The Power of a Tiny Blue Finger Print

It all started about five years ago when someone asked me to sponsor a child through Compassion international.  My answer was no.  I really did think I meant no when I said no, but instead of just saying no and forgetting about it, suddenly I felt drawn to Compassion’s website and I couldn’t get those children out of my mind!  I would go online to do other things and the next thing I knew I would find myself on Compassion’s website going over the child pictures and reading their stories over and over again.

This went on for several months and then one night as I was looking at the child pictures once again, I saw her… A little girl with a big giant smile, beaming out from among a sea of unsmiling faces.

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Walkiris

Suddenly I began to feel a tug in my heart that I should sponsor her.  I had a million excuses why I couldn’t sponsor her but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t let this go and I knew sponsoring her was what God was asking me to do.  I clicked the ‘Sponsor this Child button underneath her picture.  Her name was Walkiris,  she was from the Dominican Republic and she was 4 years old.

The date was May 4, 2010 and that day was the beginning of it all.

I would love to tell you that I was all in on the sponsorship thing from that moment forward but if I told you that I would be lying.  The truth is I was really nervous and feeling all kinds of reservations.  I kept thinking things like how would I be able to afford paying the sponsorship fee every month?  Was Compassion really a trustworthy organization? I also worried about what I would write about to this child I had never met and knew nothing about?

About 3 months after I sponsored Walkiris a cream colored envelope arrived in the mail with the words “Message From Your Sponsored Child” written on the outside of the envelope. 2015-07-27 20.32.26

The letter was written in Spanish and then translated to my own language so I could read it. The letter was written for her by a grown up because Walkiris was to young to write,

Hello Dear Sponsor, How are you? I hope you and your family are fine, my family and I are very well thank God.  God has given me a lot of friends and their names are Yasari, Mikali, and Yasi. I think that a good friend knows to play and share his or her snack.  I learned in the Bible story that Jesus thinks that a good friend should be very good and not fight.  I thank you for loving and praying for me, do you have many friends? I want you to pray for my grandmother Manuela, her hip hurts her.

The letter was signed with a tiny blue finger print.20150727_203626

The moment I saw her finger print I melted to mush. I also know that was the moment I was truly all in.  Her tiny blue finger print was like the seal to the deal, her seal of approval stamped on the letter.  Her fingerprint stirred feelings in my heart I never knew I had. Feelings I had never felt before.  This child was a real live little girl, not just some smiling face on a page.  I said I would sponsor her when I clicked the sponsor button and now she was depending on me to do what I said I would. The day I got the first letter was the day I really became a child sponsor.

Over the past 5 years her letters have kept coming and she has shared her life with me and I have shared my life with her.

She has shared that she loves to sing and dance.

Her best friends are Yasari, Mikali and Yasi.

Her favorite color is pink

Her favorite animal is a dog

She does really well in school and she really loves math

A few months ago she told me she was voted president of her class at school and that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.

We share prayers with each other.

She has asked me to pray for her grandma whose hip hurts, her grandfather with high blood pressure, her uncle who broke his leg in an accident and her teacher whose newborn baby died.

One time she asked me to pray for the children in her country who were getting sick with Cholera, which is something I don’t think even exists in my own country.

No matter what she’s written to me to pray about even if it sounds bad to me she still always tells me that she and her family are good and she always gives thanks God for everything.

She has went from being  a little girl that I knew nothing about to becoming a member of my family and I can tell from her letters that I am part of her family too.

Also over the past 5 years 3 more children have also come into my life. A friend once asked me why do you sponsor those kids? All I can say is I did it in the first place because God nudged to do it.   But now as the letters have went back and forth and the relationship with these children has formed I can see now that I did it also for reasons that were unknown to me at the time I sponsored them.

Reasons like the boy who wrote, “you are my mother and I am your son.”

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Thierry

The little girl in the lime green dress on an island in Haiti who latched on to my hand and picked me to be her sponsor.

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Rose

The little girl who told me this past week in her letter that Dios (God) is her favorite  hero.

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Ericka

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The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me ~ Matthew. 25:40

I do it for the least of these that I used to not see.

In one of Walkiris letters she asked me to pray for the poor children. As I read that suddenly I realized that she doesn’t think she is poor.  Could it be that she is really not poor and instead she is really rich in what truly matters?  Could it be that Walkiris is actually rich because she knows Jesus and because she knows she is loved  <3

As I was writing this today it occurred to me that though unknown to me at the time, I think maybe somehow sponsoring and advocating for children has somehow been for me too.  For the little girl who is now a grown woman who grew up in America thinking money and things were what it meant to be rich.  But by sharing in the lives of these children I have been able to step into the shoes of families who live lives way different than my own and finally see just what it is that truly makes a person rich.

