Monday, 27 May 2013

Pastor Letters Part 4 - Pleas for More Letters!

This is the 4th Post in a series about Compassion Projects' Pastor Letters. These letters from the pastors give us tremendous insight into our sponsored children's world. The first three parts in the series can be found here:

Pastor Letter Quotes Part 1 - A Safe Haven in Desperate Situations

Pastor Letters Part 2 - Good News

Paster Letters Part 3 - Addressing Health Concerns

Pastors share the importance of letters...

Our children get very excited every time they see a light plane landing because they know a letter from their sponsor may arrive

EC261 - The communities that we visit are not easy to access and the only way to get there is by light plane. Each community has its own landing strip made by the people in the area….Our children get very excited every time they see a light plane landing because they know a letter from their sponsor may arrive. Hearing from their sponsors is a huge motivation that pushes these children to keep on studying and becoming better; therefore, your communication is a great encouragement. Thank you so much for such a gift! Daniel Rogers, Director

raise up their self-esteem.
EC449 - Every time a sponsor sends a letter to their sponsored child, they are contributing to raise up their self-esteem. You make children feel loved and cared. Your sponsorship fills the lives of these children with joy and hope so that they learn to face the future. Juan Córdova

Letters and gifts make a lot of difference in the children's lives
UG522 Kibaale Child Development Center - Every time a child gets a sponsor, there is usually great improvement in their behavior and studies. They become so friendly. ... The sponsored children are always happy when they hear from their sponsors and they can see what their sponsors and their families look like in photos. Letters and gifts make a lot of difference in the children's lives.

UG704 I would like you to know that your personal sponsorship is so important to your sponsored child. Upon receiving sponsors letter and photos and gifts, they feel so happy. This makes them feel special and loved.

PH408 "We have received at least 220 letters and all of the children are excited to hear stories from their sponsors. I must say that the correspondence between the children and sponsors portray a very crucial role in the life of a child and their families. I have seen children who grew up without knowing their parents but as they knew their sponsor, they felt a sense of belongingness in their 'foster mom and dads.' The passion and care that the sponsors are showing to their sponsored children though letters touched their lives and made them aware that there are a lot of people who care about them

They jump full of joy

EC 227 – Keep on sending your letters as they have a huge value to these children. They jump full of joy every time they receive one.

BD508 – These children expects affection and love from their sponsors. The children become very happy while they get letter and gifts from the sponsors, which they never expect from their family.

There isn't a happier face

BO435 MMB Viliroco Student Center - I would also like to share and point out the great value of the close relationship you have with the kids through written correspondence. There isn't a happier face than the ones of the children when they receive a letter or a picture from their sponsors because they know that on the other side of the world there are people who pray and worry about them.

GU 943 Bethania Student Center - From the bottom of our heart we encourage you to send letters to the children in the center. A child's happiness is great to receive an encouraging letter from the sponsors, knowing that there is someone praying for them and their families.

From Marius Elabi: Partnership Faciliatator: If I can just share one more thing, it is to tell you how important your letters are. There are days when some children get letters and others don’t, and it is hard to explain. The staff tries very hard to make all the children feel special, but you can see when some children feel left out. If you are able to even send short letters, it helps so that all the children are able to receive something. And the words you share mean so much. The staff also helps each child to understand that their sponsor loves them and wants great things for their lives. 

From Lizbeth Torrico: Partnership Faciliatator: Finally I want to tell you my experience with the letters. During 14 years of sponsorship I only received 2 letters and that made my heart sad; many times I did not understand the reason why. I encourage you to be able to write letters; your words mean a lot to your sponsored child.

From Mr. Prajosh Rajan: - During my visits, I have witnessed the importance of sponsor letters. I have seen the immense joy of children when they receive the letters from their sponsors. While I visit homes, I have noticed that children are keeping the letters from their sponsors very safely. The few words that you write can mean a lot for these little ones. On the other hand, there are children who do not get letters from their sponsors. If you are able to even send short letters, I am sure that it will bring enormous joy and happiness in the life of your sponsored child.

From Micarlerme Pierre, Partnership Facilitator - Thank-you again for your support of your sponsored child. At last, I would like to say how important sponsor letters are for the children. Children feel very special when they receive letters and photos from their sponsors. It’s sometimes hard to explain ot them why some children receive, and some don’t.

