Sunday, 19 November 2017

My Compassion Journey

My story starts nearly 40 years ago as a first-year teacher with the sole aim of my first pay packet was to sponsor a child, something I had longed to do for years but hadn’t an income to support a sponsorship as a student. I still remember the excitement of scrolling through the pages of children and anguishing over which child to choose. Eventually a tiny 3-year-old from Honduras stole my heart and Carla became part of our family for the next 10 years.  Through letters from her project worker I grew to know her and share in her life journey which wasn’t an easy one, when she was about 8 her father was murders on Christmas eve returning with presents from the capital. Then her mother remarried and had several more children, the new father treated Carla badly and at 13 she ran away to the capital to live with her brother on the streets. There were many more children after Carla but none seemed to thrive or go beyond primary school. It worried me that they seemed to get so far and then drift away. I felt God was telling me there was other children he wanted me to sponsor with another group.
I eventually casually started researching other groups that sponsored children and began to look at what they did and what they believed. I came across Compassion and God seemed to say yes this was who he wanted me to sponsor with. So I did some more research and to my joy I found it was child centered, and the individual child’s education was very important to the extent that each child had a tutor. This was like music to an early childhood teacher’s ears! I again scrolled through the children and from a childhood interest in the South American native people settled on Rosmery in Bolivia. Nine years later I still sponsor her and she is in high school now and doing well. Her Dad wrote for her while she was small and they were great letters full of details. Then the joy of her own little letter and drawings to now lovely letters full of detail, hope and understanding and interest in all we communicate about. This beautiful family had to move towns for work but valued her sponsorship so much that they return each Saturday so Rosemery can still attend her center and be part of the program.
I thought I was doing well with one sponsor child, writing to her every month and creating little things for her. I had no idea what God  had in plan for me. Before long I felt God tugging on my heart strings again to sponsor another child, I argued with God that I couldn’t afford it and He told me to trust him and sponsor a child. I looked at the sight and a child jumped out at me, she was the one. So I took the leap in faith and sponsored her. This happened again and again over the years, and each time I doubted at first then did it, but what was miraculous was that each time I have added a child my income has unexpectedly gone up and has covered the cost of the sponsorship and a little extra. God is so good right down to the tiny details.

This is only half of the story. About a year after I had started sponsoring with Compassion I heard about their correspondent program being run out of the US for children sponsored by companies or people who didn’t write. They were short of correspondents and were asking if anyone would be interested in being a correspondent to a child. I loved writing letters and making various paper crafts for my sponsor children so I asked if an Australian could be involved. After a bit of paper shuffling my first correspondent child arrived and my new journey began. By this stage I was corresponding with about 10 children monthly and enjoying every minute of it. That 10 continued to grow and grow, then Australia also started the correspondent program and I joined their team of Australian correspondents as well. Soon my 10 had grown to 20 and it was time to put some systems in place so I could ensure I didn’t miss a child each month. Over the years I have refined my system, every child has a journal I put their letters in to cherish and reread. I use a spreadsheet to track letters as they come in and as I reply to them. I now have around 100 children I wrote to each month, those  who send letters that month I write a hand written letter in return or a personal reply emailed for the US children, all the other children get a general emailed each month that is tailored to their age and situation. I love making collages with photos for the children around whatever their letter is about, sometimes photos of my family, places we have been or science events like aruras or super moons. For the younger children I create lap books about all sorts of things and incorporate Bible verses and explanations. I use the emails as devotions for the older children and they in turn send me their devotions back. Such wisdom comes from the most unexpected children at times, I never cease to learn from them.

If you are not a person who writes easily maybe start with a post card, just something about where you live or what you do, it doesn’t need to be something spectacular, all it need to be is a symbol of your love and care for the child, let God work through your words and I can assure you, you will be amazed and blessed by the children as they write to you and build a relationship with you.

Many of my children have written that they keep everything I send and every letter is a special place or box, many seem to keep them in a box under their beds and they reread the letters again and again sharing them with their family and friends. I have heard of children when faced with a natural disaster will go back for their letters and that may be the only thing they try to save. Please write to your children it is far more important to them than the money you send. Your love can change their world forever.

Matthew 25:40
And the king will answer them, 'I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.' 

