Saturday, December 8, 2012


This is the time of year everyone is searching to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Shopping from store to store to find those special items that will light up eyes and brighten smiles. We trudge through the hustle and bustle in hopes of a few moments of delight and, of course, receiving a few goodies of our own.

As Americans we are taught that the Christmas season is about gifts and what we can get. Bright advertisements, catchy jingles, and every reason under the sun that we NEED this latest and greatest thing ever! Sure someone has to give it, but that's what Christmas lists are for, right?

I am thankful for parents and grandparents who taught me that Christmas is about so much more than just what we can get. They taught me about giving and how the true meaning of Christmas is God GIVING His own son, Jesus, to us.  He GAVE His son to save us from our sins. We are to honor God's gift to us by giving to others, not for what we can get in return, but to show God's love. 

There are people in this world who can't afford the things society says is so great.  Many of them cannot even purchase the items they need for daily survival. So when you are deciding what to put on your Christmas list this year, think of what is on the list for many children and families in poverty: clean water, a roof over their head, medical attention, and the list goes on.  Please consider giving a Special Gift to one of God's children this year or consider Sponsoring A Child. Remember this Christmas time that #itsaboutgiving not about receiving. Remember above ALL it's about God's gift to us and the love He showed through His son, Jesus.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Light a Candle...

I know it's only November, but I've always been one to break out the Christmas music a little early.  So tonight, I set my iPod on Christmas shuffle and a song by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound starts playing... "Light a candle, light the dark. Light the world, light a heart"...the image of this beautiful little girl pops into my head and I can't stop the tears from forming.

As I keep listening... "Light a candle...for the children who need more than presents can bring"...I can't help but remember the moment I met Dayana on August 27, 2012.  The way she came running into my arms the moment she saw me.  The way she grabbed onto to me in the biggest hug I've ever felt in my life.  The way she didn't want to let go of me. The tears in her eyes when we finally stepped apart. The way her gorgeous smile lit up her entire face the whole time we were together.  The tears in her eyes and mine when we had to say 'adios.' The love she showed me just by being her.  

The song continues "Light a candle for me, I'll light a candle for you..." I think of Dayana's letters; how she shows wisdom beyond her 11 years. The way reading her words can brighten even my darkest day.  The way she is concerned about me and prays for me.  Many people tell me what a difference I'm making by being a sponsor; that I'm "lighting a candle" for these children, but just as much as I may "light a candle" for them, they "light a candle" for me.  They have made a difference in MY life too.

I can't express in words how much little Dayana has come to mean to me or how becoming a Compassion sponsor has changed my life. I do know, however, that I have received way more than I ever could have dreamed possible..."And with every flame that burns, we must somehow learn that love's the greatest gift that we could ever give"...God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams through the love of these children! The love I have given to Dayana and all my sponsored children has come back ten fold, and I thank God for that reminder through this simple Christmas song.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Experiencing Ecuador: Sunday Picnic

I can't believe it's been nearly two and a half months since I visited Ecuador with Compassion.  However, the memories feel like they happened just days ago. 

Our group had the privilege of joining the children and families of EC592 in Esmeraldas, Ecuador for Sunday church service and afternoon picnic time.  We worshiped with the families, spent time with the children in their classrooms, and played games all afternoon.

The children loved playing games and spending time with us. They taught us some of the games they like to play.

CSP mothers performed dances for us and even got us dancing with them! (I have ZERO moves but it was fun).

This group of sponsored girls came to our hotel the night before our visit and performed for us.  We had a chance to spend time with them around our pool afterward and enjoyed teaching them some English!

Gaby and Daniela were my special friends from EC592.  Gaby (middle) was part of the girl's dance group and is on staff at the Center. Daniela (left) is a sweet 12 year old young lady.

If you ever have a chance to take a trip with Compassion, I urge you to do so. It will change your life!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Do I Have a Place in YOUR Heart???

I have in my possession the packets for these three beautiful children until December 7th.  Can you find room in your heart to love one of them? Please let me know if you would like to sponsor Leonce, Lois, or Gangothri!


