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Thursday, May 22, 2008

One Less Child Waiting

I am so stoked right now. Our Experience Team at Westwinds is sponsoring a little girl in Uganda as of today. This morning.

Munezero Hope, welcome to the Westwinds family!

Munezero lives with her father and her mother. Her duties at home include carrying water, gathering firewood and helping in the kitchen. There are 5 children in the family. Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother is sometimes employed as a laborer.

As part of Compassion's ministry, Munezero participates in church activities. She is also in primary school where her performance is average. Singing, telling stories and art are her favorite activities.

It is so great to be part of something this special. I cannot visit the Compassion site without crying. Every stinking time. I want to sponsor every child.

It is so hard to “choose” a child. Every one of them is God’s child and every one of them is our brother and sister and son and daughter.

They all have needs. They are all waiting.

Here are a few little tips on how to pick a Compassion child—from my experience. My family and I sponsor other children as well and these guidelines have been helpful : : :

  • Look at the children who are having a hard time getting sponsors first. Cute-as-a-button younger kids get snatched up first. So do the ones who are younger.
  • Look at the kids who have ribbons and hearts on their photos. The ribbons represent children who live in areas greatly affected by the AIDS epidemic. The hearts are on children who have been waiting more than 6 months for sponsors.

  • Look for a child with similar interests to your own so you have plenty to write about.
  • Perhaps pick a child who is close in age to one of your children or siblings.

I would like to send out a special thanks to all my blogger friends who visited Uganda recently and reminded me of the part I can play there. We have sponsored children throughout the years but your commitment to Uganda, your blogging efforts, and your stories have captured us. This has infected our church.

We don’t have final numbers in but, sponsoring a child in Uganda through Compassion has been a focus for our whole church this past two months through our spiritual life portal called Causemology. Sponsoring a child was an option in our “Something for Your World” area. Many have responded.

Extra special thanks to my friends Randy and Chris Elrod for your efforts.

P.S. We noticed that Munezero's birthday was a few days ago so we sent her a gift today as well.


Here is a copy of the first letter we sent Munezero today : : :

Dear Munezero,

My name is John Voelz. I am a pastor of a church in Jackson, Michigan, USA. Michigan is a beautiful place with a lot of lakes. It is very cold here in the winter months but we are excited that the weather is getting warm.

I work in all areas of the church but I am most involved working with music, art, and technology. The name of our church is Westwinds Church.

Today is a very exciting day for us!
We are excited because all the people who help out at the church with music and art and technology are working together to sponsor you through Compassion International.

We have been praying about this and planning this for a while. We know there are so many children and families who need help but we believe God wants us to help you specifically.

The name of our art and music teams is the “Experience Team.”
We believe God has great things in store for you. We were excited to hear that you enjoy many of the same things we do. Music and art are very important to us and we understand they are important to you as well.

We believe God has created us all with special gifts to be able to worship him and communicate with him and with other people. Music and art are very special gifts from God.

I am 40 years old. I have been a pastor for about 15 years. I am an artist, a singer, a painter, a storyteller, and a writer. My wife’s name is Tahni. We have three children. Their names are Karysa, Connor, and Kasidy.

Karysa is married to a man named Charlie. He is a good man and takes good care of her. She is almost 19 years old. She is extremely talented as a writer and an artist.
Connor is 16 years old. He enjoys sports and music and playing games. He is very athletic and very good at sports. Kasidy is 9 years old—almost as old as you! She is extremely talented as an artist, a poet, and a musician.

From time to time, some other people on our Experience Team will send you letters. I will be your main contact. I will be communicating with you most of the time. But, if you get a letter from someone else on our team at church, I will make sure they mention my name and our church so you now they love you and are part of sponsoring you.

Please write us letters as often as you can to let us know how you are and how we can pray for you.

We already feel like you are a sister and a daughter to us. Please tell your family hello and tell them we love them and are praying for them.

Keep singing. Keep telling stores. Keep making art. While you are doing those things, remember to pray and follow God with all of your heart. God has made you special and has special things in store for you, Munezero.

We love you and are praying for you.

Love, Pastor John and the Experience Team at Westwinds Church

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