Faith, Love and Family


Our group with Michael’s family.

After an emotional meeting and goodbye with my newest sponsored child, Marlon, our group gathered outside to go on a home visit.


A door to one of the homes.

This would be our second home visit that week, and it’s a unique experience, giving us sponsors the opportunity to see the home of a child attending the project we had just toured. It gives a better understanding of the child’s home environment and of the family’s needs. And once again, we were able to give the family a huge bag of groceries provided by Compassion.

As I waited to board the bus for the short drive to the home, a light-eyed boy in a purple shirt came up and hugged me. I told him my name, and used my shaky Spanish to find out his… Michael. I said, “Miguel?” thinking he was giving me the English version. And he said, “No, es Michael.” Venturing a little more in Spanish, I was able to find out it was his home we would be visiting that day, and that his sister also attends the project.

We arrived at the home to find that it was a cluster of small buildings on one lot, surrounded by a fence pieced together like a puzzle of sheets of metal and wood. There were 16 family members living there, including Michael’s parents and four siblings, his grandmother, and some aunts, uncles and cousins, and it looked like there were three separate small homes. Chickens pecked at the dirt near us.

Michael’s grandmother and aunt sat in rocking chairs outside, and we gathered around to visit with them and the rest of the family. The grandmother told us she had recently come home from the hospital, where she had been admitted for heart problems.

In the mish-mash of tin roofs and patched-together homes, two things stood out to me.

First, there was a definite love of God in this family. There were phrases spray-painted on the doors and walls inside the compound attesting to this, including one that said simply, “Dios” or “God” in English. An uncle sat outside throughout the visit, and seemed interested in discussing his faith. He wanted to know if any of us were pastors, and at the end of our visit, he led a beautiful prayer for us.


Michael holding his sister.

Michael’s grandmother talked about their church, and told us that Michael’s father had recently begun attending with the family. She seemed pleased with this new development, and we were all happy to hear it. He seemed a little embarrassed by the attention. She shared with us that Michael’s sister has been baptized, and they are hoping Michael will be baptized soon. Then she asked each of us to tell her the names of our churches.

The other thing that stood out was a definite love of family. This group clearly cared for and respected each other. The teens were quick to bring out the chairs to seat their grandmother and aunt at the start of our visit, and they hovered around both ladies while we were there. Michael held his baby sister for quite a while as we all talked.

After prayers and hugs, we gave Michael’s family the bag of groceries and climbed on the bus to drive back to the project.

I had a good feeling that with faith, love and Compassion’s help, this family is richer than many.


Carlos translates the conversation as we visit.


Michael, his older sister and his father.

What Does it Mean to be a Child of God?


God’s children at Compassion center NI-176 in Nicaragua.

What does it mean to be a child of God?

When considering this question, I read through recent letters from some of my sponsor children, and a few words came to mind repeatedly: faith, hope, honesty, enthusiasm and love. As I found examples of these wonderful qualities in my children’s letters, I began to copy their words.

Who better to answer this question than God’s own children from all over the world?


“Regarding the project, I can tell you that I feel very happy because I learn more about Jesus.” – Santiago, 11, Colombia

“I always pray for you and your family. Please pray for me and my family.” – Wagner, 17, Guatemala

“I am thankful to God for helping me to import knowledge to other people by being a leader in the Awana ministry.” – Anjelo, 19, Philippines

“I like praying, singing and listening to the word of God.” – Tuyumvire, 13, Rwanda


“I am working hard in my studies because I want to be a lawyer to work and help my mother. Another dream is becoming a musician to praise God with all my love.” – Eliasar, 12, El Salvador

“I hope we shall one day meet and you will teach me how to swim.” – Seline, 15, Kenya

“When I grow up, I want to learn how to give classes to all children so that they can learn to read. I would like to help the sick so that they will be saved from sickness.” – Winston, 12, Guatemala


“For today I do not have much to say.” – Swalehe, 15, Tanzania

“The boy says that what he likes most about the project are lunches and snacks.” – Miguel, 7, Colombia