Lois lives with her father and mother in Haiti.  There are 5 children in the family.  Her father is a teacher and her mother maintains the home.  She loves singing, art, and playing with dolls.  She will be 8 years old on November 12th, 2012. She attends project HA336.


Gangothri lives with her father and mother in India.  There are 2 children in the family.  Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home.  She loves playing with dolls and attends pre-school. She is 3 years old and her birthday is April 16th.  She attends project IN373.


Leonce lives with his godmother in Burkina Faso.  There are 6 children in the family.  His godmother is sometimes employed as a farmer.  He is not presently attending school. He enjoys soccer, playing marbles, and group games.  He will be 5 years old on December 31th, 2012.  He attends project BF147.

If you would like more information or a full photograph, please let me know! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Letters from the Sweetest Girls in the World!

Wow, I have had a great couple weeks of letters! I heard for the first time from Miss Dayana in Honduras as well as from Ayushi & Yoppi.  They are all doing well and send their love.  The two letters I got today had me in tears.  Sara in Colombia and Dayana in Ecuador have once again touched my heart in a way I can't describe.  Their love, dreams, and thoughtfulness simply amaze me!



Receive a great greeting from me, I want to tell you that I am doing well in school.  Also thank you for the support that you give me.  How are you doing? Someday I would like to visit my Aunt Magnolia who lives in your country and is recovering from a heart attack.  I would pass to Indiana to meet you in person and give you a great hug.  I tell you that I dream of fulfilling my goal of graduating like a medical surgeon to help who needs it and also my family so their finance improves.  I would like to see the inner side of an airplane and feel how it is to travel in a device like that.  I want to visit the Arvi Park, there is a great variety of exotic animals.  I am very curious to see them.  Brandilyn, I hope to have news from you.  I give you Proverbs 10:22.  I say goodbye with a kiss.

-Sara Agudelo Restrepo

She also drew a lovely picture of a cow laying in the sun :)


Dear Brandilyn,

I am very happy to know that you love receiving my letters and drawings.  I also like your letters and a lot and your surprises too.  My family and I are fine.  I hope you are doing fine in your job.  I always pray for you so you will prosper.  Let me tell you that on September 3rd I started the 7th year and I had the same teacher.  Do you believe that thanks to his teachings I could be a professional in the future?  I thank you very much for the drawings and the stickers that are very beautiful. I have to say goodbye.  May God Bless you. I will pray for your grandmother a lot. I send you many hugs.


This letter was written a couple weeks before I visited her in Ecuador.  I had written to her that my grandmother was ill.  I have yet to tell her she passed away while I was in Ecuador. I pray God gives me the right words to express to her that while we're sad to see her go, we will see her again in Heaven :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Experiencing Ecuador-Life on the River

With Compassion Blog month right after I returned from Ecuador, I haven't had much of a chance to post about my trip. So now that I have a chance to get caught up, I thought I'd write a little bit about our visit to the village of Anchayacu in Esmeraldas, Ecuador.  This small village is on the river and only recently has gotten a road that reaches to the outside world. Our group of sponsors was the first group to ever visit this remote Compassion Center (EC399).  

The children loved to have their photos taken and made some of the funniest faces! We spent time with them playing and serving them lunch.  We also had a chance to visit some homes along the river.  We loaded up canoe taxis and learned how these families raise different types of food.  The group I was in planted peanuts.

 We all decided we made the task take WAY longer than it would have without us! 

 Once we returned to the student center we celebrated the graduation of 2 of the young ladies from the project and enjoyed time worshiping with and loving on the kids.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Welcome New "Family" Members!

I am very happy to announce the addition of 2 new correspondent children to my Compassion Family! In July, Marinelis joined the crew and just 2 weeks ago Miss Laura joined us!


Marinelis is 10 years old and lives with her mother and 1 sibling in the Dominican Republic. She is above average in school and enjoys playing with dolls, playing house, group games and singing.  Her chores are running errands, making beds, and helping in the kitchen.


