Come Away with Me

I’ve been waiting for just the right time to tell you that I (Melissa) am going, along with four other bloggers, with Compassion International to Kolkata (Calcutta), India. The “right” time has quickly turned into “oh my word, SERIOUSLY, we are leaving Friday!!!” And so here you have it. The five of us will be led by a handful of staunch Compassion-folk on an exciting adventure; a journey I can only guess will be filled with moments of piercing sadness but also bursts of laughter and stimulating conversation. A journey that engages and confronts all of the senses in an unexpected way and that makes an impression that lasts not just a week or two, but for a lifetime. I will be attempting to put this journey into words for you straight from Kolkata on this blog next week, April 26- May 2.

The first day I learned of this opportunity to go along with Compassion to Kolkata, I knew I was supposed to go. Period. Sometimes the Lord makes something unmistakably clear. I won’t ever forget the seriousness in Shaun Groves’ voice as he said, “Take your time making your decision, Melissa.” He said, “I’ve never been to Kolkata but from what I’ve heard, this may be one of the more difficult trips.” Now, I’ve heard the dude speak and sing and I thought he was supposed to be funny. Well, he wasn’t throwing the jokes. He actually sounded really serious. Even so, I didn’t have to take my time making the decision. It was just one of those moments. I take that back, I did have to ask Mr. Fitzpatrick what he thought first and he said, “You’ve gotta go. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.” I was actually stunned by his absolute selflessness. Well, let’s just say that the closer it gets to Friday the less I am seeing him effuse this virtue. Actually he is getting quite controlling. Every time I so much as cough he looks at me like, “And you’re going to Kolkata?” *Grin.* I guess it was easier for him to imagine it all when it was still months away.

Let me tell you, over the past month I have gotten some crazy reactions from people about my going to Kolkata. Most people look at me like I’ve lost my mind and I know exactly what they’re thinking… “Why not Paris or Amsterdam or somewhere even slightly pleasurable?” I want to say to them, “Life isn’t all about fun.” But I don’t. I just keep my mouth shut. And anyway, they obviously haven’t met any of the team I am going along with. It’s an entertaining group of people. A group that I suspect could have a little tiny bit of fun even in the darkest of places. Can’t keep the sarcasm from dripping off my computer screen when I glance over their emails. Oh, and I even had one girl tell me that India is “impossibly filthy” and that I need to watch out for the rats. The negative reactions were becoming tiresome, so I was pleased when the popular, Oscar-winning movie “Slumdog Millionaire” finally came out on DVD. The timing was totally ordained for us, don’t you think? I finally started getting some positive responses from people. You’ve gotta love pop-culture. I’ve been conveniently leaving out that we aren’t going to Mumbai and that Compassion International probably cares very little about us getting to meet the beautiful Latika in the flesh.

In spite of all the strange reactions I have gotten, there really are no words to express my excitement about going to Kolkata. I know that I am going to see poverty unlike anything I have ever seen before, but at the same time, who better to see it with than Compassion International – one of the world’s most effective Christian relief organizations? We aren’t going just to sit back and observe the poverty. We’re going with an organization that actually has the resolve to try and do something about it. I don’t know exactly what to expect and I’m trying not to assume much. My heart’s desire is just to go – to go with my heart and mind open. And by the way, I actually get to meet two of the children that Colin and I sponsor through Compassion. Like I actually get to have lunch with them.

I will tell you more about the details of our itinerary as next week unfolds, but for now I just wanted to tell you the news and ask for your thoughts and prayers as we prepare ourselves to head out this Friday. If you would be so kind and thoughtful to pray, here are my personal prayer requests:

1. Pray that my own cynicism wouldn’t rob me of a blessing. I’ve gotta be honest, I feel sort of faux for going on a trip like this. I’m not a missionary. I’m not an activist. And I’m certainly not a nun. I have the “comfort” (whatever significance that word really holds) of knowing I’m coming back to the United States in two weeks. That is the honest truth. And so I fight my own self-defeating thoughts. Thoughts like, “Melissa, you’re really nothing more than a tourist, nothing more than a weak poser wannabe missionary going over to Kolkata and acting like you’re some Mother Theresa type.” Since I have an all-or-nothing personality, I tend to feel defeated if I can’t go all out. For example, since I am not taking a vow of poverty or moving to work in Kolkata for the rest of my days, it makes me want to shrink back from doing anything at all. My own personal fear of false piety could keep me from entering into this experience and I don’t want it to. I want every fiber in my being to be impacted. Pray for me – that I’m not my own worst enemy.

