Blog Archive

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Why I Love Compassion International


  • Why Sponsor?
Last summer, my sister Lisa and I went to a Newsboys concert in Escanaba. There, we had an opportunity to sponsor a child through ChildFund International. Adam Agee (who opened for the Newsboys), gave a powerful presentation, telling about his experience visiting the child they sponsor. He emphasized his amazement at how making such a small change in our lives (giving $36/month), can completely change the life of a child living in extreme poverty. It would ensure that a child has enough food to eat, adequate clothing, clean water for the whole family/household, and/or whatever the greatest need in their family is. All this was possible for the child, because Adam and his wife decided to go out to eat/for coffee one less time per month and use the funds to sponsor another child.

  • How I Got Involved.
Lisa and I decided to split the cost and sponsor a child. We both trusted the Newsboys, that this is a legit organization. That it was really benefiting the children sponsored in the program and not someone’s private jet.

Sponsoring was so much fun! We had a blast sending letters, stickers, and postcards, Within a few weeks, we received our first letter from Meourn Makara. A three-year-old boy from Cambodia.

  • Why Compassion?
  • Within a few months, I wanted to sponsor another child. (Child sponsorship is like potato chips. You can’t just have one!) ChildFund is a great organization, but upon doing a little bit more research, I discovered I preferred Compassion International for a few reasons as follows:
  • 1. They use a “three cord” approach to ministry by being: Christ-centered, church based and child focused. “Taken individually each cord is not unique. However, when taken together, why we serve, how we serve and who we serve creates a distinct approach to ministry.”
  • 2. They’re Christ-centered. "Beginning in 1952, when Rev. Everett Swanson first developed special sponsorship programs for individuals, families or churches to help support Korean War orphans for a few dollars a month, we have worked to help children realize their full potential and develop into all God intends them to be." "Because Jesus is our core, everything we do for children's meant to reflect God's heart."
  • 3. They’re church-based. They do all of their work through partnerships with thousands of local churches in over 25 countries around the world. "We work in partnership with local churches because we desire to equip the Church to fulfill its role as salt and light in the world."
  • 4. They’re child-focused. "When a child is registered in our Child Sponsorship Program, the beneficiary of the support is the specific sponsored child. Siblings, parents and other caregivers may receive additional or indirect benefits from our programs, but our focus is the one child. Through our holistic child development model, we blend physical, social, economic and spiritual care together to help children in poverty fully mature in every facet of life and transcend what is often a generational legacy of poverty."

They’re focused on developing children individually and holistically, prioritizing their safety and protection, financial integrity, (I.e. Digitally scanning letters to save on shipping costs so more of your sponsorship funds go directly to the program,) linking each child to one sponsor, and giving each child a chance to learn about Jesus, respond to the Gospel, and develop a lifelong relationship with God.

  • My Experience.  Sponsorship is a blast. It’s so exiting receiving your first letter, updated photos, and sending letters, postcards, bookmarks and stickers. In Compassion’s program, children under nine write in a “fill in the blank” format where they answer pre-written questions about their country, weather, school, etc. I have received two letters from Kossiwa Catherine (8 year old girl from Togo, sponsored through Compassion), Telling about her family, her compassion center, prayer requests, and her pet hen. I’ve also received a letter from her pastor and a letter from her Compassion center director, telling about letter distribution, benefits the children receive through sponsorship, and children who were able to receive much needed surgeries. Letters are typically written in a classroom setting, teaching children writing and communication skills. I’ve also received a few letters from Meourn Makara (3 year old boy from Cambodia, sponsored through ChildFund). His letters are translated from Khmer, a language I had never heard of! In his letters, he told us about his family, his favorite toys, and a flood that came through Phnom Penh last summer. His mom folded a paper boat and Makara decorated it with the stickers I sent him, and they sent it back. His letters are always so adorable. In his last letter he said “I wish to receive your letter again someday.”

  • What Does Getting Started Look Like For You? In Adam Agee’s presentation, he said that his wife wanted to sponsor a child. He then said something he’d said many times in their relationship: “You’re right.” So he said "We cut our cable from 200 channels to 20 channels because we only watched 2 channels." For their second child he said they went out to eat/for coffee less often. Making room in the budget to sponsor a child may look different for different people. For instance, Someone might not be able to cut cable but they might decide to buy a cheaper phone plan instead. If you eat out twice a week and spend $9.50 per meal, all it would take to have the funds to sponsor a child would be to eat out 4 less times per month (or only once a week). It becomes so worth it when you receive your first letter. Sponsorship through Compassion International is $38/month and sponsorship through ChildFund International is $36/month. There are many other great sponsorship programs which generally cost $30-$40/month.