My greatest adventure was in 2015 when I was privileged to go on a mission trip with another aid group t the Philippines. Although I knew in my heart and soul what poverty looked like, I was ill prepared to see it face to face and amazed at what I saw. We went into the slums of La Trinidad in an inconspicuous  bus. On each side of the narrow mud streets were houses made of plastic bags, old bits of wood, wire and cardboard. Raw sewerage and waste ran down the side of each house in a shallow ditch, there was no water supply or sanitation and a few houses had attached themselves to the power line with open wires. There was mud, filth and smell everywhere. Then we got out of the bus and walked up a narrow muddy path to the little church hidden amidst the shabby house. As we walked in the door we were met by spotlessly clean shiny white tiles floor, and children full of laughter and fun and they too were spotless just like their church. There precious people had prepared us a banquet fit for a king and probably was all their food for a month, but their grace, kindness and joy was overwhelming.  These people had nothing in material resources but were filled with hope and joy, they were grateful to be alive another day and the children bubbles over with friendliness and life.
As we left I was completely in awe of these families and compared to our western lives we are doing something very wrong. Here they were Gods people living Gods life and filled with his love and joy. They had so little but were so content and happy, I still wonder how we can bring this to our communities and fellow Christians.

I was also horrified as we drove through a brothel area in Manila on our way north at 4 am in the morning to see street after street of these brothels with their vulgar balloons flying and beautiful little girls no more than 4-5 years old dressed in silk gowns sitting outside waiting for customers. It broke my heart I just wanted to stop the bus and kidnap them all.

While I was in Baguio City we organised with Compassion to meet 3 of my children, 2 were sponsor children and the third a long-time correspondent. Jaden came from the far north of the island and traveled with her mother and social worker for 5 hours by bus to reach us. She was a delight and although I knew she did well at school it wasn't until I saw the transcripts that Compassion records that I realized she got 95% or higher for every exam she sat. At 18 she was the eldest of the three and immediately became the big sister to the younger two. Micah was quiet and didn’t say a lot but her grandfather and mother joined us and her granddad had good English from being with the Americans during a war. He had a great sense of humor and kept conversations rolling. Alfha was the youngest at 4 and was very shy and said almost nothing except to Jaden whom she loved and snuggles up to and then fell asleep at the end of the day. Her mum and tiny baby sister came with her but Jaden was her favorite. We spent a lovely day together visiting the mall and having a meal together, at time there was silence but it was a comfortable warm silence and the day ended all too fast. I hope one day to return and meet my precious girls again.
We visited both Micah’s and Alfha’s  student centers and we were really impressed with the detail and rigorous records they keep. We were shown all the school reports, the project reports of their learning and classes they had attended, every letter I haves sent or been sent to me is kept on file, every cent I have sent for gifts or birthday gifts is recorded and what it is spent on. There are medical records of all the check ups and additional medical intervention they have used for each child. I also met the children’s tutors who spoke about the program they run and how each child was progressing. I was amazed at the work and time that goes into ensuring every cent we send is spent wisely to ensure each child reaches their potential. Visiting your children is such a blessing to you both and a life changing experience for the sponsor.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Ana - Compassion child's Story

Ana's Story "Poverty to prosperity"

Ana is an orphan living in a tiny coastal rural village in a developing country. She comes from a loving family whose lives were blown apart when she was only 2.

Ana's parents were happily married and expecting their third child. Ana had an older brother and another sister was due to be born. Things didn't go as planned there was no hospital nearby to source help and her Mum died giving birth to her little sister. The new little baby was weak and had sustained damage during the traumatic birth. She struggles and survived.

Her father broken and lost from loosing his wife and now responsible for three small children couldn't cope so took his son and left the 2 little girls in the care of their elderly grandparents. He never returned to the family or visited his daughters. They never saw him or their brother again. As a little girl both her grandparents worked as laborers on a plantation and in the plantations factory. As time passed by her grandfather now reaching his 80's and was not well enough to work so their grandmother was the sole income worker earning a tiny income to raise the 2 little girls with.

Ana joined the Compassion project when she was 3 and her sister due to the families tiny income and her additional needs also joined the program. Through the sponsorship program they were helped with food, meals every day at the center and when the time came for their education to start all their supplies, uniforms and levies were covered by Compassion.