From S. Libe Suryapusoro: Partnership Faiciliator of my Cris’ project: - I see how important letters from sponsors can be. Through sponsor’s letters, children feel special that there is someone who loves and pays attention to them. They feel they have a friend who accepts them just the way they are. If it is possible, please send letters to your sponsored child, even short ones; your sponsored child will feel a connection with you. This will also help the Project’s staff to make the children understand the love from their sponsors. The children will not feel alone in the world because their sponsors are there.

CO-667: no sponsor has ever visited the project and the project received about 150 letters.

- SIDE NOTE from a sponsor at this project - That means about 10% of the letters they get are from me to Karen. It breaks my heart to think how many kids are receiving little to no mail.

BF120 - Christians are few in number in our area. That is why the children's spiritual needs are great. It is lovely to see that the lives of the kids who are coming to the center are transformed. They are always glad to receive a letter or a photo of their sponsors.

UG544 - Your personal support as a sponsor means a lot not only to our center but also to our church and our community. Our children need to be loved and valued and their joy is evident when we share with them the names of their new sponsors or when they get letters, cards and photographs from their sponsors. That joy is unexplainable and it makes them feel extra-special.

TZ812 - Each child feels very sure and well of love and value to read every round of letters. Our children even tell me the name of the sponsor working with him or her. Photos give great excitement and lots of joy.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pastor Letters Part 3 - Addressing Health Concerns

This is the 3rd Post in a series about Compassion Projects' Pastor Letters. These letters from the pastors give us tremendous insight into our sponsored children's world. The first two parts in the series can be found here:

Pastor Letter Quotes Part 1 - A Safe Haven in Desperate Situations

Pastor Letters Part 2 - Good News

and Pastor Letters Part 4 - Pleas for More Letters!

I was shocked when I read this pastor's letter talking about how commonplace leprosy is. Leprosy??!! How can this preventable and treatable disease still exist?

many families are affected with leprosy

EI-161 - In this community, many families are affected with leprosy, which has made them outcasts from the society. Leprosy is curable if treated in time. Leprosy-affected people become physically deformed, losing their fingers, hands, legs, and even eyes. Leprosy-affected people do get any jobs because of their physical deformity. Most lepers of this community take up begging as their profession.

Young people are at risk of joining unhealthy groups and practices. Malnutrition is prominent here. Children suffer from malaria, typhoid, skin diseases, etc. The sanitary system around the community is very impoverished. The maximum size of a house is 6 x 8 feet with an average of five people per household. Unemployment is high in this area. Usually parents go begging early in the morning and they return by evening. Children do not get food all day long and do not get opportunity to attend school.

a boy from the center was bitten by a snake

BF120 - In January 2009, a boy from the center was bitten by a snake and the vaccine was costly; it was only by the assistance through Compassion that he was saved, because his parents didn't have any way to buy the vaccine. Another child, an orphan, was suffering from cancer and his adoptive parents couldn't pay for care and were thinking he was cursed. But with Compassion's support, an operation was done and he is okay now.
Still others have received food that has helped them survive famine.

children that were undernourished

ES796 Pastor - We had 86 children that were undernourished, and now we only have 30 with a low weight.

kids, some of whom have got AIDS

TH910 - I really thank you that you and our other sponsors all have mercy heart to Thai kids, some of whom have got AIDS through their parent. There was one child who just passed away to be with God after having join us through the program for some time. Some are kids who need the good place to grow up so the parent relies on us as they want the children to be brought up here.

Malaria, hepatitis and tuberculosis is common among the people. (EI617)

Next in the series - Pastor Letters Part 4 - Pleas for More Letters!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Pastor Letters Part 2 - Good News

This is the 2nd Post in a series about Compassion Projects' Pastor Letters.  These letters from the pastors give us tremendous insight into our sponsored children's world.  The first part in the series can be found here.