Laura is 5 years old and lives with her mother and 2 siblings in Honduras. She is in kindergarten where her performance is average. She enjoys playing dolls, playing house, and playing hide-n-seek.  Her chores are cleaning and running errands.

***For those of you who are unfamiliar with correspondent sponsorship, they are children who have a financial sponsor who, for some reason, does not write to them.  Compassion finds correspondents to take over this role of sponsorship.  I am very excited to add these two precious girls to my Compassion Family!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Major Mail Day!!!

Today I received 3 beautiful letters from 3 beautiful young ladies! 

Aida, Ecuador, Age 6

I had the privilege of meeting Aida last month in Ecuador.  This letter was written before I met her.

Dear Brandilyn,

I greet you with the love of God hoping you are healthy and doing well.  I thank you for the letter.  This is the first letter I write. (her mother has been writing for her) I am doing great at school.  I am happy and I have new friends and I play a lot with them.  I thank you for your drawings and the stickers.  Please keep praying for me and for my family.  We'll be praying for you and your family.  I say goodbye with the love of God.


Daniela, Colombia, age 7

Daniela is the first child I sponsored. She recently began writing her letters on her own. I hope to meet her next November!

Dear Brandilyn,

Hello, God Bless you

My favorite color is: Pink
My favorite friend is: Sofia
My favorite school class is: math
My favorite hero is: God

Madrina, I would like to know: How is your family?  Have you had a beautiful experience with the Lord in these past couple of months?  Madrina, I thank you for writing me, caring for me, and giving me a place in your heart.  I ask God to guard and greatly bless you.

Request and/or something to tell your sponsor/verse:
Madrina, I want you to pray for me and my family.  I want to share this verse with you: Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:3.

With Love,

Dayana, Ecuador, age 11

I also had the privilege of meeting Dayana last month in Ecuador.  This letter was written before I met her. She also included 2 new photos of herself for me! (can't get one of them to load)

Dear Brandilyn:

I am grateful for the card you sent me and you came in a good moment because I was sad but now my heart is happy to know we are the best friends.  I appreciate it.  The puppies are also my favorite.  I appreciate your concern for me and I am feeling better thanks to God's blessing.  How is your family?  What sport do you like?  How is the weather out there?  The is the last line and I want to say good bye.  Blessings.

With love,

Dayana at a dance celebration for her school's anniversary.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Will You Say 'Yes'?

Hello, my name is Daly.  I live in the beautiful country of Ecuador.  I'm 5 years old and live with my parents and siblings in the mountains near Riobamba.  I guess if you're looking at my picture, you're probably considering becoming my new sponsor.  What can I do to help you say 'yes'?  Can I tell you that my family only makes about $150.00 a month?  Can I tell you that malnutrition and parasites are big health problems where I live?  Can I tell you I like to play with dolls but don't have one of my own?  Will those things help you say 'yes'?  Would it help if I said that I love going to the Hogar Feliz student center?  Would it help if I told you I am getting help with my school work? I am in kindergarten, you know. Would it make a difference if I said I am able to get a good healthy meal at the center?  Would it matter if told you I can get medical screening and help if I need it? Would you say 'yes' if I told you that I am learning a lot about Jesus and what He did for me to save me from my own sin?  What do you need to make that decision?  What do you need to know in order to love me?

Daly is a real child in need of a sponsor.  She has been on my heart and while these are only words I believe she would say, they are just that-words. Daly needs action.  She needs someone to love her and give her hope of a brighter future.  I have been to Ecuador and the children there are simply amazing.  Will you pray about becoming a sponsor for Daly or a child like her? You CAN make a difference.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pinning For Compassion

Ok, so I've never gotten into the whole Pinterest thing...but I'd do just about anything for Compassion. SO when Compassion announced a new contest where my sponsored child could get an extra monetary gift, I signed right up!

Check out my Pinterst Board for Compassion and enjoy some of my favorite photographs with my sponsored girls in Ecuador! If you have a mind, please repin to help out my children!