“She would change the dumps and put them far away from her community.” – Hania, 7, Guatemala (written by her teacher)


“I am so grateful and happy to write to you again.” – Matthew, 11, Uganda

“I want you to know that I got the awesome letters you sent me.” – Santiago, 11, Colombia


“You have a beautiful and smart daughter.” – Solanyi, 7, Colombia

“When will you come to Tanzania.” – Winnie, 13, Tanzania

“I close with kisses, hugs, love and care for you.” – Paula, 9, Colombia

“Thank you very much for your love, your prayers and your pictures… Kerri, I also love you very much.” – Samuel, 9, Colombia

“We are also happy and thankful to God because we have you, and we consider you as part of our family.” – Melody, 6, Bolivia (written by her mother)

“Thank you very much for your visit. It was a special day. Love you. Kisses for you.” – Esteban, 9, Nicaragua

These children of God show us all what we must strive to be: faithful, hopeful, honest, enthusiastic and full of love.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” – Mark 10:14-15

Please share in the comments section something your sponsor child has taught you about being a child of God.

Birthday Boy


Compassion children celebrate their birthdays with their sponsors!

Today is Esteban’s 9th birthday!

This month also marks four years that I’ve been sponsoring Esteban, and getting to know him through letters.

This year, I had the privilege of sharing birthday cake with Esteban in an early birthday celebration during our child visit day last month in Managua. Toward the end of the day, we all gathered together to sing “Happy Birthday” to the children with birthdays in October and November.

It was very special for the children, and Esteban even teared up a bit with emotion during the song.

Afterwards, I got to hug him, wish him a Happy Birthday in person for the first time, and share some cake with him.

It was a special moment for us, and has been on my mind today as I imagine him celebrating his birthday at home with his family.

Happy 9th Birthday, Esteban!


Esteban with his birthday cake.


Kerri & Esteban

Boats, Cars and Smiles

One of the boys’ favorite activities during our visit day was driving, whether it was boats or cars. Please enjoy the beautiful smiles in the following photos.


Jose, Aidan and Kerri ready to race!


Jefry piloting his very own little boat.


Esteban driving a race car.


Kerri and Esteban


Jose and Aidan riding together.


Jefry and Kerri


Esteban getting ready to take aim at Kerri.


Jose enjoying the boats.

Considering Sponsorship?

Today I’m taking a break from posting about my recent trip to Nicaragua to share the photos and stories of two boys for whom I am advocating. Both boys live in Nicaragua.

If you aren’t already a sponsor, I hope you will consider sponsoring one of these boys, and helping to change their lives for only $38 a month. If you are a sponsor, maybe you have room in your family for one more special child.


Jostin, 9 years old

Jostin is 9 years old, and lives on the plains of Ciudad Sandino with his parents, who are both employed as laborers. There are three children in the family.

Jostin’s household duties include caring for animals, making beds and running errands. He is in primary school, where is performance is average. He likes soccer, and playing with cars and marbles.

I have visited Ciudad Sandino, and it is definitely an area in need. The average monthly income is $53.

The population of the area is 120,000, and most houses are made of cement with iron corrugated roofs. There were bars on the windows of most houses I saw, and these windows did not have glass in them.

Jostin’s birthday is November 2, 2005.


Joaynner, 6 years old

Joaynnor is 6 years old, and lives west of Masaya City, in the community of La Concepcion. He lives with his parents, who are both employed as laborers, and there are four children in the family.

Joaynner likes to play ball games, group games and bicycling. He is in Kindergarten, where his performance is average, and he regularly attends Bible class. His birthday is August 20, 2008.

La Concepcion is an area with 40,000 residents, and typical homes have dirt floors, wood walls and corrugated iron roofs. The average monthly income is $95.

If you are interested in sponsoring either of these boys, please contact me. If you would like to browse Compassion’s web site to look for other children to sponsor, click here.