The Compassion projects become a light in their community where people can see hope and learn about Jesus.

like an oasis in the desert
ES816 Jardin de Jesus Student Center - Our center through Compassion has become like an oasis in the desert, where the light of hope is being shown, where the children are taught about the Word of God

fewer than 20 percent of the parents were Christians
ES796 Pastor - When we began with the center, fewer than 20 percent of the parents were Christians. Now 84 percent received Christ in their hearts.

more than 54 persons have come to the Lord
ET805 Pastor Negessu Ebba- Ever since the center started, more than 54 persons have come to the Lord because of their children. In turn, those have brought 16 people to Christ....

many for the first time 
HA106 Pastor Elice Nortelus- We love the children and know each of them by name.....I am so thrilled when I see children and young people come to our center and learn, many for the first time, about our heavenly Father.

helping a tree to produce good fruits
CO329 CDI Manos Unidos - I am so grateful to you for helping children from my community. Know that you are helping a tree to produce good fruits. I am sure that you and I will see those fruits in the future. I want to thank you for helping children in need. You can make a difference in so many children's lives and in their community. 

a team of brothers and sisters
DR522 Jesus Fuente de Paz - We have a team of brothers and sisters - believers - helping our children and leading them in the knowledge of God's Word.

25 children … & seven parents have accepted Jesus as their Savior
TZ812 - Myself as a pastor have been always visiting the children in their Bible classes and know that as a result of these teachings, 25 children have accepted Jesus as their Savior. This development has deeply impressed their parents and moved them to attending our worship services. As a result of what is happening at our center many parents have very much been impressed by their children's new conduct after getting teachings about Jesus and now seven parents have accepted salvation through Jesus.

I would very much wish to tell you how this ministry is expanding my vision for ministering to this community that surrounds me. I have had great opportunity to preach God's Word to all parents very easily than before, when the center was not existent yet. Through this children's center is a wonderful opportunity.

though they come from Islamic background
KE355 - Already we have children who have confessed Christ as their Savior and though they come from Islamic background they are able to become disciples of Christ.

Next in the series - Pastor Letters Part 3 - Addressing Health Concerns

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Pastor Letter Quotes Part 1 - A Safe Haven in Desperate Situations

I love the information we get from the Pastor Letters at Compassion. Pastors of the Compassion Projects write a general letter to the sponsors of their children at least once every two years. They provide a fascinating glimpse into the world of our sponsored children.

This is the 1st Post in a series about Compassion Projects' Pastor Letters.  The first three parts in the series can be found here:

Pastor Letters Part 2 - Good News

Paster Letters Part 3 - Addressing Health Concerns

Pastor Letters Part 4 - Pleas for More Letters!
 Some of the letters will tug on your heart, to hear about the desperate situations in their communities. But there is Hope because the Compassion projects become a LIGHT in these communities and act as a Safe Haven for our children. Here are just a few examples.
‘death through starvation’
KE200 - Rev. M.G. Johnson - Of great importance, Compassion has revived a race and a generation, which would otherwise be extinct by now, due to the pressure of human wants and an absolutely non-conducive climate. Currently, without Compassion's partnership children would be coming to church naked or in tatters. The illiteracy and school dropout would be unstoppable, and above all death through starvation (and especially at this time of threatening drought and famine in our country) would escalate unpredictably. 

‘sons and daughters of prostitutes’  
BR-417 - "Most of these children live at risk in their houses. Usually they are sons and daughters of prostitutes and of parents involved with drug dealing. They live in Serviluz, an impoverished community in the outskirts of Forteleza. They come from unstructed families, in need of affection, attention, or even a simple smile."

‘Illegal video shows, drugs, and gangs ‘

ET-329: - "There are also evil influences in this town which suffers economic, social, and spiritual collapse. Illegal video shows, drugs, and gangs are traps to the young people. Many families are breaking and children often live on the street. "

‘Men here are irresponsible’

IN-380: - "In Banaswadi, mostly poor and neglected people are in the community facing major problems, like illiteracy, poverty, alcohol, and broken homes. Men here are irresponsible and women work and support the families. Children suffer from malnutrition."

‘come from broken families, child-headed homes..’

UG-721: - "Children who come to the center here at our church are very excited to be in the program because some of them come from broken families, child-headed homes, and others suffer from malnutrition. Some of the children live on less than a dollar a day."

