Thursday, 2 July 2015

June Joys

June was a CRAZY letter month for me… I heard from five of my six kids! (Which means that July is going to be very boring letter-wise, unless I get an unexpected surprise or two!)

First up was a letter from my dear brother Mbula in Kenya! 

He greets me with “Hi! my sister.” (I love it when he calls me sister, which happens in every letter. I feel so close to this guy you wouldn’t believe.)

Mbula received the soccer card, world map, and other items I sent for his birthday and “greatly appreciated” them. He says he’s doing well with his studies and is getting good scores. He hopes I am praying for him to do well. He then shared, “I also wish to give thanks from my relatives who have really appreciated your support very much. I hope that you will appreciate them.” Mbula also said they are doing well in church, and he hopes I will keep on praying for them as they continue serving the Lord. He is also praying for me as I continue my activities.

Next up was my first letter from Papi in Indonesia! Papi also celebrated his 20th birthday this month!

It was written before I sponsored him, so it wasn’t really personal, but I did learn some interesting information about him. He lives with his mother since his father is deceased, and he has two older siblings. (I wasn’t sure from the names whether boys or girls.) His favorite food is fried rice, his favorite color is green, his favorite Bible story is Daniel, his hobby is reading, he lives in a city (My first urban child! Yay!), and he seems to have several best friends! He thanked me for sponsoring him and said he prays for God to be with me in everything. He also asks for prayer for his studies, family and friends.

My third letter was from my “chatterbox” Ada in Rwanda! She always has something interesting to say in her letters.

She begins her letter with “Your child Basomingera Ada, I am greeting you and I wish you peace of Jesus Christ.” She thanks me for being a good parent and says, “I was happy for the good things you always do to me.” (heart melt!) Then she adds, “I believe to have a better future.” (THIS is why I sponsor!) She shared her school grades with me and said she had a happy Easter with friends and family. They had food and drinks. She then tells me she likes to study mathematics (good girl!) and she is happy to receive my letters supporting her life. She thanked me for sharing Philippians 1:3-4 with her and said, “We pray for you to be blessed and to drive well the lorry.” (A reference to a truck-driving job I told her I was hoping to get.)

Just two days later, I got a very special letter; my first from my cute 3-year-old Miriam in Kenya! It was written by a project worker on the “My School” template.

I’ll just share the whole letter with you, since it’s pretty adorable! “I am in nursery school. My school is one kilometer from my house. The name of my school is E------ Primary school. I go to school by foot. The color of my school uniform is green and yellow. My teachers name is Miss Ndumu. My best friend in school is Matheka K------. The games we play in school are netball and volleyball. The other activities in school this term are ball games. What I like best about my school is playing football. My favorite subject in school is numberwork. After school I like to take care of baby.

Miriam salutes you with love. She was happy to meet you and hear from you. Miriam says you are a special friend in her family. She says she likes rice and beef as her favorite food. She has not seen ocean and has not eaten fish any day. Miriam informs you that her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5. She says it is not so much windy in Kenya and especially where she lives. She thanks you for encouraging her through Psalms 145:9, 'God is good always.' She wishes you a wonderful Easter and blessings."

She also colored me this adorable picture:

And drew me these pencil scribbles!

My last letter of the month was from Isimbi in Rwanda.

Isimbi began her letter by greeting me in the Name of Jesus and asking me if I’m doing well. Her mother, grandmother, and brother are doing well “and they love you.” She told me how her studies are going and what position she got in school, and asked, “Are you getting rain over there in your country?” She then asked me to continue praying for her to pass well.

It’s unusual for me to hear from all of my Compassion kids in one month! Have any of you ever had that happen?

Saturday, 20 June 2015

A Day with My Heavenly Daddy

What would the ideal day with your Heavenly Father look like?

As soon as I read this month’s Compassion Bloggers prompt, I started to chuckle. I’ve spend some interesting days in the presence of God, but there’s one memory in particular that takes the cake… or perhaps I should say, the cheese!

Let me explain:

A few years ago, I spent three weeks as a live-in house/pet/plant-sitter for neighbors who were gone on vacation. One night, I was heading to bed after an evening of movies, when I decided to stop in the kitchen for a snack. As I nosed around the kitchen, I was having a conversation with the Lord about certain things. It was late, I was tired, and as a result, our conversation waxed sillier and sillier. Our topic was, interestingly enough, the same as listed above: what I would do if God came down to earth to spend a day. I maintained that I would love to hear Him play the old upright piano in the corner, as of course, He is the Master Musician!

I was eating a packet of string cheese when, for no reason I could think of other than I was over-tired, I held the package towards the ceiling and offered, “Want a bite?”

That second, I got a mental image of the Lord pretending to chomp a bite, rather like a parent who pretends to gobble up a bite of food in order to encourage their small child to eat. Something along the lines of, “Nom nom nom!!!”

