3 Great Letter-Writing Ideas for the New Letter Delivery Process

Since the launch of our Second Friday Letter Writing Club board on Pinterest three years ago, our team of ‘pinners’ have shared many creative paper crafts items and printables for us to mail to the children we sponsor. We have had to work with adjusting our calendars a bit. Writing about Christmas at the end of summer, writing about Easter at Christmas, sending birthday cards three months in advance.

As much as I have enjoyed finding and making some of these craft items myself, I am afraid that maybe I haven’t spent as much time focusing on the actual letters to the children we sponsor as I have on the paper gifts. This was really driven home to me when I had time to spend with Lina in Colombia last February on a sponsor trip.

We first started sponsoring Lina when she was 11, just a few months older than my own daughter. We were a little slow to learning how important the letters were. But after our family started volunteering at events in our area, we quickly learned that building a relationship through letter writing was just as, if not more, important than the financial sponsorship.

Little did we know how important those initial letters to Lina were!

Letter Delivery Process

One of the first things Angelica, Lina’s child development center’s director, told me was that Lina was considering leaving the child sponsorship program before we started sponsoring her. But once our letters started arriving, Angelica noticed a change in Lina. She had a more positive outlook and decided to stay in the program. Angelica told me that it was our letters that changed Lina’s mind.

It wasn’t the paper crafts, it wasn’t the printables, and it wasn’t the coloring pages.

“You are special”

“Jesus loves you”

“We are praying for you”

Simple words in a letter shared with a child who lives thousands of miles away from us. Those words had a powerful impact on a young lady’s life. And they continue to make a difference with each letter that we write to her.

So what does this all have to do with Pinterest and letter writing?

For years, sponsors and children have been frustrated with the time it takes to send and receive letters. Starting this month, Compassion is implementing a new sponsor letter delivery system that will speed up the amount of time it takes to receive a letter.

To do this, sponsor letters will be digitally scanned, translated and electronically delivered to the country office where the child you sponsor lives. There they will be printed and delivered. This means letters will arrive up to twice as fast in most cases!

Learn more about the letter delivery process and what you can include in letters.

I’m so excited to receive Lina’s letters faster and love knowing that she’ll receive my encouragement quicker too!

But, here’s the thing, because letters are being scanned now, that means all of the fun enclosures I send with my letters need to be “scan friendly.” So what does that mean exactly?

A “scan-friendly” enclosure is:

  • Made out of paper and is completely flat.
  • Not larger than 8-1/2 by 11 inches.
  • No more than six sheets of paper (including your letter).
  • Paper CAN be printed on front and back.


Here are three scan-friendly ideas from the Second Friday Letter Club Pinterest board that are great for the new letter delivery process!

1. Bible Coloring Pages

Letter Delivery Process

Source: ministry-to-children.com

Bible coloring pages — like this one showing all 39 books of the Old Testament — are a great way to share God’s Word with the child you sponsor. Look for coloring pages that are black and white and have lots of room to color.

2. A Cut-Out Paper Craft

Letter Delivery Process

Source: ministry-to-children.com

You can also send black and white or color versions of crafts like this Armor of God. These are fun for to cut out and play with, while also learning more about the Bible. Look for ideas like paper doll cut outs, or any craft that only requires a pair of scissors to cut out the shapes!

3. Games, Mazes and Puzzles

Letter Delivery Process

Source: freesundayschoolcurriculum.weebly.com

There are so many fun mazes, games and puzzles that you can find on the Second Friday Letter Writing Club Pinterest board. These kinds of games are a fun challenge for the child you sponsor. You can even send a puzzle or matching game to cut out and play with.

These three ideas—and many variations of them—will now get to the child or teen you sponsor much faster.

With this new process, we need your ideas to share with other sponsors! Leave a comment below with your favorite idea.

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And don’t forget to pin them to our Second Friday Letter Writing Club board on Pinterest. If you’re not already a member, be sure to follow us on Pinterest and then send and email to [email protected] to join!

341 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Jan Elizabeth Ross November 29, 2017

    I would like to give a Kreyol Bible to my sponsored child in Haiti. I have my own I bought in Haiti when I was there in 2003 on a medical mission. I can write in Kreyol or French. I wish I could give Belonice a signed Bible from me.

    1. Susan Sayler November 30, 2017

      Hi Jan! That is so incredibly sweet of you! Regrettably, we do not have a way to send this bible to Belonice, as we are only able to send flat paper items. We do, however, give each of the children and age-appropriate bible in their language so Belonice does have a bible.:)

  2. JoAnne September 13, 2017

    I forgot to add, that to suggest to someone that they can always find someone going to where their sponsored child is, or even take it to them, themselves, as I read here, made me laugh out loud.

    Last I looked, most people are not in the position to travel around the world to deliver a gift! That’s what MAIL is for!
    And, I’m sure finding someone heading to the exact village your child may be at is a daunting task. Not to mention expecting A LOT from the person or people you’d be asking to play ‘special delivery’ for you.
    Nice little fantasy, however.
    I sure hope I don’t regret this anymore than I am experiencing now, with the disappointment of realizing what was & now, what is.
    I won’t be sending anything outside of emails. Don’t want what I would buy just trashed after scanned. Especially when cards can cost upwards of $6.00 now. On top of the time taken to pick it out & include a little something that MAY be allowed, but then, not sure it would get to her.
    Sad ;(
    I think if the children were asked what THEY PREFER, they’d be happy to wait for a special gift to arrive… w/a note of love, over a scanned copy of whatever….
    But I doubt anyone asked them. Anymore than it seems sponsors were asked.

    Thanks for reading my venting. Hope someone takes all these people to heart & finds a compromise that works for both ends.

    1. Susan Sayler September 13, 2017


      I am so sorry for the obvious frustration and sadness that has been caused by our letter processing system.

      We certainly understand that not everyone will be able to travel to their child’s country to drop something off at the country office (usually in the capital city of the country). We recommend it because in reality taking items in a suitcase is often the most effective and economical way to get things into some countries when you consider tariffs and the potential for theft. I have personally found this to be true for some missionary friends that I have around the world – physically taking them items is more trustworthy than relying on local mail systems which often don’t work.

      Honestly, we been trying to balance the fact that one of the most consistent complaints is the slowness of letter delivery with the feedback we are now receiving that the quicker system takes away from the personal feel. We did try to do as much research as we could beforehand with both sponsors and children about what they preferred and valued in the letter writing process (Children and families consistently told us that what is important and most valued is the love and encouragement in the words of the letter itself), but in some ways we were not prepared for how strongly supporters would respond negatively to these changes in our processing system. I agree with you that I am hoping we can find a way to meet in the middle and make everyone happy. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us and please rest assured that we will take it into consideration.

  3. Kate August 7, 2017

    I wanted to see what are the expected processing times now for letters/cards? With Christmas coming up and my child’s birthday, I’d like to know how soon should I be mailing stuff out? Should I still send them out 3 months in advance or is the processing time shorter now? Thank you!

    1. Sarah August 7, 2017

      Hi Kate! We still recommend sending letters about two months in advance of the date you’d like them to arrive. While some letters are being processed within just a few weeks, we are still transitioning to this new letter system and are not yet working at the highest level of efficiency that we expect to be. There’s always a learning curve to new systems, which is why I would still recommend sending your letters early :). Thank you so much for thinking about your kiddo for birthday and Christmas letters!

  4. Cheryl May 11, 2017

    I was excited to receive the long awaited email on information on the child I sponsored (at a Michael Smith concert here in Ohio). My sponsored child will turn 4 in June and I already purchased a small baby doll and got some yarn to make a crocheted blanket for her doll. I was totally surprised by the restrictions (NO restrictions mentioned on sign up table). Another of your long time sponsors mentioned the special connection of touching and sharing cards I totally agree…crayoned etc. that really give that special bond especially when starting out with a young child. Digital seems too cold and impersonal for children. I am thankful for the picture of my sweet little girl in Honduras and now have a name to pray for even though she will not know my name as I am choosing to opt out of your program due to the restrictions not what I signed up for.

    1. Susan Sayler May 12, 2017

      Oh Cheryl, I am so sorry you went to all that trouble of purchasing such a doll and crocheting a blanket before realizing our guidelines! You were so incredibly thoughtful and caring! If you were still sponsoring this child, you may be able to have it delivered to your child’s country through a friend or if you ever visit you are welcome to deliver the doll yourself. I am also very sorry that these guidelines seem impersonal. We have tried to balance the need to deliver letters and items faster but retain the part of letter writing that is most meaningful. We have long heard from children and families that it is what is exchanged in the letters that sticks with them the longest. You are still more than welcome to send stickers, musical cards, pop-up cards, and bookmarks and these items will be physically mailed.

  5. Karen K March 20, 2017

    I have a question about how our letters are stored under our accounts. When I send the kids letters, I attach extra photo pages with either pictures or coloring pages. When I check now to review what I have sent, the extra pages do not come up. Only a page 1 and a page 2. Are those extra pages being printed and sent to the kids? Is there a reason they aren’t being stored? It helps to look back and see which pictures I’ve already sent. Thanks,

    1. Shannon March 20, 2017

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you so much for putting in the effort to really get to know your kiddos! Your love and support truly makes a huge difference!
      This is actually a known issue that we are experiencing. From what it looks like, our sponsors are not able to access their pictures online right now but they are still being sent with your letter to your child. If you would like, you can provide me which child and which letter you are seeing this issue with, and I will be happy to confirm for you that the pictures did send through. Otherwise, our IT team is working hard to get this fixed as soon as possible.
      Have a blessed day!

  6. Heike Geisenhof February 22, 2017

    Hi there,

    I want to thank you for that great blog. I love reading through the entries and getting inputs for my sponsorship (I sponsor a 10 years old boy from Tansania since June). It is a pitty that such a blog does not seem to exist in German. I am quite sure that many German-speaking sponsors would benefit from it. Or haven’t I just found it yet?
    Thank you again and have a great time.

    Heike from Germany

    1. Jan Elizabeth Ross November 29, 2017

      Hi Heike, I always use Google Translate with cut and paste. It may have some funny errors but overall does a great job. I just used it to write to my child in Haiti. I speak French and a little Kreyol but used Google to translate what I do not know into the letter. If I see a blog in a language I do not know I copy and paste it into Google translate et voila!

  7. Glenda Dupler February 10, 2017

    Hi Ladies,

    Can someone please check on 3 letters that I have written to Angele #TG012500122 dated 1/17, 1/20 & 1/31. All 3 show “Progress” and have not changed since the time I sent them. One letter I wrote on 1/19 shows “Sent”. Just wondering if they are stuck or what’s going on. Also, what time frame are we on now for sending birthday cards & gifts to get our children? One, two or three months?

    Thank you for your help in advance and Happy Friday!


    1. Susan Sayler February 10, 2017

      Hi Glenda! Happy to help! We are looking into getting these letters of yours that appear to be stuck through the system to your children. Also, we recommend sending birthday cards and gifts two to three months prior to the birthday to ensure delivery in time.

  8. Elaine Grove February 7, 2017

    Please check on my child Jairo Crespo Cayo BO719-0002. The last letter rec’d was 7/11/16. Your records indicate a new letter was rec’d 1/25/2017 but it was simply the exact July 2016 letter sent once again. I hope this was not an attempt to fulfill the letter requirement of 2 per year. We have had no communication for six months. Have sent birthday and holiday gifts and in the past rec’d letters thanking us from his family, along with pictures from his mother. She has always been very communicative. Since the new system went into effect- communication is not as efficient.

    One letter simply sent again (Jairo) and another letter from my correspondent child (Judith) was simply a previous letter copied by a new tutor word for word…not even translated in English. Notified Compassion but simply got an apology email saying these things happen unfortunately. Starting to question if this is the best way to share my charitable giving. Disappointed!

    1. Susan Sayler February 8, 2017

      Elaine, I am so sorry for the confusion, frustration, and disappointment in regards to your children’s letters. We are aware that letters are not always showing correctly online right now and that sometimes the notification emails are being sent in error. We sincerely apologize as these errors are due to our recent system upgrades. Please know that we are working hard to fix these errors as soon as possible.

      I am showing that your last letter form Jairo was sent in May 2016 (there was no new or duplicated letter). This is a very very long time to wait for a letter and I am so sorry you have had to wait so long. I just sent an inquiry to make sure everything is alright with him and to ask him to write another letter to you.

      I looked at the most recent letter from Judith and you are right that there is no translation. I have sent an inquiry and requested the staff to translate this letter. I also compared this letter with the last three previous letters from Judith and the wording appears different to me. Can you let me know which letter (what date) it is word for word from and I’ll check on this as well? Thank you.

      Also, I want to clarify that the requirement is two letters a year if the child does not hear from you and then a reply letter for up to six letters a year. I can see that you are a wonderful letter writer and really bless your children with loving letters! Thank you so much! Please know that you are making a huge difference in each of their lives!

  9. Marilyn Ritchey February 3, 2017

    Well the letters were going through a lot quicker, and now it seems they are stuck again. I have 2 letters, one from Christopher, and one from Maria that have said “has a problem” since January 18th. Some I have sent are still on that gold bar that says “in transit” that have been there for a while. Can you help?

    1. Christina Wilson February 6, 2017

      Marilyn, I’m so sorry for any concern or frustration you may have about your letters :(. You may be aware that we are in the process of transitioning to a completely new system. This system transition has caused a delay in processing transactions and letters for a couple of weeks. We are also aware of some issues with some letter status’ showing incorrectly or some people being unable to view their letters. Please rest assured that our IT Team is aware of these issues, and they are working diligently to resolve them. Please know that all of your letters and your children’s letters are being processed and taken care of as soon as possible. I am deeply sorry for any inconveniences this may cause. We cannot thank you enough for your grace, patience, and understanding during this season of change. We are prayerfully hopeful that you will see your precious children’s letters begin to process much quicker soon. Thank you so much for hanging in here with us!

  10. Laura January 31, 2017

    I wrote my first online letter tonight! I loved the features of having different templates of stationary to choose from, and also the ability to add digital pictures of our family. It was super easy to use the program, and I love that the communication will be quicker!

  11. Peter oliver January 24, 2017

    I agree with the sponsor who said the money being saved some of it should go to getting more translates this in its self will help to speed up communication.Ipersonly believe the enemy was behind most of the glitches let’s be in prayer all the time .Keep up the good work.Peter.?