‘been left as single and double orphans due to HIV scourge’

UG704 Nyaruhanga Child Development Center - Many of the children come from poverty-stricken background. Some have been left as single and double orphans due to HIV scourge. Many of the homes are headed by women because their husbands left for casual work far away from their homes. The responsibility of providing food, medical care to the children is done by the wives. Husbands come home after several months. Generally the living conditions here is poor, characterized by diseases, poor sanitary conditions, respiratory diseases and intestinal worms.

'they are often overworked with stressful house chores'

From Pastor Muganuza Romuard from RW-363, Gashonga- The children are very happy to come to the center here at our church to relax because back at home they are often overworked with stressful house chores. There is a big problem of poverty and unemployment is at the highest due to illiteracy. Children live in tiny crowded houses made of mud walls and the conditions they live in are quite unhygienic. It is for this reason that children suffer from various diseases such as malaria. Spiritual needs for the children are very high, for many of them have not known about Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.

'child labor stems from the inability of the parents to send their children to school'

PH408 - Shepherd Child Development Center - "In our community, child labor stems from the inability of the parents to send their children to school. As early as 11 or 12 years old, children opted to work as a house helper to help their parents in supporting their large family. They never prioritize finishing school as they considered it as an 'additional' need. . . Most of the people [in this community] settle for farming, work as helpers and some got married at an early age. . . "

'unemployment rate is over 90 percent'

HA288 Capene Child Development Center - Our center is located in a very difficult community in Capeine, Bainet. The unemployment rate is over 90 percent. So, parents can't afford to pay their children's school tuition. Because of that, most of the children are involved in bad companies. Their families hardly cook a meal a day, and complain about their hard living conditions from time to time. It's evident now that our partnership with Compassion is more than a blessing. It helps us to have an impact on children's lives in the community.

'alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, underemployment'

EC 227 - The main social problems that we face here are: alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, underemployment and migration. In addition, one in every three couples that live together are not legally married; they just cohabitate. All these social issues have created a very sad family environment for many children. A large percentage of kids come from dysfunctional families, so they lack affection, as well as, have problems related to their behavior and their academic performance. [...] All I can state, my beloved sponsors, is that I am thankful for your putting a smile on the face of each child and their families. Thank you so much for sharing your love and blessings with your sponsored child. Please, do not stop praying for them and please remember what Jesus said in Matthew 25:40, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (NIV). I am sure you will find your reward in the kingdom of heaven.

'hardly eat a decent meal a day'

PH863 – Our place where we are ministering to these children is one of the most depressed towns in Eastern Samar, Philippines. People here have to migrate to other towns and even abroad in order for them to find regular source of income. Those who decide to stay have to be content in the small amount of money they earn from farming or fishing, which is not even enough to provide nutritious food for the family. Children here can hardly eat a decent meal a day, and some of them often must skip meals. They live in homes made up of wood, bamboo and coconut leaves, which are destroyed by typhoons that usually hit our area. Poor sanitation is also present in the community, and many of our children are suffering from respiratory diseases, skin rashes and other illnesses. The spiritual needs of the children are also great.

'Promiscuity and sanitation problems are rampant'

HA731 – The difficulties in the community are many. Most of the children live in very small and crowded homes. Promiscuity and sanitation problems are rampant. Children are vulnerable to malnutrition and other types of diseases. These children are always delighted to come to the center here at our church because they are often stressed at their homes and in the area where they live. But in the center they have the privilege to enjoy lots of activities prepared for them.

'place where all social evils are present'

IN384 Siddapura Child Development Center - As we see in the background of the community where we live, it is the place where all social evils are present and children is prone to be victim of this. The children live in a situation where they see their own parents always fighting, using very bad and filthy language, having extra-marital relationship, addicted to alcohol and not even bothered to send the children to school. The number of children in the family is more, and they struggle to fulfill the basic amenities. Many children are left uncared of sickness and malnourishment. There is no joy in the face in the children. It is because of the sponsors who restore that lost smile back of the children's face.

'40% of their pregnant women die every year during child birth'

TZ-303 - 40% of their pregnant women die every year during child birth. The reason the percentage is so high is because the health centre is so far away that the women die on the road while giving birth!

