A Place at the Table: Week One

So today marks a whole week that I’ve been following the A Place at the Table devotional and have been eating a similar diet to that of my sponsored child, Dorcus. And let me tell you – this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.


Now, I’m not particularly adventurous when it comes to food. I don’t like spice or very strong flavours, so I honestly thought this would be a pretty easy journey for me in terms of the food. But it’s been a real struggle. There are only so many days you can eat just potatoes or rice or porridge (and let me tell you…I hit that day about three days ago!). I’m missing really simple food like cheese (I’m not joking…what I wouldn’t give to have a good old fashioned cheese sandwich!!). I’ve not been eating for enjoyment for the last few days, so I don’t feel like I can eat very much food because there is absolutely no flavour to anything I’m eating, which means I’ve had this lingering feeling of hunger for the last week.


Over the last week, this is what a normal meal has looked like…some tomatoes, flatbread with chicken in it and some potatoes. If I wasn’t doing this fast, I’d be pretty happy with that. But for more than two or three days in a row is not fun.

Last Monday, just three days after I started, I had my first feast day (which will fall on every Monday) which was absolutely beautiful. I’m so much more grateful for the food we have in England that is so easily accessible. Mondays are very quickly becoming my favourite day of the week (and I have a feeling they are going to be full of bacon and cheese and other delightful things that I’m otherwise not able to eat!).

God is teaching me so much about the art of thankfulness during this journey, and the importance of not relying on what we know. Eating the diet has been one thing, but learning more about God through this journey has been such a blessing. The devotional I am using focuses on the Exodus. I’ve been learning that this isn’t just something that happened all those years ago with very little relevance to the here and now, but I’m learning that I’m in need of my very own Exodus. We’re all slaves to something, and this week, I’ve felt like a slave to my eating habits. It’s been so easy to get legalistic about this journey and lose sight of the bigger picture. But the truth is I’m just as in need of an Exodus to the slaves in my life as the Israelites were to Pharaoh. This isn’t a distant, far off story anymore, but one that I can see into and learn from.

This journey isn’t nearly as easy as I thought it would be. But I’m so grateful for the lessons that God is teaching me through these forty days. I can’t wait to see my sweet sponsored child in Kenya, especially after experiencing the smallest glimpse of what her life is like. There is nothing that can prepare me for what I’m going to see and learn and experience when I travel to Kenya in just under four months’ time, but I’m so grateful to be on this journey.

Your prayers over the next forty days would be wonderful, that God would continue to teach me all that He wants me to learn. Also, your prayers for God’s provision for the trip would also be so valued. You can visit my GoFundMe page here.

Eating for Kenya!

Food seems to be featuring pretty highly in my fundraising for mission {anyone remember the day I had to eat curry to raise money for India?!}.

Anyway. Today marks just 125 days until I fly out to Kenya to work alongside the wonderful people at Compassion UK for a week, where I’ll be visiting different projects, finding out how those in Kenya are working to help lift these children out of poverty, worshiping alongside a partner church and spending a day with my eighteen year old sponsored child, Dorcus.

Dorcus aged 16

I am so excited to take this trip. It’s actually been a challenge moving so quickly on from my experience in India to prepare to go to a completely different continent! I need to consciously remember that the lessons God has for me in Kenya could be completely different to the lessons He taught me in India, and that’s a challenge in itself. I’m a comparison person, so I’m already finding myself comparing my experience of this trip (that’s barely started!) to that of my trip to India.

I’m so excited about this fundraiser! For forty days starting tomorrow, on Friday 18th July, I will be following a wonderful devotional called A Place at the Table whilst following the diet that children living in Kenya eat. This means my diet for the next forty days will consist of:

  • porridge
  • flat bread
  • rice
  • corn
  • onions
  • tomatoes
  • greens
  • beef
  • goat
  • potatoes
  • chicken
  • passion fruit
  • milk

I don’t know about you, but this looks a little different to what I normally eat. I was grateful when I found out that there were some ‘normal’ things in this diet! But I’m excited to see all that God is going to do through this.


Following this will {hopefully} two purposes. The first is to give God some space to speak to me in preparation for this trip, and to help me shape my prayers for this trip. I want to be able to look for ministry opportunities whilst I’m there and to be open to God’s leading.

The second purpose of eating this diet is to raise some sponsorship for my trip. I’m praying so hard that God will provide for this trip, but I can’t sit back and do nothing. So I want to invite you guys on this journey with me. I’ll be blogging about all of these interesting diet changes over the next forty days in the hope that you will be able to share in these experiences with me. Your prayers would be so valued over the next few weeks, and if you feel led to financially support me on this trip, you can find my GoFundMe page here!