  12. Sonja Diener January 5, 2017

    I received a super-fast letter from my child in Uganda, Jerry. He wrote it on December 14th and I got the letter on January 2nd. That is less than three weeks. I am so excited! This is awesome. He lives in a little village, literally at the end of the world. Great job, Compassion. I also received a letter from Jerry’s Pastor and I just started sponsoring Jerry at the beginning of November. The Pastor’s letter has a lot of information about the community and how the Church ministers to them and about what the children learn at the center. I love what you do all around the world, Compassion, and how many children you help. God is good. God bless you, Sonja

  13. Brandy November 22, 2016

    What about gifts?? Do they actually make it to the child? I don’t want a toy to be scanned and printed!

    1. Christina Wilson November 22, 2016

      Hi Brandy! I’m so sorry for any confusion these new gift guidelines may have caused. Please rest assured that any letter and item that meet the letter writing guidelines will indeed make it to your child. Due to the customs restrictions, hefty fines, high incidence of theft, and quite costly shipping costs, we are unable to send toys. However, you can definitely send stickers, bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and pop-up cards. These specific items will be scanned, so the words can be translated, and then physically sent to your child. Our letter writing guidelines are also available on our website here: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/letter-writing-topics-faq.htm#faq-tcm:5-825672. Thank you so much for your heart to bless your children!

  14. Marilyn Ritchey November 21, 2016

    I have had a letter stuck to my child Christopher from 7/13/16. Is there anything you can do about it? Thanks.

    1. Christina Wilson November 22, 2016

      Marilyn, I’m so sorry that your letter to Christopher in July has not been processed and delivered to him yet :(. As you may know, we have recently implemented a lot of new system updates. Regrettably, we encountered more issues than we anticipated, mainly with the translation software, and this has caused a delay in processing your letter. I’m so sorry that this letter to your sweet young man is taking longer than normal to get to him. Our processing team is working diligently to ensure your letter goes through the system with no errors. We really appreciate your patience :).

      1. Marilyn Ritchey November 29, 2016

        Is there anything you can do to notify someone that the letter has been stuck this long? it was July and it’s almost December now. I think that is too long.

        1. Christina Wilson November 30, 2016

          Marilyn, I hear your concern and frustration about Christopher not receiving your letter yet. You’re right; this letter is taking too long to be processed due to some system issues we were experiencing. I’m deeply sorry that your letter is taking longer than expected to be taken care of. I have sent communication to our team to see if there is anything we can do to have your letter processed quicker. Please rest assured that Christopher will receive this letter. We are so grateful for your continued grace and patience as we work to get your letter to your sweet boy. Thank you!

  15. Frustrated Sally October 10, 2016

    You waste more paper and money by scanning and printing items than just sending the actual items that someone bought. This makes no sense financially. And honestly even if part of the change was due to financial reasons, I’m sure changes could have been made elsewhere to ensure that the core of the program was not altered. Plus if you preach that God can provide for all of your needs and answer prayers by faith, where was that faith when the decision was made to cut corners for financial reasons. Could he not have provided that money? I’m just bitter about this whole thing. If it was meant for letters to get to the child faster then we should have been given a choice. Not everyone is computer savvy and if we didn’t write to our kids online before, we probably won’t do it now. Now the kids are just confused when their letter gets there and then a month later stickers show up randomly. No offense but this sounds like a writing system a man created because a woman would know better. We get polled on what logo we like better but not about how the letter writing process should be when it affects us so much? Very shady and done so secretively. I only found out the letter writing process changed when I got the letter rejection in the mail and called a call center out of the country where the guy didn’t even understand what I was trying to say. I would not be surprised to see your rating drop online. You guys have always maintained an A but this is C class.

    1. Jo Elizabeth January 7, 2017

      Up at 4:30 a.m. thinking of Frustrated Sally and Compassion’s computer changeover, etc.; may God grant wisdom, understanding, calm and cool mind in the endeavor to quicken response time, whether electronic for by snail mail. May the children receive/renew their urging by the Holy Spirit to stand firm in who Jesus is as God, Father and Holy Spirit and most of all HIS LOVE, mercy and joy, during time lapse in receiving letters. Help US Lord during this time of change-over at Compassion remember that we are not to war against flesh and blood, but against principalities who would thwart any work of God. And Lord, help me also be patient in this process.

    2. Pam October 28, 2016

      I share the frustration voiced by Sally, Rebecca, Marilyn, Emmy and all of the others expressing their frustrations here. I understand that you are trying to reduce costs, but it seems so extreme. I had seen the old videos of your amazing mail process in Colorado Springs (I’ve been a sponsor for 14 years). It was amazing, and we could send so many things! I don’t understand why the changes needed to be so extreme. How were you able to manage the millions of pieces of mail so marvelously for so long, and now suddenly you can only send sheets of stickers and silly musical cards? Scanned postcards, photos and greeting cards? Really? What is the point of sending a post card or a greeting card if it’s only going to be scanned. Cards come on card stock. I am so concerned about losing the personal nature of the letter writing process. I want to touch the paper my sponsored children touched, and I want them to hold the paper I wrote on. I want to see and feel their crayon marks. I want them to hold the cards I send and feel the weight of it, the thickness of it and maybe an embossed surface or a little glitter once in a while. I think it’s great that online writing is available so that some communication can happen more quickly, but to go completely digital seems too extreme. I agree with another person here who expressed her concern that it seems that money is more important than the personal relationship between sponsors and children. I also agree with another writer who said that she would be willing to give/pay more to be able to continue sending original items. I know you’re trying to work it all out, but some of us are very sad about these changes.

      1. Theresa August 5, 2017

        I agree with what Pam said. The crayon marks I can touch from my child’s drawing closes the distance between us. The scans have been around for awhile now and they’re just not the same as the real thing. I guess this saves money but there is a cost of the personal nature of our correspondence. If only this new policy wasn’t so extreme and impersonal.

      2. Glenn Christie May 6, 2017

        Pam — I agree with you a thousand percent. I think there should be an alternative process to cover sending (1) special greeting cards. (2) photos , etc. This is a “once and done” relationship with a very special person that we have come to know over several years. I wanted to do my utmost best for my girls over the years and now they will not receive that “extra special touch” I always went out of my way to give. We have been taught through the Bible to do all things as if we were doing it to Jesus. I am willing to spend extra money to be able to send very special greeting cards and 4 x 6 photos and for my girls to receive exactly what I placed into the envelope. Thank you Pam for bringing this subject up. I won’t stop here…… Glenn

        1. Christina Wilson May 8, 2017

          Glenn, I am deeply sorry to hear of the frustrations these new processes have caused you :(. I understand and appreciate your desire to send your children special letters and tokens of your love. Please know that it was not our intention to prevent you from showing your love for your children. In fact, our motives for these changes were quite the opposite. Please know that your words of love, encouragement, and adoration towards your children truly make a huge impact in their lives, and it is our heart to make writing back and forth with your children easier.

          There are other fun ways to bless your kiddo too! Along with a personal letter, you can send: stickers, bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and pop-up cards. These items will be physically delivered to your child. Please keep in mind that items sent without a personal letter will not be delivered to your sponsored child. You can also send: letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards, coloring pages and paper crafts. However, your child will not receive the original items. The items will be scanned and sent electronically. The total number of items (including stationery and the letter to your child) should not be more than six sheets, and each flat paper gift item should not be larger than 8.5” x 11”. If you have any further questions about our letter writing guidelines, more information is available here. Thank you so much for blessing your sweet children with your love and support! We are incredibly grateful for sponsors like you who truly care about investing in the lives of their children.

      3. Mona February 5, 2017

        I’m still frustrated with the letter writing policy too. I’ve written many letters online, and also mailed some to CI in Colorado with stickers and coloring pages. None of the mailed letters are showing up under my account and I don’t understand what’s taking so long. I realize there have been “glitches”, but this has been going on for quite a while and not much seems to be a change for the better. I too miss sending the little things that we used to be able to send our kids, and wonder if they miss that also. Wonder why Canada has less restrictions for their sponsors, but we have seen such strict rules. Maybe Compassion should show us how much money they are saving with all these changes, because so far I’m not seeing much benefit. Trying to be patient but honestly, it’s getting harder all the time. I want a real relationship with the girls I sponsor, so praying things improve soon.

        1. Christina Wilson February 6, 2017

          Mona, I’m so sorry to hear of the concerns and frustrations you have about the new letter writing process and system upgrades. However, I do understand your desire to foster a meaningful relationship with your precious girls, and I am deeply sorry for any inconveniences these updates have caused. Please know that our hearts for these changes have been to make it easier to communicate more frequently with your children because we have received overwhelming feedback from the many children in our programs about how priceless and cherished your letters are. As you may know, we have been undergoing a series of system updates, and we have been experiencing bumps along the way. That said, we are extremely grateful for our hardworking IT Team who have been working diligently to resolve these issues as soon as they arise. On January 17th, we began our final transition to a completely new system. This has caused a delay in transactions and letter processing. This may also be why you do not see your physically sent letters showing up in your My Account yet. Please rest assured that all of your letters will be processed and sent to your kiddos as soon as possible. Please know that we are completely open and honest about how your generous donations and sponsorship is used within our ministry to serve you and your children. You may find all of our financial records online here. Honestly, we cannot thank you enough for hanging in here with us. We know that it has not been easy, and we are very grateful for sponsors like you who care so deeply about their children and desire to have a real relationship with them. God bless you.

      4. Sharon Ulstad November 12, 2016

        I have been with Compassion for over 25 years. And I completely agree with the disappointment over the new changes. My children over the years have been so blessed by the books and letters and postcards I have sent via mail. I agree to touch and see the actual item is far more impacting than a scanned copy. I have really considered opting out after my currant son turns 22. I have started looking at other ministries that handle the correspondence in a different way. When I was sharing at events they had other volunteers making crafts and such to mail…and that wasn’t right since it isn’t done that way. They need to get it together and do a real update …they may lose a lot of sponsors. My child wrote me and told me how much a funny birthday card I sent him meant to him that he took back to his community a slum and shared it with all the children. It brought him such joy! VERY DISSAPOINTED IN THE CHANGE…I WAS SEND MY SON SOME FLASH CARDS FOR HIS COLLAGE CLASSES IN BIOLOGY AND NOW I CANNOT SEND THEM SO SAD! ALSO I WAS INFORMED YOU WERE NOT HAVING YOUR LEADERSHIP PROGAM ANY LONGER…AND YET IT IS ON THE WEBSITE???I WAS INQUIRING ABOUT MY BOY MAYBE BEING IN THAT PROGRAM. NOT SURE WHY ITS STILL ON WEBSITE.

        1. Katherine Brice November 14, 2016

          Sharon, thank you for reaching out to us with your concerns and frustrations. I’m sorry to hear that you’re disappointed and that these changes have caused you to consider ending your support of children though Compassion. Our prayer is that these changes would connect sponsors and their kiddos through faster communication and that they are able to connect even more through letters and words of kindness and love. We appreciate your partnership for the past 25 years.

          While our formal Leadership Development Program is ending, Compassion remains committed to discipleship and leadership development opportunities for all youth. In the effort to improve youth development strategies, we will incorporate leadership development into our Holistic Child Development Model as well as make new education and training opportunities available to every beneficiary in Compassion’s program.

          Thank you for your grace and understanding as we implement these new changes in hopes of improving our programs.

      5. Christina Wilson October 31, 2016

        Pam, I am deeply sorry for the frustrations and concerns you have regarding these new changes in our letter writing process. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We greatly value your feedback, and I will give your feedback to the appropriate team. It was certainly not our heart to make the letters less personal or meaningful. Please know that our intention with this change was to support you in fostering a deeper relationship with your child through faster letter delivery. The most common feedback we have received over the years has been that it takes so long for letters to be delivered. Our goal with these changes was to decrease the amount of time it takes to deliver letters, so our sponsors can have more life-changing conversations. As you may know, we have experienced more bugs than we had anticipated, and we are working diligently to resolve these issues. Please rest assured that your letters and cards will be a high quality print, and while we understand that it isn’t the same as the original, these letters will look very similar. If you would like we can change the preferences on your account so that you will eventually receive the original letter in the mail. Please keep in mind however, that because we are sending fewer packages these days, regrettably the original physical letters will take many months to be delivered. I’m so sorry that our list of eligible items that can be physically sent is smaller than before. There are still some wonderful ideas of things to send to your child like coloring pages, mazes, and dot-to-dots. We greatly appreciate your heart and desire to send your sweet child special gifts. We thank you so much for your long term and faithful support of our ministry and for the grace and understanding as this new letter writing process has been implemented.

    3. Katherine Brice October 11, 2016

      Sally, thank you for reaching out to us. I am so sorry for the frustration that this change has caused you. Our number one complaint from supporters and children has been that the letter writing process has been too slow, and our prayer is to connect the sponsors and children even more than before. We are in a difficult transition period and I am so sorry that we had unforeseen issues and that you feel you did not have a say in the changes. I apologize that you did not learn about the letter changes until you called us. You spoke with a representative in the Philippines. We have a contact center here in Colorado Springs and one in the Philippines, which is staffed with representatives who are all formerly sponsored children. Thank you for the love you have for your sponsored children. You are truly a blessing and I am grateful for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. God bless you!

  16. Rebecca October 10, 2016

    Yet another problem. I was told I could still get the original letters but that i had to opt into the electronic letter system as well. I did that and now i sometimes get notified that i have a new electronic letter but ive yet to get a single original letter. In fact i haven’t gotten any letters in the mail since i requested the originals, not even the scanned ones. It seems to get worse and worse. Even once the kinks get worked out its still going to be bad for the sponsors and kids. They now can’t get as much cool stuff as they used to and the personal aspect has been removed. Very discouraging. I feel like im just waiting until my kids graduate now to give my money elsewhere. I’m so sad about it all and I cannot believe the head people in charge don’t care more than this about the experience their now offering. Once again, I don’t need an apology, i know there’s nothing you can do and I’m sorry for venting. It’s just been such a huge part of my life for a long time and now it feels like it’s coming to an end. I would even pay more if it meant allowing the letter process to return. We should have been given an option at least.

    1. Diane Kunz April 22, 2017

      Rebecca, I think the kinks in the changes are finally beginning to work out. In the last 2-3 months I’ve had numerous letters sent to my 2 sponsored children in Indonesia. The electronic letters seem to be getting through and I’m able to pull up their letters electronically. They also have been arriving by snail-mail. I’m used to communicating electronically so I’ve not been frustrated like so many others. But I can certainly understand your frustration. Any change takes time and patience. I pray God will give us all patience and love during this difficult time.

