What I Brought Back from El Salvador

Every piece of clothing has a story. From the farm where the fibers are grown to the factory where the clothing is sewn together to the retail store where you buy it so many hands and lives have touched and been touched by the clothes you wear. That’s why I love slow fashion. I love knowing that the clothes I wear benefitted the people who came in contact with them and I love knowing those people’s stories. On our last day in El Salvador, we went to a local market to do some shopping. While the experience was a bit overshadowed by meeting my sponsored child earlier in the day, that didn’t totally cancel out how cool the experience was.

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I got to speak to the woman who hand embroidered this blouse. Knowing the stories of the people who made my clothes is amazing, actually getting to talk to them even more so.

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These shoes were made in one of Compassion El Salvador’s income generation projects. Income generation is part of how the Youth Development Program is replacing the Leadership Development Program so that more students are able to continue their education after highschool. You can read more about it in my post Compassion El Salvador 2018 Day 1: The Country Office and Home Visits. Currently, the students are making the shoes entirely by hand which isn’t very scalable. If the centers could scale the production of the shoes they could break into wholesale markets, and sell internationally but to do that they need two machines that cost $20,000 each. When I visited the country office I was inspired to fundraise and help them buy these machines. It’s been a little while but it’s finally ready! I worked with the awesome Grace Rouse to design a tshirt and it’s available on Bonfire. I don’t know if we can get to $20,000 or $40,000 but I do know that I serve an amazing God who can do anything He wants.

I would so so appreciate if you would share this and buy one if the shirts and/or the mission strike your fancy! You can get to the campaign page right here!

Much love,

Maizy

 

 

Compassion El Salvador 2018 CHILD VISIT DAY!!

Y’all I’m finally talking about the reason why I even went to El Salvador in the first place. It’s about time amiright? If you’ve missed my previous posts you can find my the first post here and the second post here.

The last full day in El Salvador was child visit day and it was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I cried at least 3 times. I think every Compassion sponsor who has the ability to visit their child 100% needs to do it. In addition to meeting Nuria, I met her mom, her tutor, and another staff member from her Center. I actually was not sponsoring Nuria when I signed up for the trip. My mom and the two of my sisters that I traveled with had sponsored children in El Salvador and I went just to experience Compassion’s work firsthand meet my family’s kids. A few months before the trip I volunteered at a Compassion event and found Nuria’s packet and decided to sponsor her. It was so cool getting to meet her so early on in our relationship. Now, when I write to her, I know her personality, I know her mom, and I know some of the people who she sees every day.

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left to right: Nuria’s mom, Nuria, me, Nuria’s tutor, the computer workshop instructor from her center.

For child visit days, Compassion sets the meeting up in a large public place, in El Salvador child visits take place at a waterpark. Especially if you are meeting younger children it is great to be able to play and move around, some sponsors also brought soccer balls or other toys to play with. I brought a volleyball and coloring supplies and after lunch we were able to sit down and color which gave me a chance to talk to her mother and tutor a little bit.

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I loved the waterfall but Nuria was more a fan of the slides.

Most people expect that Compassion sponsorship is a blessing to the children who are sponsored but I think that it is just as much of a blessing to the sponsors. God is the one changing lives in El Salvador and it’s crazy awesome that I get to be a part of that, that I get to build a relationship with Nuria and meet the literal superheroes who are following God and transforming their entire country by serving kids. Compassion sponsorship is one of the best decisions anyone can make, it really makes a difference in the lives of children all over the world and in the lives of sponsors. If after reading these posts you are interested in sponsoring yourself, please pray about it and seriously consider it. The website is right here.

~Maizy

 

Compassion El Salvador 2018 Day 1: The Country Office and Home Visits

Out of the three-ish days we spent exploring the country of El Salvador and learning about Compassion programs, the most impactful for me was the day we visited the national office and a new center in San Salvador. The national office is full of passionate, intelligent people who are using their gifts to break cycles of poverty, exploitation, and marginalization that have been affecting their communities for generations. We had the opportunity to hear from several directors of various programs but listening to the directors of the youth development and income generation programs was especially exciting to me because those are already areas that I am passionate about and pursuing a career in.

