The Tale of Peter Rabbit and a little about Beatrix Potter is what is in the mail to our sponsored children this month. The stories of Beatrix Potter are so very charming and I think Peter Rabbit will be enjoyed all over the world as the children receive these letters in Asia, Africa, South America and Central America. With the letter I printed off copies of The Tale of Peter Rabbit from Gutenberg Project. I also googled images of Beatrix Potter and a map of the United Kingdom and added those to the letters. After completing, there are 5 pieces to each bundle of correspondence, which fits perfectly under Compassion International’s new Correspondent Guidelines.
1. Eleven Women Every Christian Should Know is an article written by Asheritah Ciuciu from the blog OneThingAlone.com I think the information in this article is wonderful for inspiring and stimulating the imagination of our sponsored children, especially the girls.
2. A letter about Beatrix Potter, along with one of her stories. In January I was cleaning out our game/craft closet and found a little bundle of stickers with Peter Rabbit and other Beatrix Potter characters. After a little searching I found the stories on the Project Gutenberg website, and printed two of the stories. I am going to use information from biography.com to write the kids, and include a copy of one of her stories with some of the stickers. Maybe you don’t have the stickers, but a letter with a story attached will be a real treat to your sponsored children.
3. The weather! Yes, how about writing about the weather you are having in your area? Include some nature and scientific information and enlarge the child’s understanding of weather in the world. In January I wrote about snow and had so much fun including some info about Snowflake Bentley. Attached to those letters were some photographs of snow in Garden of the Gods.
4. Something you have learned recently. Inspire your sponsored children to pursue learning as a way of life, by sharing things that you are learning. Right now I am doing a Lent study by the She Reads Truth team. In an upcoming letter I will be sharing something I have discovered in the first days of that study.
It is my belief that by writing to the children in this way, that the child’s mind has the opportunity to gain a greater scope for the imagination.
We have a wonderful privilege and responsibility in writing to our sponsored children. Think of it, we not only have the opportunity to invest in the lives of the future generation in our own families and communities, but also to invest in the lives of the future generations across the world. Just as I have desired and sought to inspire my children to pursue curiosity, beauty, and excellence, I am hoping to do the same with our sponsored children.
Please, in the comments, share your ideas for writing to our sponsored children!
For those who have followed By Quiet Waters for a long time, maybe even back to my blogspot days, you may have seen reference to our correspondent sponsorships. Letter writing is an important part of child sponsorship through Compassion International and sponsors are highly encouraged to participate. Through the letter writing opportunity that sponsorship provides, we are able to encourage, bless and even disciple the children. Wonderful relationships can develop between sponsors and sponsored children through the letters.
1-2 Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with God. He has always been alive and is himself God. 3 He created everything there is—nothing exists that he didn’t make. 4 Eternal life is in him, and this life gives light to all mankind. 5 His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.
Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
During our time in El Salvador we had the privilege to celebrate with a brand new child development center, Casa del Pan, in an impoverished rural area near the Guatemala and Honduras borders. This area civic infrastructure, lacked sanitation services and clean running water, and many of the houses lacked electricity. Malnutrition, parasites, dengue fever and typhoid are sadly common. Life is hard in those circumstances, but it also seemed somewhat removed from other hard things, because of the rural location.
After that wonderful day of celebrating, storytelling, children meeting, and praying we went back to our lodging for a night’s rest before the rest of our journey. The next two centers that we visited were in cities, in gang infested neighborhoods. Life is hard in these neighborhoods, again sanitation and clean running water are lacking, the same illness are a risk, but a darker challenge exists. El Salvador is reported by some to have the highest homicide rate this year, in North America, in the World. This is due to the terribly high number of gang activity and violence.
Like beacons of light the ES 792 Amiguitos del Rey (King’s Little Friends) Student Center and ES 808 Cachorros de Leon Student Center are located right in the midst of these neighborhoods. As we toured the centers and learned from the pastors and the staff about the work being done through the local church in these centers I was struck by the power of the Gospel of Jesus once again. These churches have been in the communities for a long time and were invested in caring for the mothers and the children of the community before Compassion International came along beside them. Their relationship with the community is long standing. The partnership with Compassion has strengthen and expanded the ministry they have, and the neighborhoods have noticed. The gang members have noticed.
During our tour of the facilities we were able to see what goes on in our sponsored kids lives while at the student centers. The children receive tutoring, nutritious meals and snacks, clean water, medical care, they receive love and affirmation, and they are mentored. One of the particular things that caught my interest is that each child is taken through a process at about age 12 to begin thinking about and planning for the future. They have a specific workbook that they work through with their tutors. I am going to mention love again. These kids are loved while they are at the center, when they don’t show up, someone looks for them. This is not what most children growing up in poverty experience. And it is vitally important. At the Student Centers and the Child Survival Program Centers, the children are loved and nurtured.
These children have a haven in the midst of violence and abuse. Each child attends the program 4-6 hours a week, and during those hours they hear that their life matters. There is a plan for each of these precious children that the world outside the program doors may seek to deny, but God sees these kids and the Compassion staff see these kids. And if you sponsor one of these kids, you get to partner with the staff members who live in their neighborhood and affirm his worth, his purpose. You can write letters that build him up, and strengthen his mind and spirit with truth against the lies that lie in wait outside the church doors.
Something else lies in wait outside those church doors. It is the yearning that each one of us has, for something more than ourselves. A yearning that often drives us to chase false hope, false security, love in all the wrong places. In these two neighborhoods an interesting story was told to us. That sometime gang members enroll their kids in the program. They see something that they don’t have, that they can’t give, and they want it for their children.
And sometimes, they give up their gang life and find it for their selves, love of Jesus.
That sounds mighty dangerous, doesn’t it? Leave the gang to follow Jesus? But what we found in that particular area, is that it is one of the only reasons a young man or woman may leave the gang. True faith and conversion in the name of Jesus, a changed life and a commitment to the church is what is required from those leaving the gang for the church. Evidence.
That leaves me with an uncomfortable question. Does my life reflect true faith in Jesus, a changed life and a commitment to the church? Is there enough evidence in my own life?
Whether here, in the darkness of our comfort or there in the darkness of their need, Jesus is the light that shines through the darkness.
His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it.
For this Sponsorship Saturday post I am excited to share that in June we were blessed by the opportunity to take a trip to the Grand Canyon. What started out as a plan to take another trip with my youngest daughter while her older teen sisters were away, turned into an exciting opportunity to wait and take all the girls to Grand Canyon. I was so excited about this trip, as I’ve wanted to see the Grand Canyon for as long as I can remember. Life has not ever had me anywhere near that part of the United States, until now. After playing with google maps for several days, I decided that “now is the time.”
The pace of daily life has changed with summer being upon us and I was pleased when I was invited to preview Money Saving Mom’s newest resource, Make Over Your Mornings. While working through that e-course, I found a new time and place to respond to the letters our sponsored children write to us. Now I have a manilla folder that holds each piece of correspondence until I reply to it.
The folder stays in one of the tote bags I keep by my rocking chair.
Each morning, when I settle in for my quiet time, the folder is right there. Some mornings there isn’t time to write a letter, but many more mornings there is time. And I’m loving having this activity attached to my quiet time, as I am finding that telling the children and teens about what I am learning from the Word comes much more naturally.
Letter writing and morning quiet times, those things go together in this season. How about for you? Let’s talk more about letter writing, child sponsorship and even quiet times in the comments!
May the grace and the peace of Christ be with you.