    2. Katherine Brice October 11, 2016

      Rebecca, there is no need to apologize for venting to us. We need this feedback and I am grateful for you. I know you said that you do not need an apology, but I want you to know that I am so deeply sorry. It breaks my heart that for some sponsors these changes have done the absolute opposite of what we intended. Our heart is to connect sponsors to their children with faster communication and we are so sorry that this did not go as planned and that you are frustrated. The issues we have had with the system over the past few months have caused us to need to focus on getting the letters translated. We haven’t sent the physical letters yet due to the issues with the system, but we should be able to in coming months. I can hear your heart for your children and I pray that you feel the Lord’s peace in this very difficult time. I am so grateful for you and how you love your children.

  17. Rebecca September 28, 2016

    While I still absolutely despise the new letter system I have a few questions to at least not make my kids suffer more. Before I knew the timing process and when to send things. Now I don’t. For the first time ever I didn’t send birthday letters to a few of my kids because I was so confused and upset about the process. I won’t let that happen again. How long does it take with the new process for my letter to get to a kid in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua, Say I send it on Oct 1st. Then how long will it take my stickers to arrive assuming they were in the same letter. I need monthly time frames not just “faster” or “half the time”. I just want to be able to send my stuff so it arrives at their holiday months properly. Thanks for answering.

    1. Sarah September 29, 2016

      Hi Rebecca! I am so sorry to hear that your disappointment with the new system stopped you from sending out birthday letters to your kiddos. I know you care for them deeply, and am glad to hear you aren’t giving up! Right now, letters are still taking up to two or three months to be processed because we haven’t been able to iron out all of the issues with the new system yet. Once we do, which will still take a few months, you should start to see letters process in up to half that time. Because this system is brand new to us and there are so many factors that play into the timeline of processing, the processing time could fluctuate, which is why we haven’t given a very specific answer to the amount of time it will take to send them with this new system. Sponsors that send their letters online will probably see their letters delivered faster than those that are physically mailed into our office because they are immediately in the system and sent to the country office once you push “submit”. Physical letters will take a little longer than online letters since we have to wait for them to arrive at our office and scan them before they get sent through the system. For now, I would encourage you to continue sending your special letters and paper gifts two to three months ahead of time while the bugs in the system are worked out. With Christmas coming quickly, now would be the best time to send anything you plan to give them for that holiday :).

  18. Marilyn Ritchey September 27, 2016

    I just got another letter “under review”, this time one I sent to Christopher. What is the problem? Should I stop writing for awhile? I spend a lot of time writing these letters that keep getting stuck.

    1. Katherine Brice September 28, 2016

      Marilyn, I’m so sorry about this confusing message. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your letter; our system will sometimes automatically send letters to representatives to review before sending them through to process. This is only an issue with our letter writing system that we are working on resolving and you do not need to do anything else with this letter. It will indeed be sent to Christopher. Thank you so much for writing to him and for your patience with these glitches! Please do write as often as you like to your kiddos. I’m sure your children are so blessed by them!

  19. Sonja Diener September 21, 2016

    Dear Compassion staff, First of all I love what you are doing and how this program impacts the children, their parents or guardians and their entire community. I think your program is the best because your staff tells the children how much Jesus loves them. That is the most important thing for me. I also think your new letter delivery program, by scanning, is the best way to go, because of the very high mailing costs you were having. That being said, with the money you save in postage fees, can you please hire more translators? Yesterday was a happy and sad day for me. I had sponsored Brian for years. On June 19th I was informed that he had graduated and had left Compassion. I was encouraged to send him a final letter, which I wrote him 2 letters on July 3 and 4. Yesterday I received a letter online which Brian had written on April 17, 2016. It took five months for his letter to get to me. He had questions in his April letter to me. When I wrote him my “good bye” letter in July, I would have loved to answer his questions. When Brian receives my good bye letter, he will think that I didn’t even care enough to answer his questions from April (he will assume that I had received his April letter by July). When a child is leaving your program, please put a rush order on their letter(s) so that this situation doesn’t happen to another sponsor. Did I read correctly that you work with local translators in the Countries where the children live? That is good because it provides employment opportunities. But with our world being connected by internet, please hire additional translators, who can be ANYWHERE in the world and they can email their translations to you or to the field offices. Letters back and forth shouldn’t take more than two months.

    Also about the new child Kelly I sponsor: My letter from July 3 says translation complete on 8/30 and it has not been delivered yet to her as far as I know. Did it take you 2 months to translate this letter? This was my first letter to her. I wrote her a short note/card on 7/4 and another letter on 8/30. Your system doesn’t show if they have been translated or still need to be translated or have been delivered. Will the system eventually show us that our letters have been delivered so that we don’t sit here wondering?
    Thank you for your ministry. God bless you, Sonja

    1. Christina Wilson September 21, 2016

      Sonja, thank you so much for your desire to foster loving relationships through your letter writing with your children! I’m so sorry for the delay of letters being sent and received. Since we have implemented the new letter writing system, we have encountered more bugs than we anticipated. One of these issues is with the translation software which caused a large backlog of letters needing to be processed. We do have plenty of translators; the issue was with the software preventing our translator’s ability to take care of these letters. However, our wonderful translators have been working diligently to clear this backlog as soon as possible. Our field staff has also been letting the children know that there is a delay in receiving their sponsor’s letters, so they know that their sponsor is still writing to them. You make an excellent point of hiring translators from anywhere. However, we choose to have only local translators because they speak the different cultural dialects and they can truly translate the feeling in the letter.

      It breaks my heart that Brian’s letter didn’t get to you in time for you to answer his questions in your final letter to him. Please rest assured that he knows you loved and cared for him. The huge positive impact you have had in his life will be with him forever no matter where he is. Also, please rest assured that he will receive all of your loving letters.

      We’re so glad that you decided to continue your sponsorship by choosing sweet Kelly! Regrettably, it is still taking about 3 months for letters to be processed and delivered. Since the issue with the translation software, all the letters are being manually translated again, so the online statuses of your letters are not always correct. It is possible that due to the backlog, your letter to Kelly took longer than normal to be translated. I’m so sorry for the confusion these changes may have caused. We greatly appreciate your support, patience, and understanding during this season of change! God bless you!

  20. Marilyn Ritchey September 20, 2016

    I just checked my letters and found out that one letter I wrote on 9/1/16 to Melanie was cancelled. Why is that? I have been a sponsor for 4 years now and never had that happen before with any of my kids, and we have 14 now. Please let me know.This new process is terrible.

    1. Christina Wilson September 21, 2016

      Marilyn, I am deeply sorry for our delayed response as I can see from your account that a representative assisted you earlier today over the phone. I’m so sorry that the letter to sweet Melanie was cancelled. I see that when you spoke with Michele on the phone, she sent an inquiry to the field office in the Philippines to have this issue resolved for you as soon as possible. Since implementing the new letter writing system, we have encountered more bugs than we anticipated, and we apologize for the frustration and inconvenience this has caused. We are working diligently to resolve the issues, and we greatly appreciate your patience during this season of change. We are so grateful for all the love and support you give to your precious children. God bless you.

      1. Marilyn Ritchey September 21, 2016

        I have never had a problem before this. I sent a card and two pictures of my dogs, and it says cancelled and under review. When I asked why they said it says previous communication issue, which is not the case. The person I spoke with said she couldn’t find any problem with the card or the dog pictures, and she had 2 supervisors look at it and they couldn’t either. She said to re-send everything, which makes me very upset.

        1. Christina Wilson September 21, 2016

          Marilyn, I am so very sorry for the confusion about your letter being cancelled. Please rest assured that Melanie will still receive your card and pictures. You will not need to re-send everything unless you would like to. We are still working out some issues with our brand new system. Our tech team is currently working on this issue to find out what the root cause is. Once they fix the root issue, they will re-trigger your letter so that it can continue through the process to reach your child. Thank you so much for your grace as we work to resolve this for you.

          1. Marilyn Ritchey September 21, 2016

            I hope you are right and she will get those things that I sent. But why did they say it was a previous communication issue. It makes it sound as if I send inappropriate things if you ask me.Like I said in over 4 years of sponsoring many children I have never had ANY problems or cancelled letters.So why did they say that?

            1. Katherine Brice September 22, 2016

              Marilyn, I am so sorry for the confusion. As Christina said, that error message is a technical issue. Letters sent by sponsors have never been cancelled previously because we have only started implementing the new letter writing system within the past six months. Our tech team is working on this issue, but your letters are indeed being sent. Thank you so much for blessing your sponsored kiddos with your letters and prayers! God bless you!

  21. Emmy September 18, 2016

    As you can tell most of us are really saddened by the new letter writing process. Are our complaints being forwarded to anyone who can actually make changes to the system? I can’t imagine scanning and printing is cheaper than it was before. I find that I write even less now because I don’t know what to send anymore. Like I had velvet coloring pages, scratch and sniff paper, paint by water sheets, origami type items and they can’t really be scanned and yet I don’t think they’re going to be sent either. I used to love to volunteer for compassion events and answer potential sponsors questions and now I no longer even want to do it anymore because I don’t like the direction the company is heading. Money seems to be more important than the personal relationship of the sponsor and child. You will lose sponsors because of this change. I will continue to sponsor for the sake of my kids but I’m not happy about the changes and no amount of apologies will change that. I am sorry though that you bloggers have to get the brunt of everyone’s unhappiness. We know its not your fault. We just wish it was different. There are a lot of other sponsorship programs and I know a lot of people chose compassion because of the personal aspect.

    1. Christina Wilson September 21, 2016

      Emmy, I’m deeply sorry for the frustrations this new letter writing system has caused you. It breaks our hearts to hear that your relationships with your children have been affected by this. We greatly value all of the feedback we receive, and it is sent to the appropriate team to help us in the future. I’m so sorry to hear that you have been writing to your children less because of these changes. Our hearts behind these new changes are to make it easier to foster meaningful, loving relationships with your children. Since implementing the new letter writing system, we have encountered more bugs than we anticipated, and we are working diligently to resolve the issues as soon as possible. Regrettably, almost everything is going to be scanned now with the exception of pop-up cards, musical cards, bookmarks and stickers. However, I encourage you to still sent special gifts to your children. For example, you can still send coloring pages, mazes, dot-to-dots, and devotional pages. You can also upload full page images using the online letter writing tool, too! Change is never easy, but we thank you so much for your patience and understanding as we work to fix the issues. God bless you.

  22. Leanne Van Kley September 15, 2016

    When I looked in the letter history with our sponsored child, yesterday’s letter has already been translated but a letter written on August 24th has not? Two other letters written in August are “in translation”. I am wondering if they are lost, or just victims of the changes in letter delivery? Will they all be delivered eventually? A couple of letters written earlier this year are not even on the list. I wonder if they were ever delivered. I am trying to be patient, but this change has been frustrating.

    1. Sarah September 16, 2016

      Leanne, I am so sorry for the frustration and disappointment that Compassion’s transition to a new letter system has caused you. We know this has not gone as well as sponsors and staff alike expected or wanted, but progress is being made. Currently, we are processing letters manually, which is causing the statuses of letters to not show up correctly on sponsor accounts. Though it looks like your letter to Sebastian from yesterday has already been processed ahead of the other letters, it has not. It is currently working through translation just as your previous ones are. These letters should finished being processed and delivered to Sebastian soon. So far, we have record of five letters from you in our system. Is that how many you have sent this year? Thank you so much for your consistent encouragement to your sweet boy and your patience with our ministry through this trying time.

  23. Savannah Atchison September 14, 2016

    I sent a paper doll to my sponsor child.
    Will she get it? I heard that every thing
    Is scanned, and I don’t know if she will get
    The actual thing.

    1. Katherine Brice September 14, 2016

      Hi Savannah! Thank you so much for being thoughtful and sending fun gifts to your sweet sponsored kiddo! Yes, the paper doll will be scanned and sent to your child digitally. However, it must not be already cut out. We do not scan items such as stickers, musical cards, and pop-out cards, so the originals of those items are mailed to the field offices. Let us know if you have any other questions! God bless you!

      1. Lea October 9, 2016

        Dear Katherine, if I send a birthday card with stickers, willl my child receive both things apart from each other ? So, stickers physically and the card digitally? Thanks for all you do !

        1. Christina Wilson October 10, 2016

          Hi Lea! If you send a card with stickers, then the card will be scanned for translation purposes, and then the untranslated card and stickers will be physically sent together. However, we do ask that you please try to limit your mailings so we don’t overload our sweet mail room staff. Thank you so much for all the loving things you send to your kiddos!

  24. Cathy Bargerstock September 13, 2016

    Hi. I recently logged in and found a letter from Faith waiting for me. I was very thankful to receive it! I do have a question though–my last name now shows as “Unknown.” Is that some sort of new privacy practice or has a data field been lost? Thanks!

    1. Katherine Brice September 14, 2016

      Hi Cathy! I’m so sorry for the confusion. That happens because our letter system prints the gender we have listed for a sponsor on the letter and the children are asked to address their sponsor as the name appears in the salutation. This has caused a lot of confusion and we are currently working on removing it. The purpose was to help the children with writing gender specific pronouns. Again, I apologize for this error. Thank you so much for writing to your sweet Faith! God bless you!

  25. Esther Collard September 12, 2016

    Not sure if I am doing this right as I have never commented on anything before. I am confused about this new letter writing process. I have read many of the comments and am greatly saddened by this change too. My first thought was to go buy musical cards every time I would write. I began sponsoring a new child in July and bought a musical card for her as it was her birthday that month. I wrote her a letter online but then sent the physical birthday card with just one line written on it. Soon after I discovered that the one line will not be translated and furthermore she may not even get the card as I learned a letter had to be included with it. I had just written the online letter moments before so just wrote the one line on the card. I suppose the online letter did not count and so the card was probably trashed. Those musical cards are not cheap and with nothing in them being translated she would have no clue anyway. So frustrating! I could get someone to write in Spanish on a musical card but those in Africa that have tribal languages or regional languages such as my child in India there is no way. All the problems with India right now have been so hard with no news about any progress being made. I have been responsible for several people sponsoring children but now they are coming to me for answers as they feel betrayed and disappointed over this new change in policy and some are looking to change organizations to allow them to get the more personal element back into their sponsorships or as someone else has mentioned that they feel it is part of a scam. I too hope things are reconsidered. I know there was research as to what children and Compassion centers want but did anyone question what meant a lot to sponsors? Just sad.

