Letter Writing Ideas From the Moody Bible Institute Scholars

Wess Stafford embracing man and woman

Four Leadership Development Program graduates now attending Moody Bible Institute share some tips on what you should include in the letters you write to your sponsored children.

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Living in Two Worlds

How difficult is it for the Moody scholars to transition between the poverty of their homes and life in the U.S.?

Watch Living in Two Worlds and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

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What’s It Like Growing Up in Poverty?

Another clip from our video interview with the Moody Bible Institute scholars.

After watching it, will you sponsor a Leadership Development Program student? You can do so by yourself, but you can also do it as a group, with family, friends, co-workers, your small group, etc.

Watch Growing Up in Poverty and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

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Who’s in Charge?

So, an emperor, a chief and a queen are all in a room together. The emperor is from Uganda. The chief is from the Dominican Republic. And the queen is from the Philippines. Who’s in charge?

Watch Who’s in Charge? and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

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Leadership Development Program Students are Missionaries

Clip two from our video interview with the Moody Bible Institute scholars.

In this clip, Tony explains how Leadership Development Program students are missionaries to their classmates.

Watch Student Missionaries and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

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God’s Agents of Change: Unscripted

In late July we interviewed our Moody Bible Institute scholarship recipients using questions you submitted here. We filmed the interview and will be sharing clips from the session with you over the next few weeks.

In the first clip, which is just over 13 minutes long, you’ll get to see how Richmond, Tony, Michelle and Jimmy interact with one another.

You’ll get a taste of the strength of their relationships with one another and with God.

And you’ll get a little insight into what Jimmy probably asked his sponsor when they met at Catalyst 2009.

Beyond getting to know them a little better, by learning what these agents of change are studying at Moody and why they chose their fields of study, you’ll also hear, among other things:

  • Tony speak about his call to serve teenagers
  • Michelle and Richmond share about their desires to develop strong Christian leaders in the Philippines and Uganda
  • Jimmy relate what life was like before he was sponsored


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Tables Turned: Meeting the Moody Scholars

I don’t know how they do it, but the sponsored children always seem to turn the tables on us. We visit a country to be a blessing to the children, and end up getting blessed as well, maybe more.

I have a friend who wrote to her child that she was praying for the family, and the child wrote back that they were praying and fasting for her weekly.

Last month, I stopped in Colorado Springs on my way home to Wyoming from Phoenix. I had heard that the Moody Scholars were going to be participating in Compassion’s chapel, and I attended because I greatly wanted to meet them.

Jimmy Wambua, the newest Moody Scholar, was asked to pray during the service. Now, I’m used to praying for children all around the world, but he was praying for all the sponsors. That was really special for me to hear.

Following the service, I was invited to join Tony, Michelle, Richmond and Jimmy (from left to right) for lunch, which was more than I had hoped for.


I was excited to meet each of them because I practically had them on pedestals, like celebrities. Instead, they treated me like a celebrity!

And even though I had lots of questions for them, I ended up answering far more questions than they did.

  • How long have you been a sponsor?
  • How’d you find out about Compassion?
  • Would you tell us about the children you sponsor?

Lunch was anything but a solemn time. These students were funny, joyful, hilarious — teasing each other, and “breaking in” the new member of their group. (more…)

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Tony Beltran Preaching

About two weeks ago all the Moody scholars were in Colorado Springs, in advance of the new academic year at Moody Bible Institute. That was when we got to meet Jimmy Wambua, the newest Moody scholar, for the first time.

The four Moody scholars led worship during chapel, and afterward, Tony preached about the work God is doing in the world.

Now, here’s your opportunity to join us in chapel. The video is long, just short of 40 minutes, and Tony doesn’t begin preaching until the 8:30 mark, but if you have the time, we think you’ll enjoy getting to hear him speak.

Plus, those first eight minutes are good too. Jimmy, Michelle and Richmond share about what it means to be given an opportunity to study at Moody.

Tony Beltran from Compassion International on Vimeo.

You can view the Tony Beltran video, and several more of our videos, on Vimeo.

The video does works, but there is about a 10 second delay between pressing play and then seeing anything happen.

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Ask a Moody Scholar

We trust that as regular readers of our blog, you’re familiar with Michelle, Tony and Richmond — our first three Moody scholars. So we’ll forego the explanation of who they are and get right to the point.

Each one of them is going be in Colorado Springs very soon. And they’ll actually all be here at the same time, which is a rare occurrence.

