Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lots of Updates (and Lots of Photos)!

My dear friends, I have been remiss in keeping up with this blog lately. As many of you know, life hit me pretty hard in late spring and early summer. I'm finally feeling like I may be on the upswing ... just in time for the holidays!

Let's begin with simple updates:

Annual Photos!

Jessica, August

Jessica, December





Next, we'll talk about new Sponsorships!

Luke and I decided to jointly sponsor a young lady from India. Her name is Jannati--some of you may recognize her from a Spotlight Child blog I wrote several months ago. Jannati lives in Delhi with her parents and five older siblings. The family's three-room home is entirely brick--floor, walls AND roof! They have regulated electricity, a private water pump and a septic tank, and they cook on a gas stove. There are two beds in the home, but Jannati sleeps on a mattress on the floor. She attends school, where her favorite subject is languages. In her free time, she likes to run and play hide-and-seek with her friends.

In November, I was looking through the list of waiting children to find another candidate for a Spotlight Child blog. As I clicked through the girls in the Philippines, I noticed several photos that were very different from what we're used to seeing. Most of the Philippine children dress in their very best clothes and smile charmingly for the camera, and the photos are taken with pretty floral backgrounds or on nice benches at the center. These new photos ... were different. They all seemed to have been posted in the same seven day span, and nearly all of them had the bright yellow "Most Needy" marker.These photos looked like they may have been taken right in the children's neighborhood. They're not smiling. They're not dressed in freshly-washed, new-appearing clothes. Many of them are barefoot.

They're the sort of images that appear in the television ads, actually.

And they were heartbreaking.

Two of the little girls in particular grabbed at my heartstrings: Anikka and Danise. Their birthdays are only two days apart; they both turned five a couple weeks ago. They both have dirt floors. Anikka's roof is thatch, her family has no electricity, and they get their water from a nearby stream. Danise's family has a palm-leaf roof and illegally-tapped electricity. There is so much I can do to help both of these girls--they have so little! So I tightened my belt a little more, and decided to sponsor them both.

And updates from my other girls:

Anna Marie
Anna Marie has successfully completed her first semester of college, studying in a Bachelor's program for Business Management with a focus on Human Resource Development. The funds for her second semester were submitted to Children International in September, and the semester began in October! I want to thank everyone who contributed to the fundraiser--all together you provided over half of the total amount due! If you are interested in helping again, I do have a fundraiser set up for her third semester (or, of course, you can always contact me directly if you don't want to donate via FirstGiving!).

Joyce's Birthday
Joyce's Family
Joyce turned fifteen at the end of August. I sent an SNG for her in celebration of her special day. Most of it was used to buy food and clothes, of course, but they did use some of it to have a birthday party for Joyce! Her whole class and her teacher came, and she had a birthday cake for the very first time in her life. CI sent me a LOT of photos, including some of her family AND one of her with her classmates and teacher--how cool is that?!

Joyce's Class and Teacher
When a fellow Lifter, Macky, traveled to Guatemala this autumn to visit her own sponsored children, she offered to put together a collection of goodies for my three girls there, too! Of course I took her up on her generous offer, and the smiles on my girls' faces make me so glad I did!
Cindy & Sandy

Whew! I think that MOSTLY catches everything up! I'm sure there were a couple other SNGs that I haven't even scanned the photos for yet ... I'm getting there! =)

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