The last year has been incredible.
I won't list all the details, but I will say that my last year with Compassion has pretty much blown my first three years out of the water.
More sponsorships than I had dreamed.
More Water of Life than I had dreamed.
More International Travel than I had dreamed.
Story after story of how God is working through the ministry of Compassion...
And all of them, in some way, include YOU.
Yes, YOU people. The vast network of friends, family, advocates, sponsors, and students that are in my heart every where I go. You are the ones who have ultimately made everything that has happened this year possible. I'll give God the glory for moving in your hearts to support the work that God has called me to.
Today something pretty cool happened. I WON A CONTEST. Did you read that? I won something. That doesn't happen. It was the Pinterest contest that was a part of Compassion's blog month. I would like to say that I won because of my awesome blogging skills...but that really didn't have anything to do with it. The way the contest worked was that I made a Pinterest pinboard. On that pinboard, I pinned "Repin for my Sponsored Child." For every repin I got, I was entered to win a monetary prize of either $100 or $25 for one of my sponsored children.
You responded. You re-pinned. And because you did, my Jeffry from the Dominican Republic is getting $100. I think I know what he's going to spend it on. This is YOUR story...
Take a look at the bed where 12-year old Jeffry sleeps now. With his grandmother. What twelve year old boy would enjoy that?
In April, his grandmother Petra took us on a tour of the small, concrete house set within eyesite of the bejeweled Caribbean. What would be prime beachfront property here in America is a row oftiny, rundown concrete homes inhabited by families who are vistims of extreme poverty. Petra showed us the home where Jeffry had been raised after being abandoned by his parents at birth. She also cares for Jeffry's half-brother and his older cousin who is impaired with Down's Syndrome. They have a pretty difficult life. His cousin must have her own room, so Jeffry shares. He showed us a small, dark room that could be his if they were ever able to purchase another bed.
When we return in November, I hope to visit Jeffry's new room and see his new bed.
The bed YOU won for him.
This is just one instance of how you have empowered my ministry. I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
H.O.P.E. Academy and Tara Baptist Church...for raising 58 safe water systems for families in poverty (and helping me reach my Isaiah fast goal), for equipping Dominican schoolchildren with much needed supplies.
Friends...for taking one child to heart through sponsorship, for reading my blogs, for being bored silly from my countless conversations about Compassion (and always being kind enough to not say so!).
Family...for putting up with me, for caring for my children during THREE international trips and countless Compassion events, for caring about the ministry that has a hold of my heart.
Compassion Advocates and mentors...for praying, for encouraging, for teaching me wisdom in this ministry.
All of you...for buying into God's vision of a world without the scourge of poverty, a world transformed by loving others in Jesus' name.
I am not in this alone. You are all a part of this with me, and any victory that I have is yours as well. I love the way Paul puts it in Philippians 1:4-7...
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now...It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me."
My ministry is not possible without your partnership. You share in God's grace with me. What YOU have done, what YOU have sacrificed, has made a difference both to me and to countless children and families living in poverty.
I love you guys. I really don't see a limit to what God wants us to accomplish...In Jesus' name.