That did it… I was gone, laughing so hard it’s a wonder the neighbors didn’t hear me. I’m sure a few would have thought me to be irreverent, but I’ve always maintained that the Lord was a Man and spent 30 years working as a Carpenter, and I’m sure He didn’t spend all that time floating along on a cloud with a halo.

Back to the writing prompt… I’ve spent a lot of time imagining what a day with the Lord would look like. There’s one thing in particular that’s very close to my heart, that I’ll share with you today.

When I was younger, my family and I watched an Easter play on television. The actor playing Christ had the longest, thickest, smoothest, silkiest reddish-gold hair that I’d ever seen (on a man, anyways!) Being a girl with very long, thick red hair myself, I imagined that if Jesus did have hair like that, and if He ever paid a visit to my room, I would request the honor of brushing his hair.

There’s something special about doing one’s hair, or having one’s hair done. I remember one of my aunts playing with and plaiting my hair; it’s something that you only allow someone who’s very close to you to do.  It’s a very simple and yet intimate gesture.

I’ve always had a deep respect for daddies who take the time to learn to comb and style their daughter's hair (or son’s, as the case may be). Being as God is the Ultimate Daddy, I had/have a perfect and complete confidence that He could easily brush my hair without hitting any knots or snarls.

Let Mary Magdalene pour out her precious ointment… my perfect day would consist of my Father and I, brushing each other’s hair.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

May Memories

Okay, so this post is late… way late. However, here it is… finally!
I received just one letter in the month of May, from my precious Isimbi in Rwanda.

She sent her warm greetings to me in Jesus’ Name and asked how I was doing. Her family is all doing fine, and she hopes that we’re all well too. She’s in the middle of end of term one exams, and she says, “I hope to pass them well because I read hard, and I know that you always pray for me.”

She then wishes me the best, and said, “Happy Easter.” She also thanked me for my letters and said she was so happy to hear from me, adding, “The letter was so encouraging.” She then thanked me and ended by saying, “May God bless you!”

I’m so glad that she finds my letters encouraging; that’s the whole reason I write to my kiddos! 

Isimbi will be turning 12 in August, and I can’t believe how fast time flies!

On another note, I have letters on the way from Miriam (first letter), Ada, Papi (first letter), and Isimbi (again)! So June should be a good month for letters… if they ever get here! (Not impatient at all, haha)

What letters have you received lately?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

At Every Beck and Call

Tumbling down the stairs in slow motion… sliding, falling, knees and elbows banging painfully off the bannister. Coming to a jumbled stop at the bottom of the stairs, I lift my head and howl, “Mommyyyy!”

Running for the bathroom in the middle of the night, kicking my feet free from entangling sheets, staggering in the darkness to hunch over the porcelain bowl, and I whimper, “Mommm!!”

Staring at a confusing mess of math problems rampaging across the pages of my math book, I hurl down my pencil and yell, “Mo-om?”

Headfirst in my closet, digging, rummaging, searching, clothing dangling off hangers and lying in piles. “Mom!”

Rushing home from the post office, waving a letter from one of my sponsored children, and I holler, “Mom! Mom!! Mom!!!”

Even now, fumbling through my recipe book, looking for non-existent instructions, I pick up the phone and punch in her number. “Mom?”

I’m sure there were plenty of times she got tired of running at my beck and call… but nevertheless, she was always there. Is always there. We who have moms take it for granted sometimes, that our moms are always just around the corner or a phone call away, to act as nurse, doctor, teacher, cook, taxi, and playmate… but let’s not forget the sacrifices that they make, to be all those things to us. The times when they want time to themselves, the times when they are tired, sick, hungry, or just frazzled, yet they still put us first.

Moms of the world, we salute you!

And to my own sweet special mother, a million thanks!!

Did you know you can help a Mom and baby in need? Click HERE to support a Child Survival Program through Compassion International!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

April Anamneses

That’s a pretty cool word isn’t it? Anamneses ? It means, “Recollections or remembrances of the past.” I love playing with words…

Anyways, on to this months’ letters! I got three letters, all from Mbula! Two were actually duplicates of a thank you letter he wrote; one was the rough copy, with words crossed out and spelling errors fixed, and the other was the actual thank-you letter. Both letters included the same two photographs, but the rough copy contained much bigger and better quality photos, so I was pleased with that!

I’ve already posted about Mbula’s thank you letter, but I’ll share one of the photos again here for anyone who hasn’t seen it… this is the first time I’ve ever seen my boy smile!

Anyways, the third letter I received from him started with a sweet greeting, “Let me take this golden chance to say “hi” to you.” (Eloquent!) He then greeted me and told me how he is doing, as well as adding, “I greatly appreciate the pictures you always send me.”