So how does this work? For six days out of seven, over forty six days, I will be following the diet outlined above, limiting myself to what (honestly!) seems like some pretty boring food. Alongside this, I will be reading through the devotional and praying that God would speak to me about my trip. On the other day of the week, so every Monday, I’ll be celebrating with a feast day. This is included in the devotional to encourage us to be thankful for the good things that God has blessed us with in terms of food, and allows us to focus our hearts more on those days when we don’t have the luxury of ‘normal’ food.

I am so excited, and I will definitely be writing more about this journey as it goes on. Your prayers would be so appreciated!

Compassion Joy Dare: June

This year is literally flying by, but I can’t think of any better way to end each month than joining in with Jill’s Compassion Joy Dare!

Joy Dare button

Let’s Talk Letters!

At the beginning of the month, I knew that I had eight letters on the way to me, so I was so disappointed when, day after day, the lovely postman wasn’t dropping them through our letterbox! However, this month I received all eight lovely letters! I received my first letter from my newest sponsored child, Riya from India! I also received letters from Chelsea in Ghana, Adner in Colombia, Dorcus in Kenya, Nova in Indonesia and then from Cristin, Rendi and Glen from East Indonesia!

Photo Updates

I received a beautiful photo update this month! This update technically arrived last month, but I had to wait a little while for the digital copy to arrive, so I’m proudly showing it off now!

The photo update I received was of ten-year-old Rendi from Indonesia! Here he is aged 5, 6, 8 and 10!


Let’s Celebrate – Birthdays!

My Compassion family celebrates two birthdays in June.

First, my sponsored sister, Dorcus from Kenya, turned eighteen years old on June 5th. This girl is so special to me because she was sponsored in memory of my Nan, who passed away when I was fifteen. It was lovely to remember my Nan, who also celebrated her birthday on this day, as well as celebrate with my sweet Dorcus.

Dorcus aged 16

The other birthday I got to celebrate was just a couple of days later on June 8th, when my precious Janki from East India turned ten years old!

Janki aged 9

Let’s Celebrate – Anniversaries!

I got to celebrate two sponsorship milestones this month, too! There are two precious little boys in my family who I have now been corresponding with for a whole year! I started corresponding with Rahul from India on June 7th last year, and with Joyonto from Bangladesh on June 21st last year! I’m so blessed by these sweet boys, and I am so grateful to have then as part of my family.

Rahul aged 7

Joyonto aged 5

I’m a little bit excited about July now!


Let’s Talk About India: Coming Home and a New Adventure

Last week marked three months since I got back from India. Honestly. I’m having a hard time believing I’ve been home for three weeks. Before I went to India, I promised myself (and anyone else who would listen!) that I wouldn’t get the travel bug and that my feet would forever remain on British soil.

I’m such a liar.

Turns out, I quite like traveling. Okay, so maybe not the actual ‘traveling’ part of it (do you remember the interesting journey I had to take to even get to India?!) but I do like meeting the people, getting to know the culture, and even the food wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!


More than anything else in the world right now, I want to go back. Or at least, I want to go somewhere. I encountered Jesus in such a way that I can’t forget while I was in this place. I still can’t fully process in my mind just what happened when I was there.

So much has happened in the last three months. I went back to college to finish my last ever term as a student, and before I could turn around, it was time for our valedictory service. I’m not a student anymore!


Because I’ve known that the end of college was so near, I’ve been gently pushing doors on a few different trips, to different places to do different things, but none of them have given me that sense of peace, where God says “Come on, Shelley. This is the adventure I want to take you on!”. So I keep looking. And praying. And getting very frustrated at spending too long on England. And, just as only God can, the perfect opportunity landed in my lap.

Well…in my inbox.

Last summer, I sponsored beautiful eighteen year old Dorcus from Kenya through Compassion in memory of my wonderful nan, who passed away when I was fifteen. I chose Dorcus for two reasons: the first reason is that she shares a birthday with my nan, and I loved this connection. Secondly, Dorcus struggles at school. When I was in secondary school, I struggled a lot, in a different way to Dorcus, but school wasn’t great for me. It was my nan that I would want to talk to about it, and it was my Nan who always encouraged me. I wanted to be the support to Dorcus that my nan was to me, so I decided to sponsor her.

Dorcus aged 16

Because of this special connection between Dorcus and my nan, I knew that I had to get out to Kenya to meet this precious young woman before she graduates the programme in 2018. I had no idea how I could possibly make this work, until around two weeks ago. I received an email from the lovely folk at the Compassion UK office, inviting me to travel with them to Kenya, to see firsthand the work they are doing and with the opportunity to meet Dorcus!

