Sobering Words

I’m taking a short break from the photos of our trip to Amsterdam.  There are many outstanding quotes from my journals that I’d like to share this week.  First, insightful words from Compassion’s Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  I met Edouard Lassegue and his wife years ago when I was in Haiti for the first time; at the time he was the President of Compassion Haiti.

Now he very capably administers, counsels and directs a much larger region.  This man is kind, warm, humble, caring, energetic and especially passionate about helping children in need.  This is his recent update:

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in praying for and supporting Compassion’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Your unwavering commitment in uplifting this region to God’s care is an affirmation of the power and solidarity of the global Church, which I believe is the main reason for the gains the region continues to experience.

Over the past decade, the Latin America and Caribbean Region has seen ongoing progress in many socioeconomic areas.  In fact, today, many economists attest that the majority of the countries in this region have been experiencing modest, but steady annual growth rates.  What’s more, these countries are also seeing declining extreme poverty rates with citizens generally becoming healthier and better educated.

These are encouraging highlights, but regrettably, they represent only half of the present situation.  Today, this region remains the most violent in the world, with one of the highest homicide rates ever.  Most of the clashes involve drug and gang activities, resulting in ruthless and barbaric murders.

Our region also faces natural disasters of all kinds, including flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes.  Haiti, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic continue their recovery efforts from hurricanes and tropical storms, while Mexico focuses on reconstruction from earthquake devastation.  Heavy rainfall in Colombia and Peru have brought about flooding and higher incidents of mosquito-borne illnesses.

But, in the midst of it all, I am so inspired by the dedication and courage of our church partners.  They do not complain; they do not back down.  That is why we count it a distinct privilege to walk alongside them in this vital ministry of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

So please don’t stoop praying for the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  Pray that the Church stays firm in the midst of the violence that surrounds them, serving as an example of Christ’s truth and love.  Pray for the safety of families and children–many of whom face the threat of violence every day in their normal day-to-day activities.  Pray for governments and local branches of authority, that they will “step up” and care for the people they profess to serve.

The troubles of the Latin America and Caribbean Region will not fade by just good intentions.  Real progress and peace will only come through a change of heart and mindset, and as followers of Christ, we know that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, again, for your prayerful support.  And may you be encouraged that all things are possible through God — and that includes a transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the spirit of the triune God, Edouard Lassegue, Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Compassion International

Here is the link for my second visit with Josue, and with his younger brother that I also sponsored later.  If you would like to sponsor a child, click here and you can search a child from Latin America or the Caribbean!

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God is Real–Part Five

How do I know God is real?  It simple: I’ve experienced Him in amazing ways.  Today’s example is pretty zany and funny.  I was in the Dominican Republic with my friend, Mindy, to introduce her to her sponsored child (I had already met him on a previous trip, and Mindy had become his sponsor).  We were headed to the Haitian border the next day but on this particular day we were returning from a trip by van into the country.  During a rest stop I went to get back on the bus, not knowing that they were hosing it down on the opposite side.  With a great whoosh! all the mud, grease and grime came flying up from under the van and splattered all over my khaki pants.  They were blackened from the grease and mud.

In the morning, after my shower, I said to Mindy, “I’m going to wear the same pants that got splattered yesterday, because I’ll just get them dirty again today,” and put them on.  She said, “Those aren’t the same pants; they’re perfectly clean.”  I looked down and she was right.  She didn’t believe they were the same pants, and we argued while I let her look through my luggage because I didn’t have any other khakis.  But they were now spotless.  She exclaimed, “Jesus did the laundry while we were sleeping!”  Now, I know that seems ridiculous, but think about it:  as we discussed, we were heading to child development centers to visit precious Compassion kids near the Haitian border.  Perhaps it was important that we appear clean and spotless, representing our Lord, and also give honor to the children, by giving them our best.  That was the only reason we could think of for the little “miracle” that day.  Our God is real!  But the next story is going to be amazing–watch for it on Friday!

For previous posts in my “God is Real” series, click below:

God is Real–Part One (a baby that nearly didn’t make it to birth)

God is Real–Part Two (a specific healing, and one that was not a healing)

God is Real–Part Three (a hurtful e-mail)

God is Real–Part Four (pain)

Sing Over Us

I’m happy to share the latest video from my friend Caitlin Jane. Think about how much the letters can mean to a child that you sponsor.

