Saturday, 28 February 2015

Philippines Adventure -Part 1

Have you woken in the morning knowing something is in the air? Something different, a challenge in the wind! This started as one of those days.

 I am blessed with many Compassion children whom I write to and sponsor and also I sponsor several little girls in the Philippines through "His Hands for the Philippines" a group based in the USA.

As a child I had dreamed of being a missionary working with children in the third world. Life took its twists and turns and it never happened, instead I have gone along the traditional track of marriage, children and a teaching career.  

With my first pay packet from my first teaching job I sponsored Carla who we had the privilege of knowing for 13 years before she ran away to the capital to join her brother and was gone from our lives but not our prayers.
Baguio City

Five years ago I discovered Compassion and was drawn to a little girl in Ecuador and a year later a little girl in Bolivia. As I began to read the work of Compassion and the lives these children endure I wanted to do more. I wanted to sponsor them all. I discovered the correspondence program and my ministry began with just a few precious children I would write to. As the years pass so my number of children I correspond with has grown including many parts of the world. These are no ordinary kids, they have a strong faith, hope in the toughest environments, and love that can only be matched with Gods love for his people. I am sure they bless me more with their wonderful letters than I bless them.
La Trinidad 

Two years ago I discovered "His Hands for the Philippines", (HH4P)a small group who help the poorest children with all they need to attend school. It is not a holistic approach like Compassion but children who would be denied education because of no money for levees, uniforms or books as given theses needs, the gift of education and a hope for a better life. As a teacher this appealed to me and I sponsored several children for a tiny fee. 

Mid last year I was invited to join HH4P on their next mission trip to the Philippines. The old voices of my childhood said this is your chance to visit the mission fields! So after much thought and prayer I asked my friend if she would like to come with me and visit the children and help with the program HH4P were running. She has a very adventurous spirit and is a seasoned traveler so was happy to join me on this adventure.

It seems a long time since we first mooted the idea but this last week it is beginning to become real. Air tickets purchased, accommodation, food and travel paid for, immunizations and passport done. The adventure is about to begin!

WHAT WILL WE DO WHILE WE ARE THERE? That is a good question, we know with HH4P we will visit many remote and rural communities outside Baguio City where we will be based. We will be measuring and filling in the children in the sponsorship program forms and updating their photos with HH4P. We will spend one day with Compassion meeting at least 2 of my children who are in Baguio City and La Trinidad. We will visit their student centers, then their homes and meet their families. After that we will go out to lunch together and visit some fun theme/tourist park for some free time to enjoy together. 

That is all we really know so far, it is all an adventure and I would think a steep learning curve, living alongside a very different culture. It will be a wonderful experience to meet the children I

have been writing to for several years, to hear their voices and carry a conversation that is nor broken by several months of letters coming and going.

We leave on the first of May and I will endeavor to send updates if we have internet access. In the mean time please keep us in your prayers that we will be safe and keep healthy until we return.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Christmas is coming - time to get collecting!!!!

Christmas 2014 for my Compassion Children

With October well on the way it is time to send off Christmas things to my Compassion children around the world. My children range in age from 3 years old to 20 years old. They come from 23 countries around the world and speak many languages with the majority speaking Spanish.

I tend to start collecting throughout the year little things which I com across in shops and on the net. I find mazes, word puzzles, paper decorations and general ideas on the web. Our Christian book shops here and on line are a great source of stickers, book marks and little books for those that speak English. The Oriental Trading Company have great  range of paper things to send but for Australians it is very expensive postage to get them to our country. sell some of the items from Oriental trading at a better price than importing them.

Paper tree decorations I made
Each year I try to make some little thing for each child. This year I used pre cut Christmas shapes which I decorated with a punch heart and silver pen.

For the middle age group

For the middle age group of children I found some Christmas bells to make from paper on the Cannon web site. A star decoration, mazes, colouring pages, stickers and their photo with a Christmas blessing and photos of my family around them. Stickers from oriental trading and a letter.

For the younger children

The younger children are always the easier with so many options for them. This collection is made from stickers, paper Christmas heart decoration from Cannon, puzzles, dot to dot, mazes, fold out Christmas tree, colour and make your own Christmas scene, jigsaw, book mark, photo Christmas card, and a letter.

For the older children
The older children are always the hardest to find things for, especially for those who don't speak English. Cannon has Christmas decorations which are quite difficult but have good diagrams on how to make them without being able to read the instructions. Difficult mazes, photos, paper decorations made here and a letter are on their way to these children.
For the very little ones in preschool  or younger

The tiny ones are the easiest of all with so many Christian home school sites with a huge range of early education activities linked to Christmas, these include matching activities, early number, drawing and cutting skills, jigsaws and puzzles. To this I added stickers, colouring in sheets, picture books of the Christmas story and the child's photo in Christmas message and letter. 

For my older English speaking child I added a devotion, study guides, sermon extracts, book marks, cross words and word finds etc. in English which were based on the Christmas story and Christian celebrations of Jesus birth.