I called the office yesterday and paid my deposit, so now I can officially say that I’ll be spending a week in November in Kenya! My goodness, our God’s plans are so much more exciting than ours!

Before I was even guaranteed a place, God was already orchestrating some pretty incredible things. Because of the nature of my job, getting the time off, in many ways, was going to be the easy part. Finding the money, however, was the challenge. The morning after I received the email from Compassion (so before I was even guaranteed a place on the trip!), my mum was having a conversation with some friends, who later gave me £200 towards my trip! They’ve visited Kenya, and were amazed at all God was doing there, and they didn’t want me to miss out because of finances, so they gave me this money! This money alone nearly covered the deposit, so now there is no way I can be worried about God not providing for this trip.

I don’t really have any other details right now, but I can’t put into words how excited I am to be a part of this wonderful ministry, and a part of this trip! It’s such a relief to finally be able to make it public knowledge that I’m going, now it’s all been made official!

Please, please, join me in praying that all of the details would work out, that the money will come through, and everything will be, like India, just beautiful.

Compassion Joy Dare: May

Can you believe I haven’t joined in with Jill’s Joy Dare since NOVEMBER?! Whoops…Between preparing to go to India, actually going to India, coming back from India with a fractured ankle and now being ONLY SIX DAYS AWAY FROM GRADUATING, life has been more than a little busy. But I hate using busy-ness as an excuse for not being thankful, which is why I’m making time to reflect back on the last month and join in with the celebrations!

Joy Dare button

Let’s Talk Letters!

I received six wonderful letters this month! I received one from Joyonto in Bangladesh, one from Evis in Colombia, one from Gad in Rwanda, one from Krisna in East Indonesia, one from Chelsea in Ghana and one from Rahul from India that just made it into this joy dare by arriving yesterday!! My letter from Chelsea also had a beautiful surprise extra photograph with it!

Day 2

I also found out that I have three more letters on the way, which should be with me in the next couple of weeks!

Photo Updates

I received three photo updates this month! I only have two of the digital copies though, so one of them will have to remain a surprise for now ;)

The first photo update I received was of two-year-old Gad in Rwanda! His photos show him at 7 months, 13 months, 19 months and just a couple of weeks before his third birthday!


The next photo update I received was from my correspondent child, thirteen year old Nika from Indonesia! I haven’t received a letter from her yet, so this photo update was a lovely surprise! Here she is aged 9, 12 and 13!

Nika 9 12 13

New Additions

I have three precious new additions to my ever-expanding Compassion family this month!

When I was in India, I had the chance to go and visit a local Compassion project. When I was volunteering at a Compassion event after I got home, I found a packet of a little girl who attended the project I spent the day at! I wasn’t convinced God was leading me to sponsor her, so I spent the next few days of the event trying to find this sweet girl a sponsor. After I’d been home for a few weeks, I felt God lead me to sponsor a child from this project that I have grown to love. I spoke to the wonderful people at Compassion UK and they told me they had one little girl from this project and it just happened to be the little girl who’s packet I had found at the event! Without too much hesitation, I decided to sponsor sweet five year old Riya from India!

Riya aged 4

Riya is five years old and lives with her parents and grandparents. Her birthday is on February 12th and there are two other children in the family. For fun, she enjoys playing house and playing hide-and-seek and her errands at home are buying and selling in the market. I’m so excited to get to know this girl, and future trips to India (and to this project) are now going to be that little bit more exciting!

I also was blessed this month to be assigned two new precious correspondent children from Colombia! God has completely captured my heart with this wonderful country, and so these new members of my family are so special.

My first new correspondent child is seven year old Jose!

Jose aged 5

Jose just turned seven on May 17th and lives with his parents. He’s studying in first grade and for fun, he enjoys group games, football and running. He helps around the house by making beds and helping in the kitchen. I love his little shirt!

The second correspondent child I was assigned this month is five year old Miguel, also from Colombia!

Miguel aged 5

Miguel will turn six on July 19th and he lives with his parents. For fun, he enjoys cars, listening to music and playing ball games, and he helps around the house by running errands and cleaning. He is currently studying in Kindergarten at an above average level!

Let’s Celebrate – Birthdays!

My Compassion family celebrates three birthdays in May.

First, my very first sponsored child, Cristin from East Indonesia, turned NINE YEARS OLD on May 8th! She was just two months shy of turning six when I first sponsored her, and it’s been such a joy to watch her grow over the last three years.

Cristin aged 8

The littlest member of my Compassion family, sweet Gad from Rwanda, turned three on May 16th! I started sponsoring this handsome kid when he was just thirteen months old, so this is another special journey! Also, this month marked two years of sponsoring Gad, so this was a double celebration!