Thats how it all started….A tiny finger print nudging me into the right direction and God has now put a passion inside my heart for children and their families, to know, and experience the love of Jesus.

I am pretty sure that passion is here to stay.

I am curious what passion has God placed in your heart?  How did it all start?  Tell me about it in comments below or if you have written about it on your blog leave the link. 

Thanks for reading,

Terri

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Will You Step Into the Boat?

I would like to introduce you to Darlyn.

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Darlyn is 8 years old and she is part of a brand new Compassion project in El Salvador named “Casa de Pan” which means “House of Bread.”  I have been advocating for Darlyn for several months in the hopes of helping her connect with a sponsor but so far nobody has sponsored her :(

On September 12, I will have the privilege of traveling with Compassion International and a group of women on a vision trip and retreat to El Salvador. Our group has been praying for this new project, the workers, and children since April. While on this trip we will get to visit the new project, meet the children and help to bring encouragement to the pastors and workers of the project.

And I will also get to meet Darlyn!

I am praying that by time I visit her in September she will have received her new sponsor.


As most of you know I sponsor 3 children through Compassion International, My kids pictures are over on the sidebar if you would like to meet them.  I have also been on a trip with Compassion and have seen first hand what they do and I can promise you they are truly helping to change lives, with Jesus being the foundation of those life changes.

Today I would like to share a story that I posted in 2013. I wrote this story when I was on a Compassion Sponsor tour in Haiti and a sweet little girl named Rose came up to me and grabbed me by the hand and ‘chose’ me to be her sponsor. When you finish reading it if you would like more information about how you can help make a difference in Darlyn’s life, you can leave me a comment or email me at tluvs2trvl@gmail.com

I hope you enjoy….

STEPPING INTO THE BOAT

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A stormy day, riding through the streets of a busy crowded city, racing to our boat, we are late.

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As we pull up to the dock,  dark clouds are looming hanging low over the ocean, large waves crashing at the shore.

click here to read the rest of this story -> Stepping Into the Boat


Thanks for reading and have a great evening,

T

Door Number 1 or Door Number 2?

This morning I overslept.

I hurriedly showered, styled my hair, put on makeup, grabbed myself a cup of coffee and a protein bar, and I headed for the door.

As I passed through my living room on my way out the door I happened to see my Bible laying on the coffee table, unopened.  20150720_110426-1

Suddenly the thought occurred to me that I had just spent time doing a bunch of stuff to get ready for my day, but everything I did was something that helps the outside of me to look better.  I had showered, fixed my hair and put on makeup all of which took about 45 minutes. How many minutes had I spend on making the inside of me better?

Zero…

I have all of these ‘self-help’ items in my home…

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Makeup

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Hair and skin products

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Blow dryer & Hair Straightener

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My Bible

Which of them is the most important? 

Door number 1?

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Or Door number 2?20150718_100639-1


Was I really going to spend 45 minutes doing things that were probably not all that important and give zero minutes to what was most important?

If I could make time for my hair and makeup, surely I could make time for what is most important and what always makes the inside part of me better.

It’s what is inside of a person that really matters and besides ….when a person’s insides are good the outside will be too.

It was time to restart the start of my day.

I hope you are off to a great start this morning,and if your not it’s never too late to restart the start of your day.

Have a wonderful day,

T

Sometimes all you can do is Praise the Lord

I have had something deep on my mind for the past several weeks.

Over the past few days it has really came down to me having to make a decision and that decision was hinging on me deciding and knowing without a doubt what it was that God wanted me to do.

I have prayed about it and prayed about it but things seemed really complicated.  I thought I knew without a doubt what God wanted me to do at the beginning of all this, but after a while things were not matching up and nothing seemed to be making any sense.  I kept praying about it but I finally became frustrated because I just wanted God to just lay it all out nice and clear for me, but that did not seem to be happening.

As many of you know I am a church secretary. A lot of the time when I am working nobody is at the church except for me.  So after I finished my work yesterday I decided to sit in the quiet of the sanctuary for a little while and pray.

As I was praying I was feeling frustrated about all the stuff whirling in my head so I said out loud, “God please tell me what is it you want me to do?!” As the words left my mouth, suddenly my eyes caught on a banner that is hanging on the wall in the front of the room….20150717_094052 (1)

Praise the Lord…. I went back to my praying… suddenly I saw the banner again… Praise the Lord!

Suddenly the thought occurred to me…. Praise the Lord? Really? Lord is that what you want me to do? Praise you?