Catching Up on the Journey

It’s time to share more of the quotes from my Word of the Year — “Journey.”  I see this word all the time in written form.  Here are some of the ones from Compassion contacts that I have recorded in my journal:

In my journey in the ministry, I was taught that God’s best gifts came slowly.  We could not use them if they did not…growth and strength in waiting are results often greater than the end so impatiently longed for…Perhaps you’ve been waiting for something for a long time, and you’re weary.  You’re not alone!  Let’s ask the Lord to renew our hearts and desires today and give us a fresh infilling of strength to wait on His perfect timing.  Good things do come to those who wait.    —One in Sprit, Isaac Jabaseelan, Partnership Facilitator, India

We we walk through the journey of life, we might experience some kind of pain…But in the midst of our sorrows, the Lord promises to comfort us, look on us with compassion, and make our deserts like Eden.  —One in Spirit, Patricia Medina, Tours & Visits Specialist, Dominican Republic

This has been quite a spiritual journey for me.  — Jimmy Mellado, CEO

When a new chapter of life begins, with an unknown future, it helps to have a traveling companion.  Though some prefer to journey alone, there is a desire deep inside every person’s heart for correction — a desire to be heard, accepted and understood.  —Mink Tuangporn Wiroonchatapunth, Compassion Blog, 4/11/13

As a mother, I journeyed in the minds of these sponsored children and revisited my way of educating my own children.  —Translator, Burkina Faso, Compassion Blog, 4/11/13

God, as we make our own journeys, exhausted and wondering about the impact we are making, help us to remember the questions of Jesus:  “What led you to travel?  What moved you to compassion?  What fuels your passion?”  —One in Spirit, Agus Yunus, Training Specialist, Indonesia

It has been a long journey full of struggles and scarifice towards achieving my goals, whereby I hope I am now very close.  Letter from sponsored child, Jerica Wanyaga, Kenya, Jan/2013

 

Educating Fathers

Fathers are really critical in a child’s life.  Compassion includes fathers for training in good parenting habits.  I have seen fathers take part in many events that occur at the projects, such as these in the Dominican Republic.

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Not only can the fathers learn how to be better parents, in some areas they can actually obtain an education, or vocational skills alongside their children.  Imagine the difference this makes for a family.  Sometimes they are helped with small business loans.

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This father (below) came to know the Lord because of his daughter’s sponsorship.  He not only became an effective and loving father, but he also became a pastor and leader of a Compassion project.  His life has a tremendously positive affect in his community now.

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These fathers have been supplied with books and educational material, support and spiritual instruction.

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This is a father who’s son was sponsored when I returned from Thailand.  The needs in this family were obvious, but I could also see that the father was loving and gentle with his children.  I was only too happy to return home and ask a friend to sponsor the little boy.  I knew this was a great family to come alongside with support and encouragement.

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There is nothing more that a father wants for his children than to be healthy, well-educated, spiritually discipled and taught good manners.  All of this is supplied through sponsorship, and I am confident that this family, and many others, are truly grateful to the sponsors.

Fathers That Get Involved

Compassion gives fathers many ways to be involved with their children.  These fathers are helping at the project their child attends.

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These are helping with letter writing.

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These fathers attended their child’s graduation from the Leadership Development Program.  They had all been involved in Compassion’s ministry for many years, and this was the final achievement of their child.  It was wonderful to see the joy and pride on these fathers’ faces.

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It was also special to see these fathers in Ecuador meeting their child’s sponsor along with their child.  It was a moment they did not want to miss.

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Family is important in Compassion’s ministry.  When a child is sponsored, the entire family benefits.  This partnership has changed the future for all members of the family.  What a great ministry!

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Samuel

Here is another great video about one of our formerly sponsored children — this is Samuel, from the Dominican Republic.

I love this story for several reasons:

  • I’ve been to the Dominican Republic three times
  • Samuel was saved from life on the streets
  • He gives God the credit for saving his life
  • He talks about the importance of letters from his sponsor
  • Samuel is a professional musician today
  • He and his wife now sponsor two kids!

Wouldn’t you love to follow his example and sponsor a child today?

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