2. Pray for Colin’s peace of mind. It is his responsibility to care for me; so naturally, he is a little concerned about my safety and whatnot. Please pray the Lord would have something unique in this experience for him as well, even though he will be in the States. He is, after all, as involved as I am with Compassion. He was actually the one who suggested that we sponsor our first Compassion child, Aimar, who lives in Colombia. It wasn’t even my idea. In that moment, I was actually more concerned about hiding our cash under the hardwood planks of our apartment. Right next to the one hundred pound bag of rice and ginormous jar of peanut butter. Kidding. Sort of.

3. Pray for my health. Please pray that my own physical weaknesses would not be a hindrance to me or to the team. I’ve had a series of intense migraines for the past few months, and while I plan to stuff Excedrin Migraine in every crevice of my suitcase, please pray for a supernatural release from these migraines. Even if it is only for this two week period. (Praise Him – He has given me a release in the past week, but I do pray that they will not return during the trip).

Oh, and I almost forgot, I need your advice. I am taking little care packages for both of our Compassion children in Kolkata. As you know, Colin and I don’t have our own kids, so I need your help. I have no idea what kids like. I consider myself an adult person and buying for kids does not come naturally to me. We have a nine-year-old boy named Manot and a twelve-year-old girl named Pramila. What do nine-year-old boys like? And what do twelve-year-old girls like? Now, I don’t want to rush over to India in a naïve Santa-Claus costume with a bagful of toys. I’m not going to put on a red superwoman cape and presume I could save their day. I can’t save their day. But at the same time, I want to make their day. I want to make their day special without making them feel overwhelmed or intimidated by too many gifts. In your opinion, where is the line? Do you have any thoughts? Ideas?



201 Responses to “Come Away with Me”

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  1. 51
    Anonymous says:

    migraines….how I identify with this one!

    You and Colin both need peace of mind…just remember you are in the Lord’s hands. He has given you this moment to do something special…and maybe experience something special yourself.

    Anything we do in His name, He will make it a wonderful experience full of teachable moments and life-changing experiences. You will come home changed….I have no doubt!!

    Prayers will be lifted for all in this trip.

  2. 52
    Anonymous says:

    Oh, man, Melissa…..what an adventure you are about to encounter! I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica, not the pretty parts you see online, but the poverty stricken rural Indian groups affected by the earthquake….I can’t even describe what it looked like, but it was amazing to see what God could do with 10 Americans wanting to do something. We saw pastors with nothing, serving the Lord to minister to people who had nothing, living in a shack and walking for hours in the mountains to preach and minister. Here’s some thoughts on what to take, Yoyos for the kids…they loved them!!! we also took school supples, paper, scissors, glue sticks, crayons, and stuffed toys for the toddlers and even big kids loved them. God took me on a journey the two weeks before I left, in Romans 8….I totally gave up my agenda (which is basically what I struggle with God over) and followed God’s plan for 12 days, serving and coming home more blessed by the people, than being a blessing, which was my way of thinking…I’ll be praying…..God will show up on your trip is so many ways, keep a journal to see all the ways you see him; in the eyes of the children, of their mothers, and people who have nothing, but so much more than we do…oh, bless you, girl…..Pam in San Diego

  3. 53
    Rachel says:

    About the cynicism and “all or nothing” tendencies: you may not be able to save the world, but that doesn’t mean this trip is useless. You CAN “narrate the world” which means you can be eyes and ears for the rest of us who will probably never see these “least of these” or know their stories. You can paint pictures with words, let us see the truth…and, as any believer knows, truth is God’s native tongue; it brings freedom and opens hearts. As I tell my student writers: observe keenly, then narrate what you see; pay attention, then put into words. That will let us see, too.

