connect-with-kids In my humble opinion, Compassion more than does its part to help children in poverty. Since I’m not part of their staff, I can say that! There are things like the letters I receive from my sponsored child and there are also the country spotlights. I’ve even received letters from pastors whose churches host the Compassion child development centers where my children are enrolled.

I was reading over some of the more recent posts on this blog and I got to thinking:

How do we get into — and stay — in our child’s world?

Compassion offers this blog, Facebook, Twitter and probably a dozen other social media outlets that I don’t know anything about. I’ve even visited a couple of kids in their home countries, met one of their parents, and met a development center director.

All of the pieces are available to help me connect with my child.

But sometimes … often … I still find myself very disconnected.

How do I stay in my child’s world?

I ask this question for a deeper reason. Sure, I want to be in tune with the lives of my sponsored kids so I can ask culture-appropriate questions in our letters and really build our sponsor-child relationship.

But more than that, I want to know how to pray for my kids. More than knowing how to pray, I want to feel a constant compulsion to have to pray for them.

In my head, I know my sponsored children need constant prayer. Let’s face it, all of us do. But unless I’m in their world, I’m ashamed to say that I don’t pray for them regularly. Or even consistently.

I don’t want to just be that supporting sponsor only when I get a reminder from Compassion. I want to be a sponsor who covers her kids in prayer all of the time.

So I’m asking you, our dear sponsors with a wealth of knowledge, experience, with some of the deepest hearts of anyone I have ever met —

How do you stay in your child’s world?

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  1. Apr 1, 2011
    at 6:12 am

    ~We pray for our children at dinner and at bedtime. (Thankfully, we have a 4 year old who would remind us if we forgot!)
    ~We write to all nine at least twice a month.
    ~We study the countries where each of our children live. We read children’s books set in their countries and learn about their culture.
    ~We have all nine of their photos displayed in frames in our living room. Having them visible serves as a reminder that they are a part of our family.
    ~I connect with other sponsors on a daily basis at OurCompassion http://www.ourcompassion.org
    ~I blog about Compassion several times a week. (Click my name in blue to hop on over.) I read blogs by other Compassion sponsors and advocates.

    I look forward to reading what others have to say!

    • Frances Michaels
      Apr 2, 2011
      at 5:01 pm

      Michelle’s blog is inspirational!

  2. Sharon
    Apr 1, 2011
    at 7:22 am

    This will be kind of an obvious answer, but – write LOTS of letters! Letters are your “presence” in their world and they will feel it very strongly….. the more you share with them, the more they (hopefully) will share with you….
    Also, learning as much as you can about their country helps a lot and is very interesting besides. If you can find stories (folk tales, biographies etc) this helps the everyday life of the culture seem more real than it does when you’re just researching facts about it.
    The saying “out of sight out of mind” holds true here, too. Keep your kids’ pictures or a map of their country somewhere where you’ll see them often, and pray for them when you see the picture. Do it often, and it will become a habit… you’ll find yourself thinking about it even when you don’t see their pictures in front of you right then. Just my thoughts…….

  3. Sarah T
    Apr 1, 2011
    at 7:23 am

    Hi Tiffany,

    You’re so right. Like you, I can often feel disconnected, especially with so long between letters. I know Compassion does a great job, but in the Philippines, where most of my children are, it takes about 3 months for one of their letters to get to me. I have heard people get pastor-letters sometimes, but I’ve never had one; I think it depends which country you sponsor in. I’ve also heard that in Ghana, the children always send not only a thank-you letter for a monetary gift, but also a photograph of what was purchased. If you want to communicate with more sponsors about this, try http://www.OurCompassion.org. If you write a journal (Blog-post) on there, other sponsors can comment on it.

    One idea would be to ask God to prompt you when your children really need prayer. I say that because He did it for me without me asking! I once felt really strongly, over a period of a few days, to pray for my girl Jennylyn. Later I found out there had been a typhoon and hers was one of the affected projects. Another time, I wanted to send a family gift to Cindy. They used it to repair their house, just in time for the cold weather. I had no idea the house needed repairing, but God did. He had used me to supply their need, without me knowing it.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Marvin
    Apr 1, 2011
    at 7:58 am

    I don’t really know if I can ever really feel or understand what they go through. I am an American currently living in China/ Taiwan. I live on an island similar to the one my sponsored child lives on in the Philippines. Living in a different country is very different from visiting a different country. I have visited the children I sponsor but visiting is different from everyday life. I can say as a person living in a different country people will ask me what it’s like…but it’s hard for them to understand…and in the end they have very little interest…in the church in China. As Americans we tend to be consumed with our self…sorry if that sounds hard…but its part of our culture. I live in a place that has 95% of the people worshiping idles…the spiritual darkness is hard to understand. But the church is so much more alive than back home. When people get saved from this darkness its amazing; you and I might think that wow…I have so much more money than my sponsored child. But this is meaning less! The question I ask my self, are my sponsored children really saved? If not they face such hopelessness I will never understand, if they are saved they have something that I will never understand…a connection with God so meaningful… they come from such darkness that they have a connection to God I wish I could have. Sorry I digress…to answer your question start by caring about the people around you…do you pray for them…for salvation? If you are praying for the people around you…and you really care…it will be easy for you to add your sponsored child to that list.

