Tuesday, February 13, 2018

This is Love

drawn by my sweet girl, Lian, in Colombia

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

A familiar verse, right? But as I sit here thinking about Valentine's Day and the beginning of the lenten season, I think about how significant it is that God sent his son to walk among us. Of course we weren't around when Jesus walked the earth, but the fact that he did is pretty amazing. He walked among us, taught us and then died for us.

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." - 1 John 4:9-10

Just a few verses later we are told if we love God, we must also love others.  I think sponsorship is a fabulous way to love others and love God. But I have to be honest with myself and ask if I love others the way God loves. Am I willing to walk among those I'm loving? And if I am, what does that look like? These are some of the questions I'll be pondering and wrestling with during Lent.

I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comments. Help me think past the obvious because I want to do this well. I want to love God and others well.  

Monday, February 5, 2018

Higher and Deeper

The practice of choosing a word to reflect and focus on for the year seems to have become quite a trend. This year my word, or actually my words, came to me on the last day of 2017 during worship at church.

We sang....

I could hold on, I could hold on to who I am and 
never let you change me from the inside
and I could be safe, I could be safe here in your arms and 
never leave home never let these walls down
but you have called me higher
you have called me deeper
and I'll go where you will lead me Lord

The words higher and deeper really resonated with me. God has brought me so far. So so far. But He has called me higher and deeper, and I do sincerely want to go where He will lead me. 

In so many ways I feel like my role as an advocate has lost momentum the past couple years. I'm not blogging much anymore, I haven't done a Compassion Sunday presentation for almost 2 years, I haven't successfully connected children with new sponsors in a long time....

But then I look at the seeds I planted in my own family and in my advocacy, and I see growth. I see our "plants" growing higher and our "roots" growing deeper in this ministry. I see how this ministry and pursuing sponsorship as a family has shaped our family and become part of our DNA. 

This past weekend my family volunteered together at the Compassion Experience and it was wonderful. On our way there I kind of felt like I was dragging everyone along with me, but during our shift I witnessed each and every one of them enjoying themselves as they confidently helped guide visitors through the exhibit. Both girls asked me separately if we could volunteer more frequently at these events. Higher and deeper....with God's help and leading, I am raising the next generation of advocates. 

Each month my girls write to their birthday buddies and their assigned correspondent children as part of their school work. One daughter is more eager than the other to write letters, but they both get it done. They have their own accounts that they can log into, but the accounts are linked to my email so I get a copy of what they write. Each month I am blown away by the quality of the letters they are writing. Higher and deeper....my girls are speaking LIFE through these letters. 

Finally, our family performs regularly at events and we specify that any tips we receive will go towards Compassion's Water of Life initiative. Last summer we were able to donate about $650, and even more exciting to me are the conversations we get to have about Compassion. Higher and deeper....using our God-given talents and abilities to advocate and make a difference. 

 As I sat down to write this post I had no idea what I was going to write. I had no idea how the words "higher and deeper" related to my sponsorship experience. I'm so grateful I took the time to sit and allow God to show me how He is leading me. I'd love to know how God is leading you in your sponsorship journey and your advocacy.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Learning About the Caribbean!

We had fun heading to the Caribbean for a few weeks! The kids had a blast using their passports and airline tickets for the first time.

Our booklist was inspired by Give Your Child the World:

  • Amelia and the Fiesta Dress by Mimi Chapra
  • Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina
  • Caribbean Dream by Rachel Isadora
  • Celia Cruz: Queen of Salsa by Veronica Chambers
  • Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle
  • Juan Bobo Busca Trabajo by Marisa Montes
  • Tap-Tap by Karen Lynn Williams
  • Los zapaticos with rosa by Jose Marti
  • My Little Island by Frane Lessac
  • The Harvest Birds by Blanca Lopez de Mariscal
  • Floating on Mama's Song by Laura Lacamara

    José, who is one and usually not super interested in our books, loved Caribbean Dream! We have been reading it a few times a day. All three kids also got a huge kick out of Juan Bobo Busca Trabajo. I felt like Tap-Tap and My Little Island gave some great glimpses into culture, with Tap-Tap sharing a picture of Haitian culture and My Little Island sharing a glimpse of island culture on Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles!

