child-sponsor Every day as I get the mail from our mailbox, I’m hoping for a letter from one of my sponsored children.

Letters connect me to their worlds and engage me more deeply in the sponsorships.

It didn’t use to be that way. Sponsorship was about writing a check and maybe sometimes sending a letter.

Three years into my sponsorship a change occurred; I met my sponsored child and in that moment my focus was forever altered.

I learned that sponsorship, when fully embraced, changes both the child’s and the sponsor’s lives.

There are simple things you can do to make your sponsorship experience more rewarding.

Seven Ways to a More Rewarding Sponsorship Experience

  1. Take a Sponsor Tour

    I realize everyone can’t afford to do this, or simply may not want to visit the developing world, but if you can visit your sponsored child you will blessed.

    I traveled to Honduras in 2007 on a sponsor tour. The day I met Linda my heart broke — in a good way.

    She was dressed in a white dress and took one look at my wife and I and burst into tears. I felt the love she had for us. I felt a love that was unconditional and without bounds.

    My heart broke not because of her poverty, but the fact that “we mattered.” I will always remember when she explained that since her father had died she considered me “like a father.” How humbling and life changing that was for me. She had just turned my world upside down.

  2. Write Those Letters

    There is nothing more heartbreaking than to visit a child development center or to meet and have children ask you to tell their sponsors to write.

    Letters are the key to sponsorship. The children do not understand the financial aspect. It is about knowing that there is a person who cares for them, is encouraging them and is praying for them.

    On my second trip to Honduras in 2009, Linda showed me all the letters my wife and I had ever written her. Nothing was more valuable to her than our letters.

    Set a goal and write your sponsored child regularly. I made the promise on my first trip to write monthly and have kept close to it. Every other month or even quarterly may be your goal — just do it!

  3. Faithfully Pray

    When I began to pray daily for Linda and her family, I began to think of them as part of my family. I now have four sponsored children in Honduras that I lift in prayer.

    One of the things I did on that first trip was buy a map of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. It is hanging in my downstairs hallway. I have marked the areas that my children live in, and as I pass by I say a prayer for each of them.

    I have pictures of all of my sponsored children throughout the house as if they were my own children.

  4. Find Out More About Your Child’s Country and Customs

    I have read about the history of Honduras, and I subscribe to a newsfeed from Tegucigalpa via Yahoo! News. I also have a weather app on my iPod so daily I know what is happening in their area.

    My wife and I make it a point at least once a week to have a cultural meal. In fact we happened to recently stumble upon an authentic Honduras restaurant in our town.

    Immersing yourself like this will keep things current and exciting for you. It will also give you topics to write and pray about!

  5. Become an Advocate for Compassion

    Speaking out for the “least of these” is very rewarding and is a way to keep your children in the forefront of your mind.

    The Advocate Network encourages you to use your spiritual gifts to promote awareness of the poor and the needs of children. I enjoy working concerts and events and telling others about sponsorship.

    You may enjoy speaking to a church group, organizing a fundraiser, or blogging about Compassion.

    I encourage you to explore the options and deepen your ministry.

  6. Connect With Other Sponsors

    Sharing ideas and communicating with other sponsors is another way to energize your sponsorship experience. Compassion has its own sponsor community, OurCompassion.org, which provides an opportunity to connect and share ideas.

    UPDATE, March 24, 2014: The OurCompassion community is closing its doors on June 30, 2014. New account creation is currently disabled.

  7. Share Your Ideas

    These aren’t the only ways to a more rewarding sponsorship experience. There are as many ways as there are personalities. What appeals to one person may not appeal to another, but we can make this list a lot longer and we can make it a relevant resource for others, if we just share ideas with one another.

    So get started by leaving a comment about how you have found the rewards in your sponsorship.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chuck Guth lives in Abingdon, Maryland, and is a member of the Advocate Network. He sponsors five children and writes about Compassion and other stuff at sharingcompassion.blogspot.com.

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19 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Jul 19, 2011
    at 5:08 am

    Chuck, this is a wonderful post!! I agree with every point you have made and have made a practice of all but #1. Some day, perhaps, I
    ll be able to visit one of our children. God willing!

  2. Jul 19, 2011
    at 7:25 am

    You have succinctly captured some of the very best ways to feel more connected to your sponsored child and to the global work being carried out by the local church through Compassion. Thanks Chuck!

  3. Jul 19, 2011
    at 9:05 am

    This is fantastic, Chuck! I agree that focus can change when you meet your child face to face.

  4. Jul 19, 2011
    at 9:17 am

    I love everything about sponsoring a child, and I truly enjoy making a difference in the life of my child no matter how small it might seem. Pornsuda tells me all about her life in Thailand and how I have a positive impact on her. Her parents tell me thank you as well, and I am grateful to be a part of her and her family’s world. She has renewed my faith in God and in humanity. Keep up the great work, Compassion!

  5. Nina
    Jul 19, 2011
    at 9:51 am

    Thank you for the great article! The thing that has made sponsorship the most rewarding for me is writing to my child frequently and regularly, and getting letters back from them. The relationship part of it. Praying for them, thinking about what I want to say in my next letter, reading their letters – this makes them truly part of my family.

