great conversation starters When you need an idea to get your next letter started, you might turn to one of these questions. I hope you find them, and the questions I’ve shared in previous posts, helpful. Which questions have you used when writing to your sponsored child?

Food

  1. How would you describe one of your favorite meals?
  2. How do you prepare one of your favorite meals?
  3. Who taught you to cook or who cooks for you now?
  4. What role does food play in holidays or celebrations?
  5. What’s your favorite holiday food/special food?
  6. Does your family have any food-related traditions?
  7. How does your typical family/group meal proceed?
  8. Who is the best cook you know?
  9. Where did your family’s favorite dishes originate? How did they become favorites?
  10. Have you ever eaten a dish from your child’s country? What did you think?

Your Local Church

  1. How would you describe your pastor?
  2. What do you like about your local church?
  3. What role do you play in your local church?
  4. How do you use your gifts, skills, and passions in your church?
  5. Who is your best friend at church and how did you become friends?
  6. Why is your local church important to you?
  7. How is your church active in the community and world?
  8. How does being a part of the church challenge you?
  9. How do you know God wants you to be part of this church?
  10. How did God lead you into ministry within your local church?

We originally published this post on Feb. 13, 2013.

  • 14 Comments
  • Print This Post Print This Post
  • Add a Comment

14 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Paula
    Feb 13, 2013
    at 12:55 pm

    Thanks so much! I’ve been writing to my little girl each week since I began sponsoring her and I do run out of ideas even though I’m new! Thanks again!

  2. Paula
    Feb 13, 2013
    at 12:58 pm

    Question: I hope I’ve been sending mail in the correct fashion. I place everything in an envelope that is 8 1/2″ x 11, stapled together with the info on each sheet that is required (sponsored child’s name/number & my number). How is it sent to the child?

    • Susan Sayler
      Feb 13, 2013
      at 1:29 pm

      Hi Paula! That sounds perfect!
      It is a good idea to put your child’s name/number and your name/number on every individual item you are sending. All of the letters are bundled together with other letters going to your child’s country. If the items get separated on their way to your child, we will know which child they were intended for.
      If your envelope has your return mailing address on it, we will throw this away because we do not want your contact information to be sent. However, everything inside would be sent to your child. If there is not enough room on the letter/item to write the translation, we will attach a peice of paper with the translation to the original letter. Your child receives your letters just like you receive theirs – both the original and the translation attached to it.

      • Paula
        Feb 13, 2013
        at 1:46 pm

        Thanks so much! As a “new person” to this, I just wanted to confirm that my sponsored child will be receiving my correspondence. :)

  3. Laura
    Feb 13, 2013
    at 6:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of these letter prompts. It is always helpful to have more ideas. :)
    So, Susan, on the letter writing, is it helpful to staple the items together, or do you prefer that items not be stapled? If unstapled, would it be better for us not to put our return address on the envelope or to use an outer and inner envelope so that everything stays together? Just wondering. Thanks!

    • Susan Sayler
      Feb 14, 2013
      at 10:48 am

      Hi Laura! I think it’s based on your preference. For me personally, some things work better stapled (like a small booklet for example), but others work better in an inner envelope (like several small stickers). Sometimes when I buy a card at the store, there is a nice envelope so I will decorate the envelope to be sent to the child and send it in a larger envelope. Again, both ways are fine and acceptable. It depends on your personal preference.

  4. Laura
    Feb 14, 2013
    at 6:09 pm

    Thank you, Susan! That is helpful to know. :)

  5. Lory
    Aug 6, 2013
    at 9:53 am

    If I send an online letter, does it get printed so he has a copy?

    • Susan Sayler
      Aug 6, 2013
      at 10:44 am

      Hi Lory! Yes, when you send an online letter we will print it out (in color) so that he can keep a copy and cherish it. :)

  6. Oct 10, 2014
    at 9:57 pm

    I cannot imagine sending a letter to my 10 year old about relationships within my church ie describing my pastor and our relationship. I have trouble thinking of age/maturity level appropriate topics while she is so young. Writing about my grandchildren doesn’t “feel right” either. Suggestions for letter writing topics for a 10 yr. old girl?? My letters have a sameness that MUST be boring! Can only say “I’m praying for you” in so many ways! Thanks for any suggestions you may have! Belle Thomas

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Oct 13, 2014
      at 3:39 pm

      Hello Belle! Thank you so much for your desire to connect with your child! I know it can be difficult trying to relate to a child but I want to encourage you that your letters mean the world to her! You might try writing to her about your interests, hobbies, the area you live in and the animals you see or the environment around you. I know that our children love to hear about their sponsor’s families and you might even send her a picture of yourself if you feel comfortable :). I bet she would love to hang it on her wall or keep it in a special place. Please know that your letters do not have to be long. Even short notes of encouragement or asking her how schooling is going will inspire her and motivate her to do her best :). Scriptures and coloring pages are also a great way to connect with your child! I hope some of these ideas help! I will be praying that God would give you the words to say and help the two of you find a way to relate in your letters. You’re making a difference!

