More than four years have passed since Haminton (age 11) wrote, with the teacher’s help, the first letter to his sponsor. His relationship with his sponsor has grown over the years as both of them share their heart and experiences through their letters.
Haminton has had the same sponsor all these years. He was one of the first children from his child development center to be sponsored, which is a great blessing for him.
Our Program Communications Field Manual states:
“Child letters play a key role in the relationship between the sponsor and the child. Quality child letters, sent to sponsors on a regular basis, inspire sponsors to a deeper commitment to the child they sponsor. Sponsors consistently rate child letters as one of the most valued pieces of correspondence they receive from Compassion.”
For children, it is also valuable and a reason to rejoice when they hear they have a sponsor and every time they receive a letter.
Haminton’s classmates tell him he’s “lucky” to have someone writing to him very often.
Three letters a year is the minimum number of times that a child writes to his or her sponsor. Once the child development center gets the letter-writing schedule from the country office, children write the draft of the letter they will send in a little notebook. Then it is copied to our blue letter stationery, in order to send it nice and clean.
In Nicaragua it is not very common for people to write letters. Not writing is part of our culture, so children at the child development centers must learn to communicate with their sponsor through their writings.
When children first come to a center, teachers help them to write. Once the children are older, they write by themselves.
Every time Haminton’s birthday comes, there is for sure one letter and a gift for him from his sponsor, which he happily shares with his loved ones.
“Once she sent me pictures, and once she sent money and I bought clothes, shoes, socks, and underwear.”
Twice a week Haminton faithfully walks to the center where he receives love from the staff. He learns about God and other topics. He receives a meal or snack, and he comes with the hope to receive one more letter from his sponsor.
Haminton doesn’t have to walk a long distance. Just a block away from the church building, there is a small house made of pieces of old zinc and wood. That’s the home where he lives with his parents, one older brother and other relatives, which allows him to come always on time.
Registered children are also involved in different church activities. Haminton says, “When I go to church, I sing and pray for my sponsor.” His parents do not attend any church, but Haminton and staff are praying that they will soon come to know Christ as Haminton does.
Isayana, a member of the church staff, says,
“At the beginning, Haminton was uncontrollable. He did not listen to the teacher. He used to go to every classroom and was disobedient.
“At that time he was also not attending regular school, but our staff talked to the parents and with the school supplies they received at the beginning of the year, more interest was shown by them to send him to school.
“Now, he is obedient, stays in class and is in fourth grade.”
Isayana also says that when a letter comes for Haminton,
“I have to give it to him at the end of the class because he gets impatient and wants to read it right away.
“He likes when she tells him about her experiences like walking inside of a cave, or a picture of penguins that she sent.”
Haminton used to keep his letters in a backpack hanging from the wall, but rats ate them. He only has the pictures, which he now keeps in a safer area. Although he only has pictures, the words written in her letters have been kept very deep in his heart.
“I like her letters because she sends them with love. She writes about her dad, mom and sister and sends me pictures of them. She is young; she likes snow, ice skate and plays with her sister. I also like to read in her letters that she prays for me.
“In my letters to her, I tell her I pray for her and her family. I tell her I like to play with my friends.”
Haminton’s dream when he grows up is to be a policeman because he likes the action. He also would like to be a sponsor like his “because I want to help other children as my sponsor helps me.”
Jessenia (age 28), Haminton’s mother, says, “I am very thankful because my son has received a lot of help. I thank the Lord. I thank Him for sending that sponsor. I encourage Haminton to write to her.”
During the time spent with Haminton, he repeatedly said what was his prayer for his sponsor, “May the Lord bless you, keep you and protect you.”
A warm long-distance relationship and the prayers of everyone involved in the center can make a difference in the life of a child.
“I am very thankful for what she has done for me,” says Haminton.
Today, a little bit older, Haminton is sitting on his chair writing carefully and with love his next scheduled letter to his sponsor.