No answer… just the banner again with the words now stuck in my head … Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord

Praise the Lord

So I did.  I started with praising him for allowing me to have this quiet place to sit in… I looked around and realized how thankful I am for my church and I began praising the Lord for how wonderfully he planted me in this place that has been perfect for me to grow and learn about him.  As I praised him for my church I praised him for my job or I would not even have been sitting here in that sanctuary in the first place.

Praise the Lord…

I praised the Lord for his awesomeness in thinking of life, we have kids, grand kids and friends; and not only does he love us but he gave us people who love us and who we can love back… wow! Praise the Lord for his love.

The list kept growing…I can see, I can taste, I can hear, I can smell!  How amazing is that when you really think about it? How many different smells, sounds, flavors, and sights are there in the world??  Praise the Lord for Nature, praise him for sunrises, sunsets, wind, rain, flowers, and birds.

Praise the Lord I can sit, I can stand, I can walk, I can breathe…. God is so good!

As I praised him and I suddenly realized a person could never ever run out of stuff to praise the Lord about … Seriously how awesome is that?! How awesome is He?!

The rest of the day it did not matter what I did,  the words ‘praise the Lord‘ where etched in my mind.  By the end of the day as I was going to bed… I praised the Lord for blessing me with a bed, a pillow, a cold drink of water.  When I had trouble sleeping I was praising him for my husband snoring really LOUD beside me :)  I never really thought of that snoring as something to praise God about but man am I soooooo thankful that man sleeps beside me every night

When I woke up this morning once again the ‘what do you want me to do about this complicated stuff?’ question came back to my mind.

And when I arrived at work I went to work in the sanctuary once again.  As  I opened the sanctuary doors there was that banner….20150717_094052 (1)Praise the Lord…. “Seriously God, is that really all you can tell me of what you want me to do?”  I knew the answer.

So I Praised the Lord. As the day went on I praised him about the Good stuff and I even praised him when there was a lot of not so good stuff.

I still did not have an answer to my dilemma but late this afternoon.  After praising the Lord most of the day the thought dawned on me, God has blessed me with so so much, maybe instead of stressing about what he is planning for my life I should just be praising him for all that he does in my life and just let him take care of the the planning?

Oddly shortly after I realized that everything I had been worrying about for weeks suddenly all just came right together as peace washed over me.  I can’t explain it but I will take it.

God just amazes me all the time!

Praise the Lord!

I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever. ~ Psalm 86:12

My Something is not Like Your Something

luke 15It all came caving in…

The tough exterior that she kept so well in place had cracked and before she realized what was happening she found herself broken and in a heap of anguish and tears. In one a moment of weakness she had allowed something that she thought she’d put behind her a long time ago to rear its ugly head and sneak back into her life once again.  That moment had now turned to weeks and suddenly it had all come to a head, she was a mess and the accuser was standing there taking full advantage of the situation and throwing lies at her.

How could she have allowed this to happen again?  She felt as if she had slide backwards years in only a matter of weeks and she felt numb, heartbroken and upset with herself.  She felt like such a failure and nothing as she knew it felt the same anymore.

As she set there trying to make sense of it all it suddenly occurred to her that she wasn’t alone anymore… She felt a presence…a presence of love and she could tell he was feeling her sadness along with her…She realized Jesus had joined her and he was calling out to her, telling her that everything was going to be okay. His voice was kind and loving, and began to drown out the voice of her accuser. He told her nothing was too big for him and that even when she was at her weakest he is still stronger than anything she could possibly encounter.  He told her that if she were to come to Him and lay her burden on His shoulders that He could take it all away.

So she did…She laid it all down.  She poured out her heart and she told him everything that was on her mind and no matter what she said he stayed right with her and he listened to every word.  And once it was all said and done he let her know that nothing had changed and that he still loved her just as much that day as he always had.


As I sit here typing these words on my blog, words copied from my journal, I still feel the power of God’s love in that moment as if it had happened today.  I am sure you guessed by now that the lady in that story was me. It still blows me away to know that no matter what kind of messes I have managed to get myself into in my life, God still thought that I was worth loving and worth saving.  A few Sunday’s ago my pastor talked in his sermon about how the shepherd will go after one lost sheep…

Luke 15:4-6  _ “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

As he was speaking I realized that there were many times in my life that I was that lost sheep and Jesus did not allow me to stay lost.  It’s sometimes hard to believe that he didn’t get angry at me and just let me stay lost … He could have, but he didn’t … Instead He came and he found me because he felt I was worth saving…. I could never have the right words to explain how that makes me feel…. Humbled… thankful… tears of joy…_____…_____.