'most of the children are from polygamous families'

BF120 -The children are very glad to come to our center, because they are relieved to receive services. Most of the population here is poor and most of the children are from polygamous families where the children are left to mothers whose lack resources.

I am so grateful for the ministry of Compassion in these desperate communities.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

My Sponsor KeyChain

Lizzie - teen sponsor extraordinaire over at OC
OurCompassion Button
makes bracelets and keychains containing authentic beads from the countries in which Compassion works. 

Lizzie made me this beautiful keychain

for the string on top, key chain to tail- DR, EC, HA
for the string on the bottomt, key chain to tail- ET, IN, BO

Now when I look at my keychain, I can think of and pray for my kids! 
DR (Dominican Republic) for Cristal and Abraham,
EC (Ecuador) for Adriana
HA (Haiti) for Dayana, Edwin and Mathaline
ET (Ethiopia) for Fitsume, Solomon and Serek
IN (India) for Goloni
BO (Bolivia) for Rumario

More info on Lizzie's Sponsor Bracelets.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Love at First Sight – of a little face

Warning – Getting involved in Compassion will increase the size of your heart!

One of the things that has surprised me on my Compassion journey has been the fervent love that I have felt for our sponsored children, literally at the first sight of a small photo.  When we sponsored Adriana – there was this strong feeling that it HAD to be her, this young girl from the coast of Ecuador, 15 years old, living with her Mom.

Adriana (EC)

When I requested to be a correspondent and was assigned two children from Haiti, I was worried that I wouldn’t feel the same connection since I didn’t ‘choose’ them.  But it happened quickly anyways.  As I prayed for these two new names and faces, the love swelled up!


Edwin (HA)

Then I requested more correspondents and I asked for some teens.  I am not really the kind of women who loves all children. In fact, I tend to think Other People’s Kids (OPKs) are louder and stickier than my own :D  But I had seen how God can pour love into me for kids when I work with Quizzers – even the noisy ones! I truly LOVE them!! 

So I asked for teens, and quickly fell in love with these beautiful young adults that were assigned to me, that I haven’t even received a letter from yet. 
Doesn’t my Goloni look like she’s SO sweet! I can’t wait to get to know her

Goloni’s current Compassion photo
Goloni’s previous Compassion photo

Recently I was assigned a couple more correspondents, and I asked for South America. I was assigned little Cristhian from Peru.  Again – instant love for a little face.


Cristhian’s current photo


Cristhian’s previous photo.

 Isn’t he the cutest little man?!

I shouldn’t be surprised at God’s ability to help us grow in our love for others.  The stories I am beginning to  hear about how God matches up sponsors and their sponsored children never cease to amaze me.

For some people, it’s the sad eyes, for others it’s the smile and spunk, or for another it might be the bare feet. What draws your attention when you look at the faces of the children waiting for sponsors at Compassion?

Maybe the Eyes?
like Estivin' puppy eyes?

 or how about Wawu, she needs a sponsor too

or wee Jean



Friday, 26 April 2013

Engaging pre-teens and young teens in the Sponsorship Journey


This post is part of a Link Up from a Blogging from the Boonies Michelle

 Making Sponsorship a Family Affair.

We began sponsoring just a few months ago when our children were 14,13 and 10 years old. As parents, we have maybe leaned a bit on the over-protective side and sheltered our kids from a lot of world realities. They attend (up until grade 8) a marvelous Christian school in the country which both served to shelter them but also to ground them in their faith and teach leadership skills. Although a large catholic high school in the suburbs has been a bit a culture shock for our oldest, she is coming through her first year with tremendous grace, wisdom beyond her years, and still rooted in her faith.

 Being involved in Compassion has given us a great tool used in 3 ways:  
  1. Providing a World View through Compassion-ate Eyes
  2. Tempering world events with stories of hope, Remembering tragedies and seeing God working through people, His healing hands
  3. Role modeling empathy and gratitude

Teaching a World View through Lenses that are coated with Compassion

As my kids are growing up and becoming more exposed to the events of the world, belonging to Compassion has given me a tool to be able to see things that are happening with a compassionate world view.  When we grew up and were told to eat everything on our plate because kids are starving in India – this had little relevance to us.  Being able to show my kids stories of real kids who may only have one meal a day, and be able to see a picture of their face, and know a name to go with that face and to know that that child has some siblings and maybe only one parent, and lives in a house with a tin roof – these details make it real and hopefully a little bit more relevant.

