Getting slimed for Clean Water

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We recently completed a great week of Vacation Bible School at our church.  I was part of the planning team for my church’s Vacation Bible School.  This year we decided to select Compassion’s Water of Life program for our mission project.  We had a boys vs. girls “loose change war” with all money collected going to Compassion.

We had so much fun with this project.  I thought about what goal we should set. We are a church of around 250 members and our VBS attendance was 125 each night. I decided that collecting enough for 3 filters would be doable.   If we got enough for 5, then “Wow!” that would be great.  I decided to speak about Water of Life during our VBS promotion Sunday that was held in March.  We had buckets to collect loose change and donations at the end of the service.  We collected again during our VBS kick-off Sunday.  God began to show me how limited my thinking had been early on.  We collected enough for 5 filters during those 2 services and our VBS had yet to begin.

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During VBS we challenged our kids with the realities of what life looks like for a lot of children around the world.  The week would be the boys versus the girls with the team leader of the losing team being “slimed” at the end of the week.  The competitive spirit was great!  Our leaders and volunteers got involved as well.  Our pastor led the week’s mission class.  During the mission time he would encourage the kids to pray for those who would receive the water filters.  He suggested that they pray for God to provide funds for 4 filters.  When told this, one little girl said, “I’m not praying for 4…I’m praying for 5!”  That number continued to grow throughout the week.  Near the end of the week the kids were praying for God to provide 20 filters!  The excitement continue to build throughout VBS.  We demonstrated the filter and drank dirty water that had been filtered.  When asked who was going to win the response would be all the kids yelling for their team.   Boys!  Girls!  Boys!  Girls!  Without fail, one child would raise their hand and say, “No, it’s the kids who get the buckets that will win.”

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I have to think that after hearing my prayer for 5 filters God smiled to himself and with love thought, “Isn’t that cute.”  He had a much bigger plan in mind.  Not only did he provide the 5 filters I asked for, He provided the 20 that the kids asked for.  If only we would have the pure faith of a child!  The boys prevailed and it was with great joy that I was slimed at the end of the week.  I’ve never been happier to be that messy!

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When it was all said and done, $2,100 had been collected.   That money is on its way to Compassion headquarters in Colorado Springs.  It has been earnestly prayed over.   Prayers that the families who receive these filters would not only have clean safe water for life, but also with the dedicated work of Compassion staff around the world, they would know the True Water of Life that is found in a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

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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! 

Tanzania – Lightness & Loveness

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Today would be a special day for us.  Our entire group was off to a center in Singida that featured a Child Survival Project.  The CSP focuses on mothers who are pregnant or have babies and toddlers.  Mothers enrolled in the program receive health care, education, and nutritional assistance.   The mother’s choir performed beautifully for us.  The project report was given and I’ll have to admit it was a little hard to focus with little faces like this one.  There was so much cuteness!

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We toured the project and learned about programs that were designed to help the mothers become economically self sufficient.  They were being taught sewing, weaving, and batik making.  Batik is a dyeing process that resulted in beautiful clothes like these.

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We found out that we were able to purchase them directly from the project.  I bought two to take home.  I was looking to bring some cloth home from Africa just like this, and I was glad to know that I was helping to directly support these wonderful women.  By the time our entire group had made it’s way through this part of the center we had completely bought them out.

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After touring the facility we divided up into our groups for home visits.  I had a special item tucked into my backpack just for this day.  My mother makes cloth dolls that she packs into her shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  She sends some with me every year to place into the boxes that I pack.  Last year, after the boxes had been packed and shipped off I found one of these dolls.  It had managed to get left behind.  I decided to pack the doll in my suitcase.  I didn’t have a specific plan for it, but I just figured that I would know when to give it away.  I thought that this would be the perfect day because we would be visiting with younger children.

I hoped that we would visit a home of a little girl.  As we walked the short distance to the home I realized that there might be a problem with that plan.  We were headed to the home of not one, but two little girls.  We followed these sweet little twin girls and their mother to their simple home.

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I turned to my friend Tawnya with a worried look.  “I only have one doll….what do I do now.”  I then said that maybe I was letting the American way of thinking get in the way.  You know, where everything has to be equal and fair.  I decided to play it by ear.

Through our conversation we learned that the twins were only 2 of the 8 children in the family.  A relative also lived there as well which equaled 9 kids to 3 beds.  After visiting with the family and presenting them with the food gifts I quietly told our translator Joseph that I had a doll to give, but I only had one.  I asked him if it would still be appropriate.  Joseph assured me that the family would be grateful and I should go ahead.  I pulled the doll out of my bag and explained, through our translator, that my mother had made this doll and that it was given in love.  I handed it to one of the girls.  Her name was Loveness.  She intently looked it over.  Then the doll was handed to the other girl.  Her name was Lightness.  She stared at that little doll and even pulled it up to her face to feel it on her cheek.  Her mother explained that Lightness really loves babies, more so than Loveness.  Sweet little Lightness latched onto that doll.

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I began to tear up.  This was affecting me in a way that I didn’t expect.  I knew that my Mom would be so happy to see this precious little girl with the doll.  I also was struck with the fact that I got personally hand this gift over.  I’ve packed many boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I pack them up and send them off with prayer.  I often wonder what the reaction was when it was opened up.  Was the child excited?  Did they smile?  Did they laugh and squeal with glee?  It was no small thing to be able to kneel down and hand this gift directly to its recipient.

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One Meal, One Day

It’s been rather quiet around here lately, hasn’t it?  Actually my life has been anything buy quiet.  My trip to Tanzania is 5 months away and life’s pace has been a bit overwhelming.  I’m ready to return to this poor little neglected blog, and I wanted to return with something important.

My trip to Tanzania is a result of my sponsorship of a child through Compassion.  But did you know that Compassion is much more than just child sponsorship?  Child sponsorship is a key component, but Compassion provides much more in their holistic approach to battling poverty.  Compassion provides prenatal care to mothers and care to infants and toddlers through their Child Survival Program.  They also help to develop the next generation’s leaders through the Leadership Development Program.  Compassion battles disease through the Bite Back malaria prevention program and Water of Life initiative.

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Compassion is also on the front line battling hunger.  Did you know that more than 6 million children die of malnutrition every year?  In some places around the world, the situation is so dire, even children registered in Compassion programs require extraordinary food interventions. They need major, superhero-sized help. And that’s where you come in.

I am participating in a program called One Meal, One Day.  On November 6th I will be skipping a meal and using that money to provide much needed nutrition to a child who desperately needs it.  I want you to join me!  Will you consider skipping just one meal to make a difference?  You donation can be made by following this link:

Heidi’s One Day, One Meal Page

$5 will get you lunch…..or almost get you lunch.  Five dollars does not sound like much.  What would happen if you gave lunch money to make a difference?  Now what would happen if we all would choose to join together?  Five, ten, one hundred, one thousand?  It’s time to use social media for good!  Feel free to share this page within your circle of influence.  Let’s make a difference!