  • Scripture From Compassion’s website, they said: Jesus' life and teachings shape our programs and guide all aspects of our ministry. From how we work to how we treat people, respect communities and cooperate with nations, our response to a world filled with hundreds of millions of children living in extreme poverty is to love like Jesus did.
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 
Isaiah 1:17 learn to do good: seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Proverbs 31:8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Isaiah 58:10 And if you spend yourself in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

  • I’d encourage you to look up, and study these verses in their context. It’s God’s Word to us, revealing the heart of the Father for the oppressed. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope you’re inspired and encouraged.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Do's and Don'ts of Quarantine

We've all seen so many articles on how to stay safe during quarantine. But none of those articles involve having any fun, So I've composed a list on the top 10 do's and don'ts of living in quarantine that almost guarantees a good time.

1. Don't get too "zoomed out"
I don't know when being "zoomed out" became a trend. Have we all forgotten the first week of quarantine when we were so excited about being able to annoy our friends with the virtual background and zoom reactions every 30 seconds? I really am in Antarctica!

2. Do toilet paper your friend's house!
Hurry! You'll only be able to get away with it for a few more months. Right now it's the most practical gift you can give them. (But don't leave hate comments if they don't take it well) 

3. Don't overuse zoom reactions.
Is it really necessary to have a thumbs up in the corner of the screen during the entire zoom call? Okay yes, this is me sometimes. And yes, sometimes a virtual thumbs up or clap is essential.

4. Do join a group online.
When you use Zoom, it doesn't matter if they're 1,135.4 miles away from your current location. (Hypothetically of course, definitely not based on a true story)

5. Don't forget a funny virtual background.
Your friends really believe you're in Antarctica, on an iceberg, but they're just jealous, so they pretend it's a fake background.

6. Do read the Babylon Bee.
Their writers must be having a whole lot of fun right now.

7. Don't start a hand sanitizer business.
As hard as it is to find hand sanitizer at the store, somehow buying gallons of it from a stranger on Craigslist never crossed my mind.

8. Do make homemade "hand sanitizer" out of clear glue, glitter, and food coloring.
Give it to your friends, sit back and enjoy the show! (Again, no hate comments if the joke doesn't stick well. Pun intended)

9. Don't complain to fast food employees about "all these people in the drive-thru, breaking quarantine when they should be at home". When the customer is always right, French fries are essential!

10. Do tell a lot of quarantine jokes! Why do Dalmatians always sneak out at night during the stay at home order? Because they don't want to be spotted! What do you call it when you've been on lockdown for 13-19 days? QuaranTEEN. Why are pets always happy during quarantine? Because they always stay PAW-sitive. Why six feet apart? Because seven ate nine!

Friday, January 17, 2020

An Open Letter To All Dads

Dear Dads Everywhere:

First off, happy Father's Day! Believe it or not we do appreciate the dads in the world. I mean someone has to tell bad jokes, tell interesting stories, and cook dinner on the truck's engine when we're camping. But there are a few things teens wish dads knew. That's all right, I'm here to help! First off, we're more impressed if you get our names right than if you tell me that you walked uphill both ways to school "When I was your age." Believe it or not, that thought sticks in our minds and we spend hours trying to figure out how that is possible. I can't tell you how many times I've been lying awake at 3:00 am and thought: "Did I finish my schoolwork? Yes. Did I feed my pets? Yes. I wonder what my friends are up to. What was that thing Dad said? Uphill both ways? How does that even...?"Alarm goes off. Dad, really? Second, remember that little red two-inch pocket knife you gave me when I was nine? Chances are, I still have it in my drawer somewhere. I may or may not have told you, but when I was nine, that thing was my pride and joy. Almost like you and your truck now. (Maybe not that extreme.) I brought it everywhere. Even to church. (Don't tell mom!) I knew Chrissie's mom would freak out if I held it up so I just kept it in my bag and wore my usual guilty smile. Oh and how could we forget the dad jokes! Okay, I'll give you credit, some of your jokes were actually funny. When I repeated them to my co-workers, and they said I was a genius! But your other jokes? How do I put this politely... If it's a pun, it's fun, if it's a song, it's wrong. Please don't write dad parodies unless you're Tim Hawkins. Also, I hate to be the one to break the news to you, especially because I know this is one of your favorite jokes, but after the age of ten, we don't think it's funny when you try to steal our food. We just awkwardly stand there while you grab our plate and slowly give it back. Also, let me tell you the scariest thing that happens to every teen: We're away from home, when a problem comes up and as I either crack a joke about it or pull out my multi tool to fix it, a scary thought comes to mind. A terrifying thought. If you're a teen, don't read this late at night or alone. Are you ready? I thought, "I sound like my dad!" Shocking right? I start wondering if I'm going to start wearing plaid shirts every day?. Am I going to wear sweater vests? Will I even start using fanny packs? Or say "the" Facebook? Where did I go wrong?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Top 11 Holiday Catastrophes

