Category Archives: Letters From Children

Dressing a Cherished Doll of My Own

Bonita-4Having been a child sponsor and advocate for awhile, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the poverty that my children faced.  However, when I actually visited two of my girls last summer, the reality of it hit me, and I discovered many times how little I really knew.  While each one of those times of greater understanding and revelation gripped my heart, the moment regarding the dolls touched my heart very profoundly.

All year I had looked forward to visiting my girls and bringing them special gifts, and first on my list was a special doll.  After our delightfully happy time swimming together, I presented Yolani with her doll.  Instantly she was so incredibly over-the-top, ecstatic with her gift, and bubbling with intense joy!  For a child who has so little, to receive her heart’s desire like this was a huge dream come true. 

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Yolani was in a flurry of delight examining her doll and doll clothes

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 All the girls were in awe of Yolani’s doll…

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Yolani didn’t need much prompting to start dressing her doll in the different outfits

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 This sweet outfit was a treasured gift for Yolani from one of my friends

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Showing her doll to Celvin, her older brother who was still in the pool…
he immediately got out of the water and came over to see her gift

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Look at Yolani’s shining eyes! She promptly named her doll “Bonita”

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While I was thoroughly enjoying Yolani’s delight over Bonita, I was acutely aware of the reactions of the other girls in our group.  As they stroked Bonita’s hair and shared Yolani’s happiness, a look of longing and sadness swept over each one.  When I asked them about their dolls, I discovered that not one of them had ever had a doll.  Never.  In fact, they didn’t even know any girls who had a doll, except for the ones who had received dolls from their visiting sponsors.

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Both Yolani’s joy and Suany’s sweet spirit and pain still deeply touch my heart

My heart in that moment was crushed by the weight of sadness, grief, frustration, and really anger that poverty had denied these children such simple childhood pleasures that we take so for granted.  Our children here have so many toys…  it hurt to realize that these 8, 9 10, and 11 year old girls had never had a doll.  I had brought little gifts for the other girls, but I had no other dolls to give them.

When our team visited the local market, I looked in vain for dolls to purchase.  The only ones I found were cheap little plastic dolls like you would find in a dollar store here, but the faces were incredibly harsh and ugly looking.  Who makes such ugly dolls?  Why?  And my heart broke again that I had nothing to offer these other girls who had won my heart.

Even this week I received a letter from my little 7 year old Ugandan girl who replied that she had never had a toy before.  Aaaugh!  My heart…

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Sweet Claritza enjoying the chance to hold Bonita

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Avi, one of Yolani’s many cousins, was so delighted to hold Bonita

So I promised myself that when I returned, I would bring as many beautiful dolls as I could fit in my suitcase… not only the 5 that I need this year for my own girls, but for these other precious girls that I had gotten to know and love… Suany… Cesil… Avi…  Claritza.  And there’ are still so many more girls on my heart that I want to love on, but their dolls will have to wait for another year, as I simply cannot squeeze any more in! 

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Filling up my suitcase with dolls for precious girls

Bonita-15I leave for Honduras in 22 days… so much excitement and joy for this long anticipated trip as I finish collecting the last of my gift items for the childrenAfter seeing Yolani’s incredible delight not only in receiving a doll, but also that she had a few different outfits and pairs of shoes for Bonita, I would like to provide the same for each girl receiving one of these dolls next month.  I have a list of items that I still need to purchase… however, with a number of trip expenses that I still need to pay, I realized that I really need help with this project to bless these girls! Buying a $10 doll dress for one child would not be difficult, but trying to provide 2-3 dresses for 9 girls is beyond what I can do at this point!