Hope this gives some ideas for others and that sponsors will take a few moments and write to their sponsor child. If you don't have time to collect things for your chid then just a card with a short message and a few stickers will bring untold joy to a child, them just knowing their sponsor is thinking of them and has taken the time to write to them is a blessing we can not measure but know it makes a great difference to a child far away.

God bless your Christmas preparations, may this season be a blessed one for you and your family.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

A precious child needs sponsor

Over the last couple of months I have lost 9 of my Correspondent children. I expect this might be a reflection on Australia's economy as I have been writing to these children for several years and suddenly their sponsors can no longer sponsor them. I have been blessed with 5 new little people but it is hard to say goodbye knowing they will now be waiting for some time for a new sponsor who may or may not write.


One of these children and his family really need the love and support of a kind loving sponsor who will write frequently and encourage this little family. I will tell you a little about him in the hope he may steal someone heart from here and hopefully someone who loves writing.




Age 10 - 2013
I have been writing to Jeisson for several year, he lives in El Salvador and is now 10 years old. He writes detailed wonderful letters every 1 –2 months and answers your questions and puts lots of detail about his life. He has a loving little family and takes huge responsibility for them already. Jeissons Dad was already gone when I first started writing to him, it was just him and his Mom, then Dad returned for a short time and Jeisson was over the moon. He left again within a few months and I haven’t heard anything of him in the last couple of years. During the time of his return Jeissons Mom got pregnant and Jeisson was so excited about having a brother or sister, it seemed to overshadow the fact his father had gone again. When his little sister arrived it was evident she has special needs and later I learned she had down syndrome and a few other problems. She goes to the hospital twice a week for treatment.


This dear little boy is doing very well at school and wants to become a lawyer so he will have enough money to support his mom and sister for ever. He is so sincere and determined that he will look after his little family and he is ONLY 10.


I wish I had a budget that could support him until he finishes school and keep in contact with him and his Mom. His Mom occasionally writes or sends messages through Jeisson.  I also have a lovely photo of Jeisson with his Mom and little sister which I will happily email to anyone who might sponsor Jeisson. If you would like to sponsor this wonderful little boy contact me and I will give you his number, he will be on the Australian site but I am sure he could be transferred to another site/country if your heart is drawn to him. I am sure he will bless you as much as you will bless him, I will miss his sweet letters.
Jeisson- Age 8- 2012


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Children Outdoors Inspiration!


 I spent today listing to the inspirational speakers Claire Warden and Niki Buchan who are leaders in Early Childhood Education, they are known around the world for their work in reconnecting children with nature.


What a play ground!
As I listened it struck me that our Compassion children suffer from many things, poverty, lack of clean water, lack of clothes, lack of safe homes, parents with no work or low incomes, malnutrition, lack of basic resources but in one way their life styles echo what our children lives lack. They don’t have the resources, like mega amounts of shop bought toys the TV and electronic games our children have. Their playground is the natural environment with rocks, sticks, sand and mud, climbing trees and helping out with household chores that involve 100% nature. These children face mighty challenges yet you see the joy in their faces as they play and there is not a commercial toy in sight.
Kingston Beach


I think we can learn a lot from these children and listening to Claire and Niki today made this all the more clear. Claire talked about boys needing to play with toy guns and bows and arrows  as this was part of their brain structure a basic instinct to them, from role play they begin to understand the real world. Claire talked about many centres and schools banning “Superheros” but research shows that boys need this type of role play to develop and it is just as important as fairy dress ups and ballerina costumes. She spoke on how we tended to often provide opportunities from the girls interests like home corners and dolls but we tend to over look the boys who would like toy hammers, tools etc as they are seen as dangerous.


In the developed world we tend to wrap our children in cotton wool all to worried about the dangers of every day life that we end up depriving our children of a healthy childhood. We make sure there is no danger by putting up high fences, draining puddles, putting soft fall everywhere and keeping climbing structures to a minimum or not at all. Swings have been removed from most schools yet research show that a child needs rhythmic motion to help the brain develop. Children are discouraged from climbing in case they fall or can’t achieve it so feel failure.


Claire believes we should be teaching our children to manage danger themselves, learn to make their own judgements on how high to climb or if they should jump a puddle– we are not preparing our children for life if they never have to make choices and feel a little ‘failure’-or more to the point, if something didn’t work  they will try again using another strategy– not failure!


Our Compassion children do this every day, many of them are home alone with siblings while parents work, they play in their environment without adults wrapping them in cotton wool, they learn to risk manage, enjoy the land they live in, run, jump and skip becoming strong and responsible. Their world is terrible on so many fronts but enjoying the environment and staying safe in it is something they could teach our children.


If you ever get the chance to listen to Claire Warden or Niki Buchan speak I would encourage you to attend as she is a very inspiring speaker and has so many wonderful ideas that will make the world a far more interesting and learning place for our children.


