Art Spotlight: Colombia

In continuing my “Art Spotlight” series, these are some drawings from 8-year-old Paula in Colombia. She always takes the time to fill the drawing space in her letters and to color everything neatly. I especially love it when she adds a “te quiero” (I love you) to her drawings, as she did in the fourth one.


October 2013


September 2013


June 2013


May 2013


September 2012

Compassion Bloggers visit Uganda

This week, the Compassion bloggers are visiting Uganda. It’s only two days into the trip, and these talented writers have already shared many wonderful stories.

You can follow along by clicking here.


You’ll read about a young girl who is able to smile again after growing up on the run from the Lord’s Resistance Army. You’ll follow along as another young girl gives a condensed and humorous presentation of her daily life. You’ll meet a young boy who, despite a tough first impression, has a heart for leadership and ministry. You’ll be exposed to poverty, but more importantly, you’ll see Compassion making a difference in the lives of children and families, bringing hope, faith and love to the area.

Compassion’s goal is to find sponsors for 400 children in Uganda this week, and already 109 children have been sponsored. Would you consider partnering with Compassion to provide a child with education, healthcare, nutrition and the gospel? Would you consider bringing hope to a child in need?

Please click here and select Uganda to sponsor one of the 602 children waiting to hear they have been chosen.

Love in Letters: Fishes and Eels?

I receive many letters from my sponsored children throughout the year, and like all children, they often have a funny way with words. Sometimes the letters leave me chuckling, and other times teary-eyed. I’m going to share some of these funny and loving tidbits more regularly, and will post under the title “Love in Letters,” so that you, too, can enjoy these remarkable children.

This is the ending of a letter from my sponsored boy in Albania, 8 years old:

“The number of fishes and eels are there in the sea,

That is the number of greetings I sent to you.”

I love it, and look forward to sending him just as many greetings.

Note: I did not include my boy’s name in this post because he is from Albania, which is one of World Vision’s restricted countries. Sponsors are asked not to share names or photos of children from these countries. The majority of families in these countries are not Christian, and World Vision follows local laws and customs in order to work there. 

It’s (Not) So Sad to Say Goodbye

In three years as a Compassion sponsor, I’ve had to say goodbye to several sponsor children. Children leave the program for many reasons, including graduating, moving away from the area with their families and even simply tiring of the program.

Three times, though, I’ve had children leave for an incredible reason, which is surely a testament to Compassion’s success. They left because their family situations had improved so much that they no longer needed Compassion’s help.


Anderson, from Guatemala, was my first sponsor child, and also my first to leave Compassion due to his family’s circumstances improving.

Can you imagine that? These families who once qualified for Compassion’s services had improved their circumstances so greatly that they were able to stand on their own.

Initially children are selected for Compassion sponsorship by the leadership of the local project, which is often a pastor or a committee of church leaders. These children are selected after being identified as the most needy in the community. 


Greyvin, of Nicaragua, was my second sponsor child whose circumstances improved so much that his family left Compassion.

While in the program, children receive help with spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. Meanwhile, their parents also can receive training covering topics such as family care, adult literacy education, seminars on domestic violence, and nutritional food preparation.

At the point when a family feels it no longer needs Compassion’s services, the family can make this known to the project leaders, who make a home visit to confirm it.

A Compassion representative told me that many families make the decision to leave the program when their circumstances improve because they know there are children on the waiting list who desperately need the benefits offered by Compassion.


Jordy, of the Dominican Republic, is my most recent child to leave Compassion when his family’s circumstances improved.

So a family in desperate need receives help and training, its circumstances improves, and the family makes the decision to step aside so another family in the community can receive help. I can’t think of a better system than this.

Please click here, browse the children waiting for sponsors, and see if there is a child you would like to release from poverty. Compassion works in 26 countries around the world, and has more than 3,500 chldren available today on the United States web site alone.

When you partner with Compassion, you could help a child and its family to reach the point where Compassion’s help no longer is needed, and isn’t that the whole point of sponsorship?

Role Reversal: A Gift for the Giver


Virgin Mary icon card

Sponsoring a child could be described in many ways.

Giving is one word that sums up a sponsor’s role well. It covers the spectrum from giving money to financially help a child to giving love and encouragement through letters and giving small gifts like stickers and coloring pages.

But what happens when the giver receives a gift in return?

I recently found out the answer to that question.

Last week, I opened a letter from my sponsored boy Dragos, 13, of Romania, whom I sponsor through World Vision. Tucked inside his lovingly-written letter was a small photo of a painting of the Virgin Mary. He wrote, “I’m sending you an icon of Virgin Mary to protect and to bless you and your family.”

It left me completely humbled.

There are a lot of gifts I receive from my sponsored children without them even being aware that they are blessing me, like words of love and gratitude, beautiful drawings and the occasional photograph.

So what made this gift so different and so special?

This is a child whose poverty is great enough that he is enrolled in a child sponsorship program. This is a child whose parents are unemployed, living in a poor, rural area, and raising six children. But this boy sought to bless me.

