me more as a sponsor than receiving a letter from one of my faraway sponsored children. Today, though, I think I found something that tops even that.

My 12-year-old son, Logan, became a sponsor earlier this year. I wrote about it here. Since February, Logan and the boy he sponsors, Osmar, have exchanged several letters.


Osmar, 11, of Guatemala

Logan was excited to receive another letter from Osmar today. As usual, he opened the letter quickly to see what his friend in Guatemala had to say, then he handed the letter to me, so I could read it, too.

I am so touched by Osmar’s affection for Logan, that I have to share his letter here:

Dear sponsor Logan,

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ hoping that you are in great health. The weather is rainy. I want to tell you that in my town, we harvest corn, potatoes and beans. We have a lot of things in my town. I love you. I ask you to pray for everyone in my town and for my family. We are going to finish the school year. I am going to pray for you. I thank you for the letter that you sent me. I love you. What is my favorite sport? Soccer. What’s the weather like over there? I say goodbye with love and hugs. I hope that God continues blessing you and your family, and that he gives you blessings because you are my sponsor. Thank you.


Yes, this sweet 11-year-old boy in Guatemala just told my son “I love you” – twice.

And that is why, in this month of thanks, I am thankful for love in letters.

Giving Thankfully: Compassion and World Vision

In the wake of the recent destruction in the Philippines, I am so incredibly thankful for Compassion and World Vision, and their responses in aiding the people affected.


Typhoon Haiyan is being called possibly the strongest storm in recorded history, and the Philippine government today reported a death toll of 2,275, while officials on the ground have said they fear as many as 10,000 might be dead.

Please click here to view a short video of the typhoon’s destruction.

About 9.5 million people are affected, according to World Vision. Residents of the hardest-hit areas are dealing with lack of clean water and available food, blocked roads, loss of electricity and, in some areas, looting.

You can help Compassion’s relief efforts by clicking here. Your gift will make possible interventions including emergency food and water, temporary shelters, trauma counseling and spiritual support, replacement of clothing, school supplies and household items, and restoring supplies families need for earning income.

You can help World Vision’s relief efforts by clicking here. Your donation will provide essentials such as blankets, mosquito nets, hygiene and food kits, emergency shelter and clean water. World Vision is seeking to raise $20 million for this effort.

Please consider reaching out to these people who so desperately need help.

Giving Thankfully: Freedom

This Veteran’s Day, I am thankful for freedom and the sacrifices of all those who have served in the U.S. military to gain and maintain that freedom.

These heroic individuals who answer the call to serve give up countless days, months and sometimes years away from home, often living in danger on foreign soil. They face unimaginable situations, while the rest of us live out our daily lives at home in safety.

While a great part of these individuals’ sacrifice is made up of the dangers they face abroad, another part includes everything they miss while they are away: holidays with family, births of babies, children’s milestones, anniversaries, deaths of loved ones, and all the daily events that we take for granted.

Without starting a political discussion, I want to point out that Compassion and World Vision work in many struggling countries around the world where the idea of freedom is very different from ours. If you chose to sacrifice about one dollar a day, you could sponsor a child in one of those countries by clicking here or here. Your sponsorship can give a child the help he needs to rise out of poverty, and there’s no telling what he will accomplish in our world after that.

Giving Thankfully: Food


When my children are hungry, I feed them.

Whether that means walking into my kitchen and making them a meal with food from the refrigerator or pantry or driving them to a restaurant, they never go hungry. Unfortunately, that is not the reality for many mothers around the world.

I am thankful for access to food for my children because one in eight people in the world do not have enough to eat. That’s 870 million people, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

This lack of nutrition affects children greatly. According to the same U.N. source above, children who are undernourished suffer up to 160 days of illness each year, and poor nutrition plays a role in at least 5 million child deaths each year.

World Vision helps to combat this problem by training communities in agricultural practices and providing food to those in need.

You can help, too, by sponsoring a child through World Vision. Click here to see children available for sponsorship.

Giving Thankfully: Safe Streets

Most mornings, I head outside first thing for a walk around the neighborhood. It’s a great way to wake up, get some exercise and start off the day.

I love the crisp smell of the desert in the morning, and I enjoy seeing wild bunnies and birds throughout my walk. Sometimes I just listen to the sounds around me, and sometimes I listen to music through headphones.

I never worry about my safety beyond being aware of cars driving past. I am thankful to live in an area where I can walk alone without fear.

There are children all over the world who can’t do that.

A fellow Compassion sponsor was saddened when her child Eduar in Honduras wrote that he is afraid to walk to the Compassion center in his neighborhood. He’s also afraid to walk to church with his mother. He described hearing gunshots often and being fearful of being grabbed off the streets.

Eduar’s sponsor teamed up with Compassion to set up a fund to rent a bus in which the church pastor can transport the children to and from the center safely. The goal was to raise $2,000, and that goal has been met. Eduar’s sponsor took action, others joined in, and now the children in that center will benefit greatly.

You can read Eduar’s story by clicking here.

There are many Compassion children who live in dangerous areas. When browsing the web site of children waiting for sponsors, a blue V with a dot underneath at the corner of the child’s photo indicates the child lives in an area with higher risk of exploitation and abuse. You can help one of these children today by clicking here.

World Vision also works to help children living in dangerous areas. While the conflict in Syria has faded from U.S. news reports, it continues, and more than 1 million Syrian children have left their homes, becoming refugees in neighboring countries. As refugees, these children lack shelter, clean water and food.

You can read more about this desperate situation by clicking here, and you can make a donation to help these children by clicking here.

Please consider reaching out to help these children in hopes that they, too, can be thankful for safe streets one day.