When it sinks in, and your kids then ask what we can do to make a difference, we can tell them about organizations like Compassion (or World Vision, or Samaritan's Purse). We can show them proof of how $25 for a goat can provide food and income for a family, or sponsoring a child throughout their life can teach them to believe in themselves and stay in school and successfully raise their own family, not in poverty.

Making homework relevant – my son made this beautiful scattergraph for Geography earlier this year using data from infant mortality rates in 2 countries. His graph was lovely, but he had no clue what infant mortality rate actually means.   Linking this to Compassion's Child Survival Program and how this program makes a real impact on local infant mortality rates made this graph a lot more real.

Tempering world events with stories of hope, remembering tragedies and seeing God working through people, His healing hands

We talked about the Rwanda genocide earlier this month as Rwanda remembered its past.

When an aunt and cousin went on a missions trip to Haiti, we talked about the earthquake in Haiti.

And I know that this week we will be talking about the Factory Collapse in Bangladesh.
Role modeling empathy and gratitude

As parents, getting involved in the ministry of Compassion, we role model compassion. By bringing up our Compassion children into our every day conversations and our prayers, we role model empathy. 
And by remembering what others do not have, we learn to be grateful for the things we do have.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

World Malaria Day

Today, April 25, 2013 is World Malaria Day.

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease. It is caused by a parasite which is spread to humans by infected mosquitoes. There is no vaccine available against malaria .

Most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from malaria.

Together, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeriaaccount for over 40% of the estimated total of malaria deaths globally.

Read about what Compassion is doing to help prevent Malariain the countries where Compassion works:

Compassion intervenes by:
  • Providing households at risk with treated mosquito nets
  • Educating family members on malaria prevention
  • Treating those suffering from malaria, chagas disease and dengue fever

What can you do?
Pray for kids around the world who suffer from this disease— and praise God for providing the tools needed to treat and prevent it!

In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:12-13

Donate to Compassion's Malaria Intervention Programs @

Public Health Agency of Canada – Malaria information fortravelers

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

My Sponsored Child's Father Passed Away

I was excited to received a packet from a new correspondent in the Dominican Republic.  This is Abraham

But was saddened to see a paper insert in my package - More information about your sponsored child.  It told me that my sponsored child's father had recently passed away.  I called Compassion and they were able to tell me that it was noted on his file in January 2013 that his father had died of natural causes.  I do not have any more information other than that.

I am praying earnestly for Abraham, his mother and his two siblings.  I am collecting verses of comfort to send in a card for his family. 

A friend on OC ( recommended this excellent resource of verses:

scripture verses which offer comfort & hope during times of grief

from Justin Agoglia

Monday, 8 April 2013

Compassion and Forgiveness in Rwanda

Yesterday marked the anniversary of 100 days of killing in Rwanda.  It is important for us to remember these events and stay vigilent.  I truly believe that the ruthless killings can only open when the Evil one is present.  I cannot begin to understand how God could allow almost one million people to be murdered.  But I also cannot begin to understand how the beautiful people of Rwanda have been able to move on with their lives. The stories of hope and forgiveness that have come from this event can ONLY be from God. 

Stories like this one from a former Compassion-sponsored child:

I know of someone who sponsored a child from Rwanda last April 7th in memory of the Rwandan genocide. 

Here are two boys in Rwanda that are waiting to be sponsored.  A very special young man, Laurent, who is also a former sponsored child, used to attend this centre and will be visiting there soon.  If you sponsor one of these boys, you may be able to get photos of them smiling when they have been told they have a sponsor!

There are many more precious Rwandan children available for sponsorship:

or from the Compassion Canada site:

More about what Compassion is doing in Rwanda:

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Not One of His Bones Will Be Broken

I know that Easter has now passed for this year, but the concept of the resurrection has made me dig a little deeper this year and it is still weighing on my mind.

John 19 tells of Jesus' death on the cross

'31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.