If you sponsor a child, you can sign up for the contest too! It's quite easy and certainly for a good cause-YOUR sponsored child!

Click HERE for the rules and start pinning for Compassion!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Letters to God

Many of us have seen the movie, or at least the previews of, "Letters to God."  The movie features a child fighting cancer who writes letters to God that leaves the mail man baffled about what to do with them.  Have you ever wondered what a Compassion child would write in a letter to God?  Here are some possible letters that sponsored and unsponsored children might write to God.

Dear God,
Why don't I have a sponsor yet?  It feels like it's taking forever.  My friends didn't have to wait this long! Am I not pretty enough? Not smart enough?  Please give me a sponsor soon!
Nelida, age 7, Bolivia

Dear God,
Thank you for giving me a sponsor! I'm not really sure what it means, but my parents are VERY excited.  Mom even cried!  I guess I'll be getting letters like my sister does, so that could be neat.
Aldubi, age 5, Honduras

Dear God,
Thank you for my sponsor.  She writes a lot of letters to me and sends me photos.  It actually snows where she lives!  I'm so happy she writes a lot.  Please bless her and make her as happy as I am!
Ingrid, age 7, Peru

Dear God,
Why doesn't my sponsor write to me?  I don't understand, my brother gets letters all the time, my friends do too.  I guess I'm not loveable.  Maybe everyone is right, I'm just not worth the trouble.
Kakooza, age 16, Uganda

Dear God,
Please help my sponsor's Grandma to get well.  I know my sponsor is sad because her Grandma is sick.  Please make her well so my sponsor will be happy again.
Karelia, age 13, Nicaragua 

Dear God, 
Why did my sponsor go away?  I miss her letters.  She was really pretty.  Did I do something that she doesn't love me anymore?
Angelica, age 6, Philippines 

Dear God,
I am soooooooooooo happy! My sponsor is coming to visit me!  I ACTUALLY get to meet him.  IN PERSON!  This is going to be the best day EVER!  I even get to stay in a hotel! Thank you God!
Dilan, age 8, Ecuador

Dear God,
Thanks you for the blessing of my sponsor over the years.  He always believed in me and told me I could make a difference.  I hope we can stay in touch even after I graduate.  Maybe I'll even try the LDP program.
Uli, age 18, Indonesia

While these letters are fictitious, simply the musings of one sponsor, the faces are not. These are real children waiting for someone just like you to love them and give them a reason to write letters of joy and thankfulness to God.

Sponsor a Child Today

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Experiencing Ecuador-A Moment Felt 'Round the World

The most asked question I've gotten about in the past few days, besides "How was your trip?" has been "Did you get to meet the girls you sponsor?"  My obvious answer is "DUH! That's why I went!" But, of course, that's not very polite. So I typically tell the story of my first meeting with my beautiful Dayana.

Isn't that a smile that just melts your heart?  She certainly melts mine!  The night we first met our sponsored children was a dinner party thrown in their honor.  Sponsors were called up to the stage and the children were announced from the side entrance and we met in the middle.  Dayana was the first child to be announced and she came running, full speed toward me and gave me the biggest hug I have ever received.  I spun her around and with tears in her eyes, she simply held on and did not want to let go!  This moment will be forever etched in my memory as one of the greatest moments of my life. The rest of the night she kept squeezing my hand and smiling at me as if she was afraid she would wake up from a dream. Nothing compares to the love of a child!

Do you have room in your heart for the love of a child like Dayana?  There are hundreds of children just like her waiting for someone just like you to show them a little love.  Will you at least take a look at these beautiful children?  Give them, and yourself, a chance for a love of a life time!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Experiencing Ecuador-No Greater Love

Wow, I can't believe I've been home from Ecuador for four days already! It's been crazy on the personal side, but I'm here now to begin sharing the stories of an amazing group of people. With so much to tell, I'm not sure where to start, so I guess I'll just start at the beginning with a special experience from Day 1 in Esmeraldas, Ecuador at Center EC594.