Ana loved school although she found some subjects very difficult. Maths and Languages were always a challenge to her. She worked hard with her tutor at Compassion to overcome these barriers and always did her best. She had to sit exams in grade 6 to enter high school and spent many extra hours with her tutor studying as she wanted to finish her education and become a teacher.

With much joy she passed the entry exams and entered high school many miles away. To attend classes she had to rise early and travel by bus for almost an hour to attend the nearest high school. Again she gave her study everything she had, worked with her tutors and did well. Although in high school she now found she was no longer in the top of her class but still passing her subjects.

Each year she had to pass exams to enter into the next grade and each year she was a little close to becoming a teacher. Finally year 12 was underway, new subjects and new teachers. Ana was still with Compassion and not only doing her school work but also the Compassion project program that prepares children to be able to make good decisions and function well in the world they live with all its challenges and vices. At the project there are course that students can undertake to give them additional skills like computer skills, dress making, pottery, screen printing etc. Ana had taken many of these courses and made the best of every opportunity that came her way.

By the time Ana entered year 12 her grandparents health was failing, both dependent on medication to stay alive and both unable to work any more. Compassion again came to the families aid with food and medical help for the grandparents who wouldn't of been able to afford the medication they needed.

Ana still struggled with language and she had to have a high pass in this subject to enter training to be a teacher. Sadly her results didn't meet the requirements for her to become a teacher. Her childhood dream was not going to become a reality. Her faith in God was strong and she knew He had another plan that was better than hers she just had to discover His plan. For many teenagers this breaking of a life long dream would have destroyed them and they might have given up. Ana remained strong and focused knowing she needed a good income to support her grandparents and sister.

She had completed a computer course at the Compassion project and had done well so she applied to do a computer and technology course which would take a years study and give her a qualification to work with computers and IT. She completed the course with flying colors and was offered a junior job in a computer company near where she lived. She could now support her grandparents and sister and they would no longer be dependent on Compassion for their food and needs.

Ana's life went from good to better. Due some changes in the letter writing process I didn't hear from Ana for many months.Compassion let me know that Ana had graduated from the project and she and her family were self sufficient. Her sister with the help of Compassion had become a dressmaker and was working for a business in the town too.  Then a new letter arrived the first page was about the usual things and how she was going but on the last page was the most exciting news. She told me that she had got married to a wonderful young man who had a job in a trade and they were both very happy. The sad new was her grandfather had died and her grandmother was dying.

I was overjoyed to hear her life had a happy ending and pray that they she and her new husband can enjoy a long and happy life together. Without Compassion her story would have been very different she may have been a statistic and died before the age of 5 like many in her country do.I was blessed to be her correspondent for 10 years and somewhere out there is her sponsor who made this fairy tale come true. It is knowing the difference a sponsorship, a compassion project with the children at the heart of their ministry, lots of love and your words in a letter can do that makes this journey a remarkable one.

Ana is not her name and I have deliberately not mentioned her country to protect her confidentiality but her story is totally true and I feel so blessed to have been part of it. Sorry no photos either for the same reason.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Power of Love - Romania

The Power of love - a lesson from Romania

Never under estimate the power of love.

 Never under estimate the power of a few simple words!

Sponsoring a child or being a correspondent is far more than a financial or time investment in the life of a child. For some of these children it is a lifeline in a very difficult lonely world. It may be the only time someone cares about them enough to want to help them through their daily grind where being hungry is normal, roaming the street and begging are survival skills and to go to school is a far off dram they never imagine they will have a chance to do.

My job involves training educators who work in the child care industry and this lesson of the huge influence we have on a child's life, well-being and future we brought home to me very strongly as I read some research out of Romania some years ago. I share this with my fellow workers regularly as it made me realize how important the tiny details are to let a child know they are loved and valued. I believe this lesson is also true for our Compassion children and any other children in a sponsorship program.

Many years ago now, those of my generation will remember the horror pictures that came out of Romania as the world became aware of a country on its knees with too many children, too little food or work and a government that couldn't cope. These images were of scores of children locked in cots or rooms with little clothing or food and nothing to do but sit all day in their cots while the few staff employed would try to attend to their basic needs with the few resources they had. There were many horror stories of what happened to these children, what they were fed and what happened to them in the institutions. I won't go into that but you can research it on the net if you want the details.