    1. Katherine Brice September 13, 2016

      Esther, I am so sorry for the confusion regarding our new letter guidelines and that you are upset with these guidelines. We implemented the letter changes because sponsors and sponsored children have been asking for faster communication. We experienced more difficulties in implementing the new system and we are so sorry for the inconvenience. Your musical card actually was sent and it will also be translated. Your child will receive the original card as well as a scanned version with the translation. We do count musical cards as a letter, so they are indeed sent to the children. I completely understand the frustrations and disappointments with the glitches in the system as well as with the situation in India. It is our prayer that we continue operations in India and to have everything resolved as soon as possible! We will have another communication out about India in October and we greatly appreciate your continued prayers for the ministry in India. You have been such a blessing to your sponsored kiddos and I want to thank you for what you have done for them. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you. God bless you!

  26. Mona September 12, 2016

    I recently sponsored 2 more little girls in addition to Pamela from Bolivia. I received their new packets in the mail and used the “letter” form in that booklet to write their 2nd letters and also sent stickers for them. Over the weekend I got 4 different letters from Compassion saying the gifts couldn’t be sent because they weren’t sent with a letter. Well, why wouldn’t that sheet be considered a letter?, and if it isn’t a letter, why do they include it in the book at all? The page itself even says “letter” right on it. I’m so confused to this letter/small gift sending issue – seems like it should be an easy thing. If Compassion made these letter writing changes to save money, why did they waste money by sending me 4 separate envelopes to say the same thing in each one?
    I also have concerns about my original sponsorship with Pamela. Her Mother had written her letters for the first 2 years and now I got a page from Pamela where she says she lives with her Dad and siblings. I have a sick feeling that her Mom may have died, and the first response I got from Compassion said I should write Pamela and ask her? What kind of advice is that – she’s 6 years old! Fortunately another gal has emailed me with more options and I hope to hear something back soon.
    I’m praying all of these issues get resolved soon, as sponsors all we want is to help our sponsored children and build a lasting relationship with them.

    1. Katherine Brice September 12, 2016

      Hi Mona! I am so sorry about the confusion with your letters! We have had a glitch recently with that email being sent to sponsors even though their letters did indeed go through. That email was sent to you in error and I am so sorry about that! You are certainly still able to send stickers as long as they’re not the puffy stickers. I do see where you have spoken with other representatives regarding Pamela and her mother. Please let us know if you do not hear another response soon. It looks like a representative emailed you on Friday. Thank you so much for what you do for Pamela, Tamara, and Evelin! God bless you!

      1. Mona September 13, 2016

        Hi Katherine,
        I didn’t receive an email, I got 4 actual letters in the mail from Compassion. They said the stickers couldn’t be sent because they weren’t included with a letter. I DID write a letter in each one, so I don’t understand why the stickers were going to be donated. I can see the letters I wrote online, but the 2 sheets which I believe would be the stickers show up as not being able to load. I was just trying to find out why what I sent wouldn’t be what they consider to be a “letter”. If someone could view those for me and let me know I’d appreciate it. I don’t want to mail more small gifts if they aren’t going to reach my girls. Thanks again!

        1. Katherine Brice September 13, 2016

          Mona, thank you for clarifying! As long as you did not send puffy stickers, the stickers were indeed sent and not donated. We have been sending those emails and letters in error to a lot of sponsors. I am so sorry for the confusion! Thank you so much for being so thoughtful and sending fun things for your sweet sponsored girls. You are such a blessing to them!

          1. Mona September 13, 2016

            Thanks Katherine…………that makes me feel better! 🙂

  27. Bethany Snyder-Morse September 8, 2016

    Please help! I have not gotten any letters from over 10 children (beyond a generic intro for a couple; one meant for another sponsor) and have been sponsoring for months. Many of the ones I wrote are stuck in translation since June, and going out of order. I need to know if my kids are even getting my letters, or if I have any coming? I cannot afford to wait. The monthly fees are too high only to have my letters stuck in translation. I truly believe in the power of letters to encourage and help these children, but nothing had happened so far. I am really disappointed. I don’t know if I should cancel yet or not. I don’t want to let down a child, but I am sure you understand where I am coming from. I had a girl leave BEFORE she even got to read my letters, and there she is…gone (did she leave thinking no one cared?)…all the time I was paying the monthly fee and thinking I was encouraging her with my letters (which are STILL in translation and I am awaiting confirmation of why she is leaving, Alexandra). I mean this in the kindest way, but I really expect more from the organization. Help? Alexandra haunts me because she maybe never knew she had a sponsor, and she certainly didn’t get to read those letters that never got to her, sitting for months. Can Compassion please advise current sponsors in a more formal way? Thanks!

    1. Sarah September 9, 2016

      Bethany, I am so sorry for the discouragement you have felt over the past few months since you began sponsoring. It takes up to four months to receive the first letter from your children, so there is still plenty of time for these letters to come in. I did check though, and found that every one of your children are either writing a letter at this moment or their letter is being processed in the country office. You will start to receive these letters soon! Your children are also receiving your letters, though I also saw that some of them were out of order. We recently began the transition over to our new letter system, which has been more trying than we originally anticipated. Because of this transition, some of the letters from several months ago were backlogged at the country offices. We are working as quickly as possible to get through those letters, sending them on to their recipients. I know your children will continue to cherish each of the letters you send to them and will have grace and understanding if theirs arrive out of order. They just want to hear from you and know that you value them, which I know they have felt with the ones that have been delivered! As for Alexandra, I am checking into the situation with her. Though we did receive a letter indicating she was leaving the program (written by her tutor), we haven’t received any official information from her center yet. This isn’t a normal way for us to find out when a child has left the program, and I am so sorry that she has probably left before you got to know her. I’ve personally been through that twice with my own girls and it is always hard to let them go! Despite her leaving the program, she absolutely did know that she was cared for and loved. The center staff do an incredible job mentoring and loving on these precious children and teens, and Alexandra did have a sponsor just previous to you who also encouraged her with letters. God is with this beautiful young lady no matter where she is or what she is doing. I am still looking into her situation. As soon as we have more information, we will contact you. In normal situations, Compassion does call sponsors or send them a letter indicating that their child has left the program. Thank you so much for your feedback and for the desire you have to invest deeply in each of these precious kids’ lives!

      1. Bethany September 16, 2016

        Thank you very much for your help. You do a really good job! And yes, whenever information is obtained as to Alexandra, I’d be happy to get some closure with her. I can send a final letter, certainly. I am trying to be patient but feel she’s been hanging for too long now…:) Thus, if she is leaving I’d love to send her off with an encouraging letter.
        Email is always the best way to contact me through Compassion. Thanks!

  28. kathy mcneff September 7, 2016

    I have only read down a bit on the comments and replies and I can see this transition is having some stresses. I just was noticing how Christina and Sarah are so good at their job in answering in the replies. Lovely to see how you answer in grace and care. Not all have this ability so thank you for doing that. :0)

  29. Dona Daniels September 6, 2016

    I have been a sponsor to a girl named Samerawite since 2005. She told me in some of the her last letters she would be attending a University. Imagine how elated I was but I have had no communication since. I had six letters of my own sitting waiting to be translated and to my dismay my boy I sponsored lets are being done out of order the oldest was a birthday packet I sent. I be honest I have no idea. I was sent one letter from my boy Abhishek that wasn’t even translated. I’ve called about it but no one really knows when this will be fixed. Why on earth would you try to roll out all countries at one time with no back up plan like roll back and continue the old way until you figure it out. If I sound upset, I am. I don’t hear from my kids that much but now I don’t hear from them at all and I’m pretty sure they are upset too. I have been praying for a resolution to this matter but with all this and the fact that India (where Abhishek is from) they are not able to receive monetary gifts which is all we can send for his birthday. If you had of ask me I would have gladly help defray cost of sending my letters, pictures and coloring pages to my child if I’d only be ask as I really understand trying to save money. From what I’ve read from the blog people like to make and send things to there kids and it’s very limited now…..and in more ways than one. I really want to know when this will be resolved as I need to communicate with sponsored children.

    1. Sarah September 7, 2016

      Dona, I am so sorry that this transition period to the new letter system has brought such heartache to you and your family. I personally know how difficult it has been to wait for such a long time to receive a new letter from my children, but I can’t imagine the angst you are going through while waiting for another letter from Samerawite :(. I am overjoyed as well to hear that she will be attending university, and can understand why another letter from her is very important for you to receive! I was able to check on her in our system and see that a new letter from her is currently being processed in Ethiopia! You should see a new letter from her very soon :). This transition has been more difficult than we originally anticipated it to be, and we are so sorry for the disappointment and discouragement it has caused sponsors. Sadly, the translation software we moved to was causing significant problems for our staff, causing a large backlog of letters at the country offices. Because of the translation software issue, we have returned to manually translating letters while the software is rebuilt. This is causing some of the letters to be processed out of order, but we are working as fast as possible to get all of the letters processed and delivered. I did see that some of your letters are still being processed, while others have already been delivered to Abhishek. I agree that letters being completed out of order is frustrating, especially when your birthday letter to him is still working through the system :(. I am sincerely sorry that they are being delivered out of order :(. Also, I looked up Abhishek’s recent letter and did see that it was actually translated. What was placed on your account must have been the original scan before the translation was attached, so I have requested that we reprint it for you. I am also going to email you the full copy of his letter so you have the chance to read it immediately. Thank you so much, Dona, for praying for our ministry as we work to fix the issues with this new system and continue to serve sponsors and these precious children. I know your love runs deep for your kids, and I am praising the Lord that we get to partner with an incredible sponsor like you! We know this has been a very trying time for sponsors and children alike, but we know (and have already seen some) the good that is going to come out of this difficult time.

      1. Karen Kaye September 8, 2016

        I am truly concerned that children are going to end up losing their sponsors over this situation. People will grow weary and give up on this being remedied if something doesn’t change for the better very soon. I do not plan on giving up on my girls. I don’t want to hurt them or disappoint them, but I do wonder how they are taking all of this since they are only children and have so very little. And here we are having plenty enough to share, but having such a hard time being patient through all of this. May God BLESS this new system beyond our imagination and may it become a mighty and powerful part of Compassion. It’s really hard to have faith that it will because everyone is so disappointed. Only God can fix this.

  30. Kimberly Little August 30, 2016

    Hi. I am new to sponsoring a child. We started sponsoring last week after attending a Compassion Experience project in our area. Because we couldn’t wait to get started, we called into Compassion and got our sponsor number over the phone. We sent our first letter online yesterday. My first question is, after sending our letter it stated there was a problem with our letter and that it is under review. Does that mean it is in translation or did I do something wrong?
    Second question, because our child’s birthday is in November, we decorated up a folder for him filled with paper items along with a birthday card and we are ready to mail it this week. Are these file folders acceptable?

    1. Christina Wilson August 31, 2016

      Hi Kimberly! Welcome to the Compassion family! We’re so glad that you made the choice to bless sweet Jackson with your love and support! Because you sent your first letter to Jackson so soon after beginning your sponsorship of him (which is amazing), the system hadn’t recognized yet that you were his sponsor. That is why the system said there was a problem with your letter. Rest assured that your letter to him is now being manually processed and delivered to your precious kiddo! We absolutely love the time you have taken to make a special birthday folder for him; that is so awesome! Regrettably, you can only send six sheets of paper (front and back) at a time. To speed up letter delivery and to conserve money to give more to the children, we are now scanning all letters to the field offices. Your letters to Jackson need to be flat and scanner friendly since they will be electronically sent to the field. The exceptions to this new rule that will be physically mailed still are pop-up cards, musical cards, and stickers. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused you, and we really appreciate your heart in wanting to bless Jackson on his birthday. I guarantee that your words will mean just as much because your letters tell him that he is loved.

      1. Kimberly Little September 1, 2016

        Thank you, thank you, thank you Christina! That is awesome. You just made my day and made me cry, happy tears of course.
        I have been reading loads of information so I didn’t send the folder, just the papers and cards. We are excited to have this opportunity and look forward to our new journey with our new little guy.

  31. Linda Kostecki August 30, 2016

    I just got an eagerly awaited letter from my child today and my heart sank. There was no colored picture included. I could also tell she didnt actually write it comparing it to others I have. It was also so generic and basic and didnt answer anything we had previously “talked” about, although it was checked it did. I donot want to knock Compassion at all. I know the incredible hard work you all do. I just wasnt prepared for the ever changing technology to interfere here, I guess. I am at home everyday as a disabled person and I so much enjoyed writing and creating special things for my girl. It was our special bond of grace through Jesus that I could do this for her and send His and my love. I guess Im old fashioned as I still want to hold a book in my hand, not read words on a screen. While I appreciate the quicker time and turn around that Im sure will appeal to many; I must say I am really disheartened that the real and personal touch I so loved with my girl will be lost.

    1. Christina Wilson August 31, 2016

      Linda, I am so deeply sorry for your heart break with receiving your newest letter from Moléna. It is certainly not our intention to make this letter writing process less real and personal. Our heart and mission during this season of change has been to make it easier to grow closer and deeper relationships with your child. I have taken a look at Moléna’s recent letter that you received, and I agree that it doesn’t look like she has written it. This letter was written in June, and it says that Moléna was on her summer vacation staying at her aunt’s house. It is very possible that her father or a close mentor of hers at the student center has written a letter for her since she was at her aunts for the summer. This would also be the reason for no colored picture on the letter. I’m so sorry that this letter didn’t answer any of your previous questions or go along with the conversation you and Moléna were having. I have sent an inquiry to our field office in Haiti, and they will ask Moléna to write a letter to you once she is back from her vacation. Rest assured that the next letter you receive from Moléna will be written by her. We are so grateful to have such wonderful sponsors like you who really understand this ministry. It is your special bond of grace through Jesus that breaks the cycle of poverty for her. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you through your letters and support to minister to Moléna. Your investment in her life will have a lasting positive effect that Moléna will forget.