Here is a partial list of what I still need for this trip…

If anyone is up for sewing some pretty dresses to fit 18″ dolls, that would be wonderful too!

letter-yolani-sewingI am also looking to provide each girl with some sewing items so she can have the fun of designing and creating her own doll dresses and accessories…

    • 9-18 “fat quarters” of pretty cotton quilt fabric in petite floral designs
    • 9 packages of hand sewing needles
    • 9 spools good quality white thread
    • 9 pairs inexpensive sewing scissors

Bonita-9If you are interested in sharing in this joy together with me by providing one or more of these items, please contact me. I would be very grateful for your help in blessing each of these precious girls with a dream come true.  And Yolani, Suany, Cesil, Avi, Claritza, Daniela, Reina, Sofia, and Maybeline will all be sending you “enormous hugs and kisses” too.  :o)

Many blessings of joy!

deborah

Children’s Delight

Trusty by Reina

With all the exciting preparations for my upcoming Compassion trip to Honduras… advocating for children, shopping for gifts for my 11 children plus their siblings and a few of their friends, planning visit days, packing, and working 6 days/week to finish earning the money I need for this trip… I suddenly realized that I am waaaay behind in my correspondence with my kids~!  So while my heart is still to see the remaining 12 children I have available receive sponsors before our team arrives mid-July, I’ve been enjoying a sweet time immersed in a pile of my children’s letters.

The letters from three of my 9-10 year old girls brought an extra delight… they each included their own sweet drawing of Trusty.  Over and again, my children — from the youngest of them to my teens — remind me how delighted they are playing the “Trusty Game,” with me.  These recent drawings expressing that delight have been in response to a few different “Trusty Letters”  that I sent over the holidays.  I’m so impressed with each one of these drawings, and each child warms my heart and makes me smile.

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“Trusty’s Happy Market Day” by Reina, 9 years old, Honduras

I love the sweet face that Reina drew of Trusty, with smiling eyes even! And look at the detail on the fetlocks…  I’m impressed!  Reina’s letter spilled over onto another full sheet of paper, and I love that she answered many of my questions, shared about things she has been learning at her project, and chatted about her life.  Her whole letter reflected exuberance and delight.  Reina has such a precious heart, and I can hardly wait to meet her on her visit day in 8 weeks~!! 

When Reina wrote this letter, she wouldn’t have known that I’m coming to visit this summer, but look at how she ended her letter…

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GabiGabriela delights me with her frequent letters that give me glimpses into her life in Romania, such as the food her family prepared for Christmas…  “cabbage, sausages, stake, and pig’s trotters.”  I had written to my children about my painting that I entered in the county fair last summer which took the blue ribbon, so Gabi wrote, “I do not have the chance to participate in such fairs, but I congratulate you for the prizes and your talent.  I don’t have a big talent, but I will draw something for you and send it.”  Here is her sweet picture of Trusty with the children, gathering her inspiration from the coloring pages that I sent.  I love her drawing and will continue to encourage her, and each of my children, in their artistic endeavors.

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“Trusty & the Children” by Gabriela, 10 years old, Romania

And again, a comment in one of her letters reminds me of the main reason that I have created this website…  to encourage sponsors (including myself~!) to write to our sponsored children, so that as many children as possible will be receiving letters.  Even little postcards or brief online email letters sent consistently throughout the year will remind our children that they are valued and loved.  I’m having so much fun catching up with my correspondence after this bit of a “drought.”

DevoraDevora is one of my World Vision children in the Dominican Republic, and she always draws delightful, full page pictures that are sent with the letters that her older sister writes on her behalf.   Devora’s drawing is in response to the Trusty’s Christmas Travels letter that I sent last fall, encouraging the children to observe beautiful art prints of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, and then again on their flight to Egypt.  I love that she thoughtfully created her own drawing of the story, and I smile to see Trusty grazing in the bushes.  I thought it was interesting that she included a pipe for water.  And of course, how fun that she labeled her people, indicating where baby Jesus is in her drawing!

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“Trusty’s Christmas Travels” by Devora, 9 years old, Dominican Republic

By sending my children art prints of stories that I am writing to them about, they are encouraged to make their own observations and to think about the stories.  Here is Devora’s response to the winter letter…

Each of these girls recently had updated photos… I discovered Devora’s new photo last night as I was writing online letters.  Yay!  I love seeing each of these girls in their new photos, and their dear hearts and faces make my heart sing.

So if you haven’t written your child in awhile, or are looking for some ideas of what to write, check out some of the ideas in the Creative Letters section… and let your child’s heart sing to hear from you.

deborah