It has been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve had one thing on my heart that I’m not entirely comfortable writing about. But other people seem to think it’s worthwhile, so here goes.
Several months ago, I had sponsorship packets for three Priority children; each had been waiting more than a year for a sponsor, one of them nearly two years. Each child appeared so thin, so frail, that looking at their photos made both my husband’s and my own heart hurt.
Two of the children were boys, and as I was getting no responses to my Facebook pleas on their behalf, my husband finally said,
“We have to sponsor them.”
And so we did.
The other child, Sandra, looked even more thin and frail than the boys, and I wanted to wrap my arms around her, very carefully.
I would have sponsored her in a heartbeat, but for one thing (and this is the reason for my discomfort in sharing this): I don’t write as often to my sponsored girls as I did before, when I sponsored fewer of them.
And I added two more sponsored girls just last year.
One of my Advocate friends, Janet, lives in the Phoenix area.
Janet sponsors a couple of children of her own, but she also serves as a “correspondent sponsor” for a lot more; I believe she writes regularly to 12 or 13 children.
Janet is so creative and absolutely faithful in writing to each of her children every month, often enclosing small gifts.
But here was 11-year-old Sandra’s photo, staring at me daily, asking me to help her. After ensuring my husband’s agreement, I wrote to Janet to ask if she would add Sandra to her “family” of correspondent kids.
She replied with a very enthusiastic “YES!!”
Fast-forward to a few months later, when I received a packet for another Priority child named Happy.
After sharing her photo and photos of other children on Facebook for a couple of weeks, I again contacted Janet and she gladly received Happy into her heart and “family.”
Knowing the love and faithfulness Janet expresses in writing to her sponsored kids, I can’t help thinking that the two girls I sponsored last year also would have been more greatly blessed if I had made the same arrangement with Janet for them.
But to make that change now would send the message that I am abandoning them, and that I will not do.
Some of my kids have had more than one sponsor already, and I won’t shake up their world again.
So what is my fear about going public with this arrangement?
My fear arises out of my own guilt, which loudly denounces me:
“You’re an ADVOCATE, for heaven’s sake! You should write to all of your sponsored girls, every month, and not farm them out!”
And I agree. I do write to my kids, other than Sandra and Happy, about every other month. But I used to do better.
As an Advocate in conversations with other sponsors and potential sponsors, I stress the importance of writing to our sponsored children. I know how important that is for our kids.
They need our help to combat the lie of poverty, the lie that says,
“You don’t matter; you’re just not important.”
I know that, for too many children, a letter from a sponsor is the only chance they may ever have, outside of their child development centers, to hear the truth that they do matter and that God has a plan for them.
Thankfully, I also hear another voice.
One saying essentially the same thing I would say to any other sponsor who could afford the financial support for a child but, for whatever reason, cannot or will not manage the correspondence — which is where the real ministry of child sponsorship lies.
That voice whispers to me:
In sponsoring Sandra and Happy for Janet to write to, you are blessing both of the girls and Janet every month. Sandra and Happy aren’t aware of you. Janet is a great correspondent sponsor. She and the girls give and receive a lot of love through their relationships.
On occasion, I have been frustrated when talking with potential sponsors who could afford the $38/month but would not carry on the correspondence. When I have mentioned the possibility of finding a correspondent sponsor, they have routinely shaken their head and said no, if they were going to do it, they would do it all.
And then there’s the sponsor I met two or three years ago, one who routinely worked the table at her church for Compassion Sunday but, by her own admission, never writes to her child.
I suggested that she let Compassion find a correspondent, but no, he was her kid and she didn’t want to share him. But she never wrote to tell him that she loved him.
So consider this a plea: If you can afford to sponsor a child but, for any of several reasons, know that you will not correspond faithfully, please do the part that you can do and ask Compassion to find someone to do the other part.
If you cannot afford the financial obligation but have lots of love in your heart to share with a child, call (800) 336-7676 and tell a representative that you would like to correspond with a child.
Compassion will assign you a precious child (or two!) who may be sponsored financially but does not receive correspondence. You can be an incredible blessing to that child by writing letters that express God’s love and affirm the child’s God-given potential.