My Inspiration…

I love Compassion International.  If you spend more than 2 seconds on this blog that should be evident.  I am a volunteer child advocate for Compassion and I love to share with people how they can help change the world through child sponsorship.  Currently my family and I are sponsors to two beautiful girls. Mwajuma from Tanzania & Wannaporn from Thailand.  I also correspond with 9 other children from all over the world for Compassion.  They are our international family and we love them.

But what made me take that first step to sponsor a child?  For years I had done like a lot of people I know.  I would attend a concert or conference, hear the artist or speaker talk about sponsoring a child, avoid eye contact with anyone passing out a packet, and then go about my merry little way.  Sponsorship came up in conversation with my husband occasionally, but it was always connected to these words…some day.  Some day when we are making more money, some day when this bill is paid off, some day I think it would be good to sponsor a child.

That all changed in 2008.  That year Compassion took a group of bloggers to Uganda.  One of them was Carlos Whittaker.  I was a regular reader of Carlos’ blog and enjoyed his gift for weaving words and sentences into blog posts that were challenging and full of authenticity.  I read his words and watched the video updates.  I began to read blog posts from others in the group, but the photos were what grabbed my attention.  As a photographer, I love how a good photograph can capture a moment, convey an emotion, and move an individual.  That’s what happened to me.  The photographs began to move me to action.

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Photo: Compassionbloggers.com

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Photo: CompassionBloggers.com

God spoke very clearly and said it was time that “some day” became “TODAY”.  My husband agreed and with our children we chose to sponsor little 9-year old Mwajuma from Tanzania.

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That move from “some day” to “today” started me on an incredible journey.  We began writing and building a relationship with this special girl.  “Some day” again made its way into my vocabulary when I thought about sponsoring a 2nd child.  In 2012, God clearly said again “TODAY”, and we became the sponsors of Wannaporn from Thailand.

I kept following the various Compassion blogging trips through the years and was inspired over and over by the beautiful photographs.  Some conveying hardships, some conveying joy, but all conveying the hope that can be found by releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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Earlier this year God blessed me with the opportunity to create my own inspiration.  I traveled on a sponsor tour to Tanzania.  After 6 years of seeing our precious Mwajuma only in photographs, I got to hug, laugh, and just be with her.

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I got to see first hand the difference that sponsorship makes not only in the life of a child, but also in their family and community.   I have many photographs from those incredible 12 days.  Photographs to remember wonderful memories and hopefully to inspire a whole group of new sponsors.

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Want to know more about sponsoring a child through Compassion International?  Click here

The Pack is Growing!

$315!!!!  That’s where The Hack Pack Bite Back campaign sits right now.  It’s great!  That’s enough to purchase over 30 treated mosquito nets.  30 changed families….30 chances to protect against a deadly illness that claims the lives of over 2,000 children each day!

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Thank you so much to everyone who has given so far!  However I feel that we’re just getting the ball rolling.  Social media has an amazing reach.  In the past week this blog has received hits from not only the U.S. but Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, and even Saudi Arabia!!  We’ve had donations from friends, family, my Compassion travelling buddies and fellow Compassion sponsors, high school classmates, and even some I don’t even know personally.

So to everyone who has shared this on Facebook or Twitter….Thanks!   Spreading the word is great and I am extremely grateful, but I also want to ask one more thing.  To everyone who is reading this….please consider donating to the Bite Back campaign.  That’s where the real difference is made!  We can work together to make a life-saving difference!  One person (me) can’t do it alone.  But with my family and friends and their family & friends & co-worker’s & neighbors & Twitter followers & Facebook friends……the sky is the limit!

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$10 provides a treated mosquito net for a family living with the threat of malaria, but a donation of ANY amount would be greatly appreciated.

Join the Hack Pack and Bite Back!  Click Here to Donate!

The Wait is Over

If you are a Compassion sponsor, watch this video and know that you are making such a difference in the life of a child, their family, and community.  If you are not a sponsor, watch this video and see what $38 a month, your letters, prayers, & love can do.

So little for so much.  We have been given so much….will we share it with those who have so little.  Yes, the money will go a long way to providing educational, health, social, and spiritual help.  More important is the chance to build a relationship with a child who needs to know that poverty does not define them, to know that they are of great worth, and to know that there is hope.