As you are reading this today I would like to ask you….do you feel lost?  Do you feel as if you are so deep that you could possibly never be able to pull yourself out?  Just so you know you do not have pull yourself out alone.

There is someone who is ready and willing to come in and rescue you right in the middle of whatever you are in. Whether it’s a something of your own doing or maybe you are just caught up in the something’s of life in general.

We all have a something and my something may not look like your something, but what I do know from my own experience with Jesus is that he will and he can help you!  It doesn’t matter what your something is, nothing is too big for him and you are worth so very very much to him! I promise you if you trust him and give it to him he can take it, every single bit of it, no strings attached; and what you will receive is a full out, all-encompassing love, like nothing you can ever imagine.

This song below is written about a woman the Pharisees brought to Jesus who was caught in adultery (read John 8).

She was made to stand in front of the crowd, she was being shamed and scorned, about to be stoned, but Jesus told her accusers, “whoever of you is without sin cast the first stone.”  One by one her accusers began leaving until they were all gone.  In the end only the woman and Jesus were left standing. He then asked her   Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She answered, “no one” and then Jesus told her that he did not condemn her either.

I have read the passage before and often wondered, what was going through her head when Jesus stood up for her? What did she think at that moment, did she feel disbelief at what had just happened, shocked or amazed?? How loved she must have felt to know that she was good enough for Jesus…wow. He was the greatest of the greatest, the best of the best, sent by the father of all the world and now he was here to save her, she was worth so much, she was loved and now she was free!

Guess what?  We all can be free, we all can have those chains that bind us broken and removed.  God’s grace and love is here right now for every single one of us to have… All we have to do is give our ‘somethings’ to Jesus, ask him to help with what ever it is.  Whatever it is he can take it. He can take our burdens, away, he can heal where healing is needed and if it is a sin problem then he can take that too.  All you have to do is call on him. Tell him what your something is, ask for his help, ask for forgiveness if that is what is needed, then release it to him and move forward following his lead. He really truly cares about you and he loves you because you are worth so very much!

Have a blessed evening,

T

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My Week in Pictures

Whew it seems like my life has been crazy busy lately and it also seems like time is just flying by faster and faster the older I get.

As I go through each day I usually try to write down or take pictures of some of the blessings I come across so I will have reminders of all the wonderful gifts I have received from God. This evening I was going through my phone and I was amazed at all of the pictures and notes I had written down in only a week.

Here are just a handful of the awesome gifts I received this week.

This first picture is from last Saturday which was the 4th of July, we had our little grandsons Mason & Gavin at our house and to make a long story short fireworks were not their idea of a fun time so they watched from a safe distance inside the house with grandma. I just love these sweet boys so much <320150704_204932

The next day was Sunday. I arrived at church and found these waiting for me  :) 20150705_112645-1On Monday I worked at the Compassion Mobile Experience. This is pretty cool and a lot of fun to work at and visit.  Visitors of the experience get to go on an interactive tour through the life of a past Compassion child who is all grown up now.  As the child tells their story through an iPod and headset the visitor gets to travel along through rooms that look, feel, and smell just like the child’s life as they grew up. As visitors move through the child’s journey they get to see how the child’s life changed from one of poverty to hope after they came into Compassion’s program.

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Packets of children waiting for sponsors

153 children were sponsored at the Mobile Experience this weekend and these are the prayers their new sponsors left for them.20150706_185450 (1)If the Compassion Mobile Experience ever comes to your town be sure to take the time to walk through it, you will be glad you did.

Monday night on my way home I saw this awesome sunset!20150706_191927Tuesday night the rain came down extra hard20150701_221039

and Bart was bored.20150705_181009

Wednesday I found this gem :)Screenshot_2015-07-10-21-27-47

Thursday Bart was still bored <320150706_204607

This morning (Friday) I was blessed to be at church as our youth left for a mission trip to Oklahoma.20150710_100201I just loved seeing their excitement!

Tonight my husband and I went on a date and we had really good conversation and some really great food… I don’t have any pictures of date night but its still fresh in my mind.

If you are interested, I try to post blessings on my gifts page (tab at the top of this blog) from time to time.

Writing down and taking pictures of blessings is something I do because if I am ever having a bad day I always know I can go to my journal or my pictures and see thousands of reminders as to God’s awesomeness and love that he gives me on a daily basis. When we really look for them we will usually find God’s gifts are always there just waiting to be opened.