  5. Apr 1, 2011
    at 8:00 am

    I don’t have any answers, but just wanted to share that this is something we struggle with as well. We think of our sponsored children often, but we can’t even begin to imagine what their world is like, day after day. It’s hard to know what to pray for.

    One thing I have discovered is that just by praying for our children we somehow find ourselves in their world. Still somehow disconnected, but closer than we would be otherwise. Prayer is a miracle, in and of itself.

  6. Apr 1, 2011
    at 8:10 am

    I think the most important thing we can do is pray and ask God to break our hearts for our own children and others like them. When I sincerely began to pray this for myself and my family, my thoughts were continually turned towards my sponsored children.

    Now this next part is going to sound like a self-promotion….at the beginning of the year, I began praying for a new direction for my advocacy. My two passions are my own family and Compassion. I desire for Compassion to be something our entire family is involved in – a ministry we do together. God gave me an idea and it’s been so wonderful. I began a blog – a resource for families – that is full of ideas of how families can celebrate, experience, and share the joy of sponsorship.

    My own children are young (6 and 4) and I have the opportunity to stay home and homeschool them. We talk daily about Compassion and our children. We have things in our home (huge wall maps, globes, books) that bring a global awareness to us.

    As I’m educating my self and creating the blog, I am learning so, so much about Compassion and the countries where they minister. I am thanking God for his goodness in making me even more aware of my sponsored children.

    And in case you want to drop by, you can click on my name and it should take you to Compassion Family.

  7. Jeremy Vance
    Apr 1, 2011
    at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Tiffany.

    I can certainly relate to a lot of the ideas/thoughts/concerns that you shared. I found the question you asked, “How do we stay in our children’s world?” to be an interesting one. Not sure whether I have much of anything to add to the discussion but here’s to throwing in my two cents..

    Prayer of course is essential. Probably for me the most humbling thing I can ask my sponsored child(ren is how may I pray for them/their family/their friends – whoever or whomever is important and significant in their lives. Often times I find their answers not only reveal a lot going on in their lives but alsogive me a different avenue inside the special heart I already knew (a little).

    Along with asking how I can pray for them, I never fail to ask them to please remember me and my family in their prayers. Sometimes I imagine what the kids think of me. In my own mind I see someone with faults, hopes, dreams, desires, and lots of doubts. I know how the kids honor and cherish our relationship, I’m just saying I want them to know I am a “real’ person. Someone with dreams just like them. Someone with hopes and desires, just like them and their family. Most of the kids I write to always ask about my dear and beloved grandmother Helen, who for years has been a topic of prayer due to her failing health. Whenever I talk with my grandmother I am happy to remind her that she has precious kiddos living all over the world asking Jesus to heal her body. That’s a special connection for me and always brings a smile to her face when I remind her of this.

    Beyond prayer, I suppose I enjoy looking over the letters we get over the years, which in just a short time can accumulate into a beautiful story unfolding. What an honor and blessing to be a small part of their story. Lastly, once upon a time my goal, perhaps dream, was to visit my kids before they graduated or left the program. I don’t know if this will be possible but i do find much joy in reminding the kids of the party we will have one day, if not on earth, then definitely in heaven. :-)
    Anyways, I talk too much (reminding myself this is a comment section).

  8. Katie
    Apr 1, 2011
    at 2:06 pm

    I keep my kids pictures in my wallet, I have pictures of them on my wall by the door in my bedroom, I have their named written on my mirror, and compassion stickers everywhere. These remind me to pray for my kids! I also look up the weather in their countries and read articles about them so I feel informed about where they live. Of course, I still get caught up in the business of life and I realize that I haven’t prayed about or written to them in a couple of weeks. But God’s grace is bigger, and each time I fail He teaches me more about it :)

  9. Misty
    Apr 1, 2011
    at 4:59 pm

    One thing I do, is from the yahoo page, I check the international news. Not everything makes it there, but I can see some of the things happening in my kids country, like in 2009, the ouster of the Honduras president and before that the problems with the government in Thailand. Then in the letters I can tell my kids that I saw the article and will be praying about that situation. God bless