    Of course, after reading Celia Cruz: Queen of Salsa and Drum Dream Girl, we had to listen to some of Celia Cruz's music and Millo Castro Zaldarriaga's drumming!

    Since we have Compassion children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, we watched a few videos:

    And then we spent some time writing to our Compassion kids!

    Juanito narrated The Harvest Birds in Spanish and Tap-Tap in English.

    Es un cuento de Juan. Juan quiero su propio tierra. Y Juan vi las personas, y las personas dicen, "No." Los pájaros son los amigos de Juan. Y Juan dije al abuelo, "¿Puede dame mi propia tierra, abuelo?" El abuelo da la tierra a Juan. Juan no tiene semillas y fue a la tienda, y barró el piso para semillas. Planta las semillas y da semillas a los pájaros también. Juan tomó las otras plantas, the weeds, y los pájaros dicen, "No ponlas en la basura, ponlas alrededor de la tierra." Y tomó la comida y las personas estaban asombrados porque Juan tiene tanta comida.
    -The Harvest Birds

    Sasifi had her own basket and they were going to market. And her mother was selling the oranges and Sasifi fell asleep on the mat. And then Mama left she told Sasifi, "Be careful selling the oranges and be careful making change." And Sasifi did a good job and when Mama came back, "Sasifi, have you eaten all my oranges?"
    "No, Mama, I have sold them all!"
    And Mama pulled a hat out of the bag for Sasifi. And Mama gave her some coins to get a treat. Sasitif decided for a treat to ride on the tap-tap. They got on and some other people came and then they went. A lot and a lot and a lot of people. And then her hat came off and flew behind them. And then she banged the side of the truck and felt the tap-tap sow down. And then she was three boys running to save her hat. And then Sasifi danced in front of Mama on the way to her village.
    - Tap-Tap

    Rosie narrated Juan Bobo Busca Trabajo in Spanish and Amelia and the Fiesta Dress in English.

    Juan Bobo es un niño.

    Juan va a Don Pepe. Juan pone cascaras en la carretilla. Juan pone las habichuelas en el suelo. Sus bolsillos estaban broken y las monedas fallen out his bolsillos.

    Amarra los pies de la vaca. He pulled him. La vaca no pudo mover. Done Pepe paga Juan con la leche, Juan la puso la leche en su saco. Se cayó la leche.

    Juan está barriendo la tienda. Hizo un buen trabajo. Tiene queso para su mamá. Juan puso el queso en su cabeza. He spilled it.

    Juan tiene jamón para su mamá. He tied it. Los perros y los gatos lo comieron. Juan Bobo saw the girl y ella estaba feliz.
    - Juan Bobo Busca Trabajo

    Amelia goes to school. She is getting her dress out because she likes to. She's bringing her dress to school because it's the hora de cuenta. Her dress is white and yellow and red, it's pretty. The niños only bring toys. Amelia is sad because she didn't get any toys. She was singing, "La la la bamba." Amelia was happy at the end.
    - Amelia and the Fiesta Dress

    Our science co-op theme of sharks fit in well with the Caribbean, and my kids really enjoyed painting sharks at the science co-op hosted by my friend.

    This recipe of the Dominican Flag looked fun (I messed up our flags a bit). We ate rice and beans and creole chicken from my favorite cookbook, Extending the Table, and then we made arepa from the Dominican Republic for our co-op snack. And another co-op mom brought picadillo to co-op for the kids to try!

    For co-op activities, we played el pañuelo, a Dominican game, and we made Puerto Rican guiro instruments. I also printed out coloring pages of a hibiscus and tanager.

    And of course, we had to listen to some real guiro music!

    Our next topic is learning about Saint Valentine, and then we will be heading to Russia and the Ukraine!

    Here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • India & Pakistan
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Central and Southern Africa
  • The Middle East
  • Japan
  • Central America
  • Northern Europe
  • Canada & Arctic

    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
  • Friday, January 19, 2018

    Learning About Canada and the Arctic!

    I did not intend to spend time this year on Canada nor the arctic, but reading one of Jane Yolen's books for co-op led to another, which led to a discussion of the arctic and so I decided to go with the theme!

