In the vast majority of American Christian homes, it’s not too difficult to notice our refrigerators — covered in array of family pictures, Christmas cards, and often a photo of a sponsored child in another country.
Without hesitation, most of our friends will gush about their sponsored child and proceed to pull out their most recent letter from the field — a handwritten note accompanied by a crayon sketch of the child’s family, signed by the child’s all-too-elaborate-and-difficult-to-pronounce name.
While I am overjoyed to see my friends’ excitement for their child and hear the stories they have to share, I can’t help but wonder: Do sponsors know the importance of their sponsored child’s name?
This past summer I spent several weeks in a remote village in the northern region of Ghana, West Africa. As I walked streets flooded with African children chasing white faces, I couldn’t help noticing their sincere gaze and hesitant stutter as they attempted to say one of the few English words they knew: “Name?”
I would tell them my name — and they would giggle and hold my hand, saying my name over and over as if it was the greatest thing they’d ever heard.
They’d say it again and laugh …
I still love to hear and see the passion of others who sponsor a child, and the stories they have to share.
Except now, since returning to the States, I listen to their stories and I follow up with a heartfelt question:
“Does your sponsored child know your name?”
While the significance of a name may not carry as much weight as it previously did in Western culture, one’s name is still the most distinguishing characteristic an individual in a developing country clings to.
It tells their story — their lineage, their present and the legacy they will leave.
Your sponsored child would be thrilled to know that you see his or her face on your fridge every day … but he or she is even more excited to receive a letter from you.
This holiday season, will you take a few moments to sit down with your family and write a letter to your sponsored child?
Share that you see her face daily, that she fills your prayers, and that you are honored to hear from her. Be a part of your child’s Christmas, and share with him the most important thing he longs to hear from you — your name, and your commitment to his.