  4. 54
    Anonymous says:

    I have struggles with a fear of pride. I thought I was being humble by taking a backseat and not getting involved in certain things. God showed me that I was simply afraid of pride and like the man who buried his talents b/c of fear, I was not profitting my maker b/c I was opting to do nothing as opposed to do something “wrong”. God clearly tells us we can at least earn interest. ANd though you may not be moving to this place of poverty you are bearing interest (at least and I know it will be more)by going and God will be pleased. True humility puts oneself out there. I will pray that God’s peace will guard your heart and mind so you will be free to serve w/out the accuser of the brethern beating you up.

  5. 55
    lavonda says:

    I could not say one more gift idea that these ladies haven’t already thrown out there for you. They covered it well! Having both a boy and a girl, every comment I read I was thinking, “Yep, that’s good. Oh yes! That’s a good one too!”

    For sure you’ll be in my prayers these coming weeks. No matter what you experience (which I know will be awesome), you are His vessel and willing to let Him use you in any capacity. What a ginormous blessing right there… for you and for them. I’m looking so forward to reading your commentary on it all!

    A couple months ago I started having some pretty bad headaches. While I’m lying there trying to sleep through the pain or will it away, I’ve started repeating my scripture memory verses over and over in my mind. It doesn’t always work, but thank you Jesus, sometimes it actually does. I decided to start practicing literally what David says,

    “You will keep her in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You”
    Isaiah 26:3

    Bless you girl!

  6. 56
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, I pray blessings and a new awakening as a result of this trip for you. As for a gift, take it from a poor girl from Arkansas who grew up with very little – get them each a ViewMaster!! You can find them at Wal-Mart for 5.00 each and along with pictures, they can view them with only sunlight to see the pictures. I get these for Operation Christmas child every year because I know that no matter where in the world the gift will go, the precious child will always have God’s sunlight shining on them to light their way. Be blessed.

  7. 57
    Sarah says:

    Wow, what an amazing opportunity! I can’t wait to hear about your experience and how God works while you’re there.
    I’ve become a little cynical about gifts after spending time in rural Africa and seeing what happens after the kids receive them (jealousy from others, stealing, family taking them and selling them..) I was amazed at all that could be made out of a plastic bag (kites, balls, etc..) BUT still think that they would treasure the things you give them especially since they are your sponsor children and would really appreciate it. I know its different everywhere you go, but I thought pictures with personal notes were good, sweets, if you could somehow take pictures of your kids and give them to them (I found that the kids I worked with often didn’t even have one picture of themselves so they loved this..), balls and dolls like people have said would be fun as well. T-shirts/clothes with something on it that makes it look American perhaps as well? Or anything in general that is distinctly “American”.. 🙂

  8. 58
    Poorna Ramakrishnan says:

    I just went to India last year to visit my family after almost 10 years…so it warms my heart to hear that you are going with Compassion Int’l. My nieces and nephews loved the little dresses and outfits I got them! Something about “Western” clothes makes Indian kids light up! Those children are precious. You’ll be in my prayers! The trip is going to be awesome! Can’t wait to read all about it!


  9. 59
    Emily H says:

    As someone who spent several years on the mission field, I can tell you that you will not just be a tourist!! Whether you are there because God wants to teach you something about yourself, or because He has someone that He needs you to impact, or both; He will work!! You will be completely out of your comfort zone the entire time; and it will be one of the most wonderfully difficult things that you will experience. You will be a blessing. Just your desire to go, the willingness to suspend for even two weeks your standard of comfort to show compassion- this is the Gospel Melissa. Be enouraged- and get ready! I cant wait to hear how God works in you during and after this time.