The youth development program (YDP) was developed by Compassion in conjunction with closing down the leadership development program (LDP). Formerly, students would graduate from the child development program (CDP) at 18 years old and only those who showed the most potential would have the opportunity to enter the LDP and be matched with a sponsor to pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher. The YDP extends the benefits of the LDP to more students, allowing them to stay in the CDP until the age of 22 (except in a few countries where military service is mandatory at 18). Students in the YDP receive discipleship, mentorship, and opportunities to be involved in sports, music training, as well as higher education whether that be in a trade or a university degree. The YDP benefits students starting at the age of 12 until they graduate from the program. All but one of my sponsored children is over the age of 15 so it is exciting for me to see Compassion working to provide opportunities to more students than would have been possible with the LDP.

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These shoes were made in one of Compassion’s income-generation workshops. I bought the pink pair!

One of the downfalls of the LDP was the high cost of sponsorship. LDP sponsorship is significantly more than the $38 to sponsor a child in the CDP and so significantly fewer people could afford to sponsor a leadership development student. The cost of higher education hasn’t gone down so in order to cover the difference between what sponsorship pays for and what education costs for YDP students many centers have started income generation workshops. In El Salvador, the workshops range from bakeries to shoemaking factories. Students set their own hours around their school schedule and can work up to 20 hours a week to earn income that helps them pay for their education. Not only are students learning useful skills like breadmaking but they are also learning entrepreneurship and how to run a business which will help them earn sustainable income no matter where they go in life. I firmly believe that dignified employment is one of the most effective ways to fight poverty and so I am thrilled to see Compassion begin incorporating that into their ministry.

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After leaving the national office we visited a center located in San Salvador where we split into groups to visit families involved in the Compassion program and eat lunch in their homes. I visited the home of Maria and her granddaughter Lucero. Lucero has been involved in the Compassion program since her center opened a year ago. She and her brother love soccer and after lunch, they challenged us to a match…needless to say they won that game and the one after it. Lucero’s grandmother, Maria supports her family by selling tortillas. She taught us how to make authentic Salvadoran tortillas and they were delicious! During our visit to the center, I was struck by how amazing the tutors and center staff are. Many of them are not paid and live in the same neighborhoods as the kids they serve but they still work tirelessly to help those kids break out of poverty. Thinking about the Compassion tutors gives me a whole new perspective on sacrificial giving!

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I’ll have another post about my trip up soon but I hope what I have shared in this post has made you as excited about Compassion’s ministry as I am! If you are interested in sponsoring a child send me an email or message me on insta or facebook! I would love to help you get started on what is truly an amazing journey!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

 

 

Compassion El Salvador 2018

I’ve been wanting to blog about my trip to El Salvador since before I left but I’ve been feeling a bit like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride when he says “let me explain. No, there is too much, let me sum up.” And I’m struggling to sum up in a way that does justice to how amazing the trip was. Everything I have to say won’t fit into one post so I’m going to break it up into posts about each day starting with an overview of Compassion International and the work they are doing in El Salvador specifically.

Compassion International is a child sponsorship organization. They were founded in 1952 by Rev. Everett Swanson to help war orphans in South Korea. Today Compassion partners with local churches in 25 countries to empower children to break the cycle of poverty. Compassion prioritizes holistic development. My favorite part of their ministry is that because they work through the local church, the kids in their program benefit from community and support from adults who care about them and interact with them daily.

