About Me

My photo
Abingdon, Md, United States
Works as the Sponsorship Director for Remember the Children,serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for Compassion International in Md, Va and DC. Avid Disney lover (OK- I am a kid at heart!) but my focus is reaching out to the lost and least of these. My heart belongs to our sponsored children in Romania and Honduras.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Look into their eyes....(Shared from RtC blog)


   You walk into the village overwhelmed by the poverty and the living conditions. One room homes with a single bed that sleeps five. A fire pit for cooking and a child’s swimming pool to do laundry in. Food graciously placed out as an offering but with flies swarming around. You wonder are you really making a difference in this place? Can anyone make a difference?
    I just returned from ten days in Romania meeting with several of the partners that we are working with. Our goal is to bring faith, hope and love to the children of Romania. All of our strategic partners work at spreading the gospel message through afterschool programs, vacation bible schools and discipleship programs. Monthly in the villages of Santandrei food bags are given out as a gesture of love. Simply the message is that we care. We are not asking anything in return except for chance to be there and to pour into their lives. By showing them the love that Christ first showed to us we begin to offer them hope in something better.
    Allow me to share a visit with you. As a group we pulled into one of the poorer villages. The children are the first to come out to see what we are doing or perhaps bringing. They readily great us with hugs and hand holding. The parents stand off to one side just watching us. We gather the children around and begin to sing some simple songs. Our partner here, Danny, has visited many times so they are familiar with the songs and readily join in. They enjoy the movements and laugh at some of our clumsy attempts to dance. Next we tell a Bible Story and share a memory verse. The children are anxious to repeat the verse and receive a treat. Next we have them do a simple craft to reinforce the story and then end with some games. If you look past the poverty you could be in any neighborhood in the United States. These are children just looking to be loved and embraced. If you look into their eyes you can see that. All they really want to know is that someone cares for them. Simply by spending some time with them you begin to build a level of trust and hope. You begin to be an agent of change in their lives. This is what our partners are doing in Romania and why we are coming along side of them.
     We recently opened a new sponsorship program in these villages. The picture above is Vanesa and she was our first sponsored child there. I had the privilege of presenting her a letter from her sponsor Melissa. All of the children gathered around as Danny read her the letter in Romanian. Slowly a smile crept onto her face and her eyes began to light up. She felt valued and you could see it in her eyes. A connection had been made and change was beginning. This is what our ministry is and it is making a difference in Romania.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Five Days / 8 Connections

      We specifically headed back to Honduras this year to see our 4 sponsored children and our LDP student.  We also wanted to host our final Quinceanera (for now). We decided to break from the norm and instead of staying at a typical "chain" hotel we tried a small boutique type hotel. It had only 23 rooms and is a little off the beaten path.  The neat thing was it was right by the Compassion country office and we got to stop in for a quick tour. From our arrival to departure it was a blessing. Our host Scarlett and her daughter Goldie made us feel right at home. In fact the best part of the trip was connecting with everyone we ever sponsored or were sponsoring. God made those connections happen.
Meet Sandra~ our newest sponsored child! We have only been sponsoring her for a year and she lives way north- close to Guatemala. We didn't think we would be able to meet her since she was so far from Tegucigalpa. Compassion made the arrangements and we had an amazing time with her. She has attitude and spunk. We ended up taking her (and her Dad) to their first movie ever, "Finding Dory". Great day!
From left to right> Jorge! Our 4th visit with him and he is growing into an amazing young man. Proof that sponsorship works. Fabiola is in the center. She is our LDP student, 24 years old, beautiful and about to graduate the University in accounting. Last but never least is Nataly. We choose her from a project center that is close to our hearts. Though we have been sponsoring her for about two years this was our first meeting. She just never stopped smiling or giggling.
Sophia and Jeyelly- If you read the prior post this was our opportunity to host the Quinceanera for Sophia. We last saw her three years ago and she has grown into quite the young women.  Our biggest surprise was getting to see Jeyelly after she had left the project two years ago. Such a God moment to have closure and know we were blessed.
Linda! Need I really say more? Those that know me understand she is the reason for my passion of
child sponsorship and my ministry. Without her, there would not be any volunteer work with Compassion or my actual work with RtC. She changed my life and we are blessed to be able to continue having her a part of our lives. She is getting married and we were fortunate to be able to have lunch together and meet her fiance. They make a great couple!
Finally Kellyn~ she surprised us. She has graduated from the program and we were only her Correspondent Sponsors for about about a year. We did meet her in 2013 and we are connected on Facebook. She found out we were in Honduras and messaged me. She wanted to come see us. She and her whole family took a bus into the city and we had a great dinner together. She just wanted us to know how important we were in her life and how much she appreciated us. Talk about humbling.

