The more I visit countries and talk to formerly sponsored children, the more dedicated I am to letter writing.
Many students need encouragement from sponsors who believe in their potential to do well. Some have not felt loved by sponsors who are not writing, and when a new letter-writing sponsor becomes available, their lives change for the better.
Words of encouragement can make the difference between a normal life and one that is charged with energy, passion and purpose.
This summer’s trip to Haiti gave me several interesting encounters with sponsorship letters. While there, I approached a man to talk to him because he was wearing a Kansas City ball cap (the city I grew up in).
A translator explained to me that this was Manasseh, the man responsible for delivering the Compassion mail from La Gonave to the mainland every week.
I was thrilled to meet him. I told him I had sent many letters over the past 24 years and that I appreciated his dedication to this important job.
When we visited one of the child development centers, it happened to be letter-writing day! I met a wonderful center worker named Jacquelin, who was helping kids and their caregivers complete letters to their sponsors.
It was fascinating to observe the letter-writing process. The children had been given notebooks to take home to begin their letters.
With the help of parents, the children completed their letters and returned their notebooks to Jacquelin, who carefully reviewed the letters with each child and family member.
When the letters were complete with corrections, additions or deletions, the final drafts were written onto the official stationery. Then each child was encouraged to add a drawing as a special gift to his or her sponsor.
I watched as several children used a small ruler to make neat, straight lines on their drawings. Jacquelin never told any child to hurry up or to finish quickly. I admired his patience and careful attention to detail.
Older children were working on their letters at various tables around the room, usually with the help of friends and family. Dozens were lined up to report to the communication officer, who keeps track of every letter sent.
This was a combined effort and the children seemed enthusiastic about their task. I loved seeing the involvement of the family members.
I observed as an older young man helped his two little brothers with their letters.
Every group eventually came before Jacquelin for his final proofreading and approval. I loved seeing the pride on the kids’ faces for a job well done.
But no face was more joyful than the face of my own sponsored child when we met a few days later.
When we visited his home, Enold was quick to bring out many of the letters I had sent through the years.
I told him I had kept all his letters, too.
I think the look on his face says it all; letter writing is important!