  10. Frances Michaels
    Apr 2, 2011
    at 5:00 pm

    I struggled for several years with keeping my Compassion child in my thoughts and prayers. Between letters I let her slip from my mind. This changed about 3-4 years ago. I’m not sure how it happened (probably prayer and the Holy spirit) but God put such a strong love in my heart for Kristel and now our second child Tapan that they are always in my thoughts and prayers. I have a colorful notebook for each child kept where I see it daily. In it is information about them and their countries, maps, letters, photos, etc. Because they are always in my mind it is easy to write to them – I try to wait 2 weeks in between mailings! when I shop I am always looking for little things – cards, paper, stickers, etc that I can enclose. When I read my bible I am always looking for verses and insights to share with them. When we travel I take pictures and think about what these young ones would be interested in hearing about. Kristel loves learning about these places and finding them on the maps I have sent her. Sometimes I make something like an origami cross for Easter to send then I imagine them holding it. In short even though they are far away they are close in my heart (which I tell them) and they enrich my life as much as I enrich theirs.

    I do love reading the Journals entries on OurCompassion. By connecting with other sponsors it strengthens and inspires me in my Compassion walk.

  11. Apr 6, 2011
    at 7:18 am

    I find that engaging the child in in simple exchanges works. For example, I send my Gabriela a picture of the NJ state flower with an explanation and (most times) she will draw me a picture of her favorite (or country) flower. Here’s another example, she drew me an El Salvador flag and in return I taught a quick US flag lesson and peppered her letter with US flag stickers: Hey Tiger!!
    Cuscatleca sure sounds like a lot fun to learn about, and yummy too! The United States flag is red, white & blue with 50 stars and 13 stripes. The 13 red & white stripes stand for the 13 original colonies our country was founded upon. The 50 stars represent each of the fifty United States of America. Red stands for courage, many men & women had the courage to stand up and fight to defend our country, many died doing just that. White stands for purity. Purity means to do what is right and we hope & pray we will always stand for what is right. Blue is symbolic of the blue sky behind the stars. Blue also stands for justice. When we pledge allegiance to the flag, we end with the words “..with liberty and justice for all”. That means in our country everyone should be treated fairly and with respect. Your photograph, drawings and letters continue to bring me great joy, thank you for taking the time to do that for me. I trust you are working hard and having plenty of time for fun & games. I am so proud of you. I hope & pray you continue to learn more and more about Jesus Christ our Saviour. He too was courageous, pure and just. I want that for you too. Give big hugs to all the family for me. I now say Goodbye with much love for you Gabriela.

    Nice and easy, simple observations from the letter itself or sometimes more importantly, their drawings, how THEY express themselves to you.

  12. Debra Stevens
    Apr 19, 2011
    at 10:26 pm

    This was another story/journal entry I have on my ourcompassion page:

    From Forgetting to Remembering to Pray: A story about God’s creativeness given to me :)

    Two years. The amount of time our family has been sponsoring our first child, Sanjith. We are extremely proud of this. Mainly because this means that not only is Sanjith’s family striving to keep him in the school program, but he has shown areas of growth and maturity. We sort of feel like he’s our own. We know he has a family, but we don’t have children yet. Attachment is my biggest flaw, but not when it comes to sponsoring children. My attachment helps me to love him as my own. We now sponsor two and I am a correspondent to the other two.

    Two years. The amount of time our family has not been in prayer for any of our children. We are extremely shameful of this. Mainly because not only do we know they need it, even more than praying for ourselves but we know they were entrusted to us. We sort of feel like we failed in spiritually supporting them. Our selves we just couldn’t get past, and our “urgent” needs with our own huge family. For me, the overwhelming need for prayer just seems so daunting and monstrous. Failure is my biggest attribute. I don’t desire for it to be so when it has come down to our children. I desire to fail at letting a day go by, not remembering them in my prayers.

    Frustration, contemplation and bewilderment clouded my heart and mind. How is it that remembering to pray for our four beautiful and precious sponsored children does not come easier to me? My memory has not been the same since my illness have over-taken my life. No excuse. I thought “why can’t I recall children living in extreme conditions long enough to stand before the Lord on their behalf?” The theory came to me: “Maybe you don’t understand enough of their condition to realize its a need that has to be brought in prayer. You don’t read up on their community or project or even their country, how are you to be informed enough to know what needs to be prayed for?” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Not the small red bricks, but the kind that are used for sectioning off nice homes from each other. Those huge concrete-colored bricks, yeah, that’s what layed on me.