    We read:

  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
  • Welcome to the Ice House by Jane Yolen
  • How the Narwhal Got Its Tusk by Alejandro Segovia
  • Powerful Polar Bears by Elizabeth Bennett
  • Wonderful Wolves by Justin McCory Martin
  • Sleek Seals by Justin Blake
  • Over in the Arctic by Marianne Berks

    Jane Yolen's books are just beautiful and we loved them both! Reading Welcome to the Ice House led us to want to see more animals in the arctic, so we watched scenes from Frozen Planet. The kids were also excited to find their owl and wolf shirts that went along with our theme!

    And we had a blast playing with "snow" from our friend Jessi! She sent a fake snow mix, and the kids absolutely loved playing with it!

    We also colored a page about Canada from Around the World Coloring Book and we colored a scene from the Arctic thanks to Dolls of the World Coloring Book.

    A friend from co-op hosted an Owl Moon themed time, and the kids painted snow scenes with full moons and made snowy owls, which fit in perfectly with our learning for the week!

    My sister also made my kids travel kits for Christmas! They are so cool, complete with laminated airline tickets and passports! We had fun marking that we traveled to Canada, which led to marking all the other countries we've studied in past few years. I also found extra stamps and stickers for their books here and here, along with a free whole Printable Passport Activity.

    We look forward to marking our passports for the Caribbean next week!

    Here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • India & Pakistan
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Central and Southern Africa
  • The Middle East
  • Japan
  • Central America
  • Northern Europe

    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
  • Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    Wendy in Colombia

    in Colombia
    August 24, 1998

    We sponsored Wendy in March 2017 after another of sponsored children left Compassion's program. I chose Wendy because she was older and because she shares a birthday with me.

    Wendy lives with her parents (Alquinson and Cecilia) and siblings. Her brother's name is Brandon and her sisters are Luisa and Helen. So far we have received 4 letters. She attends SENA - a national learning service and is studying scenic arts. She also works at a shoe store as a sales cleark.

    • food - rice with chicken, pizza
    • subject - Spanish
    • color - green, blue
    • animal - dog
    • hobby - walking, music, reading
    • sports- soccer, table tennis
    • friends - Valentina, Jesica, Jetry and Cindy

    Wendy likes to go to the movies and the mall with friends. She is also happy to spend time with family and take trips with them. She participates in the program's devotional and likes memorizing Bible verses. 

    Friday, December 29, 2017

    Daniela in Colombia

    in Colombia
    July 7, 2004

    We began sponsoring Daniela in April of 2017 and have received 3 letters from her. My youngest daughter has assumed the letter writing responsibilities for Daniela.

    • food - chicken
    • color - green
    • subject - Physical Education
    • animal - dog
    • hobby - jumping rope
    • game Botetarro
    • best friend - Leidy / Valentina
    • aunt - Maria Ines
    • mom - Milena Quirama
    • sisters - Yuliana Andrea, Yeferson Quirama, Kevin Bedoya
    • nieces - Lucian and Valeryn
    • likes to play botetarro ( a game like tag with a can)
    • likes to skate
    • like to eat desserts

    • bought clothes with $ we sent
    • is in a dance academy

    Wednesday, December 27, 2017

    Yulesqui in Nicaragua

    in Nicaragua
    August 7, 2006

    After my trip to Nicaragua in January 2016, I decided that when the opportunity came to add children to our family, I would make an effort to add children from Nicaragua. In November of 2016 we had an opening and I chose to sponsor Yulesqui. So far we have received 8 letters from her.

    From what I can tell through letters, she lives with her father, siblings, grandparents, tios, and cousins (her mom lives in Spain).

    • food - rice, beans and cheese
    • color - red and yellow
    • class - Spanish
    • pet - cat
    • Bible character - Jesus
    • received scholar pack from the project
    • bought clothes and shoes with $ we sent
    • celebrated her birthday at the project - broke a pinata and received a gift of clothing


    • Wants to be a lawyer
    • Please pray for mom's health - asked twice
    • wants to learn to play guitar
    • received gift for good behavior
    • celebrated children's day at project
    • friend at the center, Katherine, died
    • saw mom at Christmas - brought gifts, shoes and clothes

    "I do not know you personally, but I feel you close. You are part of my family and I love you."

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