The world was saddened by the plight of all these children and thousands of them were adopted all over the world. Most of the children adopted were under 5 years old from memory. A researcher at a US University decided to write his thesis on what happened to these children adopted in the USA and to find out how they got on as they reached adulthood.

His results were devastating finding that a very large number of the children adopted had not fared well. A large number had sever mental health issues, some had taken their lives, others hadn't been able to adjust to normal life and were living as homeless or on the edges of society. There was also another smaller group that were well adjusted, had been educated, gone on to have steady jobs, marriage and families and had completely assimilated into the American life style.

This puzzled him and he decided to investigate further. He then discovered that all these children who were doing well had come from the same orphanage. So he researched the orphanage and could fine no difference from that one and all the other government orphanages. So he decided to go to Romania and fine the orphanage and see if he could find the answers there.

When he got to Romania he also found that all these children had come from one particular wing of that orphanage on the same floor. He went to the orphanage and talked to the staff but they were all younger and had not been there when the children had been. One of the staff remembered there was an old lady who had worked at the orphanage then still alive and in the city. So he went to visit her and she had the answer:-

Another member of staff who had since died did the late shift. Every night at the end of her shift she would take off her apron, hang it up and then go to each crib one by one. She would pick up the child give them a cuddle and tell them she loved them and they were important. She would then tuck them into bed and go to the next child. She would do this for every child on that floor of the wing every night before she went home.

That was the only difference between the children that thrived and all the others from all the other orphanages. A little bit of love goes a long way!

All children need to know they are loved and cared for, in the world of poverty where survival takes first place love is often missing or not shown due to stress and strife. A short letter to let a child know you care and are thinking of them may be the same as that old lady telling each child they were loved and worthy.

As I started with never under estimate the power of love, your words could be the difference between a life lost or a full and happy future.

What can you do for a child today????

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Saving the life of a precious Mom!

Bolivia 2016

Just over 18 months ago I received a letter from one of my older Bolivian girls. It read as usual full of the things she had been doing, how school was going and what she had been doing at her Compassion Project. Then there was the final paragraph in which she said her family were sad as her mother was in the final stages of "chagas sickness" and wouldn't be with them for much longer.

I had been her sponsor for many years and knew her well from all the letters we share. She was one of the older children in a family of 7, her father farmed a little plot of land some distance away from where they lived. She was excelling in school and hoping with the help of Compassion she would be able to finish her schooling and pursue a university degree in medicine, her passport out of poverty along with her family. She also had an older sister with a medical issue that meant the sister needed constant care which her mother devoted her time to along with the usual things a mother does day to day. If her mother died my sponsor child would become responsible for the family including her ill sister, not only would they loose the mother they loved but also the hope for a better future.

On researching "Chagas sickness" I discovered that it was a disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi). The parasites invade the muscles of the body (via contaminated water)including the heart and lay dormant for up to years. Then they  start breeding building their numbers in the muscles and the person starts to show symptoms. There are several stages of the disease and during the final stages a person usually dies of a fatal heart attack. 

This all sounded terrible with not much hope but then I read on that this disease is curable at any stage in the western world by being give a course of 2 very strong antibiotics. These drugs are free under the Australian health system but coat $3,000 in Bolivia, South America. I set about finding out if there was any way we could send the drugs the mother needed from here (Aust) but that wasn't going to be possible. The only way we could help her was to raise the $3,000 and send it to Compassion Bolivia and they would organize the treatment there.

I din't have $3,000 but knew there must be a way to save her. I approached my Director and then the CEO of the company I work for to see if they had any good ideas or if the company might donate some money. She suggested I could use the company resources and involve the staff to do some fund raising and that the company would also give a donation towards the costs if we raise a good amount of money.

The challenge was on and slowly most of my work colleagues were on board and helping in any way they could. We made calendars we sold to all our clients, had a Christmas raffle which some of the staff cooked wonderful creations for prizes, our electrician gave us a % of his profits for a month and the Director and CEO came through with a generous donation. All our clients also generously supported our fund raisers and willing participated.

By January we had the $3.000 and an additional $450 raised. The mothers condition was the same and hadn't worsened in the time it took us to raise the money and we were able to send her money for treatment as well as an additional $150 to three other families we knew of that were struggling. Then we had the long wait to hear if the treatment had been able to cure her and we knew it would b almost a year before we would get the formal report of how things went. 