I have 5 children that need sponsors.  I will have their packets until July 18th.  If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Compassion, I’d love to talk with you.  My e-mail is dhhackney@sbcglobal.net.

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Maybe you would like to be involved in helping children in another way.  Join my family and I as we support Bite Back.  Bite Back focuses on malaria prevention throughout the world through education & providing treated mosquito nets to families living with this dangerous threat.  $10 will provide a net, but any donation will go a long way to helping prevent this deadly disease that claims the lives of 2,000 children EACH DAY!

BITE BACK WITH THE HACK PACK!  CLICK HERE

Remember, one person can not change the entire world,
but you can change the world for one child! 

How can it be enough?

Last Saturday I received several pieces of mail from Compassion.  I took a break and sat down to read my “Happy Mail”.  The last letter was from 9-year old Godfrey in Uganda.  The front page of the form letter told me about his village and community.  I flipped the letter over and was stopped cold by this: IMG_2990Godfrey was writing to tell me that his mother had died in April.  Tears immediately began to fall and I sat in silence clutching the letter praying and mourning for him.  This little boy who is only 1 1/2 weeks younger than my daugher had already lost his father before I had began to write to him.  Now he was an orphan. I wondered what illness had taken his mother’s life.  Was is AIDS?  Was it malaria?  I will probably never know.  I soon sat down and wrote him a letter.  What do you say to someone so young who has lost so much?  I told him that I loved him.  I told him how sad I was.  I reassured him that God knew how he was feel and the He loved him.  I wrote scripture from Psalms.  I made a “hug” to send him using my hand prints and sent a photo of me holding his “hug”. IMG_317copy7 I placed it all in an envelope and held it tightly, prayed over it, and dropped it in the mail slot.  As I left the post office I though of how it seemed insufficient.  I wondered how it could ever be enough.  God gently reminded me that it was.  Even though all I had to offer was feebly written words, they were penned in love and written besides the unchangeable truth from God’s Word…and that made it enough. God reminded me of just how much power words have….both healing words and hurtful words.  Proverbs 12:8 states that, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”  Word of encouragement to a child have great power.  It’s why I have committed to writing to children all over the world. If I hadn’t been reminded of the importance of what I do as a Compassion advocate and correspondent by that point, God had one more reminder for me that day.  As I pulled into the parking lot of my next destination, Audio Adrenaline’s “Kings & Queens” began playing.  These lyrics came from my speakers.

Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me Will we leave behind the innocent too brief On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun These could be our daughters and our sons And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating I know my God won’t let them be defeated Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Break our hearts once again Help us to remember when We were only children hoping for a friend Won’t you look around these are the lives that the world has forgotten Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

Boys become kings, girls will be queens Wrapped in Your majesty  When we love, when we love the least of these Then they will be brave and free Shout your name in victory When we love when we love the least of these

So to those people who saw someone at the farmer’s market wandering around with a tear-stained face, sorry, but I had just had a holy moment with my God. UG4280278 And to Godfrey…You may wonder how it’s possible that someone on the other side of the world who has only spoken to you in a handful of letters can love you so much.  It’s because God placed you into my life and into my heart.  We may never get to meet face to face, but I commit to continue to pray for you, and to write words of encouragement to you.  I will keep your precious letter close.  It will serve to be a reminder to me of the ministry that God has for me to do.  I won’t let you down.

The Hack Pack Bite Back!

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So I’m sure a lot of you have heard this story by now.  A man in Ohio began a Kickstarter campaign over the 4th of July weekend to make a good potato salad.  His goal was $10 to buy ingredients to make his first potato salad.  As of the moment that I’m writing this he has raised over……..$43,000!!!!  Forty….three….thousand….DOLLARS!  To be honest I think it’s all very funny.  He has stated that he did it on a whim for the fun and silliness in life.  Now I’m all for fun, and I’ve instigated my own fair share of silliness.  To me it says that people like to be part of something fun.  They like to be part of something bigger than just themselves.  So to Potato Salad Guy, I say, “Thanks for the inspiration.”  You’ve proven again that social media can take a person by surprise.

