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The Power in a Name

importance of a name 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?

power in a 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.

power in a name

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.