The Scripture referred to here as being fulfilled is Psalm 34:20
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
But the picture of no bones being broken goes back to Exodus when the Israelites were in Egypt. God gave Moses and Aaron VERY CLEAR and specific instructions on how to prepare the lamb and smear the blood on the doors of their homes so that God would not 'permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.'

He then gave instructions for the Israelites to “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants."
And included in these instructions were the following specifics about this yearly Passover ritual:

 “It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones."
2 years later, while wandering in the desert, God tells Moses they must celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. He again provides clear instructions.

They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations.
These are instructions that Jewish people followed for 1400 years. For thousands of years, the Jewish people celebrate Passover, eating a lamb in which none of the bones are broken.

From a 20/20 hindsight perspective, the Old Testament clearly foreshadows the Messiah as the ultimate sacrificial lamb. Reading these instructions to the Jewish people, and seeing how modern day Jews prepare for the Passover really makes me wonder.

It seems that there were two instructions, the first being how the lamb was to be prepared and consumed within the house, with fire and with no bones broken, and the instruction about the unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The unleavened bread was to set a tradition for them to remember how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt and that they had to leave in a hurry. The lamb was their sacrificial offering. But in that lamb was their big clue about the Messiah. 

Today, many Jewish people put much effort into cleaning out their homes, getting rid of leavening agents etc. and then there is a feast with stew and many other types of meats. As I read about Jewish preparation for Passover, I kept thinking - what about the lamb? Weren't the instructions about the lamb clear?

Then I thought about how christians celebrate Easter. We hide eggs and tell our children that the Easter bunny visited during the night. And then we go to church and remember the crucifixion and we sing in celebration that he rose again. Which is certainly a joyous occasion and a great reason to celebrate. 

And then we go home and feast on turkey and/or ham. Why turkey, or why ham? I have no idea. 

But how did Jesus actually instruct us to remember? It was during his dinner before the Passover, his final dinner with his disciples, the Last Supper, in which he gave us his final wishes on how we should remember him.

It is in what we call Communion. Sharing some bread and wine with believers and remembering the sacrifice he paid for us. Isn't that what we should be doing on Easter?

Weren't Jesus' instructions clear?

Of course, I wouldn't complain if we were to roast a whole lamb and eat that with our Easter dinner next year.

Friday, 22 March 2013

14 year old Sayouba in Burkina Faso

Compassion has a campaign to help promote Compassion Sunday.  You can choose a child to pray for and try and find a sponsor for and setup your own - My Story page.  This is the one that I created.

I chose Sayouba because I had been reading recently about how Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world and he is 14 like my daughter and our sponsored girl, Adriana. 

Then I found a way to link to his full profile

And I discovered that there were 5 children in the family. And that his parents sometimes try to find work as farmers so that they can feed their family.  I found out that Sayouba is in primary school where he is struggling and is currently below average.  (this could be for many reasons - malnutrition, or having to help look after siblings etc.)

So until the sponsor that God has chosen for Sayouba comes along, I will be praying every day for this young man.  For whatever he is going through in his daily life today, I will be praying for his safety, for his health, for his family, for their home, and for his schoolwork.  I pray that he will know that His heavenly Father is with him and knows his name and loves him very much.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Compassion's Correspondence Program

It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the Compassion organization after sponsoring beautiful 14 year old Adriana in Ecuador as a gift for my beautiful 14 year old Kaitlin.

Kaitlin in the snow

Adriana in balmy Ecuador

When I found out about the correspondence program, I quickly asked to be a part of it.

The correspondence program is for cases where an individual or a business will financially sponsor a child but is not able to commit to regularly writing to their child.  Correspondent sponsors step in and commit to writing to the child a minimum of 3 times per year.  Although no financial commitment is required, a correspondent sponsor may want to give birthday, family or Christmas gifts to their assigned child.

This is in my opinion, a win-win situation for everyone involved.  More children in the program can have their physical needs met through the financial sponsorship and as an added bonus, a relationship can be developed with the correspondent sponsor.

Terri from Compassion Canada assigned 2 children from Haiti for us to correspond with.  Dayana is 11 years old and Edwin is 4 years old.  This was the perfect match for our family of 2 girls and 1 boy.