As the months went by I had little bit of news in my sponsor child's letters saying her Mom had had a treatment or that she was getting better, so we knew there was hope. Finally two weeks ago the report arrived, the treatment was 100% successful, the mother's health had been restored completely and she was now able to live a normal life and look after her family. We also received a lovely photo of my sponsor child beaming standing next to her mom who also looked healthy and happy.

We are only a small business in a small community but with the grace of God we can achieve great things when we work together. I think in life you often only get one or very few chances to do something beyond your hopes and dreams and this was one of those moments for me. I know nothing of medicine but when a small community works together you can save a life and change the future for a family.

Friday, 1 April 2016

 The story of our Carla's continues.

You may have read an earlier post about our first Carla we sponsored many years ago and our journey over those years with that precious little girl. If you haven't scroll down and you can meet her.

After many years I had been blessed with another Carla from Bolivia she was a gently and kind young lady who wrote beautiful caring letters and blessed our lives for 2 year. At the end of 2015 she completed grade 12 and graduated from the Compassion project. In 2016 she moved on to study at University to gain a tertiary qualification and to fulfill her hopes and dreams for the future free from poverty. Like our first Carla she will remain in my heart and I will pray that life treats her well and that her life is a wonderful success and testimony of God faithful love for her.

This year I decided we needed another Carla to join our compassion family and although I search the many children there was no Carla in sight. I asked Compassion to see if they had an older child called Carla on their book from South America.
There were several but with a heart for Bolivia I decided a child from there would be my first choice. There were no older children just one little girl who was 3. As my work days are numbered I was sure I should support an older child but this unseen little girl was pulling at my heart strings and so trusting God that He had the plan and so I accepted her. A few days later she was transferred to my Australian account and I saw her little face for the first time.

So a new journey begins, it could last 19 years if she stays in the program or it could be short as people move and circumstances change. What ever the time we share I look forward to getting to know her and her family and watching her  grow from afar. My first little Compassion sponsor child was also 3 and from Bolivia and over the last 9 years I have seen her grow from a tiny shy child to a confident happy and studious young lady who is going to do well in life and shake the shackles that poverty brings.She feels my like a godchild rather than a sponsor child as we share wonderful letters monthly, sharing our lives and the love of our God. I hope the journey with our little Carla is similar and look forward to seeing her grow and flourish too under the care of her Compassion project. 

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Pocket Letter - OWLS

Owl Pocket Letters!

I decided to create a pocket book for my Compassion Children about the wise old owl. I have started with one for my older English speaking girls, so no translating needed.

First you need to source some basket ball card/ swap card pockets. I sourced these on line as they weren't readily available here.I collected up various owl themed papers and bits to create the pockets. I first cut a piece of colored card for each little pocket as backing. I then created each little pockets contents.

This pocket says from me behind on the card insert. In a little cellophane packet are a few little punch cuts of flowers and hearts. I sealed them in the cellophane packet so they wouldn't escape in transit then put the packet into the little pocket. 

This little pocket has an owl print swinging on a bow string with at 3D sticker to give it a bit of color and interest.

This is a paper pocket with a bible verse written on the inside slip. On the outside is an owl 3D sticker and where the verse comes from.

In this pocket is a collection of owl photos showing their diversity and camouflages. A little bit of sticker lace to trim the top.

In this pocket is just a picture of a cute owl which I decorated with a bit of edging sticker tape. I was tempted to give him google eyes but thought they may not pass the paper requirements for Compassion.

In this pocket I just used a 3D sticker and the word "hello" which I will translate for each child's language. A couple more little stickers to finish it off.

In this pocket is a little pre-bought tag that had glitter around the edge. Add a bow, a name and a little 3D sticker and it is done.

This little pocket has an owl print that I added some diamond stickers to the middle of some of the flowers and to the owls to give them a bit more interest. 

This pocket has another little tag which came with the owls on, I added a little row of diamond stickers and another bible verse to create this pocket.

On the back I have added a couple of stickers in one of the pockets and attached an envelope for the letter to go in. 


Finally I found some owl witting paper to write my letter to her on. There are dozens to choose from on the pinterest site.