  10. 60
    Lauren says:

    My brother went to Calcutta and worked in Mother Teresa’s home for the dying for a few days. He said the thing that struck him the most was not the intense suffering but the hopelessness in people’s eyes. Point them to hope, girl.

    And as for this:
    “My own personal fear of false piety could keep me from entering into this experience and I don’t want it to.”
    Buy a copy of Father Elijah by O’Brien and read it on the plane. One of the best novels I’ve ever read, and a major theme is humility and poverty of the spirit so that the Spirit can work through you.

  11. 61
    Elaine says:

    I don’t have time to look through all the other gift suggestions but I want to offer a little insight into the heart and mind of a 12 year old girl. I have one myself. Pretty pens/markers/crayons/paper. Drawing stuff. Bracelets. Little pet shop toys. They are just cute little animal figurines.

    There ya go. 🙂

  12. 62
    Anonymous says:

    India will definitely make an indelible impression on you. I visited Hyderabad 3 years ago on business and was so touched by the living conditions that majority exist in, but yet at the sweet hearts of the people. Humbled at the richness we live in each day.

    I suggest giving each child a few pictures of you & Colin. I agree with the baseball & bat idea for the boy. Maybe a purse or jewelry for the girl. Also the notebook & pen.

    You will be in my thoughts & prayers.

  13. 63
    Barefoot Mom says:

    Will be praying for you girl! Just printed your specific request and will keep it with me for the next few weeks.

    As for the gifts — I have boys – -and I agree any kind of ball would be fun. I am also thinking that both of them would enjoy art stuff – markers, pad of paper, paints, etc. Something bright and colorful and easy to share in a bleak place.

    Be Blessed.


  14. 64
    djrtaylor says:

    What a great thing for you to experience.

    I have a teen girl and I can tell you the tween & teen girls like stuffed animals (the softer the better), hair brush, hair bands or barette, lip gloss, jump rope and dolls.

    As for the boys, when it comes to my nephews we do cars or trucks, a ball (even one of those packs you can buy as party favors that are hard) that bounces, usually the higher the better they also usually like some action figures.

    Have a safe trip

  15. 65
    Paulette Carson says:

    What an awesome opportunity! I took several items for Romanian children at our friends’ after school program back in October 2008. They loved them! Bouncing balls, sidewalk chalk which we used for hopscotch and art projects, western bandanas (one of the gals on the team was a rodeo gal and took a lasso for the kids to practice on a water bottle). We left all of the items for later use. The boys especially loved the lasso. The boys competed against the girls in relays in which the kids had to burst the balloons by sitting on them.
    All the other Siestas had such great ideas, too! I hope you will not have a hard time meeting the weight and volume limits for your luggage, based on your heart’s desire to bless abundantly.
    Blessings onya!

  16. 66
    Sharon says:

    Hi, Melissa

    I know what you mean when you said you knew you had to go as soon as you heard about the trip. It amazes me how our Lord works.

    I will be praying for you and the team going to India. Also, I’ll be looking for your blog from Kolkata. I will also be praying for you and for your family. God bless you and keep you in perfect peace (Is. 26:3). Have a wonderful trip. We love you so much

    Pontotoc, MS

  17. 67
    Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to say – get thee to a neurologist. There are too many drugs available to manage and control migraines to suffer from them needlessly.

    Like a previous poster, I take Topamax and it has helped me control the number of migraines that I get and my ability to stop them once I get one.

    I learned that I was contributing to my headaches by taking too much over-the-counter pain medication and creating “rebound” headaches.

  18. 68
    Anonymous says:

    I am SOOOO excited for you! I would be going in a heartbeat! I am a missionary in Bolivia (poorest country in S. America, but still not Calcutta!) and I LOVE Compassion International. They seem to be the REAL DEAL. You know what I mean? Have a BLAST!

    I’ll be praying for you to keep your heart wide open. It hurts to see some of the things you will likely see, and my heart has been broken over and over again. It becomes easy to turn away, but God has worked to change me. . .to help me intentionally choose to look in their eyes and acknowledge their pain–talk to them and love them even when I can’t or shouldn’t try to “fix it.”