  32. Kate August 27, 2016

    Hello, I wanted to see if there are any updates as far as the new letter system slowness and when it is expected to be resolved?
    I started sponsoring a child at the end of February and have only received the intro letter back in May but nothing since. I also send a gift but no acknowledgement has been made. I understand that letters do take longer to go through now but just wanted to see when I can expect to hear something from my child?
    I also started correspondence sponsorship with a second child in June but only got a letter from her pastor but have yet to heard from the child herself.
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Sarah August 29, 2016

      Hi Kate! Thank you so much for inquiring about our progress in this transition period to the new letter system. I’m so glad you received the first letter from Stephania in May, but I know it’s hard to wait for the reciprocal letters to start coming in after that initial one! Letters are still taking between two and three months to be processed and delivered to sponsors and children. We are working to get caught up on the backlog of letters that have been waiting to be processed at the country offices. Though I don’t have an estimated time for when you should see all of the issues resolved, I do know that your letters to Stephania and Ayisha are currently being translated as we speak.I can also see that there is a thank you letter for your generous gift being written by Stephania too! You are going to hear from this sweet girl again soon! We are also processing a letter from Ayisha :). Correspondence with children can start off slow, but it looks like your girls are quite excited to get to know you! I think your correspondence will become more consistent very soon! Thank you so much for loving on both of these precious young ladies!

      1. Kate September 20, 2016

        Hi Sarah,

        Can you take another quick peek at my account to check in on the status of the letters from Stephania and Ayisha? 3 weeks later and I still haven’t received anything yet 🙁



        1. Christina Wilson September 21, 2016

          Hi Kate! I’m so sorry that you haven’t received Stephania and Ayisha’s letters yet :(. Because of the large back log that our field offices are still diligently working through, it may take a few more weeks until you receive their precious letters. Thank you so much for you continued patience! -Christina

          1. Kate October 21, 2016

            I still have not received either letter 🙁
            I know there was an inquiry send in regards to letter from Stephania at the beginning of the month, but I haven’t heard back yet. Can you check if there are any updates on either girl?
            I do realize that since Stephania is in Haiti things might be a bit more slower and hectic now due to the hurricane recovery now but wanted to see if perhaps she has written anything prior to the hurricane.
            Thank you!

            1. Christina Wilson October 24, 2016

              Kate, I am deeply sorry that you still have not received those letters from Ayisha and Stephania :(. I understand your concern for them, and we are so sorry for the delay in receiving letters from them. I have sent inquiries to the field offices of Ethiopia and Haiti. They will ensure that your girls are well, and they will ask them to write another letter to you. The letters that we see are on the way to you have been stuck in our systems waiting for translation, but we should receive them soon. It may take 6-8 weeks to receive a response from our field offices, and we will be in contact with you as soon as we hear back from them. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding while we wait to hear from your girls.

              1. Kate December 29, 2016

                I have received the letter from Ayisha in November but still waiting on the one from Stephania… Can you check to see if there has been a response from the field office?

                1. Sarah December 30, 2016

                  Hi Kate! We escalated that inquiry for Stephania because we hadn’t received a response from the country office by the time it was due. We should be hearing from them any day though! As soon as we do, we will be in contact with you :).

                  1. Kate February 7, 2017

                    Hate to sound like a broken record, but are there any updates on the letter from Stephania? Did the field office respond to the inquiry yet?

                    1. Sarah February 7, 2017

                      Hi Kate! This inquiry was escalated on your behalf twice now because they hadn’t given us an answer in the appropriate amount of time. When the case was escalated, they did tell us that the letter should be processed through and placed on your account within the next week. I’m keeping an eye on this for you to make sure that is done!

                  2. Kate January 6, 2017

                    Thank you for the update and escalating the inquiry. I’m just trying to understand if the delay is due to the new letter writing system or if it’s because my child didn’t get a chance to write a letter? At this point I am concerned if she is still part of the program and if all is well with her. Is there any way to verify that? Like, do the centers keep any sort of attendance records, etc? How quickly would I be notified if my child left the program?

                    1. Kate January 10, 2017

                      Thank you Susan for providing the additional info and helping me understand the process a little bit better.
                      I am bit surprised that the letter from April still has not made its way over. I understand that there is a delay in letter processing, but since the changes were implemented in April it would almost seem that no letters have been processed in the past 8-9 months, at least in that field office? I was also under the impression that as soon as child receives a letter from me, she would receive a template to reply, every 60 days, up to six per year? Are my letters not going through as well or is she not receiving the templates as she should? I have sponsored Stephania for almost a year now and correspondence virtually has been non-existent, even despite submitting inquiry to the field office. I got some additional correspondence from Compassion stating that there will be additional changes which could further impact correspondence, which adds to my concern that this may not be resolved any time soon. While I realize that the most important part of Compassion is the fact that my child is going to school and receiving the care that she needs, not being able to receive any letters from her takes away from the sponsorship as I’m unable to develop a relationship with her and after a year of sponsorship I feel like I barely know her. Is there any way to try to expedite that letter from April and get it translated and also at what point should we see an improvement in the correspondence process?
                      Thank you again for answering all my questions and great support on this blog!

                    2. Susan Sayler January 10, 2017

                      Kate, the inquiry that we have sent will speed up this letter that was written in April and has not arrived yet. I know it may be tough to see progress from your perspective with one letter from almost nine months ago still in process. This may not mean much but I can assure you that although the progress is slow we are improving. Over the last nine months, we have been increasing our letter processing volumes from almost 7,000 letters per day at the launch in April to now more than 14,000 letters per day. This means that not only are letters successfully sent through the new system but we are becoming more and more efficient as time goes on. The overwhelming majority of letters are being processed within weeks with no problems. That said, there is still a lag in a small percentage of letters and this letter from April happens to be one of them. We are continuing to work hard to deploy fixes for issues and make sure letters are delivered as quickly as possible. With the inquiry we sent, I would expect to see that letter in the next month or so and continued improvements in the coming months.

                    3. Susan Sayler January 6, 2017

                      Kate, I am so sorry you have had to wait so incredibly long for that first letter from Stephania. This is an unusually long time to wait for a letter and for that I sincerely apologize. I can see in our system that Stephania wrote a letter to you in April, but this letter regrettably has been stuck at the country office as the result of the issues in the new letter processing system. We also printed stationary at the country office for her to write on and this letter is a thank you for gifts you have sent. She hasn’t had a chance to write that letter yet. Each of our centers keep attendance records. Regrettably, I am not able to view those records in my system. That said, when a child is absent for two weeks or less, staff will follow up with a home visit to try to bring the child back into the program. If the child continues to not attend, we will remove the child from the program after two months. If that happens, you will be notified within one month or less.

      2. Kate August 30, 2016

        Thank you so much for the update! Anxiously awaiting for the letters to come 🙂

  33. Summer August 27, 2016

    While I understand the intent of sending the letters digitally to cut down on delivery times and be wise stewards financially, it’s also VERY difficult for me to be happy about the new delivery system. I want the hand written items I spend time on to be sent to my sponsor children. Whenever my husband is deployed he communicates both digitally and via hard copy correspondence. I can tell you that we both agree, and our children agree, that the ones we receive that are original are always so much better. Yes, the information is delayed – sometimes by a couple of months, but holding something he has held and feeing the impression of the pen – we all cherish that. My children hang their letters and pictures from Daddy and our sponsor children for a while before we add them to our scrapbooks. They have been just as sad about the new digital version because “it’s not the same”. And they keep asking when the “real letter” will reach our sponsored kids. Isn’t there any way to still send the originals, even if it’s a hybrid option of allowing a few originals per year – like at Christmas and Birthdays. I know from our own experience that holding the cards are always better than a digitally scanned copy of a card. Is any consideration being given to these concerns, or are we stuck now with only the digital option being sent to our children? Thank you, Summer K.

    1. Sarah August 29, 2016

      Summer, I am so sorry for the disappointment that the new letter system has brought you :(. I too always cherished the physical handwritten notes that I received from my father when he was deployed in the Middle East. It made it a little easier for me to feel closer to him, so I totally understand where your family is coming from! Regrettably, we aren’t going to return to sending the physical letters to the children. This decision was not made lightly, and we do understand that there are pros and cons with this new letter system. We made the decision based on several years worth of surveys with sponsors and children and great amounts of prayer. There is a great amount of cost and time savings involved in scanning as much as we can and being as efficient as possible in the processing.Regrettably, sending everything by post is not sustainable over time for our ministry with our vision to help a significantly greater number of children in the coming years. In addition to quicker communication being important to the majority of sponsors, we felt that being able to bring letters and support to more children was more important than sending a greater variety of letter items, especially when the children and families told us that they prefer the words of encouragement over mailed items. I am deeply sorry if these changes have hurt you in any way or made you feel as if we’re taking away a valuable part of the relationship you have with your child. I am praying that your family will see the positive effects of this change over time!

      1. Summer August 29, 2016


        As always, thank you Sarah and the team at Compassion for addressing comments so quickly. I apologize if I came across as upset when writing my post; that was not my intention. We do appreciate all the hard work on the part of Compassion, and know that no decision is made without plenty of thought and prayer.

        However, I did want to voice a sad frustration that there can’t be a hybrid option. During times such as Christmas, birthday, etc., it would have been nice to still be able to send the original, hand written communication and prepared goodies to our children. This would have been greatly appreciated by myself and many of the other sponsors I’ve spoken with recently. It has been nearly unanimous that we would all choose to utilize an option of sending more traditional communications for Christmas or birthdays, even if there were an additional charge to cover postage, customs, personnel expenses, etc. to do so.

        My family will respect the decision Compassion has made concerning the new communication, but I appreciate an opportunity to voice concern about the new system.

        Thank you,

        1. Marilyn Ritchey September 10, 2016

          It’s funny,my husband and I were talking about this very same thing, since I make elaborate cards and things for our children. We would be willing to send a little extra money if we could just send the real handmade card and other handmade items just at birthdays and Christmas. Hope Compassion will hear us on this.Also,the letters from the children are FINALLY starting to come through after several months of nothing. I can’t believe Compassion waited this long to start to fix this.

          1. Katherine Brice September 12, 2016

            Marilyn, I am so sorry that you are disappointed with the new letter guidelines. I’m sure your sponsored kiddos loved receiving those cards knowing that they were handmade by you! I will submit your feedback regarding these changes. I’m sorry you had to wait so long to receive your letters! We have been working through a backlog of letter for quite a few months that are going through the translation process. Thank you so much for your patience and for standing with us in loving these children! God bless you!

        2. Susan Sayler August 30, 2016

          Summer, we appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us and we will certainly take it into consideration. Thank you for your grace and your kind words amidst obvious frustration with this new policy. God bless!

  34. Leanne Van Kley August 24, 2016

    I sent a letter to my sponsored child on March 29th and there is no record that it was sent or that he ever received it. Does the listing of correspondence only list the letters sent online? I see there are several letters in translation….could it still be sitting there?

    1. Susan Sayler August 25, 2016

      Leanne, I am so sorry for the confusion in letters. I also want to apologize as it appears that this letter did not go through. The online system should show both physical and online letters. That said, I do not see any letters in my system from you between January and July 2016. I am so sorry for the disappointment and any inconvenience this may have caused to you or your child!

  35. Kris Rasmussen August 17, 2016

    I faithfully sponsor five kids and I haven’t received a single letter since the new changes took place. I would have had ten letters by now the old way. This is terrible and I am very discouraged.

    1. Susan Sayler August 18, 2016

      Kris, I sincerely apologize for the slowdown of letters and I am so sorry to hear that you are feeling discouraged. We greatly appreciate your partnership and everything you have done for your five children over the last five years. In particular, we appreciate the many loving and encouraging letters you have sent to them. Each letter not only brings a smile to their face but boosts their confidence as well. Please know that even though there has been a slow down of letters and we fully acknowledge that, you are still making a world of difference. We have encountered more issues with our new letter writing processing system than we anticipated. The biggest issues have affected our translation system at the country offices. This has led to a bottleneck effect at the country office. I can see that there are about five letters sitting at country offices from your children that I trust will be delivered in the coming weeks and months. Please know that we are working hard to resolve the issues in our system as soon as possible and fully anticipate that once we are past this bump in the road letters will be delivered faster than ever before. Thank you for your patience as we work through these issues.

  36. Bethany July 24, 2016

    I signed up with 4 organizations, including Compassion, in early June. The other organizations have all gotten me letters (some 2!) from my ALL my kids! These are thorough letters hand-written by the teens, in direct response to my letters! It has been so wonderful, I added more kids through them. I see direct proof these letters are getting to the kids and making a difference.

    I have not heard from any of my 13 kids yet with Compassion, except a brief into letter from one. I also see my letters sitting in translation. I can say since the other organizations all have been SUPER fast and thorough about getting my letters to my kids (and sending me some awesome ones back), I am a little worried about Compassion’s process, simply by comparison.

    1. Marilyn Ritchey August 16, 2016

      I sponsor 12 kids through Compassion and have been sponsoring for 4 years now. The letter process was pretty good before they made the new changes to make it faster. It has,in fact, slowed the process down to a crawl. We have hardly gotten any letters this year.We used to get letters all the time. We are not happy with this change. They say they are going to fix it by the end of August or early September, so hopefully that will be the case.This is really terrible, I agree.

      1. Thomas Furlong October 1, 2016

        We have have received no letters in 2016 from our one child (Derrick) and our newest child we sponsored in February 2016 (Isaac) we have recieved no letter at all from him.

        1. Thomas Furlong October 3, 2016

          Thank you Sarah for your help & for checking into this for my wife & I. Thank you also for the grace & kindness which you display to all blog posts. Your light shines:)

        2. Sarah October 3, 2016

          Thomas, I am so sorry that you haven’t heard from either of these sweet boy this year :(. It breaks my heart to know you haven’t been able to start developing a relationship with Isaac yet, but thank you so much for sending him love and encouragement through your letters anyway! I checked on both boys in our system and found that they have each written a few letters to you. We have been going through a very difficult transition to our new letter system, which has caused large backlogs of letters to and from children at the country offices. Though we are working as quickly as possible to get through those letters, it is taking time to do so. They are manually translating every letter before it is uploaded into the system and placed on sponsor accounts. With these letters in process, you should see them start to arrive in your account soon. Thank you so much for hanging in there with us through this difficult time. Please continue to pray over our staff and the work they are doing to relay all the sweet letters between children and their sponsors.

      2. Marilyn Ritchey August 18, 2016

        Christina, I appreciate you looking into these problems.

      3. Marilyn Ritchey August 17, 2016

        Thanks, Christine, for looking into it. I got the email of the one letter from Maria. I am upset because we used to get quite a few letters from each child every year. I hope the corespondent letters will not continue to be messed up and sent to the wrong person.I do hope that you are right and that this mess will be fixed soon.

