Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sponsorship around the world...

When I was young I remember someone came to my church and talked about the Compassion Sponsorship program and we were looking at the profiles of the beautiful children around the world, and I told my mom “please can we have one?!” My mom agreed and we got this little boy from Indonesia named Jordan. I paid half of the sponsorship and we would write him letters a couple times a year. I loved the little boy so much and I prayed for him but I didn’t know really the impact that the program was having on his life.

Later when I was in high school, I took on another little boy from Mexico named Albaro through World Vision, which was in 2008. He was adorable and I wanted to help more kids, then in 2010 I went to a huge conference in Atlanta, Georgia and I got to meet a man who had grown up in Kenya and was helped through the Compassion program, he told us his story and how he treasured each and every letter. He also shared how without a sponsor he would be living in the slums or even dead. My heart was impacted so deeply in that time, I knew truly how important sponsorship could be in someone’s life. So, that year I took on another little girl named Maryory from the Dominican Republic through World Vision as well.

When I moved to Africa for the first time in September of 2011 I fell in love with this little girl named Marie and she was a treasure to my heart, I got a hold of my mom and said, I know that I already have two kids of my own and we also have Jordan but I think we should split this little Marie as well, I love her so much. She agreed and we started to sponsor this precious angel who was less than 2 years old through an organization called Sheltering Wings in Burkina Faso, West Africa. The next year when I moved back to Burkina, my little Marie was going to be adopted so we switched to a little 4 year old named Gelilu who had stolen my heart as well the moment we met. Being these little ones sponsor was such a joy to my heart—because I knew the money was going to an amazing mission that is impacting so many lives in that area of Burkina. I saw first hand the kids and how they were being taken care of! It was a huge blessing, a few months into my time there; I was talking to a young man who was 19 years old and living in the orphanage. He was in school and trying his best to have a good life. He asked me one afternoon, Tenielle would you be able to find me a sponsor? I want someone to write letters too! That day I wrote my mom and said, okay mom, Aristide this precious young man who I consider my brother needs a sponsor and I believe we should split this one too. She said, I believe he should be a part of our family too! So, the next day I went to him and said I found you a sponsor! He said, really?! Who? I said, my mom and I, you are now in our family! Having him as a sponsor child has been such a blessing because we get to talk even more and I have a deep relationship with him from all of my time living in Burkina. He is such a precious young man, he always tells me how much he loves being my brother and how he wishes to meet dad and mom! Haha

This last year Gelilu was adopted to a wonderful family in the states so we switched to a young man that I have been so closed to since my first year in Burkina, he is 16 years old now and his name is Faycal. He is top of his class and is just amazing. I have always called him my son and now that I get to sponsor him to be in school and help out with his living costs, my heart is just so happy! When I was able to see them in January it was such a blessing. I love spending time with them, bringing them gifts, and just laughing with them. They are such precious angels! I definitely feel like they bless my heart more than I get to bless them!

So through all of this, we now have 5 children that we help and I am so blessed to have each of them as a part of my life and family! They are all so amazing and I am happy to be a part of their lives too. To be able to write, bless, pray and help them is a huge joy of my heart!

When we started this sponsorship program in Tijuana with City of Angels, I didn’t know how well it was going to work and I did know it was going to be a lot of work but finally people convinced me that it was what we needed to stabilize our everyday living for the kids in the orphanage. And wow we have gotten such a great response in the last 1-½ years. The children are really enjoying it more and more—and the sponsors have been such a huge blessings not only to the kids but also to the whole orphanage. Since we are so close to the states people can come more to visit and people can send gifts!

I want to challenge you all to sponsor a kid! All of these organizations are amazing—and you should choose one. I know I am working for City of Angels full time and my job is promote all that we need and do, and if it Is in your heart to help a child in Tijuana then we would love to have you! But maybe your heart is in another place in the world, which is great! I know I personally sponsor kids all over the place, and I don’t feel like I could ever choose just one of my own kids here in Tijuana since I know them all so well and live with them full time, haha! But pray about what the LORD is calling you to do! If you are interested in City of Angels Sponsorship, email us: or if your heart is in another place, check it out! I mean what is $35-50 a month to all of us in the states really? Not much in the scheme of things but that money to those children can change their lives dramatically!

I sponsor because I know it makes a difference in the lives of so many children and people around the world. YOU TOO can make a difference, it will change your life too! :) 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

God always has a plan

God is so good and faithful each and everyday. I love him so much and I always thank Him so much for guiding me in each step of my life. Recently I was able to go to Burkina Faso, West Africa again to visit. WOW what an amazing experience it was. I always love going to visit all of the people that I love tremendously. It seemed at each day of the 3 weeks was filled with smiles, laughter, joy and love! Being with all of the kids in the orphanage, playing with the babies, visiting the widows, doing TOMS shoe distributions, visiting with the Pastors, or visiting with friends is always a joyous time of my life. It is such an amazing work that they are doing in the mission there and I can always see Jesus moving a lot there.

