In my last letter I asked Topiwo what his name means, he said it means “to wake up“.  1. Who names their child that? 2. OH MY goodness is that not exactly what he has done for me?  When I read what he said his name meant I went in the bathroom and cried.  If you are wondering what in the world a Topiwo is and why I am crying then by all means, read this.  Topiwo is the 15 year-old boy from Tanzania my family sponsors through Compassion International.  I met him back in May.

And also, I don’t know that I ever thanked you all for sponsoring so many children.  I didn’t ask specifics but I know Nesting Place readers did more than just read the posts and move on. Thank you.

During my trip I found out how Compassion works and how sponsors can send a family gift. Compassion and the local church will help assess the needs of the child and family and make sure that the money is spent how it’s most needed.  When I got back I sent a $50 family gift to each of the three boys that we sponsor.  $50.  I spent twice that much filling my tank up with gas this morning.

Just last week I got two letters on the same day.

With photos.  And a list.  A list of some of the items that the $50 bought. Topiwo and his family received maize, soap, body oil, shoes, polish, powder soap and the other items in the photo.

Kim from The Phillipines got to go to “the mall” with his mom.  He got “shoes, rice, towel, mosquito net, brief, socks, pants, clothes, and slipper” (I hope he got two of those).

Those three $50 gifts were some of  the best money we’ve ever EVER spent. No doubt.

That’s all great but what does this have to do with 31 Days of Home. On Purpose?


Because without perspective we get lost in a sea of me.  I know, because I’ve done it.  I love talking about my house and I love making it pretty but also, I know there are bigger things in my life than the color of paint on my walls.  And I think remembering that helps me do better with what I have.

So I hope that today you will go and send a family gift to the child that you sponsor. And I hope you’ll send your sponsored child a Christmas Gift.  It’s so simple, all you have to do is login to your account (or quickly create one) and you can give a gift to your sponsored child online in just a few minutes.

And if you long to sponsor a child but right now the $38 is out of your budget but you believe in Compassion and the work they are doing there’s something else you can do.

Blessings Unlimited has partnered with Compassion in the Dominican Republic.

Did you know that Compassion does more than help school age children?  They have a program for expecting mothers and mothers of infants and toddlers and also a program for 16 years-old and older in their Leadership Development program in poverty-stricken areas.  They watch out for the whole child from birth to adulthood.

From the website::

The Child Survival Program is a proven way to help babies and moms in poverty survive through life-giving relationships with trained specialists who provide both physical and spiritual care. Please join us in our efforts to rescue babies and moms. Your donation will supply:

  • Prenatal care
  • Nutritious food and supplements
  • Ongoing health care
  • Infant survival training for mothers
  • Spiritual guidance and education
  • The loving support of a local church

To find out more about the Child Survival Program click here to watch a quick video.

Plus, we can help support a center that offers the Child Survival Program for only $20 a month.

And, that doesn’t convince you, Blessings Unlimited will even give you a free t-shirt!

As we celebrate our homes, we can also help support home life and help free children from the cycle of poverty. Will you join me? Here’s the verse Topiwo asked me to read in his letter (the translator wrote that it was from Genesis but I immediately knew what story it was from in Exodus).



  1. The timing of this is perfect, I had been thinking of Topiwo for most of the evening yesterday. I stopped in to church to Happy Dance with a few of my sisters. We were talking about how I would be going with the Compassion Bloggers in 2013, and my friend brought up the post about Topiwo and his house. That is the kid of post that people remember, that changes hearts.

    I smiled to see his picture here this morning. <3

    I've been pretty gung-ho about Compassion since we started sponsoring in 2009, but I have wondered how the blogger trips change people…months after coming home. I wonder how the Lord will change me. I would love to read more posts about how you've been affected by "going there".

    Thank you for continuing to share the mission of Compassion with your readers!

  2. Wonderful post. Ever since reading your post about Topiwo and his home, I changed my recitation of the Psalm to be “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need”. I had not seen that version before, just the traditional “I shall not be in want”. Much better now. Thanks.

  3. Thank you, Nester, for continuing to share and for offering perspective this morning. Oh, how I wish I could just swallow a big tablespoon of perspective when I get caught up in all the junk (This morning it is that I didn’t win teacher of the year. So perfect timing on reading this post.). Better yet, I just wish I was covered in perspective always. Sigh. There are greater things still to be done in this city!

  4. Thrilled to know about the Compassion work in the Dominican Republic. I am going there for a vacation in a few weeks (this will be my third trip there) and everytime I have gone I am struck by the juxtaposition of luxury resorts/golf courses and absolute poverty. However, tourism is crucial to their economy so I feel good about spending my travel dollars there. I also don’t think I have ever met a kinder, happier group of people (still haven’t been to Africa though). It initially amazed me how people with so little (by American standards) could be so happy, but I think I am starting to get it now. It has taken me a long time, much longer than it should have, to realize that stuff does not equal happiness. Ahhh…perspective.

  5. Perspective makes all the difference. Perspective and gratitude. Life-changers. This link just blows my mind: We all need to wake up!

  6. This is why I love to read your blog. Because, yes, having a pretty place for your family to feel secure, loved and safe is extremely important BUT it is not the end of the conversation. Thank you for expanding beauty worldwide.