What this means to you is that we’ve grabbed a sizable block of their time so we can serve as a proxy interviewer on your behalf, kind of like we did with the Ask Wess series of blog posts. But this is going to be captured on video.

Let us know what questions you have for them as former participants in Compassion’s sponsorship program and Leadership Development Program* graduates, students at Moody Bible Institute and emerging Christian leaders, and we’ll get you some answers.

We wanted to do this whole thing live, but the tool we are looking to use isn’t cooperating — at least for now.

We’ll choose the questions we ask from what you submit today and tomorrow.

P.S. If you’re new to the blog, you can learn a little bit about Michelle, Tony and Richmond by using the tags below “read these related posts.”

*This content honors our historical Leadership Development Program. To learn more about our current youth development opportunities, click here.

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God Heals

I’m an American mom who raised two sons, one stepson and one stepdaughter. We were your classic “blended family,” I suppose, and it wasn’t easy. Issues that come up for blended families can be extremely complex.

All four of my children were teenagers at the same time. It was challenging.

I would hear things like, “My dad lets me do … ” or “My mom cooks dinner like … ” It seemed my particular “momming” abilities (for my kids or my stepkids) were never good enough. Consequently, my self-esteem took a beating and I felt unappreciated most of the time.

I have to admit, the years of parenting teens left my heart wounded. The pains of these old wounds have stayed with me. I often wondered if I would ever be released from them.

Then, without expecting it, a special gift from God found its way into my life …  all the way from the Dominican Republic. (more…)

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We Shall Overcome

Recently, a great privilege and opportunity came my way. As it goes in the workplace, something happens or someone leaves, and all of a sudden you find out you have a new project on your hands.

My project was the first-ever Wess Stafford Moody Bible Institute scholarship that was awarded to three of our Leadership Development Program* (LDP) graduates.

Oh yeah, my name is Celina, and I work in marketing on the events team. Working with LDP graduates was a little out of my realm of expertise, but I was up for the challenge!

we-shall-overcomeAs I was being told about my role, three LDP grads –- Michelle Sheba Tolentino (Philippines), Richmond Wandera (Uganda) and Tony Beltran Morales (Dominican Republic) were headed to the United States, and nobody could really tell me what my role was actually going to be.

Everything with the Moody scholarship program is brand new territory for us. In the beginning, my job was to ask a whole lot of questions. And now, I realize that my job has been to break ground.

I don’t consider myself good at ground breaking, but every job I have had for the past 10 years has involved some sort of ground breaking. I don’t really like it. But I must be good at it because God keeps assigning me to it.

Anyway, the Moody scholars are here and have been for four months now, and I have to say that I think they are the most amazing people in the world!

They are smart; way smarter than me. They are kind. They are funny. And they know an aspect of God’s character that I will never know in all my days on this earth.


Because little children see His face, and although Michelle, Richmond and Tony have overcome poverty, they have seen His face in their darkest moments and lived to share it.

I have never met an LDP grad that hasn’t remained childlike in the best way.

I’ve met a student whose father was murdered. I’ve met students called ugly and useless by their families — rejected and scorned — and have all seen His face. And overcome.

The Bible says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

Now, these three LDP graduates are earning masters degrees while sharing their testimonies all over the United States and Canada. They are overcoming, and we are blessed to be a part of it!

*This content honors our historical Leadership Development Program. To learn more about our current youth development opportunities, click here.

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Leadership Development in the Dominican Republic


César Antonio Beltran is the first graduate of the Dominican Republic’s leadership development program,* graduating summa cum laude with a degree in computer engineering in February 2008.

He has now traveled to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Arts in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship at the Moody Bible Institute (MBI). Out of 47 students participating worldwide, César and two other LDP graduates received the Wess Stafford-Moody Scholarship last June.

While in Compassion’s child sponsorship program, César searched for his spiritual gifts by participating in almost all church ministries, and he realized that his field is working with the youth and adolescents. “With this in mind, MBI is going to prepare me specifically for this type of church work,” César says.

César’s parents see this learning opportunity as a result of his love for the Scriptures. “Since Tony (nickname for César) was small, he wrote Bible verses on a piece of cardboard and put it up on the wall,” recalls his father. “And many times, he met with his brother and his sister in his bedroom and they made contests of quick Bible search, text memorization, text analysis and things like that.”

Also, his mother, Ana Mercedes, explains:

“Tony took some very good Bible courses with a missionary who taught himwhat a Christian youth should be like and encouraged him and other youth by having them transcribe Bible books with their own handwriting. He gave them new Bibles for a prize.”


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