So the Christmas season is coming. Fast. Really fast. Usually when people think of the holidays, they think of family, laughter, amazing food, and sitting by the fire watching the cozy-cold snow. But The Holidays have a twist. A dark twist. A sometimes hilarious twist. A dark side that not many people remember when that June family reunion comes around and everyone is telling stories from the last Christmas gathering. Here are the 11 holiday catastrophes that happen to everyone.

1. Thanksgiving Turkey Catastrophe: The possibilities are endless for this one. The turkey isn't thawed by 5 pm, its burned/raw, the oven is broken, the dog licks the turkey, no one buys one in the first place, someone's idea of a Thanksgiving turkey is a turkey burger for dinner, or worst of all, someone replaces it with a hickory honey ham.

2. Fake Tree Disaster: You've never really celebrated Christmas until you've set up a fake Christmas tree... The branches are never labeled. Bigger branches on top right?

3. New Years Resolutions: 80% are dropped by February. Like, come on. Really?

4. "That" Thanksgiving Party: "Let's go around the room at this time and all share with one another what we're thankful for." Okay you have several cards to play when this happens. You can crack a joke like, "I'm thankful that Dad donated that horrific sweater to Goodwill finally." A joke works, unless you are going first or the person before you cracked a funnier joke. You could also say; "I'm thankful for friends and family." It always sounds good, but be prepared to wait awhile because I promise everyone else at the party was planning on saying that and now has to think of something else. Or you could just break the unspoken rule that you don't say one that someone else has already said.

5. "Not Planning Anything" for Christmas Day: The average American spends $700 on Christmas every year, hurries and stresses to get everything ready, and their plan for the big day is to "Just hang around?" That's the most expensive "Hanging around" I've ever heard of!

6. Debating Politics During Thanksgiving Dinner: After today you will never speak to each other again, but at least now you know whether your extended family members vote Republican or Democrat.

7. I Forgot The Gravy: It's sure to happen one year.

8. The Oven Schedule: So the berry pies bake at 375 degrees, the apple pies bake at 325 degrees, the turkey bakes at 350 degrees, and so on. Okay, so if we start in October, everything should be ready by 7:00 pm Thanksgiving day.

9. Hitting up those Black Friday sales at 2:00 pm on Thanksgiving, while all your food is burning at home.

10. "That House." By the time we take down our Christmas tree, we just have to put it back up again!

11. Black Friday Shoppers: Where are these people the rest of the year? It's amazing what people buy when they get 60% off.

If not all of these have happened to you, you've been warned... The year is coming.

Have a catastrophic Thanksgiving! -Eleana.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

13 People At Every Camp Fire

Well camping season is just about over. I just love everything about camping: the smell of bug spray, soaked sleeping bags, trying to boil water in the cold rain on a tiny camp stove, everyone singing all the classics off key, and marshmallows engulfed in flames. All that's awesome, but I think my favorite part is late night campfire conversations. There are 13 people I've seen at every campfire. I promise... You're one of them:

1. The comfy one. This person never leaves the tent with less than two blankets. Like seriously, do you really need six pillows, four blankets, a winter sleeping bag, and a campfire chair with a built in pillow pet and three cup holders? (Okay, yes this is me sometimes.)