I would say over all this was a pretty good week :)

I hope you also have a wonderful and blessed weekend and week and don’t forget to stop along the way and open all the gifts that God has left for you,

T

P.S. If you were interested in visiting the mobile experience here is a link to a list of cities it will be coming to in the near future –Compassion Mobile Experience

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Sitting in the Window Seat

I have two jobs.

Job number one I am the secretary at my church and job number two I am a travel agent.  Since I just told you that I am a travel agent this next part may sound very strange to you….I am afraid to fly. Yep you read that right… I am a travel agent and I am afraid to fly.

But I fly anyway.

You may ask, “Why do I still choose to fly? ”

My answer is…I fly because I have chosen not to let fear consume my life and stop me from missing out on the good stuff. Dealing with the fear is always worth doing because what usually waits at the other side of the plane ride is usually something fun and exciting. I love to travel, I love seeing different places, experiencing different cultures and just going places that I have never been.  I am not sure how I could experience all that awesomeness without flying so I swallow my fear and make myself get on the plane.

Though I say I am afraid to fly my fear is not quite as bad as it used to be and I have actually come a long way.  Years ago I when I flew I would close my eyes the whole time the plane was taking off  and pretty much hid my face under my sweater (because everyone knows that hiding under a sweater will save your life if the plane crashes). Once the plane was at cruising altitude then I would just sit in my seat frozen in fear the whole time counting down the minutes until landing.

One time on a flight to the Dominican Republic the plane we were on hit an air pocket just as we were preparing to land and the plane felt as if it did some sort of free fall for miles with the captain seeming to lose control for what seemed like forever.  He finally got it under control but then it happened again! It was nighttime and did I mention we were about to land??! I thought we were going to smash into the ground any second… but we didn’t.

Also to top that off during that week while we were in the Dominican Republic it also happened to be the week that a plane in New Your City hit a flock of geese and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed the plane into the Hudson River (story here), so the whole time we were in the DR every time I turned the TV on I would see news coverage about the plane and by time we went home I was petrified to fly home and just knew we were going to hit a flock of geese on take off.  I got on the plane anyway and we made it home safely as you have probably figured out by now, because if we hadn’t you would not be reading this story

I have flown many many times since then all of them without incident but I am still fearful of flying. I have come to the point that I still don’t like taking off a whole lot but once the plane is up I am okay. . A friend once told me to try to imagine when I am in a plane that I am just sitting in a room.  That theory seems to work pretty well as long as we don’t hit any turbulence… most rooms I have been in do not move unless there is an earth tremor or…..unless they are in the air at 37,000 feet!

This past week my husband and I went to Mexico.  On our way home the plane wasn’t full so my husband and I ended up with a whole row of seats to ourselves.  One thing I never do on a plane is sit in a window seat because I just can’t bear to sit so close to the edge of the plane (Ya I know… you just rolled your eyes :D )  About halfway through the flight my husband got up to go in the bathroom and I am not sure why I decided to do this, but I bravely moved over into the window seat while he was gone.

I only planned to sit there for just a minute but then I glimpsed out the window and I noticed how the clouds seemed to be flat, almost like a fluffy white blanket and we seemed to be gliding along on top of it.

I got out my camera and took a picture.20150629_140353 (1)

And then another20150629_140246

And another20150629_140259

I am not sure when it happened but somehow I became lost in the beauty outside the plane and I completely forgot that I am scared to fly AND…I stayed in the window seat for the rest of the flight!  There was something about seeing the world from up in the air that just left me in awe of just how great God is.

I mean like how wow is it that the sky and earth just seem to go on forever and ever. 20150629_142435

The different configurations of clouds 20150629_143015

The way the land goes on and on with ever changing landscapes. 20150629_145709

It’s just so magnificent the way the clouds are puffier above them then below them.20150629_145219

Something about what I saw from the window of the plane felt so freeing.

I had already had a weekend of soul searching and this flight home was like the icing on the cake. It was like God was speaking to me and saying, “why do you continually worry and try to control things? Why do you continue to let scars from the past reopen? Those old things can not hurt you anymore. You have got to move forward and quit looking backwards!

Sitting there on that airplane looking out over that huge world made me feel so small and it felt like I was just sitting there perched in the palm of God’s hand looking out over the edge. It was as if I was looking out over something so much bigger than I ever could begin to imagine.

If God is big enough to have this huge huge world under control why would I not think that he had my teeny tiny life under control?

“Look out the window! I have all of this under control!”20150629_150713 20150629_150928 20150629_150750 20150629_150935 20150629_151016

I even stayed in the window seat and watched all the way through the landing! Wow! God always amazes me!

I took you from the ends of the earth,
    from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
    I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:9-10