    By the way–Paul was an itinerant missionary. Don’t feel bad about not staying in one place forever to minister. God moves his troops, as someone once said :-), where he sees fit. I am glad that you work in my home country, too, where my own family is. They need God’s Word too–so desperately!

    The other siestas have given some great advice and ideas re: care packages. Inexpensive and simple/ classic seem best to me. The $1 section at Target was a good suggestion, as is colorful flip-flops. I see a lot of barefoot kids or kids in really worn shoes. A ball is a universal good choice for most boys–kids here are awed by American footballs which are a rarity, but something they’ve seen on TV. A Nerf one would be light to pack and they could play with their friends. Matchbox/ hot wheels cars are a BIG hit with boys here. Girls love notebooks and glitter pens and hair accessories.

    Speaking of that, I’d recommend bringing them each a comb/ brush in their gifts. That way, they’re less likely to play with yours and return it with little bitty friends:-) Just saying. I work with orphans and tribal people 🙂 By the way, here’s a little missionary tip that has changed my life . . . if you gel your hair and pull it back in a ponytail, lice won’t stick as easily as they will to clean and loose hair. I know–too much information for most of the blogging world, but it may prove helpful for you 🙂

    I hope you have a FANTASTIC and MEANINGFUL and GROWING time there. Will pray for the team and your family, too.

    Blessings, Melissa–go with God!

  19. 69
    Bev Brandon says:

    My teenage son went to remote tribal villages in Chiang-Mai Thailand for Spring Break and brought them jump ropes, frisbees, deflated footballs with needles, coloring books/crayons, neon light up bracelets (25 for $1 from dollar store), blow pops and t-shirts. You will give these kids courage, and hope and love! “Perfect in Beauty, God will pour out of you.” Psalm 50:2. May Christ be formed in many because you cared enough to go – Gal 4:19. Can’t wait to hear what our good God does through you all!

  20. 70
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa, God Bless and I am praying right now that you will be blessed “extremely” by your experience, that Colin will have a deep peace as you share how much this trip means to you, that your health is strong and energy high and if all else fails- kids love GUM- May the Kingdom of God through the Cross or our dear Christ cover you and fill you. Have a great time and be filled with happiness young lady- we are so privileged that you have shared this journey with us- Blessings, Blessings, Blessings- can’t wait to hear about all your adventures!

  21. 71
    Jina says:


    You always blow me away with your candor. I will be praying for you in all the areas you requested. I pray you will have some grace for yourself to take in and participate as much as you can and truely let God pick up the slack. I am so sorry you have migraines. I used to be an NP in an Emergency Department, I always score low on compassion/mercy, but seeing people in that debilitating pain truely stirred my heart. I will specifically be praying you have a headache free trip and that this cluster is broken in Jesus’s name. I love to hear about Collin’s heart to protect. You truely are one worth protecting.

    Ideas regarding gifts: I have boys 11 and 12 now. They still play with legos. There are some small lego kits that can be purchased anywhere… Another thing young boys like are athletic shirts/clothes. Specifically from American teams, it has meant a lot to my husband’s extended family in Colombia. Houston rockets jersey might be just the ticket. 🙂

    Our girls are a little young, all I can think of is clothing, nail polish, fun lotions, soaps…

    Hope that helps. Trusting God to bless you and keep you and your family during the next few weeks.

    In Him,

  22. 72
    Lindsee Lou says:

    Melissa, I will certainly be praying for you. Especially that #1 prayer request! I totally understand, sister. Totally understand! Can’t wait to hear all about the amazing trip upon y’alls return.

    As far as the gifts, in November we just took a lot of stuff to color and draw with and seriously, that entertained them for hours. It really is the simple things! Also, things like bubbles, playdoh and yoyo’s are great. Hope that helps! Much love, peace and rest to you this week as you prepare to leave!


