Knowing You Mean Something

My latest letter came from Graham Russel in the Philippines, and one phrase really stuck out to me.  It was this:  “Knowing you care for me is a great feeling”.  That’s the thing that keeps me sponsoring – knowing it makes a difference in my child’s life.  If you want a long-term commitment, and words from the other side of the world to encourage you to follow it through, I’d definitely recommend child-sponsorship through Compassion.

One other thing:  If you’re a sponsor reading this, please keep writing.  How will a child know you care if you don’t tell them?  I don’t write super-regularly.  There are sponsors I know who write once a month, regardless of whether they’ve heard from their child or not.  I’d say I write every 2-3 months, although if I get a letter full of questions, I’ll usually respond quicker.  It’s not how often you write that’s important, but the fact that you do write.

If you’re a sponsor, you could write to your child today.  If you haven’t chosen to sponsor a child, why not send a card or an E-mail to someone special in your life?

Friend Friday: When you Need a Miracle

Exciting post for you today.  This is my best attempt at shouting it from the rooftops.

 

A friend of mine has a very rare disease (one of the symptoms being osteoporosis).  The other day, a Christian she knew invited her to a retreat for the day, which focused on healing.  She’d had a particularly difficult week and wasn’t sure how she’d take it, but she went.  On the way there, she was feeling really sick from the pain of old and new fractures.

 

A girl prayed for her, and she felt another hand on her head, then on her back.  She went from being in terrible pain to being able to touch her toes, and she said she had great fun at the hospital.  After convincing them to re-X-ray her wrist, they couldn’t work out how a wrist so obviously fractured 2 weeks ago could look like it had never been fractured ever!

 

You don’t have to get as excited as I did – standing up off your chair and waving your arms in the air, but will you praise God with me, and will you pray the other symptoms also go in Jesus’ name?  Thanks!

Hey I Learnt Something

I hadn’t written to Jennylyn for a while, so this afternoon I put that right.  In my letter, I mentioned the hills near where I live, and my mind went to the forthcoming diamond Jubilee celebrations.  I tried to tell Jennylyn that over the weekend, people would go to the top of the highest hill and a beacon would be lit.  All would have been fine, except I realised I didn’t actually know what one was!  Was it like a torch that someone carried up the hill?  Was it something that was at the top all the time, but not always lit?  I had no idea, and it was only through wanting to explain it to a child in the Philippines that I found out.

So thank you, Compassion, for teaching a blind person about the town she’s lived in all these years!

Is there anything you’ve learnt that you thought you should have known already?

Sheep

It’s blog-post time again, and we’ve nearly reached the end of the Tanzanian trip.  Day 5 was the bloggers’ final day of visiting Compassion’s projects, so I’m not sure there’ll be any more posts from the team now until they get home, but I’m very grateful to them all for taking the time to share their experiences with the world.

 

I’ve learnt that The Nester is a great storyteller!  I really think she should write a book!  Her latest post talks about meeting her sponsored child (whose name she couldn’t pronounce), and how he painted Psalm 23 on the outside of his house.  “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want” – in a country like Tanzania, when they had struggled to eat before Compassion stepped in.

 

Amy expands on the ‘Sheep’ theme.  I don’t know if they talked to each other before they wrote their posts, but Amy was struck by the distance they had to walk to get to a child’s home, and she focused on Jesus’ words about leaving the ninety-nine and going to find the sheep that was lost.  She likened the lost sheep to a child waiting for a sponsor.

 

I want to follow Amy’s example, and ask you to look at some children waiting for sponsorship.  Is God calling you to go the distance for one of them – to reach out and make them a part of your life?

Mwajuma’s Story

One ten-year-old girl, Mwajuma, and her family seem to have touched a few hearts on day 4, including mine.  The Nester tells their story so well, as someone who’s been to their home and seen 2 girls under 5 left to care for themselves while their mother works to feed her family.  The story shocked me, and as she says, there aren’t any words to make it ok.

 

But in his latest post, Scott urges us to remember that God is there in every circumstance.  He doesn’t just show up with a fix for our problems; He was there all along.

 

So will you join me in reading Mwajuma’s story and saying a prayer for her and her family?