    So again~ a simple trip to be a blessing and we end up being blessed more. Sponsorship is truly about changing lives though it often is the Sponsor that gets changed the most!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Closure!

   Three years ago we last traveled to Honduras. Besides going to see our sponsored children we were going to host the Quinceanera for Jeyelly. She (on the left) was our second sponsored child ever and we were excited to provide this for her.
    Fast forward about nine months later and I got that dreaded call from Compassion. The one that every sponsors fears~ Jeyelly had left the project and the program. She had decided to leave her family and move in with her boyfriend. Our hearts were certainly broken. We obviously did not know the reason for her decision and could only pray that we had planted seeds in her life and God was in control.
    When a Compassion child graduates out of the project you have the opportunity to write a final letter. Sometimes you even get to stay connected in our social networking world. However in a case like this it is over and there really is no closure. You can only hope for the best.
    Fast forward to this year. We returned to Honduras to host the Quinceanera for Sophia~Jeyelly's half sister. (Note: The 12 year old girl we remembered has turned into a beautiful princess!) We kind of hoped we would see Jeyelly.  However we did not even know if she was in the same area now. Well Sophia entered and our eyes were on her. All of a sudden we got hugged from behind and there was Jeyelly. She had come but most important we were able to have some closure. Lots of hugs and tears were spread around. She was glad to see us. We were thrilled to say hello and remind her how important she was in God's eyes and ours. She is now married and pregnant and we are reconnected through Facebook. God is good!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

~One More Time~


Here we fly somewhere between Philadelphia and Miami.  For the fifth time we are on our way to Honduras to see our Compassion sponsored children. It has been 16 years since we first sponsored, 9 years since our first visit and 3 years since our last visit. A lot has happened during that period.
-       We added a second child on our first visit. After that we would add 5 more with Compassion as financial sponsors and 2 as correspondent sponsors.
-       We involved ourselves in Compassion’s ministry as advocates and volunteer leadership.
-       We would have our first child graduate from the project, another leave the program and one leave to move to the United States.
-       Our love for missions would grow and we would visit Mexico and Romania. Romania would become a focus of our hearts. We would return their 2 more times, start sponsoring 4 children there and renew our wedding vows in Ciumeghiu.
-       God, understanding my heart, would partner me with Remember the Children to develop their child sponsorship program in a part-time position.

     It has been an amazing time and sponsorship has been such a part of our lives ministry wise. Our lives changed nine years ago with that first visit and we are excited to be able to return. We are going down to celebrate the Quinceanera for one of our children and to visit the other 4 children we sponsor there. It is going to be a quick but fun trip. Two of the children we have never met before and are looking forward to that connection. We still connect with Linda (our first sponsored child) outside of Compassion. Several months ago she told us that she was engaged. We are truly hoping to get together with her and her fiancĂ© for lunch. She was our “game changer” and we have written her a letter to let her know how important she was to us. Sponsorship truly changes two lives and she did change ours. None of the above would have happened with meeting her~ now we return one more time.
Please keep us in prayer. We know we are blessed.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Does Sponsorship Work?

The following was my contribution to the Remember the Children website blog. I am now on staff part time there developing the child sponsorship program.




This is a question I am often asked and it is one that you really need to discover on your own. Sponsoring a child is not just a financial commitment but rather an investment in God’s Kingdom. We are called to after the “least of these” and children are the most vulnerable. They are often left without hopes or dreams. Sponsorship is a means where we can change that.

