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Gift Idea for Compassion Children ~ Pick and Draw

Pick and Draw Compassion Trip

Before I left for Africa with Compassion International, a box appeared on my doorstep from Rich Davis, the creator of Pick and Draw, a drawing game for children. The box was full of decks of Pick and Draw for me to take along with me to Africa and share with the children at the Compassion centers we visited.

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Although I brought paper and pens along with me, we ended up finding sticks and drawing in the dirt around us. We all made a big circle and I explained how the drawing game worked….well, as best as I could!

Overall, the game is very simple. You pick one card from each color-coded pile {face, nose, eyes, mouth, and hair} and then use those shapes to create your character.

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Though there was a language barrier at times, we added in some charades to help explain what we were drawing.

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I even stuck out my tongue for effect. {grins}

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Sending Pick and Draw to Compassion Children

Prior to my trip to Africa {and playing in the dirt with the kids}, we have been mailing Pick and Draw cards to the children that we sponsor, a few at a time {thanks so much to Kris from Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for this idea}. In one letter to our sponsored child, we briefly described how the game worked and included five of the cards {one for each of the facial features} along with the letter.

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In each of the letters that we send to our child we include another set of five Pick and Draw cards for the family to add to the collection. Because we have more than one Compassion child we are sending cards to, we labeled the Pick and Draw decks with their names so we can keep track of what we’ve already sent.

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It’s a quick and simple little something to add to each of our sponsored letters and we also include some of the pictures that we’ve drawn using those same cards ~ just for fun.

If you currently sponsor a child through Compassion International, what is something fun that you have mailed to them? Leave a comment below and share!!

If you are not currently sponsoring a child through Compassion International, I cannot even begin to describe the impact that your $38/month will have for one child and their family ~ please sponsor a child today!

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Change is a Good Thing

The last week has been one where my mind and my heart were going through such a rollercoaster of emotions on the heels of my trip to Tanzania.

There were moments where I would be smiling and then just seconds later was a sobbing mess on the floor. Trying to put my finger on what in the world was going on ~ well, that was just about impossible because there were so many different reasons.

And truthfully, blogging just seemed so…trite. One moment I was ready to just toss the whole blog thing out the window because of the extremes that I had witnessed the week prior. How in the world was I supposed to go about our day-to-day routine and jump back into life after seeing how other families struggle to even provide food for their children?

These were just a few of the thoughts barreling through my brain last week. Those and the contemplations of selling all that we own.

So blogging was pushed aside. The first few days home I was S.I.C.K. And although that was stinky, God knew that I needed some time to just be still and process. Listen. Wait.

Through that time {and I’m sure the weeks and months to come}, I’ve been reminded of how much we have been blessed with and that I should continue walking in what God has called me to do ~ as a wife, a mother, and here on this blog.

Granted, there will be changes in things here at home. In my heart. In how I approach things here on this blog. We are blessed. So amazingly blessed. And through those blessings, we are able to in turn bless others. And now we as a family desire to do so much more than ever before.

So while in some ways it seems that we’re back to life as normal, truthfully, we’re not. I’ve changed. We’re changing.

And change is a good thing.

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The Many Facets of Tanzania

This week I’ve been able to share my reflections and thoughts with you all as I’ve traveled Tanzania with group of amazing bloggers. And really, you all? They are fabulous writers and have been sharing stories that will make you cry and cheer and laugh ~ sometimes in the same post.

Can I share a few of the ones that have spoken to me this week? I’d love it if you would stop by and visit them. Leave a comment. Encourage them too. {Because I know you all are great like that!}.

Here are a few I’d recommend…

Amy from Resourceful Mommy has been my roommate this week and this week she met her sponsored child, Meka. How can you NOT love the smiles on that little face?

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Kelli from Minivans are Hot shares how hope revealed itself to her.