      4. Christina Wilson August 17, 2016

        Marilyn, I’m so sorry for the disappointment this new letter system has caused you. I understand how precious and important those letters are, and it breaks our hearts that so few people have been able to receive consistent letters since the transition to our new letter writing system. We’ve had more bugs with this system than we had originally estimated we would have. It has caused a slow down in the letters being processed. Rest assured this process will speed up soon. We are so appreciative for everyone’s patience and grace through this season of change. I have looked into your account and have found that it has been more than six months since you have heard from Josue, Zachary, and Cherry, so I have send inquiries to the field offices for them. We will have a response from them within 6-8 weeks, and we will be in contact with you as soon as we hear from them. I see that you have heard from Laura in April, Sudha in June, and Nikko in May. Did you receive these letters? It looks like Roselyn did recently write to you on July 30th, but this letter was sent back because she forgot to thank you for your gift to her in the letter. You should receive this letter from her in a couple months. Maria wrote a letter to you in May, but, regrettably, this letter went to her financial sponsor by accident. I’m so sorry for this mistake, and I am emailing you now with a copy of this letter from her. Lastly, I see that you have recently started sponsoring Gabriel, Christopher, Juan Carlo, and Natalia within the past couple months. As Sarah has stated in her answer to Bethany, it can take up to four months before you receive your first letters from your new kiddos. You should receive your first letters from them soon! Thank you so much for the love and commitment you have to your 12 precious children. We are so thankful for your understanding and patience. God bless you.

    2. Donna August 10, 2016

      Bethany, I would really like to know the other organizations you sponsor with. I have sponsored a child with Compassion since March 2016. It is now August 2016 and and I have not even received an introductory letter from my child. I have also written him 2 letters, sent a picture and have not received anything back.

    3. Sarah July 25, 2016

      Hi Bethany! Thank you so much for the giving heart you have shown towards children living in poverty! It sounds like you’ve been able to impact numerous children’s lives already through multiple programs, which is such an encouragement to see :). I’m not sure which other organizations you chose to sponsor through or how their letter systems work, but I’m happy to explain how Compassion’s works! Within a month of a sponsor choosing a child, the child will find out that he or she has a sponsor. That day is always cause for a celebration. If you ever wonder just how much that impacts a child, I would encourage you to watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JfQE4HSbns. Be prepared to have tissues ready though, because it will bring tears to your eyes! Once a child knows they have a sponsor, they sit down to write an introduction letter (much like the ones we encourage sponsors to write to their child as quickly as possible.) In Compassion’s program, letters have historically taken between two and three months to be delivered to and from sponsors. We are updating our letter system so that the processing time for these letters can be decreased by up to half that amount of time, but as we transition over to that system letters are still taking that historical amount of time. That means that you should receive your first letters from each of your children by the fourth month of your sponsorship.

      The correspondence between children and their sponsors is one of the most important aspects of Compassion’s program. Poverty puts a child down, telling them that they are worthless and will never amount to anything, but the words written in a sponsor’s letter telling that child that they are LOVED and PRAYED over, that they are a part of the sponsor’s family and are SONS and DAUGHTERS of the King of Kings changes everything for that child. I can already see that you have been doing a remarkable job of doing just that for each one of your children! Thank you! Children are required to write two letters per year to their sponsor whether they ever receive a letter in return or not. It can seem like the correspondence with Compassion children starts off slow, but if you continue to bless your kiddos with consistent letters, you can expect to receive up to six letters per year from your child. I pray that the slow start to your correspondence with your precious kiddos will not discourage you too greatly and for the Lord to give you patience and encouragement as you wait to hear back from them! I already know that your letters are making a difference in their lives and I cannot wait for you to start seeing how! Blessings, Bethany!

      1. Bethany July 26, 2016

        Thank you. I would encourage Compassion to get the process faster as advertised. That was the initial draw to Compassion for me… the new letter writing process. It sounded like a great way to stay in frequent touch with the children and truly make a difference and be present in their lives. Thank you for your comments!

  37. BRIDGETTE JORDAN July 23, 2016

    I’m disappointed. Today I got a stack of envelopes telling me that my items (postcards and stickers) didn’t go through to my sponsor kids and multiple correspondence kids. I started sending postcards so they’d feel like they were having an adventure with me. I also sent maps for new kids. Now they scan everything and it doesn’t look like we can get our items returned. It only says they’ll donate. I know they want to get the most of the money people send but if I buy postcards and stickers they should be sent.

    1. Sarah July 25, 2016

      Bridgette, it looks like you just spoke with one of our representatives this morning that helped answer this question for you :). As long as all the items you sent were within our new guidelines (scan friendly), they were sent on to your children. There was an error that generated quite a few letters like these to sponsors who did not send anything we couldn’t send to the children. Rest assured that your precious letters were sent on to each of your children!

  38. Marla McCrorie July 16, 2016

    I have read a number of these comments and want to praise the staff for kind and tactful answers. My comment is that a phone representative gave me different information than is printed here, maybe just one of those startup glitches. He said my elaborately constructed handmade greeting cards would be sent intact rather than scanned.
    The answer to that detail doesn’t matter; the fact is we American über moms have to let go of two notions 1) that a letter has to be a tiny care package and 2) that every child needs to have the same life of cluttery “stuff” that our own children have. We need to speak the “love language” that you suggest and now require: the language of WORDS instead of STUFF, and this will take America some adjustment.
    I admire your pleasant patience with us as we learn that “a word aptly spoken [written] is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

    1. Wendy Hunter August 11, 2016

      Thank you so much for this comment ! I am part of a retirement community that has a HUGE Sale every year to benefit the foundation. BUT the amount of clothes and just STUFF is staggering. As you said, the American way of stuffing into our lives everything but love a lotta times. Carry on.. wendy

  39. Tory Klink July 12, 2016

    I am not happy with this new process so far… I have not heard from my child, Yazmin, in months! This is unusual for her. It seems my letters to her are stuck in translation and I do see that one letter from her is also in translation. Any idea as to when this will be resolved?

    1. Marilyn Ritchey July 14, 2016

      I know how you feel. Me and everyone I know says the same thing. We have 11 kids we sponsor now, and I used to get letters all the time. I guess they have some glitches in the new system which they hope to iron out soon, but for now it is very aggravating. What can we do but wait and be patient. (I am not a patient person!)

    2. Sarah July 13, 2016

      Tory, I am so sorry that this transition to the new letter process is causing such frustration and discouragement for you :(. I did check your account and it looks like Yazmin has written you a letter that is currently in translation as we speak just like you said. As we are transitioning to this new system, we are seeing some letters continuing to take up to two or three months to be processed and delivered to the child or sponsor. I know its frustrating to see letters sit in one status for that long, but the letters will go through and bring such encouragement to each of you when they are fully processed.

  40. Janet Quick July 12, 2016

    Regarding the pages being able to be 2-sided, can I send pages taped together back-to-back instead of copying them as 2 sided?

    Which then leads me to ask, can a smaller paper be taped atop a larger one?

    1. Christina Wilson July 12, 2016

      Hi Janet!

      You can send up to 6 sheets of paper double-sided. I would recommend not taping the pages together because this may cause problems with the scanner. If it is easier for you, you can send up to 12 sheets of paper single-sided, and we will scan each page as only one side. However, the blank side needs to be completely blank. For example, if you send a photo with a date on the back, that will count as 2 sides.

      Yes, you can attach a smaller paper onto larger paper. As long as it is flat and not larger than an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper, it will be scanned as normal. Thank you so much for the love and care you have for your child! I’m sure Rosa loves receiving your letters!

  41. Eliza Melnikova July 8, 2016

    Hello everyone! First off, I absolutely LOVE being a Compassion sponsor, my sponsored child means so much to me. She is constantly in my heart and prayers and I absolutely LOVE writing to her either by hand or using the online tool. I usually write at least monthly. I have a question though. I was writing my child a letter online last night and saw there is a letter to me from her registered on the website when I clicked to review the letters I have written! This was my first letter from her and of course I was over the moon. However, I’m puzzled if I will still be getting the print of the letter in the regular mail? I am not crazy about having my letters only stored in the digital way, I was hoping I could be able to treasure the physical letters. Will I still be getting this letter via the mail sometime and if not, can I request that? It would mean so much! I do not spend a lot of time online and the thought of only having my letters from my sweet kid online is kind of upsetting. Thank you!!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan July 8, 2016

      Hi Eliza! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and enthusiasm for our ministry and love for children! You rock!

      Please rest assured you’ll still receive your letters in the mail. Your letter preferences are set to continue receiving them at your home, but it will take longer to get them than it will viewing them online. So be encouraged they’ll eventually come in the mail for you :). But you’ll get a first glimpse of them in your My Account! For future reference, you can always update your letter preferences online. Happy writing and thanks for being such a blessing to your child!

  42. Amber June 30, 2016

    Hello, I’m a bit concerned that I haven’t received any communication with any of my sponsored children since the start of the year. Nothing. Not a single letter. I tried to speak with a representative, and they told me that I should just be patient. But, it’s been over 6 months since I’ve received any sort of communication and I’m wondering what is going on?

    1. Susan Sayler June 30, 2016

      Amber, I am so sorry that it has been so long since you have heard from all three of your precious children. I can definitely hear your frustration and concern and appreciate your heart for these children. It looks like there is a letter from Sandji that is in translation right now. I trust that you will receive it real soon. We are currently in the process of updating our systems so that letters will be delivered much faster. However, until recently it took up to three months for letters to go back and forth. As a result, our guidelines say that we have to wait until the six month mark to send an inquiry. It could be that your child missed the letter writing day at the center or maybe they were visiting family for a while which caused the lag in letters. It looks like the last letter from Jathi was sent January 20 and the last letter from Madama was sent January 27. This means that six months would be July 20 and 27, respectively. I will check back and if there are no letters on the way from Jathi or Madama, I will send an inquiry to check on them at that time. Again, I am so sorry you have had to wait so long and sincerely hope that letters begin coming real soon.

      1. Amber July 25, 2016

        Thankfully, I have heard from both Jathi and Aboudoul since I first commented on this. However, I have not heard from Madama since January 27. Would you be able to send an inquiry as to whether she’s ok? I am concerned.

        1. Sarah July 29, 2016

          Amber, I sent that inquiry our for Madama :). We should hear back from the office in Burkina Faso in about six to eight weeks! We will contact you as soon as we have a response from them.

        2. Sarah July 25, 2016

          Hi Amber! I don’t see a letter being processed from Madama yet either. We are able to send inquiries regarding letters at the six month mark, which would be this Wednesday for Madama. I have a calendar alert set to check whether a letter from her enters the system or not on the 27th. If no letter is entered, I will send an inquiry for you immediately! I know you are concerned about her, and getting a letter from her would help alleviate that concern. If anything was affecting her, our staff in Burkina Faso would advise us immediately, which we would be able to share with you as well. Everything looks good in her information, so I would say it is safe to assume she is doing just fine! Inquiries take between six and eight weeks to receive a response, but we will contact you as soon as we see it is resolved and a letter is on its way to you! Thank you so much for the love you have for all three of your precious kiddos!

          1. Amber August 9, 2016

            I’ve heard about even more changes to the letter writing process now?

            “One of these changes is that all countries will move to a reciprocal letter writing program. This means that your child will write to you, every sixty days, after they receive a letter from you. If you write to your child consistently (at least once every two months), you may expect to receive letters about six times each year. Because of these changes, you may notice a decrease in the amount of letters you receive from your child. ”

            Can you explain this? I thought the purpose of the new letter writing system would be more communication, not less.

            1. Susan Sayler August 10, 2016

              Hi Amber! I am so sorry for the confusion! The changes you are describing were part of updates to the letter guidelines a few years ago. At the time, we were wanting to let supporters know that they might see a decrease in letters because some children were writing way more than six letters each year even when they would not be required to write as much under the new guidelines. The new letter process outlined in this blog post is different. This new process involves scanning letters and sending them electronically. And yes, our hope with the new system is that there would be more communication between supporter and child as you mentioned.

              1. Amber August 11, 2016

                Ok, thank you. The part I quoted above actually came from a recent letter that was sent to my mother in response to a question about lack of letters from her sponsored child. Thank you for the clarification.

  43. Marilyn Ritchey June 28, 2016

    I had a question about sending greeting cards.

    1. Susan Sayler June 30, 2016

      Marilyn, what was your question? You are welcome to send any scan-friendly greeting card from the store or one that you have handmade. Please write your letter on the inside of the card or attach a separate sheet of paper with the letter. You may write the child’s name and number somewhere on the card itself. This card and letter will be scanned, fully translated by our staff, printed, and sent to your child. Please send your cards to:

      Compassion International
      [no street address necessary]
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004

      1. Marilyn Ritchey July 22, 2016

        Can you send cards you make with die cuts or punches? It says completely flat, but would a die cut or punched out item make that much of a difference to not be able to be scanned?

        1. Susan Sayler July 22, 2016

          Hi Marilyn! Regrettably, die cuts or punches have the potential to get caught in our scanning machine and you are correct that it may not look as nice once it’s scanned. I would recommend against sending them for this reason.

  44. Marilyn Ritchey June 28, 2016

    I have been sponsoring for 4 years now, and we have 10 sponsorships. I was concerned because I read on your letter writing process that a letter must be sent with a greeting card. This was never the case before, so i am concerned that my cards which I sent will not make it to the children. Why do we have to send a letter with the greeting card now?

    1. Sarah June 29, 2016

      Hi Marilyn! I am so sorry for the confusion and the concern that the new letter changes have caused you! If you are already writing notes to your children in the greeting cards, that counts as the letter and they are going to go through just fine :). Because we scan everything but musical cards, stickers, and bookmarks in the new system, we have to make sure that a letter is included in the items sponsors are sending. It’s the only way we are able to log in our system that a letter package of goodies is being sent to the child. IF no letter is included, we don’t have a way to do that. In short, your letters are absolutely going through if you are indeed including some written words of encouragement in those greeting cards. They will be scanned and printed out for your children in the country offices and then delivered by one of the project workers.

      1. Marilyn Ritchey June 29, 2016

        Thank you so much! You relieved some stress for me because I have sent several cards since your new system was in place. I do write a lot in those cards! I also write online as well quite a bit.Happy!