     Through sponsorship, you are coming along side of one of our strategic servant partners and offering assistance in providing social, economic and spiritual resources to help a child have a future. These children often feel that no one cares for them and by connecting them with a sponsor they begin to experience hope and self worth.

     I have been a child sponsor for over twelve years. I was a good sponsor in sending in my commitment and writing letters. However, it was not until I actually met my first sponsored child that I saw the difference that I was making. When we met she took one look at my wife and myself and burst into tears. They were not sad tears but tears of joy. Every time I looked into her eyes that day I saw the love she had for us and for what we were doing in her life. Through this experience I saw the love that Jesus has for each of us and I knew we were making a difference. My life had changed.

    I am a believer in child sponsorship and I desire to bring that same joy that I have experienced to others through the sponsorship program of Remember the Children. The children in Romania are the future of the developing church. By engaging them first we then can begin to reach their families and finally the communities. That is our impact model. We currently have two sponsorship programs underway with a third in development. We are working in Satu Mare where we are partnering with House of Hope. Here 25 orphans are being cared for on a daily basis. One of my sponsored children lives there and I got to meet him one night. Besides all of the hugs the one thing I remember the most was when I sat down to tie my shoes he jumped in and tied them for me. He just kept looking me in the eyes and smiling as he did so. My heart melted at that moment. We are also partnering with a church in Chimeghiu that has an after school program for the children in that area. They are reaching out and being a light in a rather dark community. Over the past two years I am seeing the difference that the church is making and know that through the sponsorship program the children will begin to see the transformational love of Jesus.   Shortly we hope to have the program in Santandrei where we will be offering opportunities to the Roma/Gypsy children of two villages. Already plans are developing to build a community center where we can begin to reach out to those families.

     I encourage you to pray about making a difference in the life of a child. Find out for yourself if the program works and join with us. Our program is relational and it is not just about the dollars. It is about encouraging and offering hope to a child and it is my testimony that sponsorship does not just change one life but two. Would you be willing to make that investment and discovery?


Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Update to the Update!

~Roma Village~
Well it is official! We are going to build (or at least start) a church/community center in Santandrei. If you refer to the previous posts things were changed at the last moment and our previously planned Christmas Eve offering was now going to be going to this purpose. This was something near and dear to heart. Two years in a row we were going to be supporting Remember the Children with their mission in Romania.

Let me preface this and state that Christmas Eve offerings are always special. They always go 100% to where the funds are directed to. Our typical Christmas offering is usually around 20-22k. We have helped numerous groups such as Southern Mexico Missions, CMF and Blood Water over the past few years. Last year though we raised 26k to help build a camp in Romania with RtC. Supporting the same mission two years in a row is unique and it would be interesting to see how people respond and what God had in store.

So after all the beans were counted guess what? No really take a guess. ( Pause for response)

When Josh (our lead Pastor) stood before the congregation with the announcement I literally jumped out of my seat and cheered in the middle of church. Willing hearts had give...$42,000.00. Wow! More than expected and double the normal. People got it! God is moving in Romania. It was estimated that the building that we want to see built between the two villages would be around 60-70K. Fork provided almost 2/3 of that. The rest will come but it will easy to bring people alongside when they see something like that. The people previously shunned from local Christian churches will be able to hear the Word in their own place of worship.

(NOTE: THE LAST TWO MONTHS HAVE FLOWN BY. I STARTED AN AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AND A NEW JOB~ MY NEXT TWO POSTS WILL COVER THAT . STAY TUNED! )

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Update from the Previous Post ( or see below)


As promised here is the official announcement regarding the Christmas Eve offering. As mention below this placed a joy in our hearts and is great news all around. We had hoped to build a church in the gypsy village and now this will be coming to fruition:

From Cole Willig (Worship Pastor at Fork Christian Church)

We love that, as a church, we get to send out 100% of what is brought in through the Christmas Eve Offering. This year we have an opportunity to partner with Remember the Children and Daniel Bagosi and Claudia Bagosi to help fund the construction of a church building for the Roma Gypsy people of Santandrei, Romania.


If you would like to partner with Fork Christian Church, but cannot give in person on Christmas Eve you may give online: https://forkchristianchurch