Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Solomon's Story

On our second full day in Kenya we met a young boy named Solomon while we visited the Massai village. We were able to experience a "day in the life" while visiting his home. We proved to not be the most skilled at goat herding or milking. Solomon was originally brought into Compassion International as a part of their Child Survival Program or CSP. The child survival program is one of my favorite parts of Compassion's ministry for many reasons. First, CSP sponsors mother/child units from 0-3 years, the most critical years of life and development in many of these impoverished countries. The truth is, in many of these places, without the work of Compassion, these children would not survive their 3rd birthday. But because of the work Compassion is doing, mothers are learning about how to best take care of their children and help them not only survive, but thrive. Another thing I love about the program is the ministry it has with the mothers of these programs. All of the mothers that I have met are so grateful for the program and for all of the knowledge and the skills that they have learned. Compassion, as well as educating mothers on caring for their children, is also teaching those same mothers skills that they can use to produce income for their families. In Solomon's case, his mother was able to move their family from the small mud hut made of elephant dung that their family did occupy to a larger, nicer home. While still small by our standards, it was a great improvement over their former living conditions. Solomon's mother was able to provide this for their family because of the skills she had learned through Compassion's program. The CSPs of Compassion are making disciples of the mothers who are in turn, sharing their knowledge with their friends and communities. I truly believe that the children involved in CSP are the future of their country. I believe that they will be stronger and more confident adults who will grow up to make a difference in their country. Compassion is truly stepping in from the very beginning of life to break the bondage of poverty and release children from poverty in Jesus' name. I believe that Solomon will grow up to be a great man and make a difference in Kenya because of the work that God has done in his life through Compassion.

Currently you can make a one time or monthly committed donation to Child Survival Programs all over the world and you can help support this great work that Compassion is doing. I encourage you as this is a way that you can contribute once or on a regular basis to making a difference in so many childrens' lives around the world. Start making a difference in the life of someone like Solomon today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

To Be an Advocate

I have thought a lot lately about what it means to be an advocate...primarily, an advocate for children. A couple of years ago, I "officially" became an advocate for Compassion International which started my thoughts about what it means to be an advocate for children in poverty all over the world. My involvement with Compassion has a lot to do with why I am now becoming a teacher. Through Compassion I discovered my desire to make an impact in the lives of children, a real lasting impact, and what better way to do that then to become a teacher? Too bad it has taken me all this time to figure that out! Now as I am in classes about elementary education and becoming a teacher, I keep hearing that word...advocate. And I have thought more and more about what that means, both in the context of my heart for children around the world, as well as in the context of those students who will be in my classroom in the future.

As I think about children in my class one day, I think about children who will have little to no parental involvement in their lives. I think about children who may or may not have hot meals over the weekend when they leave school. I think about children who are struggling but desire to learn. I will not only be a teacher to these children, but I will be a comfort when they are hurting. I will be their voice when they cannot speak up for themselves. I will care about them not just as students or pupils, but as people who need to be invested in, cared for, and loved. I will be their advocate.

As I think about the children all over this world, many of which who live in poverty, I think of Susan, my sponsored child in Uganda. I think of a beautiful group of young girls in the Philippines that I spent an afternoon with giggling and playing. I think of children in Haiti that have hope, even in the midst of tragedy. And I think of the beautiful faces of children that I met recently in Kenya. As I was in Kenya, I realized that it is not by chance that I have heard and learned their stories. So, it is my responsibility to tell those stories. To be the voice for the millions of children who are not being heard. To love and care about these children enough to tell other people about them. So over the next few days that is what I will do. I will tell their stories. I will be their advocate.

I like the Webster's dictionary definition that defines an advocate as "one who pleads the cause of another and supports or promotes the interest of another." I hope that is what I can be for any child that God may put in my life or in my care.

P.S. I am still keeping up with my Bible reading too! Finally caught up from Kenya.

Today's Reading: Leviticus 11-14

"For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy."
-Leviticus 11:44

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eight Years Ago...

I went to the olympics. As a child I dreamed of going to the olympics as a gymnast. Obviously that wasn't really in the plans for me since I wasn't 4 ft 10 in and 80 lbs. But still, the olympics always had a special place in my heart. I get excited when the time for the olympics comes around and I still get a little teary eyed when the torch is lit or someone receives a medal. So, when the opportunity came along for me to go to the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, I was more than ready and excited. As a junior in college, I hopped on a plane for the first time since I was little with 14 other random people to serve with a group called More than Gold. While we were there, we served as Olympic volunteers. As I look back, it was a turning point in my life. Before then, I had never really traveled much outside of South Carolina and didn't really desire to go anywhere else. One trip on a plane to Salt Lake City and all that changed when the travel bug bit me and bit me hard. I think that trip was the first time that I really had the courage to take a risk and go somewhere God was calling me to go. It was stepping into the unknown and being okay with that. It was the step that would ultimately lead me down the journey that God has me on now. A short trip to Salt Lake City turned into what will be 8 summers traveling on the road with camp and events in 18 states. It turned into trips to Uganda, the Philippines, Haiti and Kenya. It turned into vacations of driving from Seattle to San Diego. It took me to places where I met my husband and some of my best friends. That one step, that seemed like a brief trip to the olympics at the time, became the first step in a journey that has been more exciting than I could have ever imagined. So each time the olympics roll around again like they did tonight, I get that warm and fuzzy feeling all over again. It reminds me of how far God has taken me in the past 8 years and makes me excited about what He must have ahead. Enjoy the games! I'll post about Kenya and Compassion over this next week.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Tonight is going to be a really short post. Headed to Kenya tomorrow to see the work of Compassion International. The reality hasn't even really hit me yet as I have been running around like crazy trying to get ready to go. Maybe it will hit me sometime between Atlanta and Amsterdam tomorrow! I am not really looking forward to the long flights, but it will give me plenty of time to relax and catch up on reading. We will jump right into everything once we get to Kenya and I am looking forward to all of the experiences we will have. Don't think that I will have a chance to blog while I am there, so I will be back on the 10th. Keep us in your prayers as we travel and pray that we will be an encouragement to the students and leaders of Compassion International Kenya.