We visited EC594 to learn about the Child Survival Program Compassion provides for children pre-birth to three years old. Looking over the sea of mamas and babies, one person stuck out-a young man.  I simply thought he was a father joining the party until my Family Group took a visit to his home.  

David (right) is 21 years old.  He told us about his sister who had four children and ran away leaving them all (ages 2-15 years) in the care of their mother and other sister.  Unfortunately, David's sister and mother passed away within a few months of each other causing the four boys to be split up.  David is caring for 2 year, 4 month old Derek (bottom center) who is part of Compassion's Child Survival Program. He is also helping with the other three children, including 9 year old Segundo (wearing yellow). David has trouble finding work and is trying his best to be both mother and father to young Derek. The pastor of EC594 (left) told us he is often concerned whether they get enough to eat and does as much as he can to help them out.

I was blown away by the amazing commitment David has for his nephews and I believe God has an amazing plan for this family.

(Family Group 1 with David, Derek, Segundo, and a few friends)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Looking for Love in Ecuador

****Update**** I'm happy to announce that Hether has a SPONSOR! Praise the Lord! (She is the first child I have found a sponsor for as an Advocate!) I am so thankful this little angel has a loving sponsor! Tamara & Angie are still looking for sponsors to love them!

I arrived home from my trip with Compassion to Ecuador last night.   I will share more about my trip and the visits with my girls later.  I brought home with me packets for 3 beautiful young ladies who are in search of a Sponsor's love.  Could you open your heart to one of these lovely girls?


Tamara is 8 years old and lives with her father and mother.  Her father is employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home. She has 3 siblings. She makes beds, runs errands, and cleans.  She enjoys playing house, playing with dolls, and jumping rope.  Her school performance is average. She attends Project EC590-a group from my sponsor tour visited this Project.


Heather is 8 years old and lives with her mother.  Her mother is employed as a laborer and she has 1 sibling.  At home, she makes beds and runs errands.  She enjoys playing with dolls and group games.  Her school performance is above average. She attends Project EC593-We did not visit this center, though I believe it was not far from where we were.


Angie is 13 years old and lives with her father and mother.  Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother is sometimes employed as a laborer. She has 2 siblings. She makes beds, runs errands, and carries water.  She enjoys playing hide-and-seek, bicycling, and jumping rope.  Her school performance is average. She attends Project EC590-a group from my sponsor tour visited this Project.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preparing for an Adventure of Ecuadorian Proportions

Wow, I cannot believe that a week from tomorrow I will be on my way to visit two of my sweet angels in Ecuador!  I have been planning this trip since January and it felt like it would never get here! Now that it's almost time, I can't believe it's FINALLY here!  As I figure out what to pack for myself and what to take to my girls and their families, I am so sure I will forget something!

Dayana                              Aida

I am beyond to meet these two precious young ladies.  I am also anxious to meet my fellow travelers.  Please pray that we will have a safe and smooth trip and that God will show us amazing things :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Most Beautiful Letter a Sponsor Could Receive!

I was just thinking the other day that I haven't heard from my girls in Colombia for a while. Well, guess what?  I heard from Sara today and her words made me cry with happiness! The words she spoke for me and about her faith in Jesus Christ are the best thing I could have ever asked to hear!

Dear Brandilyn Yoder,

I send you a big hug and wish you God's blessings.  Thank you for having you as my sponsor.  God is good because he brought a person like you to my life.  This month I learned that I'm God's unique and unrepeatable creation like my fingerprints.  The time I've been part of the project, I learned that Jesus is the son of God and He paid for my sins on the cross.  I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.

To answer your question, we celebrate birthdays in my country with cake and a special meal.  Madrina, how are you?  I received your letter and I like it very much and also the pictures.  The place where you live is beautiful.  There is no snow in Colombia.  Brandilyn, I send you Psalm 40:5 [Oh Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.  Your plans for us are too numerous to list.  You have no equal.  If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.]  Thank you for your present.  I bought shoe with it.  I love you very much.

-Sara Agudelo Restrepo

PS: I ask you to pray for me and my family.  I will do the same for you.