Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Writing letters to my sponsor children

My family and I have been involved with child sponsorship for 8 years now (longer than Super Beautiful and Super Map have been alive).

Here's where I confess that for the first eight years I was a lame sponsor to our one sponsor child in Ecuador.  I really thought of it as just a financial support but didn't really realize the impact that letters can have on children in poverty;  nor did I really comprehend the power of prayer in the lives of these special children.

I'm happy to report, that my understanding has changed immensely with the help of Compassion International, their wonderful blog, resources, and the Compassion bloggers who've taken it upon themselves to inform us about the difference we can make in the life of a child.

After reading about and seeing the photos from Ann and Lisa-Jo's trip to Guatemala in September 2010, the Lord really laid it on my heart to change my lameness.  Due to logistical difficulties with our move from Canada, it was hard to sponsor more children at Hope of Bastion in Guayaquil, so while we continue to sponsor Maria through them, we have added some additional sponsor children (Tania, Allan, Camilo, Katherine & Loury) with Compassion.

My new game plan, Lord willing, is to write "actual" letters around the first of each month and to send e-mail letters around the middle of each month.

Yesterday, (after a concerted effort for a few days of writing, gathering, organizing, and printing) I was able to send out 6 letters to our various children.  I was blessed to find the first letter in the mail from our correspondent child, Tania!

Here are some photos of what I sent to the children yesterday.

This was our first "handwritten" letter to Loury in Haiti. We began sponsoring her in January, when the Haiti sponsorships re-opened.  Notice the folder at the top left.  Compassion sends you one with your sponsorship package for you to include some info about yourself, your family and a short message for the child.  In addition to the folder and letter, we included some stickers, a coloring sheet in French and English, a copy of the picture of her and some "snow" photos from our trip to Canada.

Here's what I sent to Katherine in Nicaragua.  The little book is a mini book printable from http://www.dltk-kids.com/.  All the items that we send have to be paper.  Katherine is our next most recent sponsor child, we are anxiously awaiting her first letter.

This is Camilo in Guatemala's pile.  Very similar to Katherine's though I substituted some more manly stickers :)  We received our first letter from Camilo, on November 23rd, one short month after he wrote it.  This, I have learned is very fast, considering how much these letters have to go through to get here.

Allan in Ecuador's packet is virtually identical to Camilo's as they are only a year apart in age.  I did substitute some dog stickers, because Allan mentioned in his first letter to us that he loves dogs and cats.  Allan's letter was written a few days after Camilo's but it took the more usual amount of time to get here, arriving on January 8th.

Tania, also from Ecuador, is our first correspondence-only sponsorship.  She is financially sponsored by someone else, possibly a corporation, or someone who has signed off, saying that they are unable write to her.  The same mail truck that picked up my letters to the children also dropped one off from her yesterday!  So excited to hear from her.  A few more "grown up" stickers for her as she is quite a bit older than the other children.  I was also able to find a devotion already translated into Spanish and printed off a copy for her.

Here are the four letters ready to be stuffed into a large 9X12 envelope.  I mailed Loury's packet separately as all the items fit in a regular letter envelope.  The Compassion children's letters all get mailed to their office in Colorado.
Last here, but first in our sponsorship lives is our packet to Maria in Ecuador.  Her birthday is coming up in March, so I also have a birthday card for her (keeping in mind that it takes time to get things there).  There are some tracts and little cards that I'm sending for the youth group leaders at the church. She and Tania are only a few years apart so I included the devotion also.  I  included some stickers for her niece and nephew, that she's written about in the past.

I am trying to get more organized and have a giant binder in which I keep all correspondence from both groups that we sponsor children with, all our child correspondence, and copies of our letters to them.  In the absence of fancy pocket folders for each child, I hole-punched some ziploc bags to store items that I want to send each child in the next mailing at the beginning of March and subsequent months.

You'll have to excuse me...  I need to go check my mailbox for one of these:


  1. Very cool. I confess my lameness in this area is so extensive we do not sponsor any child at all. But I feel this may eventually change... thanks for sharing!

  2. Love all of your ideas and the printable book! I'll definitely be using that one :-)

    I just made a simple template for sponsors to use when writing their kids on my blog www.elephantgrace.com The goal was to be able to print it and have a 'mailable' letter in under 5 minutes.

    Like you, I was a lame sponsor for years until I got more involved with Compassion and Compassion bloggers. I'm hoping that the info I provide on my blog will help other sponsors to write more.

  3. What wonderful treasures you sent with their letters!

  4. We hope to be able to do this in 2012. It's so inspiring to see how you do it! Wonderful. I am so excited to join in and lift up a child for God.