My fiancé, Barto, is in Burkina so it was truly a HUGE blessing to visit him again. He is a joy to everyone! I thank the LORD everyday for Barto's life and I cannot believe that I get to spend my life with such a blessing of a person. I am so excited for him to come to America and meet everyone, I know He is going to lead so many to Christ with just his way of loving others and his joy for life.

When we were together this last time we were praying for the future and for God's direction... I have been struggling some in my job in Mexico and I just needed time to revaluate my life. Going to Burkina help me find rest, peace, and to feel loved again. It refreshed my whole body! In being together truly I just realize no matter where God wants us, as long as I get to be with Barto, I know I will be happy. I have known for probably 6 years now that I am suppose to be a missionary and to have a husband who has the same heart and calling is SO amazing! Such a huge answer to prayer!

When I got back to Mexico, it was so busy! Full of groups, building projects, catching up on emails and work... it was overwhelming. I would find myself just crying to Barto on the phone saying, do you think I can do this?! He said, Tenielle you are a woman of God, you can do anything with Him! I battled in my mind for a few weeks... I wanted to see Gods plan NOW for the future after we get married this coming fall... Because of Barto's paperwork, I know that after we marry he cannot leave the US for time until he has his green card. So, we thought about moving to San Diego and me crossing a few times a week to work and working the other days from home, Barto said, Tenielle lets just take 15 minutes to pray and ask Jesus what He wants with us! Ask him if we should continue to work in Mexico after we marry or if we should move onto something else... He will show us. In that time I started to pray and this verse came into my mind... "Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”- Matthew 8:20. I was on my knees begging the LORD to speak to me and that verse wouldn't get out of my mind. After 15 minutes I called Barto to talk and he was laughing a lot with joy. I said okay so what did God say to you. He said "Tenielle I could hardly pray I kept having this verse in my mind... that one that says. "Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” And I said, what?! That is the verse that was in mind! He said "well God is speaking to us. And I think He is going to always take care of us and we need to serve the people in Mexico for the first part of our marriage. You love them so much and have devoted so much to them, I want to do the same!" 
So that day we decided to leave it in Gods hands, and we would move to San Diego after we get married this coming fall. I know we want to spend a few months in Nebraska with family right after the marriage but after that we are back to work full time! I don't know all that is going to happen or where exactly we are going to live or how we are going to have the money to pay for it all but I do know that God is calling us and He will take care of us. People had suggested to me that we take a break from ministry to focus on our marriage, but I found that the more Barto and I focus on the LORD and serve people, the more we fall in love with each other. It is who we are, and what we have been called to do! The kingdom of God is the most important thing in our lives, and that should be our focus and perspective, the rest will fall into place the way God wants. 

I have seen the LORD work in miraculous ways throughout my years, I know that I am still young but I have seen Him move, work, and heal! He is a great God and I am so glad to be beside a man of great faith who believes constantly in miracles. We are praying so much for the future, for what the LORD holds. I have such peace in my heart-- we are over 7,000 miles apart and I miss him, but I know God will bring us together in His timing. Please be praying along side us as we are in the fiancé visa process, and the paperwork can be crazy at times, I am praying for God to provide for all the needs and to speak to the hearts of the people who have the papers in their hands. When I sent off the petition for the fiancé visa at the beginning of last month, I was praying over the papers and just started to cry KNOWING our God is great and has a plan! 

At times, I feel overwhelmed with my job but then I just look to the LORD and say okay this is Your ministry and show me what you want! I know I get burnt out if i try to do things in my own strength so I just need to give things to Jesus and let them go! God is working a lot here in Tijuana and I am praying so much for the sponsorship program to grow. We have 81 sponsors right now and I want to get it too 200! I want to really try to find a connection with powdered milk, bread, fruits, and vegetable so we can save money and have even better food for the kids. So please be praying for us as well in finding all of those connections and for the LORD to speak to peoples hearts always ! 

Recently one of our teen boys here in Mexico left the orphanage, it was really hard on my heart. He was my boy, we were super close. He was just making bad choices and didn't want to fall the rules. It is really hard to let go of the kids you love so much. I pray for him each and everyday-- and for all the kids that have left. It is really hard to lose the ones you love to difficult situations. But I know God has a plan and that He is going to touch their hearts in His timing. 

Our God is always faithful and has His way in doing things, maybe it is not what we think it should be but He sees the big picture. When we focus on Him, He will give us the peace, endurance, patience, and all to make it through... I was reading someones blog the other day and there was a quote that i thought was interesting..." Most missionaries are having a tough time feeling like they are always failing because they live in a constant state where people are pulling on them with tons of needs."  ... so that is kind of spot on at times! I feel that a lot of times but thank goodness the LORD sends people who encourage and help out in times of need. And praise Jesus that He is always with me.