  45. Karen Sheets June 24, 2016

    I’m sure I should be posting this somewhere else, but I don’t know how to open up a new comment. (If you could explain that, that would be great). I have so many concerns right now. I just called and requested a printed copy of the picture of Christina with the gifts she and her family purchased with money I sent last year. I had received the picture online but wanted a printed copy. The representative told me I could print it myself. I don’t have access to a printer and would have to go to a store and pay for a picture. So, we have to request a physical picture now, too? Another concern has to do with my Burkina Faso girl, Adele. Her profile has her birthday as June 29, 2001, yet in one letter she wrote to me in July of 2015, she wrote her birthday was September 2nd (I can read enough of her original writing to see that she did write September; it’s not a translation error). In February of 2015, she wrote that her birthday is November 16th. Again, I can see that she wrote November. I wonder how old this girl really is. I sent her birthday money for this month. This frustrates me. All 4 of my girls writing has just completely slacked off this year. I submitted family $ gifts to all 4 girls in early October and still have only heard from ONE, online. I keep writing letters and keep checking the system only to see my letters to them stacking up in the “In translation” “mode”. Can someone please check on the other 3 girls’ situation with the gifts and letter/picture situation. The phone representative couldn’t help me. I’m trying really hard to be patient. Thank you.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 27, 2016

      Hi Karen! I’m sorry if there was any misunderstanding when you last spoke with our representative over the phone and for any frustration it has caused. Please know we value your relationship with your children and our representative you spoke with actually did request that this letter be printed and mailed to you so that you can have a copy of the photo. You will receive this soon :). For future reference, you don’t need to ask for printed copies of your letters or photos because your letter preferences are set to receive the printed copy as well as the email notification. It just takes quite a bit longer to receive the printed copy in the mail which is why you hadn’t gotten the photo yet.

      In regards to sweet Adele’s birthday, it’s possible she’s just confused on what her birthday is and we’re happy to make sure she understands. If we have it incorrect, we apologize and are happy to ensure it gets fixed. Please send us a copy of the letters that you received from her contradicting her current birth date we have on file and my team will be happy to check with our field staff to verify her correct birthday or educate her on her birthday if necessary. Because birthday’s are not as important to many cultures as they are here, it’s common for children to not know their exact date of birth. You can email your letters to us at [email protected].

      I see a letter was written to you from Christina and it does mention the gift you sent! So exciting how it blessed her family and she was even able to purchase a goat! Thanks for blessing her in such a tangible way. I pray you enjoy her letter! A letter is currently in translation to you from Lydia. My hope is that it’s your thank you letter and that you get it very soon. Please know that when I spoke with you last month, I already sent inquiries for your children who haven’t sent you a thank you letter yet for the gifts. It can take up to 45 days to receive a response and so please know that we’ll contact you when we hear back from these field offices. We appreciate your patience!

      I’m so sorry that you’re becoming disheartened with not having received a letter from your children in a while and seeing your letters in the ‘translation’ status. Your children love you dearly and value your letters. Please rest assured that our new system will make letters travel much quicker than before and I’m so excited for you to see the positive impacts it will have on your relationships. Because we’re still transitioning from our old system to this new letter system, continuing to train staff and get everyone fully equipped for this new system, and doing quality checks on our letters as well as working out bugs, the letter process is not yet up to the speed that we want it. However, it won’t be like this long term and we’re grateful for your patience and grace with us and with your children as we all move to a more efficient and much quicker letter process, together :).

      1. Karen Sheets July 20, 2016

        I am happy to write that I have now received information from 3 of the 4 girls on the family gifts I sent last October. Today I received my first scanned letter & a full page color scanned photo of my little girl from Equador with the gifts she purchased with money I sent last October, 2015. It really is a nice quality picture, but the fold across the faces of the kids does take away from it. I’ve only seen the other 2 online so far. Can I please request these to be sent to me in JPeg form so that I can get them printed somewhere. I would really appreciate having JPEgs of my most recent pictures, including the girls with their gifts and the updated photo of Adele. Thank you very much for your help.

        1. Sarah July 21, 2016

          Hi Karen! I am so glad you received the letter and photos from Wendy and that you have now heard from three of the four kids you sent gifts to :)! I will go ahead and send you jpeg copies of the photos on Wendy’s letter and the new photo of Adele too! Look for an email from us soon!

  46. Barbara Carroll June 21, 2016

    I am seeing different answers to this question so thought I would ask and see if anyone knows how this will actually work – when we send a letter with a bookmark, do they go together, or does the letter go sooner as a scan and the bookmark arrive later by itself?

    And if we make a bible verse bookmark, will it be translated? I often made bible verse cards and also talked about the verse in my letter – but if they are going separately I’m afraid that will be confusing to the child.

    I read above that only scanned items are translated – so does that mean that musical cards are not translated? Curiously, I have found hundreds and hundreds of ways to send paper items to my kids that Were within the old guidelines and that I felt really would benefit them in lots no ways (particularly the bible verse cards I made, which I felt would encourage scripture memorization if they kept it displayed) – yet I have never once considered sending a musical card. It almost just doesn’t even make sense to me that we could send a musical card, but not a bible verse card, and I wonder if there might not be a way to reconsider this decision? Making the cards was also always a blessing to me as well, because by the time I had written out the verse for each of our kids, it was also written on my heart. I always thought that was just a neat bonus and just proof that writing is a blessing to both parties.

    Another curious thing to me is that you say that most children receive 2 letters a year, and in the guidelines you recommend that sponsors write at least 2 times a year. If this is the norm, I’m wondering why there is so much emphasis on the new process being able to zip letters back and forth more quickly? Those of us who do like to write more often usually also like to send additional items along with the letters – but now that is being discouraged (or prevented).

    Most of the coloring pages recommended on your Pinterest page are in English – what about children in other countries that do not speak English? And if I send coloring pages or other items for scanning, are there regulations for copy written material? Before I could send the little Dover maze or puzzle books, but is it legal to scan copies of these? Just curious, as I want to be sure and stay in the guidelines. I’m afraid my kids will be disappointed, but hopefully it is being explained to them and they won’t feel less loved due to the decrease in items and quality that they receive.

    Having been to countries with poverty before, I’m surprised that the parents would say that the items did not mean much to the children, but that it was just the letters that really mattered. My kids always thank me again and again for every little sticker sheet, drawn pictures and verse cards that I send – and when I visited Ecuador, my kids’ parents there thanked me in person for all the things I always send to their children. Maybe my case is just odd – but I do know of others who have felt the same. Perhaps Compassion might reconsider and at least let us send a handmade bible verse card to encourage memorization?

    Thanks for letting us share our feedback and for answering our questions! Have a great day!

    1. Susan Sayler June 22, 2016

      Hi Barbara!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback with us!

      Anything that can be scanned will be scanned. This means that if you send a bookmark and a letter, the letter will be scanned and sent separately from the bookmark.

      Anything sent physically in the mail to the children will not be translated. This means that if you send a bible verse bookmark, it will not be translated. You are welcome to send a bookmark with a bible verse already translated if you would like. In addition, musical cards will not be translated.

      Conversely, anything that is scanned will be translated. This means that you coloring pages, if they include words, will be translated. We have checked with our lawyers about the legality of scanning, destroying, and reprinting. Because we are a non-profit organization who is not trying to re-sell this copyrighted material and we are destroying the original, it is legal.

      I love your story about writing the bible verse cards and I am just so sorry that we can no longer send them. You are still welcome to write bible verses in your letter or as a whole sheet of paper though! I’m sure that your kids would love to still hear about verses that are really speaking to you right now.

      We love that so many sponsors write to their children frequently. Each letter really makes a huge difference in the children’s lives. We grieve that so many children do not receive any letters and we are always working to help more children receive at least two letters a year. This is what the guidelines you mentioned are about – we are looking to bring these children from receiving no letters to two letters a year. Also, please understand that the two letters a year is not a limit in any way. It is fabulous that you write so much! Please don’t stop! I also want to make clear that this decision was based off of years of feedback that we have received from sponsors expressing frustration over the length of time that it took for letters to be delivered. This decision had little to do with the recommendations that we make about the frequency that we encourage sponsors to write to their children.

      We and the families of sponsored children are not saying that stickers and other paper gifts are not valued. What we are saying is that the words of encouragement that are exchanged are the most important part of the letter writing process. While we were looking to decrease the amount of time that it took for letters to be delivered, we did not want to lose sight what was most important.

      1. Barbara Carroll June 22, 2016

        Thanks so much Susan for the answers to
        my questions – I think I am finally getting a vision of the new process :0) I still am hoping Compassion can reconsider their decision of being able to send musical cards but not bible verse cards. I was at Walmart this evening and took a look at their musical cards – I think they are rather garish and worldly, not to mention that they are $5-8 each. No doubt a child that has never seen one will be amazed (or scared) when they open the cover :0) but if they are not translated, I wonder what the child will actually learn from receiving it – it will just be a curious toy. With the new guidelines, it almost appears that Compassion “recommends” sending these musical cards, but it seems that this $5-8 could be better spent in another manner.

        Since becoming a sponsor in 2011 I have been encouraged and trained by blog posts, Compassion guidelines, and incredible sponsors who gave great ideas of how to enhance our kids lives with the different items we could find to send along with their letters (even mini calendars found for 50 cents at our local dollar store), but these items will be impossible to replicate with a scan. It will take some time to adjust to the new system, and for our hearts to be reassured that it is for the best. I think more clarity about the new system and what can be sent, and why the changes were made, would go a long way in helping sponsors feel better about the changes. Is there a link on the website that explains fully how the system works as you have explained here?

        Thanks again for all your work for the kids! Have a great day!

        1. Sarah June 23, 2016

          Hi Barbara! We haven’t yet done a more in depth post on our website or blog about the new letter system, but sponsors are always allowed to ask any questions they have! We have posted the new guidelines in several places on the website though. We will absolutely consider doing a more in-depth explanation and maybe working to create a tutorial for sponsors as well. Thank you so much for sharing all of your feedback and for continuing to bless your children with your letters. It will be a change, but I know you will continue to be a wonderful sponsor!

  47. Makayla Long June 21, 2016

    I received my most recent letter from my child this past week. And of course it is one of the new scanned letters. I was ecstatic because it had only been a month since I received my last letter and I wasn’t expecting one so soon. The beautiful drawing that my Jasmel made for me showing me all the things she enjoys doing during school vacation was just as beautiful as the previous drawings that were not scanned. The big bonus was that I didn’t have to wait for what seemed like forever to receive it.

    My sweet girl said “I remember the last letter it was really beautiful like you.” I know that all that letter contained was a letter, and not even on fancy stationary. The words had to be what was so beautiful to my girl. That won’t stop me from sending the pretty things and crafts that I can send but it made me realize that if I never sent those pretty things my girl would still love the words of love and encouragement.

    1. Amy Hawbaker June 22, 2016

      Thank you, Makayla, for the wonderful feedback! I am so happy to hear how quickly you received Jasmel’s letter and that the quality of the letter was amazing. The children are definitely so encouraged and inspired by the words that we write. A sponsor’s words to a child telling them they are beautiful, they are valued, and that they can have big dreams can, sometimes, be the only time they hear these words. Thanks for sharing!

  48. Barbara Carroll June 20, 2016

    I have really enjoyed connecting with our sponsored kids and felt disappointed too when I received my first scanned letter, as I had not yet realized about the change. I understand and agree with the idea of being economical, but does reprinting the letters and items sent really save funds? I would like to understand the process better, and perhaps it will make me feel better about it. Previously I would send a letter, stickers, a bible verse card that I had made with a specific verse on it and room for the verse to be translated – and in would decorate the card with stickers, glitter glue, drawings, and decoratively cut papers – all the while during the creation, I would be pouring out prayers for my child – asking for the scripture to be very real to her etc……and I would also send coloring pages (usually one or two for each child in the family. For the holidays or their birthdays I would send the little Dover mini books with mazes, puzzles or paper stencils – and special greeting cards also. I have even made little thin paper booklets for them so that they would have paper at home to draw, journal or just to practice writing on. I’m confused as to why a musical greeting card can be sent (particularly when most of these children might not recognize the tune), yet my homemade Christmas card cannot be sent (even though it is flat). It seems that if I purchase these items on my end, then mail them to Compassion who scans them – then they are emailed to the country and reprinted there – and my original items are thrown away – but the letters and items coming and going on both ends have to be reprinted – and ink is quite expensive – so are we really saving funds? Do the coloring pages I bought and sent just get thrown away after scanning? Or is there a plan to send these items to possibly some needy children in the US? And only 6 pages? I can imagine that my kids will be disappointed, so I hope they will not be discouraged. For me, I was OK with the length of time that it took for the letters to get back-and-forth – after all, I understood that it was all the way on the other side of the world. And I really treasure those pages which were sometimes smudged with dirt when they arrived in my mailbox. To me, it seemed that the extra items really spoke to the children, especially the very young ones, as in these very poor countries they do not seem to have as much understanding of words. But a little girl holding a big red cut out heart with glitter glue drawn around the edges and the Bible verse written in the middle seems like it really made a difference to them. I suppose my main concerns are, are we actually saving funds if you consider the extra printing that must go into this process and the fact that I have purchased things that do not reach my children, and are these things just around away? And my main concern is will my children understand that I still want to send them these things (up to a quarter inch thick), but now they will only have pictures of them and less of them all together? And as an advocate, do we need to be informing the sponsors in our church about these changes? I know that I often get questions about what can and cannot be sent, and I almost feel like it’s my responsibility to let them know there have been changes. Thanks so much for helping me with these questions! I know that is a mighty God that we serve, and he can take even scanned pages and multiply them into a miracle – I just thought I would pass along some of my feelings and observations, in hopes that if there seems to be more changes needed, perhaps that information would be useful.

    1. Sarah June 21, 2016

      Hi Barbara! Your post, though I know you are struggling with the new guidelines, is so encouraging. Your love for each of your precious girls is evident, which we are so grateful for. Changing the letter system was not a light or quick decision for Compassion. After years of research and prayer, we knew the only way we would be able to impact the lives of more precious children living in poverty would be to make changes in how we are using the funds so generously donated by sponsors. Each box of physical letters that we were previously shipping to country offices cost roughly $450 to send. With the amount of encouraging letters sponsors were writing, it was costing us several tens of thousands of dollars a week to send them out from our office. The printers we use are of very high quality and are very efficient. By being able to scan and print letters out in the receiving offices, that money is now available for us to use on other things- most importantly being able to provide program benefits to many more children!