And he did.

And as Jesus explains in the following verse, the effect was far greater than most gifts.

Luke 21:3-4 – “I tell you the truth,” he said. “This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Compassion Sunday – Change the Story

Compassion Sunday is set for April 21 this year, and on this day, many volunteers will present Compassion and its mission to their churches. There are 2,000 churches participating nationwide, and hopefully many children will be sponsored!

Here is my Compassion Sunday page:

On this page, you will see sweet Angel, 5, from Colombia, who currently needs a sponsor. You can sponsor him from here!

You also will see some photos of my own precious sponsored children. 

If you’ve never sponsored a child, please consider doing so. If you’re already a sponsor, maybe Angel is your next child!

Kids These Days


Logan with the first letter from his sponsored child, Osmar.

Kids these days – have you ever noticed that they always seem to have their noses stuck into some kind of electronic gadget? Whether it’s a video game, a phone or sometimes both, it seems there is always something demanding their undivided attention.

I’m sure it’s always been the same. As my children grow older, it’s hard not to compare them to myself and my friends at their age, just as I’m sure my parents and grandparents did.

With so many things distracting today’s kids, it’s easy to worry about the future. It’s hard not to wonder who will see society’s problems and find some solutions. Who will look after tomorrow’s poor? Who will answer the call to look after “the least of these” in a generation that seems so self-absorbed?

It turns out, one answer to those questions is living in my house. Last month, my 11-year-old son Logan sponsored a child.

He pleaded with me and my husband for days, writing out lists of possible sources of income (chores, birthday and Christmas money), and explaining to us just how dedicated he will be. He promised to write to his child monthly. He even agreed to take on a few extra chores. So we finally agreed that he could do it.

Logan headed straight to the computer to search for his child. He pored over the thousands of children available for sponsorship on Compassion’s web site, then narrowed his search to Central and South America.

He was drawn to the boys, and soon had written five names on a list. The boys ranged in age from 4 to 12 years old, and a couple of them really were tugging at his heart because of their family circumstances. I told him it would be a good idea to go to bed, pray about his list, and make his final decision the next day.

After he finished school for the day, he looked back at each of the five boys he had been interested in sponsoring. One of the children was gone from the site, so he had been sponsored already.

Out of the four remaining boys, Logan chose an 11-year-old from Guatemala named Osmar. He decided it would be most fun to have someone close to his age to write to and hopefully to visit at some point in the future.

I can’t explain how it touched my heart to see Logan’s joy at sponsoring Osmar. He spent several days reading everything he could find about sponsorship on Compassion’s web site. He wrote a letter to Osmar right away, and has sent two more since then.

And today, after five weeks of checking the mailbox daily, Logan received his first letter from Osmar. Now their friendship has begun, and I look forward to seeing where it leads.

I’m sure the differences in their lives are many, but like boys everywhere, these two have started off sharing their likes and dislikes with each other. Osmar wrote that his favorite drink is Coca-Cola. Logan’s favorite is Dr. Pepper. Osmar’s favorite color is red, while Logan’s is blue.

He writes that he hopes Logan likes his handwriting and promises to try to improve it, already seeking his new friend’s approval. Likewise, Logan painstakingly chooses photos and soccer cards to send to Osmar, hoping to pick things his new friend will enjoy.

And with friendship and love growing across borders, it makes it hard to worry about kids these days.

Blessed by Giving


Cristian, 4, of Romania, with gifts purchased using family gift money.

I’ve sponsored children in poverty for 2 1/2 years, and the thrill of receiving a sponsored child’s letter in the mail has not worn off.

Today, I was excited to find a letter in the mailbox from a child I sponsor through World Vision. I was even more excited to open the letter and discover two photos inside.

The photos showed Cristian, 4, of Romania, with items his family was able to purchase using a monetary gift I sent them in December. It warms my heart to see so many items stacked on the table in front of him. The purchase of food shows the family’s need, and I’m so thankful to have been able to help them out.

Because Cristian is too young to write, one of his older sisters writes letters for him. I’ve learned several things about his family in just 6 months of sponsoring him.

He lives in a two-bedroom home in rural Romania with his parents and six siblings. They suffer through very cold winters, with lots of snow, often piled as high as their house. One of Cristian’s young sisters has cancer, so she spends some time at a hospital. And, like children everywhere, his siblings like to invent games and make paper airplanes.

Today’s letter thanked me for the gift and listed items purchased: “canned goods, chicken legs, rice, sugar, beans, flour, peas, pasta, bread, biscuits, diary products, tomato sauce, diapers, washing powder, jam, cheese, apples, bananas, oranges and many other products.”

And these words, which humble me in ways I can’t describe: “Thank you so much for the wonderful gift you sent me when I needed it the most. We were going through a difficult time, and your help saved my brothers and me.”

I’m thanking God today that my own children’s needs are met every day, and that we can share God’s blessings with another family.