  23. 73
    skoots1mom says:

    my dd is 17 and believe it or not, they still love to color…disney princesses, popular cartoons, care bears included, sponge bob…those small packs of primary colors would be easy to ship, too!

    boys, the cushy balls they kick with their feet, small, lightweight.

  24. 74
    Anonymous says:

    i am in India, and visiting orphanages the thing they love most is candy, candy, and more candy!!!

  25. 75
    Anonymous says:

    I pray it is wonderful for you! I was praying about what you should bring for the young girl and art supplies seems perfect. A sketch pad, markers, colored pencils…good ones though, crayola has some nice ones. The RoseArt ones don’t work as well. Maybe some tracing paper too and some construction paper, tape and glue. Glitter is must too, what girl doesn’t like glitter?
    Also, maybe some pretty hair stuff and brushes and a mirror, lip gloss (clear), tooth brush and paste.
    My son would love any type of ball also. He also loves his Leggo’s. He is the same age. Yes, Leggo’s would be perfect!
    Hope this helps a little. I am thrilled for you!

  26. 76
    Melissa says:

    Thank you for your honesty! I remember when I felt the call to go to Thailand last year it was a a clear, “GO!” from God, so when I got lots of flack from certain family members, my only answer was, “He told me to GO, what else can I do?”

    I will keep your head in my prayers. I too suffer from migraines and was concerned about that with all the international travelling, etc. I only got one knock me out one, so I pray you will be able control it too.

    Have an awesome time! God will bless your obedience.


  27. 77
    Abba's Girl says:

    God bless you and all those who work tirelessly for Compassion Intl and support it’s mission.

    Will be in prayer for you.

    My cousin was a missionary there for a couple of years. Fell in love with the people.

  28. 78
    Becky says:

    I will be praying for you Melissa. I think art supplies may be a good gift.

  29. 79
    Maria Cristina says:

    I’ll definitely be praying, Melissa. As the “adoptive parent” so to speak of two beautiful Peruvian children through Compassion, I can truly attest to their commitment and integrity. Be blessed!!

    maria cristina

  30. 80
    Donna Cooper says:

    I am amazed and totally blown away by your transparency. Thank you for being so honest. It is refreshing!

    I’m excited for you to be able to meet the children of your heart. I’m sure it will be joyous for all of you!

    Bring simple things with you that can be used in many ways. My son just turned 9. Of course he loves video games (NOT something you can bring) but a ball, yoyo, hot wheels, deck of cards and marbles will keep him busy for hours!
    And I’m sure the girl will like anything “girly”. Necklace, pink fingernail polish, hair bows, coloring books and crayons, also some blank paper. You might could get each a backpack and put the gifts inside. Honestly they will treasure whatever you bring!
    (Don’t forget a few sweets as well).

    I’ll be praying as you go.
    You’ll never forget this and be changed because of it.

  31. 81
    Leigh Ann says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I had the opportunity to travel all over India a couple of years ago (including Calcutta). You will love India! It will be different from anything you’ve ever experienced, but it will be amazing.

    Just be sure to drink only bottled water! 🙂

  32. 82
    Melissa says:

    Hi, simple and small gifts for the children…most likely one gift each.

    Often the children and culture feel led to recepricate the gift giving.

    You may find yourself taking home one of their most valued possessions.

    For example, during a trip to a Russian orphanage where we spent time with the kids and gave gifts (a few games, money, etc) directly to the orphanage…the children felt compelled to give us their one and only plastic beaded braclet, another a beautifully made arts and crafts flower design project.

    Praise the LORD for your willingness to go.

    Praise the LORD for orchestrating your husband’s heart to allow you to go.

    May God continue to free you from migrane headaches.

    God bless and God speed.

  33. 83
    Ginger from Alabama says:

    I sponsor a child from Brazil with CI and I sent a package (via a group from our church going to the area) to her last year filled with candies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, stickers, hair bows and such, a small stuffed teddy bear (even though she’s 11), cute socks, soap and cute washcloth, cute note pad, pens/pencils, colored pencils, etc. A yo-yo will work for anyone, a ball that when it bounces, it lights up, a flashlight is intriguing. Hope these suggestions help….oh yeah, take your own toilet paper too. I have been to Sri Lanka on a mission trip and I know what you will see so please know Melissa, that I will be praying for you. However, you will come home a changed woman I can assure you! Blessings to you.