  7. Thank you for continuing to give a voice to the children! It takes all of us…

  8. What an uplifting post! My husband and I support children both internationally and in the US via a couple of wonderful groups. Compassion International is a great group as well and is sponsored by a speaker, Jason Lowery, Pure Heart Mission, on whose board I volunteer. We always look for organizations that have the largest percentage of the gifts directed to the mission rather than the overhead costs and Compassion as well as Ninos de Mexico and New Mexico Christian Children’s Home meet this criteria as well as providing much needed help to those who cannot help themselves! Wonderful post! It really feels good to know that someone is healthier and can live a bit better in their country because of our gifts doesn’t it? Have a great day!

  9. Verse at the end made me tear up…We sponsor a little girl in Columbia and young man in Africa but I didn’t know about the family gift program! I will have to check into that ASAP :) This post was a wonderful reminder about not “getting lost in the sea of me” which we all have a tendency to do.

  10. Thank you, Nester, for continuing to shine a light on the wonderful work Compassion International does. We have sponsored a little girl for years and have been incredibly impressed with the work that they do. True compassion (and creating a nurturing house) does start at home, but you have a timely reminder that we can spread love out from there. I’m loving your series, as well as the one by lifeingrace about hospitality. Thanks!

  11. I love when you talk about those experiences and your friendship with Topiwo!

  12. Topiwo is a wise young man … the verses he quotes (on his house and in your letter) are deep. And truly, it is amazing that his name is waking the rest of us up!

  13. OH my goodness. Love this post. My husband and I sponsor a little girl from Kenya–and let me tell you, I don’t even know her–haven’t met her….but I love her. And it is amazing how so little (by our standards) can do so much for her. Thank you for posting this!! And for the awareness of sponsorship available now in the Dominican Republic,

  14. Oh my beating heart – his face gets me every time!! I have been so convicted lately. That’s it. Family meeting TONIGHT!!!

  15. What a beautiful post. I think I’ve got some dust in my eye.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  16. Just wanted to share that I am new to your blog and didn’t know about Topiwo before today. I have wanted to sponsor a child in the past but never got around to it, your easy link made me do it before I could even think about it or talk myself out of it. Haven’t even told my husband. Thank you, I clicked clicked clicked easy as that and now am sponsoring a little boy named George from Tanzia, can’t wait to tell my boys and husband, hope they are as excited as I am.

  17. I love this organization. I’ve been sponsoring kids through Compassion since college (every time I look at my budget and question whether we can afford to do this, I realize that if I could do it as a starving college student, I can do it now). Thank you for this post!

  18. that last verse. wow. that last verse.

  19. Awww the scripture made me cry “sister”!
    I DID NOT KNOW we can send family gifts! That is awesome!

    Loving your 31 days series!

    xo ellie

  20. I sponsored a child in Tanzania after reading about your trip. I am so glad you went and shared! We’ve sent a gift for Christmas, and I’ve also decided that whenever we have a 3-paycheck month (usually 2x/year), we’ll send a family gift. It’s an easy way for me to remember and it also won’t disrupt our usual monthly budget. I shared because I thought someone else might find it a useful idea. :)

  21. I sponsored 2 of the older boys once I wiped away my tears from your post right after you came back. I love getting their letters and sending them. Its the best money I have spent all year!

  22. Just wanted to thank you for helping to bring compassion (big C and little c) into my family’s life through your blog, and for this reminder today. It’s so easy to lose perspective sometimes, but this post helps to bring it back into focus. Yesterday I decorated my mantel for Halloween, while Topiwo had a better day because his family was given your gift of basic necessities. Perspective doesn’t get more powerful than that. ~Kerri

  23. Tears.

  24. We sponsor a compassion child in the Philippines, and last year sent a Christmas gift for the family. It was mind boggling what a small amount of money provided for them. When I read what was bought, I wept. Our family gained a refreshed perspective on what “need” really means and what we can do, by God’s gracious provision to us, to change someone’s life. Thank you for continuing to put forward how simple, really, it is to help.

  25. We have sent birthday gifts all the years we have sponsered and it is always a delight to read what Niyitanga bought – last year it was a hen, and this year, rabbits. I know those gifts benefit not only him, but his entire family. You’re right, it does help to give perspective when a child buys a hen with their birthday money.

    Thanks for the excellent post!

  26. Topiwo is a wise, wise boy. I hate to even call him a boy. What a perspective and calling that he has to wake all of us up!!!

  27. Thank you for sharing this. It is so exciting to see how so little makes such a difference. We sent a family gift a few months ago – but haven’t heard yet how it was spent. I’m looking forward to hearing.

  28. “1. who names their child that?” A lot of people actually. Most African languages are figurative not literal so you cannot take meanings literally. In my language (Yoruba) when a child’s name translates to words like “awake” or “return”; it signifies that the child was the first to be born after a grand parent or great grand parent dies.

    PS: My real name means “mother returns” :)

  29. Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using?
    I’m looking to start my own blog in the
    near future but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for
    something unique. P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  30. I am a missionary in Nicaragua and I work with a center and we help care for the babies and moms in the child survival program. Thank you to everyone who supports this program. The need is great. Blessings Chris Bagwell (New Life Nicaragua)

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