The thing that really got me changing up my blog is to start being a better advocate for Compassion. It is huge in my heart and over the next months you will find out why more and more. But first, I want to start out by highlighting various Compassion centers that I have visited in order to give you insight into how the children we sponsor live every day. I hope that I can open your eyes even a little, and have you moved with compassion, even a little, so that you can do more - think more, pray more, sponsor more, give more, advocate more.
As most of you know, I visit El Salvador often, and consider it my second citizenship! My girls there are a part of my family and I love them so much! One of my favorite student centers is ES-816, Jardin de Jesus student center.
It is in a rural area where the majority of homes are made of dirt floors and mud walls, and the average income for a family is $50/month. When children are sponsored and they attend this center, they receive benefits such as learning about Jesus, medical and dental exams, nutritious meals, hygiene education, special celebrations, spiritual retreats, literacy campaigns, computer classes, sewing and bakery classes and tutoring. They even have access to an impressive library. I have seen all of these things with my own eyes.
One of my favorite things about this center is the STAFF! The staff are wonderful. They are dedicated, loving, smart, and fun! They love Jesus, love children, and love to laugh. Every time I visit, they take SO MUCH time preparing a program just for ME! They are thoughtful and so fun-loving.
(she was pretending for me because she knew I was in the military)
They are creative, and this influences the children to be creative. The staff here are volunteers who spend each and every day loving on and investing in these children. They are the hands and feet of your sponsorship, and I couldn't think of better people to do it.
The center is beautiful. God is there. The children are happy. Your $38/month goes so very far to help the children reach their God-given potential.
They look like average, happy children, without much hardship.
But I want to remind you of where these children come from, and how much your support actually means to them. The following photos are of real houses of sponsored children who attend ES-816. The landscape is beautiful, but behind the natural beauty, there is real poverty.
The houses ARE made of mud and tin. $50/month doesn't get you a cozy house in the suburbs. Another thing to remember is that the parents who earn this money work so very hard. Harder than I do, just to earn $50/month. They are often working all day and all evening and the staff say that they often have to leave the children alone to care for themselves and their siblings. All. Day.
This is real stuff. Your prayers, your sponsorship is so important to these kids. You can see, just by looking at the photos, what a difference having the Compassion project (and their sponsors!) makes in the lives of these children. I was blown away by the poverty after seeing how beautiful and well cared-for these children are. The staff are so grateful when you care for the children there. They really love the sponsors. God can use you to allow them to hope and dream in the midst of their living situation. And these kids are pretty remarkable.
The correspondence from this project is good. My child writes very nice letters and I sometimes get extra photos, too! The staff read the letters with the children, and really know about you. I know for a fact that not only do the children pray for you, but the staff does too.
I have photos and information of children from ES-816 who are waiting for sponsors. They are children who come from this same background. They are waiting for a loving sponsor who will pray for them, write to them, have a relationship with them, and support them. If you choose to sponsor any of these children, I will take a small gift for you next time I visit!!
This is Alejandra. She is 7 years old. She lives with her mother who is sometimes employed. She is responsible for making beds and cleaning, and enjoys playing house, playing with dolls, and playing ball games. She is in kindergarten where her performance is average.
This is Vanessa. She is 12 years old. She lives with her father, mother, and sibling. Her father is employed as a laborer. She is responsible for washing clothes, running errands, and cleaning, and she likes singing and playing with dolls. She is in primary school where her performance is average. (I think I have an additional photo of Vanessa from 2009 if you are interested in seeing it!)
This is Maria. She is 12 years old. She lives with her mother and 2 siblings. Her mother is employed as a seller in the market. She is responsible for caring for children, running errands, and cleaning, and she enjoys playing house and bicycling. She is in primary school where her performance is average.
This is Christian. He is 10 years old. He lives with his father, mother, and 2 siblings. His father is employed as a seller in the market. He is responsible for running errands and cleaning, and he enjoys art, bicycling, and reading. He is in primary school where his performance is above average.
This is Diego. He is 8 years old. He lives with his mother who is sometimes employed as a laborer. He is responsible for running errands, and he enjoys soccer, playing with cars, and running. He is in primary school where is performance is above average.
This is Lisbeth. She is 10 years old. She lives with her mother and 2 siblings. Her mother is sometimes employed. She is responsible for gathering firewood, running errands, and cleaning, and she enjoys playing with dolls. She is in primary school where her performance is average.