    Siesta Ginger

  34. 84
    Anonymous says:

    What a gift for you to get to go! may you be immersed in the experience like a tea bag… forever changed! My boys are totally into yo-yo’s right now – the Duncan Mosquito – and girls love stickers and markers 🙂

    About your headaches – my BFF just researched and discovered abuot MSG – her husband has cluster headaches – and they are in process of removing all products in home with MSG – His father has had tremendous results removing it – no more headaches… I guess it’s in just about everything – I know very little… but wanted to plant a seed so you could research deeper… Can’t wait for the update- you will be covered in prayer!

  35. 85
    Anonymous says:

    I have a 12 year old daughter who loves hair accessories and nail polish! Any kind of beauty accessory. She could spend hours in Claire’s.
    Have a blessed trip – I’ll pray for you and Colin.

  36. 86
    Pam says:


    I just wanted to give you so words of encouragement. I just in March when on my first third world mission trip to South Africa. I had done many mission trips here in the states, but this was the first one to a thrid world country and I pray that God does not let it be my last. The one and only thing I have to tell you is. Pray that God lets you have his eyes and a heart like his when you look and talk with his people. That is all we all are his people just placed in differnet countries. Don’t be afraid to show them yourself. I can tell you 1st hand what an awesome blessing God is bestowing on you, one that will change your life for every.
    Be real and love them as God loves you.

    Many prayers going up for you and them.

  37. 87
    Laurie T. says:

    I have had the opportunity to do what you are doing and it was humbling to see how happy and thankful these kids are just to receive a simple box of crayons and a coloring book, a ball to play with or a jump rope. Pictures of you and your family are a HUGE hit too 🙂 I know your trip will be blessed and having left my husband home…God will bless him too!

  38. 88
    Susie says:

    As the mother of a 12 year old girl, I think she would love a pretty journal that she can write in, a bracelet or necklace. I don’t know if you have any idea of shoe sizes for your sponsored children but so many children in countries like India don’t have shoes much less new shoes.

    A 9 year old boy – I am no help to you there. I only have girls, 12 and 3. SORRY!

    I pray that your trip will be fruitful, that you will be a blessing to those around you and I know you will be blessed beyond anything you can imagine for being obedient to the Lord for your willingness to go.

    Have a safe and awesome trip! I will be praying for you.

  39. 89
    tiggerdaisy says:

    I just love reading your blog posts! You are funny, real, transparent…enjoyable!

    I pray that God touches you like never before while on your trip. May you be transformed and renewed by His grace and mercy!

    As for kid things, I’ve always heard that candy goes a long way. We take for granted that we have access to it on a daily basis, but many children around the world have never tasted candy.

    I’ve never been on a mission trip, but here is my two cents!

    I wouldn’t buy anything requiring batteries. What about a: doll, book, coloring set, ball, jump rope, bubbles, barrettes, etc. I think the simpler the gift, the greater impact. It’s not about the bells and whistles of a gift, but maybe what you can actually do with the children–playing ball, jump rope, blowing bubbles, etc. Just a thought!

    Have a great time!!! I do look forward to hearing your recap as you have such a unique insight and perception of things.

    Prayers and blessings,

  40. 90
    Dee says:

    Melissa, I’m so thankful that you are getting to go on this trip. I have sponsored a little girl, Daniela, in Bolivia for about six years. I have not had the privilege of meeting her, but maybe God will grant me that privilege one day. I will pray for you. As far as I remember, every little girl likes to feel pretty. Maybe something for her hair or some piece of clothing. But whatever, because it is a gift of love from you, your little children will love it. Have a blessed trip. Look forward to hearing about it.