So what did Potato Salad Guy (from here on out referred to as PSG) inspire me to do?  You may have seen a couple days ago that I started a Firstgiving page to raise funds for Compassion’s Bite Back program.  This program seeks to help prevent malaria through providing mosquito nets and education to families living with the threat of this disease all over the world.  2,000 kids die EACH DAY from malaria.  That’s 2,000 too many!A couple of people have already donated and I would like to send them a HUGE Thank You!  Tonight I went in and added a zero to the goal.  Hold up Heidi!  You really think you can raise $5,000 this summer?!?!  Nope….not for one moment do I think I can….at least not by myself.  PSG didn’t even conceive of raising $43,000, but he did.  I’ve got a far better offer for you….a chance to save lives!  Plus I’ve got a secret weapon…I’d tell you, but then it wouldn’t be a secret!

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What does that mean for you?  Glad you asked!  I’m going to cut to the chase.  I need you to give.  ANYTHING.  $10 will buy a mosquito net for a family to use, but that’s not the only option…give $5….give $1….just give.  Take a few moments and give now.  Don’t procrastinate as I tend to do! :)  And then share and pass it along.  Share it on Facebook, retweet, reinstagram, re – anything.  I have a lot of great friends and family.  My friends and family have a lot of great friends and family.  Together we can make waves.  Together we can doing something big.  I can’t do it alone, but together we might just even give potato salad a run for it’s money!

We’re going to have some fun along the way.  Not sure about all the details, but I think a music video might be in order if we reach a certain level.  You will have to stay tuned for the details.

Hey, we even have a catchy name to go along with this campaign.  So join the Hack Pack and Bite Back!

Click to Donate to Bite Back now

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Let’s all Bite Back!

Mosquitoes.  They are annoying, irritating, and quite frankly….and sometimes literally, a pain in the butt.  But I never think of them as deadly.   biteback_1024x7681

Before I traveled to Africa, I made several trips to the travel clinic to get vaccinated for various diseases that plagued the area I would be traveling to.  One of the medications I received was for malaria.  Each night in Tanzania I slept under a mosquito net.

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I took my medicine each day and diligently sprayed myself with bug spray.  Many, many children and families are not afforded that luxury.

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Malaria is a blood infection caused by a tiny parasite. A person becomes infected after being bitten by a mosquito carrying the malaria parasite. Malaria starts with a fever. Then come the headaches and the vomiting. If not treated quickly, malaria can overwhelm the body or even infect the brain and cause a coma. At this point, malaria becomes fatal. Here are some quick figures for you to consider:

  • *350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide each year.
  • *Malaria causes 20 percent of ALL childhood deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • *90 percent of malaria deaths occur in Africa—nearly 1 million people.
  • *Malaria kills 2,000 children each day.

Did you catch that last number….2,000!  Two thousand children EACH DAY die from an illness that is 100% preventable.  A disease that does not even land on our radar here in America.  However in Africa it is an all too real reality.

Just yesterday I received a sobering reminder of the devastation of disease in Africa.  My Compassion child in Uganda, 9-year old Godfrey, wrote me to tell me of his mother’s death.  He included this heartbreaking drawing:

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Godfrey’s father had already died before I began writing to him.  Now this little boy who is only 1 1/2 weeks younger than my daughter is now an orphan.  I do not know why his mother died.  Perhaps it was disease, perhaps it was an accident, but it was a reminder that there are TOO many little children who grow up in all parts of the world without the love and security of their parents.  There are too many mothers who will bury their children today because they died from illnesses that could have been prevented with so little.

This summer I will be focusing on Compassion’s Bite Back program.  Bite Back is working to combat malaria through treated mosquito nets, education, and medication. For only $10 you can make it possible for a family to receive a treated net and give them the security and peace of mind that comes with protection from this deadly disease.

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$10….so little for so much.  It’s nothing…3 drinks at Starbucks…2 meals at McDonalds….1 movie ticket…..so little.   Let’s put the power of social media to good use this summer!  Would you join me in supporting Bite Back?  I’ll get the ball rolling and donate the first net.  Will you be next?  To donate click the link below.  Of course, donations of more than $10 will be happily and gratefully accepted.  $10 is all it takes to provide one net.

Donate to Bite Back

No child needs to suffer because of malaria!  No mother needs to bury their son or daughter because of a mosquito!  Let’s work together and BITE BACK!

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