My name is Boer, James Boer. But you can call me Kees, which is pronounced “case.” My middle name is Jacobus, which translates to James. See, I’m Dutch, which means I grew up in the Netherlands.
Once in a great while we would have people visit our home from the United States. It was always such an exciting time. I used to love listening to them so I could imitate their English.
When I went to high school, I started learning English myself and was finally able to communicate with our guests. At the end of the visits, I’d be sure to get an address, and I would write letters and then wait and wait and pray that they would send a letter back.
Some of them did, and I was always so excited. I wouldn’t receive more than a couple a year but getting one made my whole month. I’d read and reread the letters until I almost had them memorized. And I still have those letters after all of these years.
A few years ago I interviewed Wess Stafford. He shared a story about a huge flood in one of the countries Compassion works in.
The local staff was evacuating the children, but one child kept trying to get back into her home. Finally, the worker let the child go. A couple minutes later, the child came back with a little pouch. In it were all the letters her sponsor had written her.
This is a sample of what the children I sponsor write to me. Although the words are different, they often have the same message.
The first one is from Dulce, from Bolivia. She doesn’t have a father anymore. And although we have been writing each other for quite a long time, she didn’t actually know how to write then so someone from the child development center wrote for her.
“Dulce always shows your letter to everybody. She tells them that her father is named Kees and he is from the Netherlands.”
This one is from Gabriela, also from Bolivia.
“I like receiving your letters and reading these. I keep these in a small box; I hope you visit my country.”
Then this one from Jhoselin’s mom … also from Bolivia. I like Bolivia. 🙂
“She feels so loved by you and when she feels sad, she looks at the letters and she feels glad to know there is someone who loves and helps her from afar.”
Then this one from Rasmané, a little boy in Burkina Faso, who I cosponsor.
“I was so glad to read your letter. I can’t find the words to express my joy. I love you so much!”
Then this last example is from Shedenka … Bolivia … again.
“Letters arrive often, but some children don’t get letters. I always receive a letter, thank you. I feel the most important girl, because I get your letter.”
That last letter reminded me of a trip I took with my Dad a couple months ago. It was to meet the child he sponsors.
When we met Cristina, she was happier than a dog with two tails! But I noticed her little sister crying. I asked her why and found out that she is also a sponsored child, but her sponsor never writes.
Every time the mail comes to the Child Development Center (which doesn’t happen every day but rather once a month or so), she is excited to see if her sponsor wrote, but she never gets a letter. I took her under my wings for the visit to help convey her a sponsor’s love, and had impressed upon me the importance of writing regularly.
Since then, I spoke with a Compassion sponsor relations representative in the call center, who told me that some children actually drop out of the program because they are so discouraged that their sponsor hasn’t written them. I don’t understand this. Nowadays, it’s so easy to write a letter to the child or teen you sponsor.
Have you written that special student recently? Your letters are very important!