Maggie, from Gussy Sews, shares how a little dirt showed her what love really is

The Nester shares how a little blue nail polish can be so very fun

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Scott from Big is the New Small {and the man who had every child in the centers giving him fist bumps by the time he left} shares how God showed up in a big way for the family of Amos.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Maybe this week you’ve been thinking about sponsoring a child. Thinking you’ll take care of it tomorrow….but if you haven’t yet, would you please take a moment to sponsor a child through Compassion International? It’s truly one of the best gives you could ever give ~ and receive yourself!

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The Hands and Feet of Jesus ~ Compassion Tanzania Blogging Trip {Day 5}

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From the very beginning, this center visit in Arusha, Tanzania was different from all of the rest. Driving out to the center took over an hour and we traveled through some absolutely beautiful areas not far from Mt. Kilimanjaro. The homes here are a different style than the ones in Mwanza because the soil is so very different, making bricks difficult to make. Also, there is a very large Maasai population.

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Maasai were in the fields herding their flocks and every now and then we would see a boma {a group of their houses}. Right now the fields are green and provide plenty of vegetation for the cattle to eat. Last year it was a different story for many when a long drought hit the area, making it difficult for families to feed and water their flocks and provide an income for their families.

For those in the Maasai tribes, education is not always a top priority. Girls can be married off at a very young age, and truthfully…there are other things that happen which are almost too difficult to think about, let along write about. Just know that as a mother of young girls, the thoughts make my heart unbelievably heavy and want to cry. And cry some more.

Compassion International’s work with the center in this area of Arusha is amazing, which was something I realized in full after our home visit.

Visiting a Maasai Home

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After 15 minutes of driving, we had almost reached the home of 14 year old Lema. She is from a family in the Maasai tribe. We walked a short bit to get to their boma. Everyone needed to stoop to enter the door of their home, which then quickly filled with other family members, neighbors and those curious to hear what was happening. The mother quickly borrowed stools from nearby homes so that we all had places to sit.

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The darkness completely enveloped us. There was a small fire that was dying out, but the embers glowed in the darkness.

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Slowly, as my eyes adjusted, the structure of the house appeared and you could make out the faces of the many people inside with us. Lema was a bit shy and quietly answered our questions.

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So many people were talking at the same time. One person was singing very loudly making it difficult to ask questions and hear answers, so after about 25 minutes with the family and a time of prayer, we began walking back.

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The visit left me feeling a bit disoriented. After talking with another team member on the ride home, a few things about our visit to the center today impacted me. I began to understand how above and beyond this particular Compassion center works with the families in the area, but I know that it is not unique to this center.

A Passion for Children

Sometimes we forget the people that are ‘behind the scenes’ in the centers. We know there are teachers and directors and such, but we know that everything is taken care of and so that’s it, right?

Or maybe I am the only one who thinks that way {grins}. Yes, I write my sponsored children, send gifts, pray for them, but I’m also learning the importance of praying for these many individuals that provide the love and support for these families behind the scenes.

Typically, home visits are made to sponsored children twice a year. In this center that sponsors over 270 children, they try to make two home visits a month.

{I’ll let you stop and ponder the math for a moment}.

I’ll also let you think about the fact that many of these home are miles and miles away. Children are walking for a very.long.time {just thinking about it makes my legs tired}. This isn’t just a walk down the street to a friend’s house.  For the home that we visited, I would guess it is a good one hour walk ~ and that’s briskly {I don’t do briskly}.

During these home visits, the center workers are able to check on the families, see what assistance they need, and look into any concerns the family or child may have. This has been a huge help for young girls that enter the program and provides an added measure of protection {against the things that I am not even wanting to think about or mention}. The center helps give an added voice to those that are a part of the program.

For Lema, that can mean so many different things, but it gives her one more advocate as she continues her education. Dreams of one day being a teacher. Grows up to be a woman of faith.

The Compassion office in this area is very respectful of the unique qualities are part of the Maasai tribe. When some of the customs can be harmful to a child, they work hard to educate them of the dangers to individuals. The Maasai culture is truly a community and something that is so amazing, as I witnessed today.

