Nicaragua – When You Know It’s Real


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Seeing how Compassion works this week has been amazing. Every time I think of one thing they might have overlooked, one area they may not have thought to cover, I find that they’ve covered it and thought beyond to boot.

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Joshua wants to be a chef when he grows up.

Today I’m sharing photos of our visit to a Compassion Center that teaches vocational skills. This is all provided to our Compassion kids as part of being in the program. As they get older, most areas offer the  option of vocational training, which can make a drastic difference in life for these kids.

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Instead of trying to eek out a living as a street vendor or even prostitution (that was horrifying for me to even type), they have a skill set that will allow them to make a better living – that will enable them to elevate their generation out of poverty.

The center we went to teaches a variety of specialties, including Computer, Cosmetology, and Culinary. When you consider how much these jobs make in the context of this country, you understand the pride in the children’s eyes at getting to go there.

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A 13 year old studies Cosmetology at a Compassion Center and asked if she could please paint flowers on my nails

The lady who sells spices that we visited earlier in the week, on a good day, makes the equivalent of $6.00 USD. A Cosmetologist who gives manicures can make over $4.00 per client. A job like that can elevate a child out of poverty and once she’s grown, her family, too.

Compassion doesn’t just work with these children for a few years, they make sure that each child in the villages the centers are in have healthcare, education, mentoring, and a skill set to allow them to go further than previous generations, to break the cycle of extreme poverty.

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To someday even live in a house with an actual floor instead of dirt.

With actual walls instead of black trash bags found at the city dump and pieced together.

With three meals a day instead of just one.

Their goal is to impact lives and change generations.

And they have, and they do.

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Shaun Groves told us a wonderful story today about the President of Compassion International taking a trip to Korea to try to encourage a large group of Pastors to give out sponsorship packets in their churches. He began explaining the impact Compassion has on children who are in the program and one pastor stood up and interrupted him, saying “You don’t have to explain what Compassion is to us, we are Compassion children.” Then he asked all of the pastors who had been Compassion children to stand up and over half the room stood.

You see, South Korea is where Compassion began.  With orphans from the Korean war. From there it expanded and within fifty years, Korea went from being a country receiving Compassion help to one of the largest countries giving Compassion help by sponsoring children in other countries. That is an amazing thing.

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 111 - Day 3

For those of you who read the words of the letter written by an 18 year old sponsor in Korea to little Ivan in Nicaragua on my post yesterday, you may have wondered at where an 18 year old high school student gets so much wisdom from. How does he know just what to say to motivate little Ivan? When I saw he was from Korea, I was able to understand a little more of where such wisdom must come from. I can’t help but wonder if his father, mother, or grandparents were part of the Compassion program and if he has grown up hearing stories of the impact it had on them – knowing that his life is so very different today as a direct result of people who cared enough to think beyond themselves and sponsor his ancestors.

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So the amazing thing is that Compassion is real.

You truly do change lives.

It’s legit. I know it’s legit because I’ve seen it. Compassion goes above and beyond. I never could have imagined the impact a single program can have on a life until this week. The community my child lives in was drawing their water from a dirty well, contaminated with sewage and chemicals. Children in the village had skin conditions and were even developing diseases as a result of the water. Compassion came in and paid to have water run from the city to the village. Then they set up the center and began enrolling kids in their programs.

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Wilbert is the child I sponsor.  Wilbert’s brother was one of the children who, as a four year old, his skin was covered in sores. Then Compassion came in. Look at him now.

These are real kids but as Americans, we have to work hard to open our eyes to that. We’ve become so anesthetized to the outside world that it is difficult to fathom how incredibly wealthy we are and what poverty really is.

Poverty is a child whose two parents work from sun up until sun down in order to be able to provide ONE meal a day.

Poverty is a little girl who turns to prostitution because she is so desperately hungry and has no education or skill set to get another job.

and Wealth is being able to open your heart to the reality that there are children living in conditions that are unfathomable to us – but we have the ability to change their life.

I know what holds you back the most from sponsoring a child. You wonder if it will really make a difference. You wonder if the children are real. You wonder if they really get your letters and if you’ll really hear from them. You wonder if the $38 a month you send actually goes to help someone or is just put into some big old fund.

I’ve been here all week. I’ve see the faces. The answer is Yes.  The children are real. It does make a difference. The money does go to provide for them.

Here are the faces. When I saw them, my answer was Yes.

This morning, my mother said yes to her second sponsored child.

Is there room in your heart to love one more?

Sponsor a child by clicking here or the banner below and receive a free copy of my first book.


    Read my post from Day 1 of my Nicaragua trip by clicking here.

    Read my post from Day 2 of my Nicaragua trip by clicking here.

    Read my post from Day 3 of my Nicaragua trip by clicking here.

    I’m traveling with some amazing bloggers and They’re all writing daily posts as well. Visit them by clicking the links below to go to their blogs or by visiting

     Edie at Life In Grace

    Traci at Beneath My Heart 

    Kelly at Faithful Provisions

    Compassion Bloggers Christy, Kelly, Traci, and Edie

    I cannot tell you how blessed I’ve been to get to spend time with these precious ladies who uplift and inspire me. Thank you for being a part of this. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement, for your comments and your love. None of this would be possible without you.


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  1. says

    Yes, we do have the wealth in this country to help change the lives for so many of these kids! But it not only changes their lives, I believe it changes our lives too. These kids become an extension of our families, so much so that we talk about them with our friends and family, share their photos and their letters. And God provides the money, you might think you can’t afford $38 a month. But in reality, you really can. Give up the cable, make pizza at home, it can be done!

  2. says

    Yes! You really read so many people’s minds and answered their questions, even the ones they haven’t thought to ask! I am AMAZED at how different all of y’all’s posts are, and yet how every one of them speaks to something SO important.

    Thank YOU for being a faithful steward of your time in Nicaragua; the stories you’ve chosen to share explain Compassion so well even a person who’s never heard about it can easily understand. And not just understand, but be drawn to be a part of breaking the cycle of poverty. For a child in great need, but also for the one who lives in a poverty of wealth.

  3. Barb says

    Christy, thank you so much for sharing your experiences in Nicaragua with Compassion International. You have presented the reality of the situation in such a respectful manner every day. You truly have a servant’s heart and are such a blessing in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Barb

  4. Donna says

    Christy, we sponsor two compassion girls….and I’ve cried every day reading your posts and imagining them in the circumstances you describe that COULD HAVE BEEN theirs without our sponsorship. Your “mama’s heart” has spoken to mine….and now I want to be able to take my youngest daughter, to whom God has given such a heart for missions, on one of these trips …

  5. Karen says

    Thanks for sharing that story about the Korean pastors. Wow…..just wow!

    Praying for you as you head home and the reentry with your family and friends. YOU have been radically changed and they may or may not have a place to “file” that! May grace abound!!!!!

  6. Rachel Marquardt says

    I have had a rough few weeks at work, home, just life. Last week I asked God to open my heart and to change me. I have finally realized that praying and asking God to change others is an empty prayer so I have started praying for God to change me and to show me what I need to change in my own life. Over the last week he has now given me two clear answers and Compassion is the second… Ariadna in Mexico who is my daughter’s age and Anthony in Honduras who is my son’s age. Christy… Thank you for delivering such a powerful change to my heart!

  7. Janel says

    Christy, my heart has been touched by your reports from Nicaragua regarding the needs there.

    I thank God that you were willing to give up your time with your family and the things you are involved in to go and spend time with these people there in Nicaragua.

    My prayer is that I’ll be willing to give up some of the comforts and luxuries I enjoy to help make a difference for the people/needs you met through Compassion.


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