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.


Gift in Romania


Dragos, 13, of Romania, with his gifts.

Dragos, 13, of Romania, sent me this wonderful photo of himself with gifts he purchased using a family gift I sent to him. According to his letter, he bought: “a jacket, a tracksuit, pajamas, oil to cook, rice, beans, sneakers, t-shirts, preserves, pens and many other things.”

I think his smile in this photo is better than all of those items together!

World Vision Gift Photo

World Vision Gift Photo

I received this photo from Andrei in Romania after sending his family a financial gift earlier this year. It looks like he got quite a few clothes, and I’m so happy to see that he got something fun – a soccer ball!

His letter:
“My dear friend,
Thank you so much for the wonderful gift you sent me. Thanks to you, Easter holidays were wonderful. My family and I are grateful for your goodness.
We will pray for you!
God bless you!
With love,

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.”

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.