  41. 91
    Larsen Family says:

    I have a 7 yr old boy and he loves legos. Maybe you could get a small set to fit in your bag. Soccer ball. For the 12 yr old she would probably like hair accessories, earrings, neclaces, and maybe a small stuffed animal.

  42. 92
    Anonymous says:


    What a wonderful opportunity to share God’s love to a nation that desperately needs it.

    Here’s my 2 cents, for what it is worth, having traveled to India somewhat recently and traveling internationally for work a fair bit.

    I went to Mumbai last summer for work and for a few days I was in a remote village (i.e. no toilet paper). My advice is to take plenty of snacks (peanuts, packaged tuna, protein bars) for yourself and to share. India is a predominantly vegetarian country. A coworker, whose parents were from India, also advised not eating any meat while there, so if you need protein like me (another Texas girl), you’ll want to take some form of protein.

    Also, wet wipes are a girl’s best friend over there.

    Re: Migrains, I get these as well. I suggest getting a prescription of Treximet or Imitrex before you leave. They work infinitely better than Exedrin Migraine. Also, if you have trouble sleeping on airplanes, I’d suggest getting a prescription for Ambien CR.

    For the kids, if you’re checking your luggage, I’d suggest bubbles. And stickers. Or crayons and small coloring books.

    My husband has gotten less nervous with each trip I go on for work. But, it helps to have a way to communicate with each other. Don’t underestimate the power of a text message to Colin.

    God’s blessings on your trip and safe travels.

  43. 93
    Melissa says:

    Anonymous, I actually have seen a neurologist and I was put on a few different things which I hated because they made me feel worse. They also made me feel like my cognitive functioning was off. I use Maxalt if I feel one coming along and then if it is terrible I take an Excedrin. I’ve heard Topomax is great for other things though! 😉

  44. 94
    a2fourmom says:

    I have a child of each age. My 9 year old son loves soccer,& baseball. He loves card games and jokes. He also loves to read. Plenty of character building books out there. A friend has a series that is great check out her website

    Twelve year old girls love to feel pretty…hair things, nail polish, lip gloss. Also great christian teen series out there. They like music. She might even still like to jump rope. Stuffed animals always are a great way to keep sharing your love.

    I will be praying for you.
    Sallie in MS

  45. 95
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Melissa

    So glad you are going/,it will change your life.

    Just keep in mind. If your Compassion children have siblings, please remember to take a gift for each one of them as well.

    Have a wonderful trip
    Many Blessings

  46. 96
    Jackie says:


    I know that going to India will be a life-altering experience for you. I will be praying for you, Colin, your family & the rest of the team. I heard Angie Smith speak at a women's retreat in October and her testimony is just so powerful and uplifting.

  47. 97
    jennifer says:

    Melissa, all my 8 yr. old boy needs is a stick. When I taught fifth grade, most of the girls just loved to talk. You’ll be fine. And even if you get sick, God sometimes allows us to do things even if we are sick. Even if He keeps you home or sends you. I’ll be praying for you.

  48. 98
    Lovesgarlic says:

    When we went to Haiti a few years ago, we took soccer balls (deflated so as to pack them better). Most sports stores will sell you them and deflate them for you. The kids love these and can’t always get a new soccer ball too easily – if at all.

    Have a great trip.

  49. 99
    Joni says:

    I used to get migraines all the time, but mine were tied in with anxiety and stress. Eventually, I started having panic attacks. I started praying verses that dealt with overcoming fear and anxiety in order to stop my panic attacks, and I started sensing real peace for the first time in my life and my attacks came less often. So did my migraines. After I started praying those verses during my attacks, the panic attacks stopped. And now I rarely have migraines. I have these verses posted on my blog and I still pray them whenever I feel anxious or faced with a crisis.

  50. 100
    Lisa V says:

    Hi Melissa, I don’t need to tell you that God will use you in wonderful ways on your stay in India. Let Him do His work, you’re just the vessel. And an important one at that.

    Please count on me to keep you in my prayers. Have a blessed trip.

    Sincerely, Lisa

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