    The wheels were slowly turning: “What if I was able to see them everyday and became aware of their lifestyle constantly, going about my business through-out my home? It would become easier to understand how different our worlds are form each other!” Then it was as if LITERALLY the Lord dropped the idea on my heart. “Small clocks (as many as according to the countries the children live in), digital or analog, and set them to the time in their country. Write the child’s names on small pieces of paper and affix them to the clocks according to their regions. Place them on your craft table where you see it as you wake up and will visit often throughout the day.”

    It was amazing! The idea was shared with my husband and it was agreed the task would be to actually purchasing the table clocks. Finances are tight and although the idea is attainable, it won’t happen for a while. Disappointment and discouragement set in. “How will I remember to pray for them in the meantime?” Pondering my situation one day, considering my time is spent at home most days if not all the time, communication through internet is readily available to me. We own a laptop, which mostly I use because of the mobility. I would like to be able to constantly see our children’s situation in their countries, but how?

    Ideas snow-balled from there. I decided to install the sidebar on my desktop that included tools that were dedicated specifically with keeping up-to-date with our children, as well as keeping them in the forefront of our minds. Clocks, climate conditions, pictures and a note pad. Two clocks (for India and Burkina/Faso, Africa) with the names of our children according to their country, and an option to name the clocks. Their names and their country is the name of the clock in their respective region.

    If I am made aware of the time of day in their part of the world, I can better be aware of what to pray specifically. For instance, if it is early morning for them, my prayers include everything from keeping them at peace when they sleep, asking the Lord to be in their dreams, and keep them safe on their way to school. Prayers for their early afternoon would be to ask the Lord to give them clarity of mind as they are being educated or helpful in doing household chores. A weather gadget for both countries our four children reside has been included. Knowing their climate condition helps my prayer direction as well. A picture gadget of our children is also up, as well as a pad to jot down any tasks, thoughts and ideas about them.

    Since having done this a few days ago, it has drastically improved my prayer life. Not only does it help to remind me of the children, but when I go to bed they are on my mind. Also, the other night as I lay in bed, I thought of their homes and sleeping conditions and began to pray for that as well. As we ate breakfast one morning, they were on my heart about what they had to eat for that day. Also, I’ve noticed I’m reading the magazines that come in the mail, the blogs in my inbox and their project/community/country info in my online account.

    Its been awesome. Being informed gets me excited, even if it is tragic or urgent news about their country, I am better informed about what to pray. I feel I am right there with them standing with their families, holding their hands.

  13. Marvin
    Apr 20, 2011
    at 10:54 pm

    Debra Stevens that’s a nice comment…your right…it’s hard to pray about something we don’t know about….

    • Debra Stevens
      Apr 21, 2011
      at 10:33 am

      well, it took me 2 yrs to figure out it was something I could’ve changed in the beginning, but it had to be a light bulb to me, otherwise it would’ve been just head knowledge, not a heart revelation. it was just hard to step into their world at first (2yrs), but now of course none of that matters, as long as I can encourage someone else about it. That’s what should really matter to me.

  14. Jun 13, 2011
    at 7:00 am

    The day that little Jean become my sponsor child was the day she joined our family. We have her photo in the main lounge-room in a beautiful frame with family written on it.
    Everyday I pray for my birth children I also pray for Jean, she is my little girl I never thought I’d have. I also pray for her family and the compassion team including people surrounding her world like I do my boys.
    In my letters although she has only turned 5 early this year I write my favorite scripture for me and my scripture for her. I ask her to pray for a simple need in my life and she loves doing that.
    It wasn’t very long before our bond was strong and I received a letter from her labeled momma Jo, hence my user name on here.
    She also asks how her brother Tom is doing at school and what her other brothers are doing.
    She is one little girl who gives so much. Her love just keeps on giving and inside I feel that it is her giving me rather than I being her sponsor and I love that. I hope this helps connect too yours in the same way. I am really glad that I looked up on this blog because it has given me so many ideas on learning her culture. Thank you all for your ideas and input…

  15. Keri
    Jul 31, 2013
    at 5:39 pm

    I’m still fairly new at being a sponsor, but I, too, am already trying to figure out how to relate to the child I sponsor and “stay in her world.” It takes so long for letters to get back and forth that I find myself increasingly grateful for the Internet! I have been trying to read as much as I reasonably can about her country and region, and to find photos of that area online. I read travel blogs and news about the area, as well as anything else I can find pertaining to that area’s culture and situation. It’s a little bit difficult, though, because much of what I find is in French – which I cannot read! Anything in English, though, gets devoured. Probably the most helpful thing, though, is the fact that she was born on the very same exact day as my own biological daughter. Every time I look at her, play with her, talk to her, buy anything for her, etc., I am reminded that there is another mother trying her best to take care of another little girl the very same age on the other side of the globe. In a way, I really almost feel more of a connection to that MOTHER than I do to her child that I sponsor!

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