  6. Beth Luebke
    Jul 19, 2011
    at 2:00 pm

    Chuck
    I had the privilege to meet you and your wife on the May, 2009 Honduras trip. What a life-changing experience that was! Not only that, but you and Karen were the first Compassion people I actually met. I love the joy that you have about sponsoring! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and for writing this article – great stuff!
    Beth

  7. Mike Stephens
    Jul 19, 2011
    at 4:32 pm

    I agree and the only thing I would add maybe is the joy of seeing the prayers answered which of course you have to pray in order to see them happen and/or share certain requests yourself ;)

  8. Chicky
    Jul 20, 2011
    at 9:55 am

    I try to be faithful in writing letters and praying for my child, if I can’t do anything else. I usually send an e-mail letter at least once a month, and then a handwritten letter, with some small gift, every other letter.
    I don’t ever want my sponsor daughter to feel she needs to ask visitors on a sponsor tour to please ask her sponsor to write. That would break my heart. When the mail truck comes to KE 335, I always want my girl to have a letter from me on it.

  9. Kim Edge
    Jul 22, 2011
    at 7:42 pm

    I cannot travel but I would love to Skype with my child, or have her graduation ceremony put up online so I could share it. Even if you charged for the Skyping and the translator, I think Compassion could make money on this. Many would pay to say hello and I love you to our child.

    • Roxanne Johnson
      Jul 24, 2011
      at 3:20 pm

      Kim….What a Wonderful idea. Skype !!!! I cannot travel either but want so much to ‘meet’ my little girl who is in Kenya. What a blessing this would be. A big ‘AMEN’ on this one.

      • ginger
        Aug 22, 2011
        at 12:08 pm

        I agree…I wish Compassion would organize a skype session for each child to talk to their sponsor even if it was only once or twice a year. I visited my sponsor child back in October in Pedernales, Dominican Republic and the compassion center had a computer lab for the kids. So I know the capability was there for that particular center.

  10. Jul 25, 2011
    at 4:34 pm

    QUESTION: Are sponsored children expected to tithe 10% of their family gifts or birthday gifts to the church where their child center is located?

    • Aug 18, 2011
      at 8:13 pm

      I don’t know if they are expected to at any or all centers, but I doubt it based upon my experiences and others I have heard of. Some sponsors on OurCompassion.org have mentioned their child had tithed on some/all of the gifts they receive. Those are in the minority of what people have posted, a very small minority. In my personal experiences with Brazil, the children I’ve sponsored have not tithed money from the gifts I sent.

  11. Nathalia
    Aug 19, 2011
    at 4:45 pm

    I know it’s sad to see poor people. I am from Honduras, i go every summer to see my family, and it’s so heart-breaking to see that many people walking in the streets asking for 1 Lempira (which is less than 25 cents in American money) One day, when I was at the gas station in Honduras, I saw 4 poor little kids. They asked me for money. I gave them money, a Sprite, bread, and chicken. Seeing them saying thank you so many times to me made me feel like I had never felt before. I kept thinking for days that I am so lucky to have a roof over my head, ot have food everyday. I want to help the world. I love Honduras, because it’s my nation, and I WILL make a change.

  12. MARY ANNE KYLE
    Aug 30, 2011
    at 9:14 am

    IF A SPONSOR WANTS TO VISIT THEIR CHILD HOW DO YOU DO IT ? COST, ETC. ALSO, I AM CONCERNED RE MY CHILD — HE LIVES IN UGANDA AND I WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE UPDATES SPECIFICALLY ABOUT HIM AND HIS FAMILY DURING THIS DROUGHT/FAMINE

  13. Christopher Puksta
    Sep 1, 2011
    at 4:10 pm

    I struggled with giving in the past. Now, since I joined compassion, I have found it easier to give more than ever. I am giving more money to my church and to family and friends who are in need of help. It was almost like a hill that I had to get up and now its all downhill (in a good way) Or like being afraid to jump into cold water, but once you do it, it is much easier indeed!! Thank you compassion, for being a key part in God’s Will in softening my heart to allow me to give the money that is rightfully His in the first place!!

  14. Sep 4, 2011
    at 10:13 am

    I have 3 little grand daughters that live about 8 hours away and I don’t get to see them very often. My heart melts and I feel so proud and so special when they send me a card or drawing or a paper they did in school. I had that same feeling when my little (sponsored) boy sent me that first letter. I love him so much and feel so attatched to him. He’s my little boy. When I send my sponsorship every month, I don’t think of it as money. I am sending my Love :)

  15. Sep 5, 2011
    at 12:48 pm

    It is a blessing to have Fabiola in as our child. She was five when she came to us and now she is eighteen. 2012 will be the last year she can be part of the program. We are hoping that she has a sibling we can sponsor thereby keeping in contact with the family. She lives in Bolivia and we are not able to visit there. She is such a grateful young lady. We have two albums of her pictures and letters and our responses to her. We love her as our own.

  16. Jan 2, 2012
    at 1:43 pm

    Skype is a fantastic idea, and one I would be willing to pay a little extra for.

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