    • Bonnie Wilson
      Oct 16, 2014
      at 10:16 am

      I, too, often “feel” the age difference when I begin to compose a letter to my Compassion kids. I wonder how they could be interested in the writings of a Grandmother who lives on the other side of the world from them. But over the past 5 years we have developed a loving relationship. I write about “ageless topics” like siblings, birds and animals of my state, agricultural practices of my neighbors, and my hobbies. From the youngest to the oldest each has been interested in what I do/did on my job and what my husband does. They all have known the names of my children and grandchildren and send them loving greetings by each of their names in almost each letter. I wrote to them about my 46th wedding anniversary and not one child had ever known anyone to be married that long ! I tell them that my husband and I love them and believe in them. I almost always say that we are proud of them and thank God and their parents/ family for allowing them to be enrolled and participate in the activities at the Compassion Project.

  7. Oct 15, 2014
    at 7:56 am

    I feel guilty when I read of Compassion Sponsor/Parents writing to their child weekly. I wrote that often at first but didn’t continue because I was getting few responses. Now, I too write approximately monthly and still wonder if answering my letters is an inconvenience and a low priority for the personnel in Ecuador. I want my letters to be encouraging her school efforts as well as her spiritual growth. And, I also want my letters to be a regular part of Naydi’s life- something she can depend on. My desire is to be a dependable part of my child’s support system.
    How can I coordinate my role in Naydi’s life with the importance of her education, her spiritual support and encourage the relationship with her parents too? Am I overthinking the role I have in her life? I want her to feel that my letters are “Long Distance Hugs”!
    My great-grandchildren want to be part of delivering each “Naydi Letter” to me because I always shed a few “happy tears”; we read the letter, then tuck it inside the cover of my Bible. They like being part of this special time. I only hope that my letters have a similar impact on my precious child in Ecuador!
    Thank you for any guidance you can give me on frequency of my letters (which mostly come now via email for her) as well as any advice on why return letters from Naydi are so infrequent. I want to engage her in a meaningful relationship between us and with The Lord.
    Thank you!

    • Emily Vanhoutan
      Oct 15, 2014
      at 11:23 am

      Belle, your kindness and desire to impact your child’s life warms my heart. We always pray for and are truly grateful for sponsor’s like you who want to have a role in your child’s life and like you said, give them “long distance hugs” (I love that!). I see that you have been supporting Naydi for about 9 months now and in that time, you have written frequently to her (Thank you so much) and have received 3 letters from her. I know it can be discouraging when you write often but don’t feel as if your child is enjoying your letters or reciprocating to you what you had hoped.

      Letter writing is a foreign concept to children in the cultures we work in. Because of this, it may take time for your girl to open up in her letters and grasp the concept of corresponding with someone across the world from them. Our staff work diligently with the children to help them embrace a relationship with their sponsor and respond to your letters. Often times, she may take your letter home and put it in a special place for safe keeping and not have it with her when she goes to the project to write to you again. We also find that a child may be shy and may not answer questions that are more personal in nature. You may want to keep your questions pretty “light” – something like “What is your favorite food,” or “What sport do you enjoy”. I would encourage you to read our blog that may help you understand the meaning of your letters but also has links to other blogs we have written describing our letter process and frequently asked questions :).

      Please don’t feel as if your letters are an inconvenience or don’t matter. I want to encourage you that although she may not be able to express her thanks and her responses may not be full of quality; you ARE making a huge difference and we have heard from these children’s mouth’s how much letters mean to them and motivate them. I am so happy that your great-grandchildren want to get involved and please know they are more than welcome to as our children love getting to know your family. I pray that as time goes on, her letters become more open and personal and you begin to build a better relationship with her :).

© 2008-2014 Compassion International. All Rights Reserved.
ECFA Charity Navigator BBB