Introduction to my sweet Yayra (Yayra)

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I received my first letter from Yayra next. it was an introduction letter telling me about herself. She is ten (and oh so precious!). First she tells me about her favorites. She likes red, corn dough, cats, playing with dolls and an African games called ampee. Her dream is to be a seamstress. This is not only a great dream, but a very realistic one. Togolese women can make a good living as a seamstress because of the value placed on brilliant clothing in Togolese culture. She walks on foot to her project every Saturday. I wonder how far she has to walk? I am going to have to ask her in my reply letter!

Next she send me a wonderfully colorful drawing:

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I love how she drew it out in pencil carefully ad then added in the color! She took so much time and care to draw! Isn’t that precious? It means the world to me to know that she cared enough for me to take her time drawing a “just right” picture!

Lastly she writes “May the grace of the Lord be with you. Please pray for me and my mother (what she calls her grandmother who she lives with). How is your area called?” In typically young girl fashion, she doesn’t even sign her name (probably distracted on to something else). CUTE!

I am so excited to get to know this sweetheart who looks like she is crying in her photo. I hope that she finds a sense of love and connection through my letters and through her time at the compassion project.

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Redemption in the Form of a Haitian Toddler (Sterlanda)

I knew a girl named Lucy. She had been hurt deeply by people practicing a form of Haitian voodoo here in the United States. Her life was forever altered by all that she suffered. I vowed never to give money to a country in which most “Christians” still practiced these beliefs which lead to so much hurt. I was hellbent on this resolution.

Until God changed my mind. I had praying over this held bitterness for months. I wanted God to melt my heart without my losing my conviction and righteous anger for what happened to this girl. As I was going online to write a letter to my correspondence kids a small face popped up on my screen. It was the face of a teeny girl with great big eyes in a beautiful pink dress.

This was the picture:

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I clicked on her picture for more information. She was from HAITI. Her name was Sterlanda and she was 3 years old. Lucy was three years old when she was first introduced to the voodoo practicing individuals. All I could think of was that this small tyke was just as innocent and just as worthy of love as Lucy. I learned that she lived with her grandmother only and that her community was very poor. I kept looking into those eyes. I knew God was melting my heart in just the perfect way. I fell in LOVE with this precious girl. I sponsored her immediately.

God broke SO MUCH bitterness and hurt that day and redeemed my heart in a way I could never have imagined.

So, welcome to my sweet Sterlanda, now part of my compassion family. She lives with her grandmother. Her parents are both still alive, live separately, and do not support her financially or emotionally. Her grandmother is not employed and has no way to support her and her sister (who I later learned is named Sterlandina and is a year younger than her). The Compassion center she attends provides her with a uniform so she can attend school. She is doing well in school. She lives in the mountains and carries the water for her family. In most mountainous communities in Haiti this trek for water can take upwards of an hour long walk to and from the water source each day. I could picture my little tyke carrying such a large water jug down and back up the mountain to her home. She only listed playing with dolls as something she likes to do. I don’t get the impression she has a very fun-filled life. And those big, haunted eyes get me every time!

Her fourth birthday was in February, less than a month from when I sponsored her. So, the first thing I did was stuff an envelope full of 1/4 inch think of paper goodies (including unfolded glittery party hats) to celebrate her birthday and send a financial birthday gift. I hope she knew that someone across the world was celebrating her existence as much as her family was and as much as God was.

God took bitterness and hardness that had built up in me over what had happened to my friend Lucy and redeemed so much of it through the eyes of a sweet (now) 4 year old girl from Haiti. Doesn’t the audacity and intensity of God’s love and goodness just blow your mind? It surely does mine!