We’d been having a discussion about gardening, with me asking what types of crops his family grows, and telling him about my mother growing carrots in her garden. He responded by telling me they grow maize and beans, but do not actually grow carrots because of the “climatic conditions that are facing our land.” He added that they usually buy carrots “for human consumption”.

Mbula’s studies are going well, and he told me how he thanks both the Lord and me for providing for him. He requests continuing prayers for his studies, and said that he hopes the Lord blesses me, protects me, and “expands my territories!” (I may have to write a letter about the Prayer of Jabez soon!)

Have you received any exciting letters from your kids this month?

Friday, 17 April 2015

...And Then There Were Six.

I spend a lot of time on Compassion International's website, looking at all the beautiful children available for sponsorship. Every so often, I’ll see one that particularly touches my heart, and then I will often post their picture and story on my Facebook page, to help them find a sponsor.

Several weeks ago, a young man from Indonesia really jumped out at me. A very intelligent-looking young man with dark, compelling eyes. I clicked on his profile and discovered that he was an above-average college student, and my heart went out to him. It’s not too often that I see college students on the site, and even more unusual to see one with above-average marks. My first thought was, “Now here’s a young man who is working hard to lift himself out of poverty and he’s not letting it hold him back!”

I immediately started posting his picture around, waiting for him to disappear off the site, which would mean he’d found a sponsor. After weeks of waiting, he finally did disappear, and I celebrated… he’d finally been chosen!

Unfortunately, (or fortunately for me!) that wasn’t the case. A couple weeks later, he reappeared on the site… somebody must have requested his packet and then changed their minds. I couldn’t believe it… I was so sure that he would be snatched up quickly!

So I started posting his picture around again… and grew heartbroken as time went by and he remained on the site. Finally, I started battling with myself. Is there any way possible that I can afford to add a sixth child? Followed by my common sense telling me, NO. This is NOT a smart move. I grew more and more frustrated, realized that even if he WAS chosen by a sponsor, I would still be heartbroken, because I wanted to choose him.

And then my parents stepped in and decided to make it possible. They have a wonderful child of their own, and constantly encourage me in my endeavors to encourage as many children as I can. So, they decided to make it possible for me to encourage, and be encouraged by, one more child.

So now I know why nobody was choosing this young man… because he was meant to join my family.

So without further ado, may I introduce Papi, my sixth child (and my second boy, and my first from outside Africa!) He is 19 years old and lives with his mother. His hobbies are art and singing! (Like me!)

Papi also got his picture updated the DAY after I sponsored him, which is pretty cool! Here’s his newest picture:

Welcome to the family Papi… my “Mr. Miracle”! You were most certainly destined to be here! 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Mbula Says Thank You

I received a very special (thick!) envelope in the mail today! I usually wait till the end of the month to share letters from my kids, but this was too special not to share today!

Last August, a Compassion sponsor traveled to Kenya to pay a visit to his children there. He offered to take some gifts from a few Compassion sponsors for their children, and I jumped at the opportunity to send something to Mbula!!

I was allowed to fill a gallon baggie, which was quite a treat as I’d only sent quart-sized baggies to children before. I immediately started hunting for something that I thought my then-19-year-old would enjoy! I started with a green polo shirt, thinking it would be something useful. I added a watch, since I’d heard reports of children really enjoying watches as gifts. Then I chose a red journal with Jeremiah 29:11 embossed on the front. I figured that since his parents are farmers and Mbula often mentions helping with the crops, a good pair of leather gardening gloves wouldn’t go amiss. Then, I slipped in a bookmark and a souvenir keychain with “Canada” written on it, as well as a pack of toothbrushes.

Then I put the package in the mail, bound for the U.S… and waited… and waited!

I did end up having to do an inquiry, since months passed with not a word about the package. How thrilled I was when I heard that Mbula had received his package, and there was a thank-you letter on the way!

I’ve never enjoyed waiting for anything, but I have to say, my long wait was SO worth it. Because when I tore open the Compassion envelope that I received today, this is the first thing that jumped out at me:

My handsome boy, who at one point I was referring to as “Mr. Serious” since he hasn’t smiled in any of the 8 official photos I have of him, is smiling!! What a sweet, happy smile.

He also wrote me a lovely letter and shared with me what he has done with his gifts. He said that he likes to wear his new polo shirt to church, and he also brings his “diary” to church so he can write down his favorite Scripture verses. He also wears his wrist watch (he calls it a “hand watch”) to school each day! And my favorite part; he shared the toothbrushes among his brothers and sister! I had to chuckle, though, when he thanked me for the “soccer gloves”… oh well, if he can use them during his games (he’s an attacking mid-fielder) he’s welcome to them haha! He also included Psalm 37:4 in his letter… “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart!”

There were two photos included in the letter, and I love the second one as well. My boy looks so cool and “rad”!

God bless you my sweet brother! Happy tears here today!