My eyes have been opened this week to the many facets of Compassion International. From child sponsorships to caring for babies, families, future leaders, and critical needs around the world, there are people all over the world that work for and with Compassion, intently focused on being advocates for children in whatever way they can. They are using their passions to work behind the scenes, serve in the ways they are able and make a difference in the lives of children. Giving hours upon hours of time and prayer to these children.

And for that I am so very thankful {and thank YOU ALL at Compassion for the work you do!}. The are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus in the lives of children and walking with them day by day.

Would you like to help make the difference in the life of a child? Sponsor a child through Compassion International and begin helping fight the poverty of others.

If you have sponsored a child this week {or before}, would you let me know? I would love to pray for you and your child too!

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

Read more of the other blogger’s stories via the Compassion Bloggers site.

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In Which I Cry Again ~ Compassion Blogging Trip {Day 4}

Since yesterday’s visit to Gidioni’s home, waves of tears have washed over me in intervals as I considered the impact of the family gift donations. Even what I consider to be a small gift can make a tremendous difference in a child’s family. My entire view of how we interact with our Compassion children has truly been altered.

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Visiting the third project today was such an amazing encouragement. We visited {TZ-955}, a center that has been in place for over four years, with the kind of facilities the last two centers hope to someday have. Through one of the home visits, I was also able to see how a family gift donation was used to help a family better their situation ~ something that just sealed all that had been stirring in my heart after learning about how a family gift donation can help a sponsored child’s family.

Vision in Action

The Compassion child development centers that have been in place for longer periods of time often have educational programs in place such as computer labs, sewing classes and other similar areas that focus on practical living and important life-training skills that children need.

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This center has a computer lab with 23 desktop computers and also 10 sewing machines to use when teaching the children life skills. They also have a rain water collection and filtration system that provides water for the surrounding community, so they do not need to rely on city for all water.

Seeing a Family Gift in Action

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After touring the child development center, we visited the home of 9 year old twins, Kurwa {which means firstborn twin} and Doto {the second born twin} who have been sponsored for several years.  Because they are twins, both are allowed to be sponsored in the Compassion program (typically only one child per family can be sponsored in Tanzania).

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Kurwa and Doto’s mother works selling fish in the market and hurried home to meet us. Their father, a house painter currently without work, was there to talk to us before she arrived and welcomed us into their home.

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The daughter, Kurwa, is sponsored by a couple in Australia and she ran to bring us a stack of letters covered with stickers and pictures. Doto, the son, is sponsored by a man from the USA who is currently stationed in Japan. He also shared letters from his sponsor with us ~ some written online {you can find out more about about writing to a child online here}.

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Both parents desire great things for their children. For them to be strong leaders {maybe even in politics so they can help others}. To do well in school. And also have good health. When we asked them how Compassion has made an impact on their family, this would be the point that the tears started welling up in my eyes.

Again.

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Doto’s sponsor has sent the family a monetary gift each year through the Family Gift Donation {this is a gift given by the sponsor above and beyond the $38/monthly sponsorship}. Through those gifts, the family has been able to purchase the supplies that were needed to add plaster to the walls of their home and paint the walls. They still have a little more work to do, but said they should be able to finish the work this year if they receive another gift.

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To see the physical manifestation of a family gift donation was such an amazing gift to MY heart, especially on the heels of yesterday’s home visit. It has been truly overwhelming to me to see how God has been hand-picking the places for us to visit and see ~ knowing exactly what our hearts have needed to feel and what our eyes have needed to see.

And this is where I start to cry again.

Honestly, you all, I cannot really even adequately put into words all that has been on my heart these last five days. All I can say is this ~ sponsor a child through Compassion International. Your $38 a month will help them with the basic needs that we so often take for granted.

Clothing. Food. Education.

And most importantly Jesus.

While there is a hope for a child’s physical future in the first three, the last one provides an eternal hope that cannot be matched ~ please sponsor a child today!

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

 

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