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

Masai Day 5-1

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.

Masai Day 5-7

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

Masai Day 5-2

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.

Masai Day 5-3

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

Masai Day 5-4

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.

Masai Day 5-5

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.

Masai Day 5-8

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.


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

Day 4-5

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).

Day 4-1-2

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.

Day 4-3-2

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}.

Day 4-4-2

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.


Day 4-2-2

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.

Day 4-2-3

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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The Difference a Gift Can Make ~ Compassion Blogging Trip {Day 3}

Before this trip with Compassion International, I thought I knew quite a bit about the services that they offer.

Never could I have been more wrong.

Over the last few days, I have seen and experienced first-hand the different ways that Compassion International is able to minister to the entire family of a child through the sponsorship of one child in a family. It has truly altered the way that I view our giving and interaction with our sponsored children ~ and I hope that it will for you all as well.


I’d like to introduce you to Gidioni, a 9 year old boy in Tanzania who is sponsored by a family in Germany. He loves soccer and helps with various chores around his family’s home.


There are seven people living in Gidioni’s house, so his oldest brother {now 20} sleeps at his aunt’s house because their two room 8’ x 16’ house cannot sleep all of them.


We sat with them in their living area on some wooden benches, while we spoke to his mother, Monica. She stayed home from working that morning to talk to us about Gidioni’s sponsors and his involvement with the Compassion child development center.


They pulled out letters, shared the fun gifts and puzzles that his sponsoring family had sent him….pop-up cards, Advent calendars, family pictures and fun coloring pages.


Gidioni then showed us the various chores that he is responsible for helping with at his home: sweeping outside, getting water from the stream for dishes and washing, hoeing the garden, and also catching fish for the family to eat.


While we were outside, we noticed a half-completed building adjacent to the house and asked Monica if it was an older house or abandoned. She told us that it was a house that they had started building a year prior, but have not had the funds to finish it yet.


They have made all of the bricks needed for the house, but buy bags of cement when they can afford it. To complete the entire house would require about ten {10} bags of cement at $12 US dollars a bag. $120 to build their house. Yet the house has been sitting, waiting, because the family only buys one bag of cement as they can afford it.

I literally broke down in tears hearing those numbers.

The Family Gift Donation


This week I was made aware of the Family Gift Donation that sponsors can make throughout the year to the family of the child they sponsor {this is a gift given by the sponsor above and beyond the $38/monthly sponsorship}. In a calendar year, sponsors can donate up to $1,000 that will go directly to the family and help with any needs the family has {each center keep track of ways that they can immediately help the child’s family}. 100% of the family gift donation goes to the family. When the center receives the money, they meet with the family to discuss current needs of the child and the family {read more about Giving a Gift to Your Sponsored Child}.

Today, I was not able to meet the child we sponsor in Tanzania, so I asked about immediate needs that we may be able to assist with. In our child’s family, they sleep five people in a one room house and do not have a mattress to sleep on ~ a new mattress would cost $75.  If WHEN our family makes a $75 family gift donation, the child development center will purchase a mattress for them and we can in turn bless our child’s family in a small, tangible way.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

If you currently sponsor a child through Compassion International, please consider making a family gift donation to your child’s family today. Not a sponsor of 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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