I used a little bit of stick tape to seal each little pocket so the content didn't fall out in transit. A clear dot sticker would be perfect for a seal but I haven't got them yet so stick tape will do.

I found these "Pocket Letters" fun to do and they didn't take a lot of time once you had your initial ideas together. 

I think I will work on a sea themed one for the older boys and I haven't yet decided on the theme for the little ones. Another advantage of these pocket letters is they are light to post so if you have many correspondent children like I have, it will keep the postage cost down.

Happy Pocket lettering all! 

Friday, 5 June 2015

A day with my Compassion children in the Philippines

A day with my Compassion children in the Philippines

The day started early as the Compassion minibus arrived at Mission House to take Elva and I to meet 3 of my Compassion children in the Philippines. We meandered our way from Baguio to La Trinidad winding around and over the mountains. Unfortunately it was cloudy day so we couldn’t see the ocean from high in the mountains because of the cloud. As we entered La Trinidad we were saddened to see where a large landslip had occurred the year before trapping and killing many families including 3 Compassion children and their families. With my Geologist eyes on, it concerned me that many families had rebuilt on the steep slope of the landslip area.

Not far from this area on the opposite slope was PH106 where the first of my children attended. This was a large well maintained church with many rooms that were well kept and clean. There Alfha, her mum and baby sister were waiting for us. Alfha was shy and hesitant to talk to us, her Mum was lovely, so gentle and kind. The Compassion staff showed us all the files they kept on Alfha, every detail of her progress recorded, her learning, health and medical checks all carefully recorded. Every letter I had sent her and the ones she had sent to me were copied and kept on her file. There was also a detailed record of the monetary gift I had sent over the years and exactly what the money had been spent on. Alfha’s social worker joined us and told us a bit about the program she was working on with Alfha. We learned that she lived in a remote rural area and because she was only young the social worker went out to her rather than her travelling to the project. When she is older she will join the older children and go with them to the center. We took some photos and could hear a large number of children singing in the attached hall although we didn’t get to see them.

Alfha, her family and social worker set out again to collect Jaden from the hostel they were staying. Jaden had traveled by bus for 5 hours the day before to meet us with her Mum and social worker.  Jaden was just as I expected, a beautiful, gentle loving girl that had an air of tranquility and peace about her. She instantly took a shine to little Alfha and took her under her wing. La Trinidad was definitely a poorer area, with police with rifles guarding the streets. We turned off into a settlement area of simple houses with few modern conveniences and went up a little lane to PH170 to meet  Micah and her family. Micah and her Mum as well as her Grandpa had come to meet us. Grandpa had been in World War 2 and was very fluent in English, Mum had worked abroad and could also speak excellent English which helped with the flow of conversation. Micah was shy and gave just one word answers but her family told us lots about their world and what they had been doing.
Jaden's Mum didn’t speak English and Alfha’s only spoke a little which made it hard to talk to them. We stayed at PH170 for quite a long time talking and looking at Jaden and Micah’s files. Jaden had amazing academic results 90+% for many of her subjects both at school and now at University.

After some more photos we headed to the Mall in Baguio for lunch at “Jollibees” which is like KFC. It was Alfha’s first time in the city and first time at Jollbees so she was beside herself with excitement. Once lunch was over we did a bit of shopping with the children while the parents went and bought some food. The children bought some clothes and Alfha bought a ball. The girls decided that because they all had the same sponsor they were now sisters and walked arm in arm everywhere. In such a short time a beautiful bond had formed between them.

From there we went to try out some sideshow rides which were like bumper cars that Micah and Alfha tried out  then Jaden went with Alfha on a round-a-bout ride. Before we knew it our day was over, we took some more family photos at the mall and a photo of us all together. We gave them each their gifts and the precious families also blessed us with some beautiful gifts too. Jaden had made an amazing bead bag for me beautifully lines, it must have taken her weeks to make, I will treasure it always. Micah gave us a bag of delicious mangoes which we all enjoyed over the next few days. They were much sweeter and tastier than their Australian cousins. Alfha gave me some lovely hand crafted gifts made in the Philippines, a beautiful little woven bag, a wooden backscratcher, and a reed mat to put hot pots or kettles on. Wonderful gifts that I will treasure always along with the memories of a very special day. Hopefully God willing I will be able to visit them again one day in the future.