Thursday, 9 May 2013


The first smile that's not just expelled air,
The softness of the newborn's hair,
The perfect tiny hands,
That will one day grow to be a man's.
My precious children today!
Then how fast they grow,
Crystal and breakables up they go,
Then "no" is a favourite word,
How often is that heard?
The hassles of the runny nose,
Dirty boots and torn clothes,
Long nights as fevers blaze,
Infanthood slips into a haze.
All to soon the school bell rings,
Uniforms, frogs, books and slimy things,
Swift the change as independence starts,
Mother and child are prized apart.
A new world of learning and friends,
Of challenges not all with good ends,
Of tests of values and ways,
Not at all easy days.
Seeds that were sown in early days,
Slowly watered and given praise,
Mature into a fine young tree,
Strong and tall for all to see.
So the cycle of life starts again,
An older mother watches the younger mum's pain,
She lends a knowing loving ear,
The next generation she will hold dear.
For all the ups and downs we live,
The kids we love and always forgive,
The hard times melt into a vague past,
The bonds formed in childhood will always last.
A mother's love will never fade,
No matter who or what her child has made,
It's grace that fills our heart,
Until the time for us to part,
And knowing our job has done,
We leave the next generation to finish what we've begun.
@Janelle Coombe 1994
I was asked by my church to write a mothers day to read and church and this is what God gave me. At the time my children would have been 4,6,and 8. rereading it now it is still true to what I believe motherhood is. The heart of a mother is the same in every nation rich or poor. We all want the best for our children and want to see them succeed and do better than we did.
I couldn't imagine the hardship of living in our Compassion countries, watching you children struggle to survive, not being able to put enough food on the table to feed them, not being able to take them to a doctor or provide them with medicine when they are sick, and having to hold them as they die from diseases that can be prevented simply or cured with the right drugs.
We can't fix everything but we can make a start one little child at a time."The Child Survival Program helps save the lives of babies and mothers in poverty by utilizing local churches to assist mothers of at-risk infants and toddlers. Mothers can give their children a fighting chance for healthy development with the supplies and training provided by the donations to this program"( Compassion Bloggers).
There are 20 countries to choose from 584 different centres. maybe this Mothers day your gift to the world could be a one off donation to a centre to give another mother the hope and way forward to provide her child with what we take for granted. Check out Compassion International Survival Programmes to see what is happening in these centres around the globe.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

World Malaria Day

I'm not an Aussie Mozzie!

 Well here I am finally out of the water, I’ve spent weeks as a wriggler foraging around my puddle eating little bits of this and that , but now I’m an adult , got my wings and want to fly!!! WOOOO

Aussie Mozzie
 Are yes, the world is a beautiful place from up in the air, I’m definitely in a great climate. The air is warm, lots of rain, mostly a shower each afternoon and a feast of good food all around me.

 Well there is plenty of food for me but many other species here look lean and hungry, especially the humans. Where my puddle is the humans look particularly weak and ill, over the hill the humans look better but I can’t sip their sweet blood because they have fortresses to live in. They have glass in their windows and flywire on their windows and door for when they want to leave them open to let the cooling breeze through. Even if I do sneak through a hole or crack these humans have their beds covered with nets and have smelly stuff burning that will kill or repel me. They even spray the puddles to kill our wrigglers so they never meet us!

 Its much easier near my puddle. These humans have small houses full of hole to sneak in, they don’t have glass or fly wire, most of them don’t even have a mosquito net. When the sun goes down I and my friends are really hungry but we don’t have to wait long, just avoid the cooking fires smoke and we soon find a tiny child or older person to feed on. You see females of my species need that rich blood to feed on so we can lay hundreds more eggs in that muddy puddle that is our job in life and once we lay our eggs our job is done and we die as we have no more work to do. Its a bit sad really we don’t enjoy long life like the humans.

Malaria Areas in Red
 But I have heard it said that these humans don’t always enjoy a long life either, especially those who live near my puddle. They say that our bite has the potential to kill, especially if the humans can’t afford the medicine to treat the malaria we give them. The people over the hill are ok if they are bitten, they have doctors and hospitals and medicine to make them well. Malaria kills 655.000 children a year, they too had only short lives, their deaths could have been prevented if their parents could afford the treatment once they were sick. If they had been able to buy a mosquito net in the first place they probably would never have got sick.

 But the people by the puddle have no access to these things, they just get tireder and sicker after we bite them, little children die in their mothers arms, mothers and fathers die leaving children alone or in the care of others.

 If I was an Aussie Mozzie I would just be annoying and cause an itch spot. They don’t make people sick just itchy. Sadly most mosquitoes are not like this especially in the developing world, they are deadly carrying Malaria, which kills a person every minute of every day many of these being children.

 This does not need to happen, Malaria is preventable and curable. A $10 mosquito net will protect a family while they sleep. Quinine is readily available but needs to be given free of charge to all suffering from malaria.

 You could change the life of a child, or a family by donating a few dollars to the Malaria Intervention on the Compassion International site. Your few dollars provide households with mosquito nets, education on prevention, treatment for those suffering from malaria and dengue fever. Will you make a difference, give a child a chance to stay healthy, complete their schooling and play a part in a better world for their community.
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