2. Charred marshmallows. They say: "If you burn all the sugar out of a marshmallow, it's healthier!" Which brings me to the next one:

3. The marshmallow champion. Seriously, someone needs to take a picture of this perfect marshmallow! Oh right... "No phones this year." Which brings me to the next one:

4. The one who is on their phone the whole time. Seriously, we're in the middle of nowhere, no wifi, reception or place to charge it. Why do you feel a need to play Toon Blast constantly and use all your data to finish your season of Stranger Things? And no, a Samsung Galaxy doesn't count as stargazing. (Not sponsored by Toon Blast)

5. The campfire singer. Guitar or a cappella, this person knows every camp song ever, has rehearsed them all, and is determined to perform all of them very loudly.

6. The punny one. The. Jokes. Never. End. Like how many puns do you have memorized? Where do people bake cakes? Japan. What do aliens eat? Mars-hmallows. What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef. (Wasn't that a lame joke?) Why was the boy covered in gift wrap? Because his mom told him to live in the present. What's Boaz's favorite animal? A kanga-Ruth!

7. The picky eater. "I don't like ham!" Then why didn't you say that before we packed the food?

8. The princess. Don't want to stain your clothes? Hint: Don't pack your favorite white shirt. Don't want your mascara to run? Hint: Don't wear it camping. Trust me, it will always rain, especially if the weather says 77 degrees and sunny.

9. The smoke magnet. Its nothing personal; I'm just not sitting next to you because I don't want smoke in my eyes.

10. The fire blower. This is the person who isn't trying to scare the people on the other side of the fire, they're just trying to blow out a two foot bonfire.

11. The fire poker. This is the fire champion. Building marshmallow toasting caves, perfecting the ratio of flames to coals, and making a smoke cloud the size of a semi truck.

12. The trooper. We're staying in heated cabins for two days! Why do you need a whole egg carton full of fire starters?

And finally,

13. The story teller. I can't stand another dark and stormy night!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

This Isn't Ordinary!


My Name is Eleana and I'm so exited to share this blog with you!
I guess I'm starting this like most other first blog posts; with my name, how exited I am to start this blog and how long I've wanted to start this blog (about 2 years). By now you're probably thinking; what now, is she going to start listing her hobbies? You guessed it! I love camping, (who doesn't?) snowboarding, paddleboarding, kayaking, reading, running, calligraphy, listening to podcasts/audiobooks, playing electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, piano, marimba and mandolin. (I'm not "fluent," so to speak, in each instrumentbut I can play at least a few songs on each.) And of course I love pampering my pets! (My guinea pigs, Fidget and Bugsie, and my mice, Pearla and Lou-Lou.)

Okay so maybe this is a typical first blog post. Maybe this seems ordinary. But you know what's not ordinary? The fact that while I'm typing this, I'm traveling 67 thousand miles an hour through space. And so are you as you read this. It's pretty cool to think that if the distance from the earth to the sun was one sheet of paper, the distance to the next nearest star would be a stack of paper 70 feet tall! When I first heard that it just blew my mind! And of course when you're seven years old and you hear something that blows your mind, you tell it to literally everyone you see. Like someone walks up to you and asks"How are you?" The natural response is: "If the distance from the earth to the sun is a piece of paper, the distance to the next nearest star would be a stack of paper 70 feet tall. I'm good how are you?"

Do typical first blog posts sound so ordinary now?

You're probably wondering why a 15 year old has all these random space facts memorized. I've been listening to the Passion City Church podcasts lately. (Well I've downloaded the app so I guess I can't call it a podcast anymore and I haven't adjusted to saying "video" yet... I'm working on it.) At Passion City Church, Louie Giglio recently did a series called A Trip Around The Sun. You guessed it from the title and the space facts, that he talks about astronomy a lot. I know it's out of season but his New Year's message is really interesting and I thought I would share it with you.Passion City Church, Nothing Is Ordinary by Louie Giglio

"Ordinarily" everyone asks when you start a blog, what you will be writing about? I don't really know for sure yet. It's strange but that's how I write. I get some crazy idea like "I know! I should start a blog!" and the writing just unfolds. When I first started writing this, I only had a few "ordinary" blog ideas such as cooking, life hacks and traveling. (that's why I called this blog Eleana's Journey; I love traveling!) Now as I'm writing this, I'm getting a bunch of ideas. No spoilers! I never could have guessed what I'd write until I just sat down to it.:) If you have any suggestions on what to write about, email me at Or leave a comment down belowand I'll get back to you as soon as possible. I'd love to hear from you!