Compassion has been working in El Salvador since 1977. They serve over 60,000 children in 272 church-operated child development centers. Individual countries are given a lot of freedom to make decisions that best benefit their kids and in addition to the standard interventions such as education, healthcare, spiritual support and sponsorship Compassion El Salvador provides many unique opportunities for the kids in their program. I’m going to link this PowerPoint about Compassion El Salvador if you want more information but also stay tuned for the next post because I’ll be talking about my trip to the country office!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t truly think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or yarn, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

She is Priceless

According to Sheryl WuDunn in her book Half the Sky, there are an estimated 107 million missing girls and women in the world. 107 million women who should be present and identifiable in the population but are not. 107 million babies who were killed in the womb or abandoned after birth, 107 million children who were married off way to young, 107 million adults who were trafficked or murdered.

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe that every person is created by God with value and that that is very clear in the Bible.

Genesis 1:27 says “God created man (meaning mankind) in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

And in Psalm 139:13-14 King David of Israel says “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.”

From the story of Hagar, to Esther and Ruth, to Mary, and the woman at the well, and Mary Magdalene God shows how He loves women and that He values them enough to use them in His plan of redemption for the world. Despite that for all of history women have been marginalized, abused, treated as property, and told that they were less valuable, capable, and intelligent than men.

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That is why I love the work that Mercy House is doing in Kenya. They are providing a safe home, medical care, counseling, and education to young mothers in dangerous situations and loving on their babies.

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That’s why when Elizabeth, the young woman I sponsor through Compassion wrote me a letter and told me that she had graduated from secondary school and would be attending college soon, I almost cried. I was more excited for her than I was when I graduated. (Also, we’re both business majors and I’m super excited about that too)

Women are priceless and when they are empowered to reach their potential they have the ability to transform the world.

At this point you might be asking yourself “what can I do?” and I strongly encourage you to find a way to lift up the women in your life and community. That might mean encouraging a high school girl in your church and letting her know you see her hard work and potential, saying thank you to your mom or another woman in your life. It could also mean donating a few hours of your time volunteering at your local women’s shelter or pregnancy crisis center.

Want to take it a step further? Sponsor a girl or woman in poverty. I love Compassion International because they work through the local church and empower people to care for children in their own communities. I also love that you are able to write letters and build a relationship with the child you sponsor. Other organizations that offer sponsorship are Indigenous Ministries, who work with refugees in Iraq and Mercy House who offer the opportunity to sponsor a woman in their transition home in Kenya.

Another option? Buy fairtrade products. Women in poverty don’t want a handout, they want a job. When you buy a product that was made by a woman rising out of poverty the empowerment you are supporting is incredible. This rug and these bracelets are made by the Grandmas of the Mercy House babies, enabling all of them to move out of the slum into clean, safe homes, send their other kids to school, and even in some cases bring kids home from indentured servitude.

 

Sponsorship Saturday: Meet Adias

Hello Everyone!

Since 2012 I have had the privilege of sponsoring Elizabeth, Charity, Nenxy, Habib, and Jane through Compassion International. Compassion is an organization that helps children break the cycle of poverty through one-to-one sponsorship which provides for school fees, nutritious meals, medical, and most importantly, encouragement and mentorship for children who need it most. Compassion works with local pastors and churches to create safe places for children to play, get help with school work, and to learn about God. The relationships I have built with the girls that I sponsor have been a huge blessing. Not only have I been able to help them but they have encouraged me and truly become my friends.

Today I would like to introduce you to a little boy who needs a sponsor.

Meet Adias Princivil

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Adias lives in Haiti with his father, mother, and two siblings. His father is sometimes employed as a farmer and his mother is sometimes employed as a seller in the market. His household duty is running errands. He is seven years old.

Sponsorship is just $38 a month, that’s a little more than a dollar a day. If you would like to sponsor this little boy, please comment down below with your email address and I will send you a packet with information about Adias, his family, and his community as well as a form to fill out to sponsor him. If you would like to sponsor a child, but you would like to choose a different child, I have another form that lets you specify age, country, and gender. Or, go to Compassion’s website here.

Have a great day!