Irabizi aged 2

The final birthday was one of my new faces – Jose turned seven years old just two days after I was assigned him as a correspondent child!

Jose aged 5

I’m so glad I took the time to reflect on this month. I was feeling a little disheartened after realising that I hadn’t heard from many of my kids this month, but there have been so many more blessings than I ever could have realised!

#100happydays Day Six

Still here playing catch up! But having time to remember what we’re thankful for is never, ever, a bad thing.

#100happydays day six

Day 6

I got to spend Wednesday afternoon in a great little cake shop with a very special friend having a great post-block placement catch up. I had the opportunity to chat to her about all I learned in India and I got to hear all about her amazing time working with kids in South Africa. Fellowship sure can taste good!

#100happydays Day Five

So it turns out taking part in a challenge like this and only being a month away from finishing a degree is actually pretty darn hard, so today is a major catch up day. But hey, I’m thankful for the time I’ve got to reflect on the last few days and what’s really made me smile.

#100happydays day five

Day 5

I’ve been taking part in a 90 Day Bible Challenge over the last few days, and on day five of my #100happydays I reached the end of Exodus. I loved going back through this story and seeing God’s faithfulness littered throughout the entire story. I’m so grateful that I can spend so much time in God’s word, and I’m so excited to see all that God wants to teach me through this journey.

#100hapydays Day Four

So I’m only five days in and I’m already playing catch up. Life lesson: I’m rubbish at routine! But still, I’m determined to see these one hundred days through…even if I’m still going this time next year! So let’s press on!

#100happydays day four

Day 4

I think this is one of my new favourites. I took this book out of the library a few weeks ago when I was stuck on crutches and had nothing to do to fill my time. Since then, I’ve rediscovered my love for reading. I was pretty dubious about this book, because I defy the typical young girl and I really didn’t like The Notebook. I figured I should probably give poor Mr Sparks a fighting chance, and I am SO glad I did! I fell in love with this story pretty early on, and it being a bank holiday weekend, I was able to finish it pretty quickly. This definitely made today (ahem…yesterday) a very happy day.

Mail Call Monday!

We’re only five days into this brand new month of May, and I already have two letters to share! So I’m linking up with Blogging from the Boonies this week.


The first letter I received was from sweet five year old Evis from Colombia!

Evis aged 5

This was one of those letters where I was able to learn so many things about my sweet girl. She tells me that she’s 3’6″ tall and weighs 44lb and she has brown hair and eyes. She is the second child in the family and her favourite colours are read, pink and “skin colour”. She likes to wear dresses and describes her character as calm (so she’s the complete opposite of me!). Her favourite cartoon is Strawberry Shortcake and her favourite movie is Barbie.

In the message section of the letter, her tutor tells me that Evis wants to than me for the letters I send. She tells me that Evis has recently changed schools, which makes her happy because she is learning lots of new things and is making lots of new friends. She also shares with me that her mum is expecting a new baby! She then sends me Psalm 23:6 to end her letter.

The second letter I received was from fifteen year old Chelsea in Ghana!

Chelsea aged 15

I feel so blessed to have this teen as a correspondent child. Her financial sponsor often sends extra financial gifts to the family, and I often get extra photos as a result of these blessings! This month’s letter also held a surprise photograph! I always feel slightly guilty that I get the thanks for these gifts, but I am always left so thankful for these selfless acts from her wonderful financial sponsor.

Chelsea opens her letter by thanking me for the letters and for the gift. She was able to buy two pairs of school shoes, some toiletries, a school uniform and two new dresses. The letter goes on to tell me that she is learning about different learning techniques at the project.

She asks how my family and I are all doing, and she says that she is praying for God’s love and peace to be with us always. She asks me to pray for her as she prepares to sit some exams and sends me Ecclesiastes 1:3. In typical Chelsea fashion, there is a beautiful flower drawing at the end of her letter.

And here is the beautiful photograph that accompanied this wonderful letter!

Day 2

I can’t believe this sweet girl graduates in the next couple of years. She is going to be so missed, so I need to make the most of the time I have left with her!

#100happydays Day Three

So this post is a day late. But I wasn’t very well yesterday and ended up about 100 miles away from home. By the time I got home, I went straight to bed, so I’m sharing now

#100happydays day three

Day 3

I went to visit my sister at university yesterday (less than a week until she’s home for the whole summer!). For the first time in forever, we had some glorious sunshine, and I managed to get this photo as we were driving down one of the smaller country roads on the way home. The roads were completely clear and the sun was well and truly shining! I feel so grateful that I get to live in such a beautiful part of the country.