The Stuff of Dreams

An exciting day for one of the Compassion bloggers today.  For Amy, it was time to meet her sponsored child:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bOLPN0eR70

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing about other sponsors meeting their children, and it makes me think how I’d like to meet mine one day.  Sometimes I imagine myself visiting Jennylyn’s home in the Philippines – struggling to climb a ladder to get to where she lives, and being lowered through a hole into the home by her father.  Other times, I picture Cindy as a student in Compassion’s Leadership Development Programme, speaking at a church in the UK about the impact Compassion had on her life, and me being there to meet her at the end (I’ve seen video-clips of this happening to other sponsors, and I’ve loved them).  Will it happen like that for me?  I don’t know, but it’s good to dream.

What are some of your dreams?  And if you’re a sponsor, do they include your sponsored child?

Rescue from Wealth

“I was saved for this. For children like Yanci in need of release from poverty. For Americans like me in need of rescue from wealth” – Shaun

 

Wow.  Rescue from wealth?  I have no idea about that.  Perhaps some of you don’t either.  In her latest post, Kelli wrote:  “When we’re far away from these situations it’s so easy to keep an emotional distance from the desperation”.  Maybe that’s why we don’t understand, but there might be others reading this who do understand.  If you’re one of them, would you like to sponsor a child?  I don’t think you’d regret it.

The Love-Letter

I’ve been reading 1 Thessalonians these last few days, and there seems to be a recurring theme.  Yep, you guessed it:  Love.

 

Hardworking love:  “In the presence of our God and Father, we never forget that your faith is active, your love is working hard, and your confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ is enduring” – 1 Thessalonians 1:3.  As Paul prayed for the Christians in Thessalonica, he must have been encouraged to remember these things.  Their faith was active (that could mean growing; spreading; flourishing), and their love was working hard.  It takes hard work, because love is a fruit (rather than a gift) of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and fruit doesn’t come overnight; it’s a process.

 

Gentle love:  “We were gentle when we were with you, like a mother taking care of her

children” – 1 Thessalonians 2:7.  My heart goes out to you if you’re reading this and don’t have a good relationship with your mother.  I’ve had my moments with mine over the last 31 years, but today I’m very blessed to be close to my mum.  If I’ve got a problem and choose to talk about it with her, she is very gently supportive (and I usually get a hug).  Can I encourage you, whether you have parents you’re close to or not, to go to God (the Father) and take some of that gentle love from Him?

 

Increasing love:  “His mission was to strengthen and encourage you in your faith so that these troubles don’t disturb any of you.  You know that we’re destined to suffer persecution” – 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3, and not only persecution, but other trials too.  The devil wants to destroy us (John 10:10), so what’s the answer?  “We also pray that the Lord will greatly increase your love for each other and for everyone else, just as we love you.  Then He will strengthen you to be holy.  Then you will be blameless in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all God’s holy people” – 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13.  I can almost imagine Paul getting excited here.  We pray He’ll increase your love … and then … and then …  But he had cause for excitement, because increasing love is the answer.  That’ll conquer bitterness, anger, reluctance to forgive, and any other negative emotions we might have.

 

Showing love:  The beginning of 1 Thessalonians 4 talks about how to show love – by keeping away from sex outside of marriage and learning to control our bodies in a holy, not a lustful, way (4:3-5).  If you’ve got a modern translation, you’ll want to be careful about those verses.  (I read one today that translated “control his own body” as “find a husband or wife”, and that’s not the same thing.)  If ever you read something and you’re in doubt because it seems to contradict other passages of Scripture, take time to read it in a couple of other translations to get its proper meaning.

 

Wearing love:  Paul has gone on to the subject now of the Day of the Lord, when Jesus comes back to take Christians to be with Him.  While Jesus was on earth, He talked a lot about being prepared for that Day.  Paul does the same here when he tells us to put on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet (5:8).  When Jesus returns, will He find our hearts full of faith and love, and our minds convinced that we’re one of those He’s come back for?

Link

Nearly half a million people have now signed Coalition for Marriage’s petition against redefining marriage, but the thing the government will take more notice of is their consultation paper, which they’re asking the public to respond to.  Will you do that here?