      We allow the staff at each child’s center to explain the changes to the letter system in a way they will be able to understand. I would encourage you to continue being a creative sponsor and find new things to send to your kiddos. Though the guidelines are different now, there are still so many things you can send! If you have a local Christian bookstore, you can find detailed coloring books with Bible verses or devotionals in them. You should be able to find them online as well. Educational worksheets, photos, and drawings can still be sent to them as well. Once the letters are scanned, we are going to donate everything possible to our local community outreaches where your coloring sheets etc have the opportunity to be a blessing to another child. If we aren’t able to donate an item, it will be tossed. Yes, you are able to tell other sponsors about the changes to the letter system, and direct them to our office if they have questions you cannot answer :). We chose to continue sending stickers, bookmarks and musical greeting cards because those are the items sponsors send most often that cannot maintain their integrity by being scanned. You are still welcome to send your cards for Christmas, but they will be scanned. Though your girls won’t be able to feel the divots and the texture on your homemade cards, your words will still hold the greatest value of all. Your girls are growing up in a world that constantly tells them they are worthless, that they have no value. But you’ve become God’s path to answering their prayers. Your words instill value on their hearts. They remind the girls that they are daughters of the Most High, who loves them unconditionally. I know this is going to be a huge adjustment for you, but I am praying that you continue to invest the same love and encouragement to your girls :). We’re excited about the future the Lord has planned for Compassion. To be able to re-purpose the funds we save to bring hope to even one more child, to encourage one more child that they are worth far more than they know, and to see one more child accept Jesus as their Savior is worth it. We are blessed to partner with you, Barbara!

      1. Barbara Carroll June 21, 2016

        Sarah, thanks so much for your response! I had some other questions pop up so I wanted to run them by you :0) If I send a letter with stickers, the stickers are mailed but the letter is scanned and emailed – so do these two items meet back up with each other in the country office and get delivered together, or are they delivered separately? How big can the bookmark be to be considered a bookmark? I was thinking of doing the bible verse cards I send as bookmarks rather than a flat 4×6 card as unusually send. And a third question – if I still want to make an elaborate card, is there a way to duplicate it for each child without me making duplicates at home? If the item will just be scanned and tossed it seemed the frugal thing to do would be to just make one item but have it scanned for each child. If I want to send 5 coloring pages to each child, can I just send 5 and they be scanned and sent to each child, or do I still need to send 5 for each? It really would save me a great deal of time and funds even on my end if the items could be scanned and sent to all our kids (especially if they are just going to be tossed). I know Compassion is trying to work everything out for the best, and I just want to make sure that I utilize all the possibilities. I believe that if we fully understand the process and use it to the best of our abilities, it will be a blessing to both sponsor and child! Since I’ve been in a country office before, I saw what it was like in the mail room – and it was so fun to find one of my envelopes in my child’s project box – filled with stickers, coloring pages, mazes, small coloring books, bible verse card and yes, the letter! It would just be great to know exactly how that process will work now, and how all the items will meet back up with each other – or do letters that come with bookmarks or musical greeting cards still get sent by the regular method? And at the old pace? Thanks so much!

        1. Amy Hawbaker June 22, 2016

          Good morning Barbara! When you send stickers and a letter to your children, the letter is scanned and the stickers are sent by regular mail. So your child will receive the letter first and then the stickers at a later time. You are more than welcome to tell your child that you are sending them stickers, and they will receive them on another day. This is a wonderful idea about including the bible verse on the bookmark!
          We do not have any specific size guidelines for a bookmark, other than the 8 1/2″ x 11″ or smaller standard. My only suggestion with this is to make sure that it is distinguishable as a bookmark so that our staff will know to mail it instead of scanning it. I would suggest making it long and skinny. Regrettably, you would not be able to send us one handmade card or coloring page and have us scan it for all of your children. You would need an item for each child. I definitely understand that you want to be frugal since the items will be scanned. One option you have is to make one card and then copy it yourself for each of the other children. You also have an option on your online account to send full page photos. This is a great option for the coloring pages if you have the ability to scan and upload them to your computer. Once the coloring page is scanned, you can upload it as a full page photo and send it to all of your children. The only difference with this method is that you are limited to 2 full page photos per 24 hour period. This will help to save money because you could buy one coloring book and use it for all of your children. You can also download coloring pages and activity sheets from the internet and then upload these as full page photos. The letters that you send with bookmarks and musical greeting cards will also be scanned. So your child will receive the letter first and then bookmark or musical card at a later date. I hope this provides some additional clarity for you on this new process. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

          1. Barbara Carroll June 22, 2016

            Thank you Amy for your reply! I think I need a tutorial haha! So, let me see if I have this – we can send 6 pages at a time front and back, for a total of 12 scanned pages – but only two of those can be coloring pages or other types of full page images(so the rest have to be letter?) – and only the 2 within a 24 hour period (is that two per child or two per account?) The letters will go first and any other uploaded or scanned images – and then the stickers bookmarks and musical cards will go by regular mail – so if I want to send those for holidays or special occasions they need to be sent on the old time schedule (2-3 months in advance). Is there a limit to how often we can write online? Thanks so much for all the clarification – after encouraging so many others to send extra items when they write, I feel a responsibility to fully understand this so I can pass the info on. Thanks for everything y’all do for our kiddos! We love them like crazy and feel so honored to get to partner with y’all in ministering to them. Have a great day’

            1. Sarah June 23, 2016

              Hi again Barbara! I love all of your questions and your desire to pass on correct, complete information to other sponsors! Online you can only include two full pages of images/ coloring pages in addition to the letter you write. If you hand write your letter, you can do any combination of letter pages, photos, and coloring pages as long as it fits the max page limit guidelines :). You can send one letter to each individual child in a 24 hour period. If you want to send any of the items that will go through the physical mail to your children for holidays, yes, I would encourage you to still send those 2-3 months early so they will get there in time :). Blessings to you, Barbara!

              1. Rebecca July 29, 2016

                No offense to any of you guys but this new process totally sucks. It zaps out all of the joy and personal nature of getting and receiving a physical item from each other. I don’t want a copy and i don’want my kids to get a copy. I understand it for those who use the online writing feature but for those who choose to handwrite their letters, the child should get them. You claim it makes it faster and it may but it’s really about money. Although I personally think it’s going to backfire as less people will want to continue with Compassion when the personable aspect is taken out. It also makes it harder to convince people who think sponsorship is a scam when I’m showing them scanned things. I just hate it. Sorry but I do. It’s confusing as to what can be sent or scanned and now my stickers that go with the letter are going to arrive late and some things may not arrive at all. Really disappointed. I’ve sponsored for 8 years and if didn’t love my 5 kids dearly, I’d walk away for a more personal experience with another company. Please try to streamline this better or give sponsors options. I’m not well off, I’ll never get to visit my kids and their hand touched items are all I have.

                1. Susan Sayler August 1, 2016

                  Rebecca, I am so sorry for the disappointment, frustration, and confusion we have caused in regards to this new letter delivery process. You are such a wonderful and faithful supporter of this ministry and we could not be more thankful for all that you have done for children over the years. I sincerely hope that we can earn back your trust. In the mean time, I’ll try to make things a little simpler: stickers, musical cards, and bookmarks will be physically mailed to your children. Anything else needs to be paper and scan-friendly as they will be scanned and sent electronically to your child. Please do let us know if you have any further questions or concerns and know that we hear and are taking your feedback into consideration.

  49. Rachel Johnson June 16, 2016

    I think it’s wonderful that Compassion allows and invites feedback on their posts, and seems to respond to each comment/concern. However, I have to say this as a word of encouragement to everyone–we have to trust that this new change in communication wasn’t just some quickly contrived solution to save money. As Emily Vanhoutan said, “We made these decisions based on several years worth of sponsor and child surveys, consulting, and great amounts of prayer.” They asked sponsors, they asked children, they sought other’s opinions, and ultimately decided this was the best move after MUCH consideration. It doesn’t seem at all that this decision was taken lightly, completely disregarding those affected most–the children and their sponsors. We have to trust them that based on all these perspectives, this change was made because it is ultimately for the best.

  50. Mela Kircher June 10, 2016

    Hi all, I’m a new sponsor and just sent my second letter to Lizbeth. I enjoyed writing it on my laptop, picking the stationary and attaching a photo of my cat. I’m happy to think of Lizbeth receiving the letter shortly. That said, I hope Compassion will revisit their decision not to send on physical postcards, greeting cards and paper crafts. These can be displayed and/or played with. They are substantially different from a letter and so merit different treatment (in my opinion).

    I appreciate all you do and look forward to forming a relationship with Lizbeth!


    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 10, 2016

      Mela, we really appreciate your feedback so thank you so much for taking the time to try out our new online letter tool and for sharing your thoughts with us! Although postcards, greeting cards, and crafts will be scanned and sent digitally, there are still items you can send that will go in their original form. Musical greeting cards, stickers, and bookmarks will still be physically mailed to your sweet kiddos for them to enjoy in their original form. I know how much crafts mean to our sponsors and to our kiddos though. So there is definitely a way to still get these to them. For example, if you have a snowflake, or a paper doll that you want your child to have, write a list of instructions on cutting it out and assembling the doll. When it is scanned and sent to your child and then printed, he or she will still be able to cut out the snowflake and cut the paper doll out and assemble it! 🙂 Also, I want to encourage you that these kiddos do lots of crafts at the center when they attend as well! Allowing kids to be kids is a big part of our ministry and our staff love creating fun activities for them to enjoy! Thank you for investing in your relationship with her. I know she’ll be overjoyed to get your next letter; you’re blessing her in such a beautiful way.

  51. Amy June 9, 2016

    Hello! With all of the new changes with mail delivery, I wanted to ask about stickers. I understand that flat stickers are allowed but not puffy or raised texture stickers. I was wondering about some other sticker contributions and if they were approved and mailed to my children around the end of March 2016. I am thinking of the 4-6 page paper/flat sticker character/princess scenes that I mailed to a few of my Compassion children. I have similar paper sticker scenes that I purchased from a previous shopping trip that I would like to send again but thought it would be best to clarify if they were and continue to be approved. Thanks for any information. By the way, I love being a Compassion sponsor. Have a Blessed Day! 🙂

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 10, 2016

      Hi Amy! Anything that was sent by you before April 11th (when our new system deployed) was sent in original form to your child according to the old letter guidelines :). Because they’re stickers, I don’t have a copy of what they looked like but it sounds like they’ll still go through according to our new guidelines :). Again, as long as the stickers are flat and made of paper, you should be all set to go. Just be sure to include a letter with your stickers when you send them. A letter must be included with attachments in order for the attachments to be sent. I’m so glad that you love being a sponsor! We love partnering with you and I’m so encouraged by your heart and excitement to invest in a child’s life! Happy writing!

  52. Katie P June 5, 2016

    As a new sponsor just TODAY, my kids and I are very upset that the handwritten letters won’t be landing in our hands or our sponsored child’s hands. We asked this question specifically before committing to this sponsorship. Since we haven’t written our first letter, I would like to know how we go about withdrawing our support. We want the personal connection that letters provide and will look for an opportunity to have that elsewhere.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 6, 2016

      Katie, I’m sorry for your disappointment and to hear that you’re ending your sponsorship due to the changes we’ve made with our letter process. I also sincerely apologize for any miscommunication about our letters when you were learning about our program. It sounds like you learned about us as we were going through this transition and still updating the information we provided to sponsors. We certainly did not intend to mislead you. Although letters will now be scanned, I want to encourage you that the value and meaning of your letters still remains as your words have the opportunity to speak hope and encouragement into your child’s life. Children love getting encouraging letters and photos (which can still be sent) from their sponsors and value the relationship they get to build with you. Your children would still be able to send bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and stickers to your kiddos which would be mailed in their original form. The letters you send are printed on high quality colored paper and they’re beautiful and vibrant :). The children still love them and they’re continuing to receive the most important message of the gospel and that you love and believe in them.

      If you still wish to discontinue we respect your decision and can certainly help you. Regrettably, I couldn’t locate an account for you under your name or email. It’s possible your sponsorship is still processing or if you sponsored at an event, it can take up to four weeks for us to process as we have to wait for all forms to be mailed to us and sorted through from the event you attended. Please call our office at (800) 336-7676 or email us at [email protected] and one of our representatives can assist you in making your child available for another sponsor. Our office hours are 7am-5:30pm MST Monday through Friday. We are so grateful for your heart for children and I pray that God leads you to a place that better fits what you’re looking for.

  53. Karen June 4, 2016

    How was this change communicated to our sponsored children? How did you explain to them that our letters will be smaller and emptier?

    Compassion has spent years encouraging us to send special items…now, we’re being told none of that enhances our connection with our sponsored children?

    I don’t believe children enjoy a flat printed letter and coloring pages as much as they treasure a letter with a fancy card with a variety of textures or a puzzle to assemble or laminated paper dolls/toys or postcards/photos on sturdy paper that won’t easily crease and tear like the paper used for scanning.

    Yes, I’ll continue monthly payments for my CHILDREN’s sake, not because I agree with Compassion’s decision. The JOY for me and for my kids has been substantially diminished.

    Scanning may give us prompt communication and reduce your costs, but it is a less personal connection. Why can’t each sponsor choose to utilize the online electronic letters/photos OR 6 pages for you to scan OR continuing to send snail mail with tangible items each time they write a letter?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 6, 2016

      Hi Karen! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback with us and I am so sorry for the disappointment. We understand that change is hard and value the beautiful artwork and crafts that our sponsors have sent in the past. We know that these items were special and very personal. But we believe they still can be! Be encouraged that your words carry so much value and God used and will continue to use the words you speak to your child to plant hope, lift their spirits, and remind them that they are loved and valued by Jesus. This important message of the love of Jesus lasts forever.

      We allow our staff to communicate these changes to children in each center in a way they will understand. Rather than empty and smaller, we believe your letters are still very special and meaningful and our staff continue to remind your children how deeply you care for them and believe in them. The children in our program have expressed to us how meaningful it is knowing their sponsor believes in them through the letters they get. They also love putting faces to the letters they receive and we knew it was important to continue allowing photos to be sent. They still love and treasure the letters they receive from you in whatever form it comes to them because they love building a relationship with you. Also, the letter is printed in beautifully vibrant color and high quality that they’ll be able to enjoy.

      Although anything made of paper will be scanned, bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and stickers, will still be sent in its original form to your kiddos. I pray that you will be encouraged with what you can still send and that you will see the beautiful impact words can have in a child’s life. I encourage you to check out ideas other sponsors are coming up with on how to be creative with our new guidelines. You can see some ideas on our Pinterest page! I also hope you will be inspired with love and encouragement to share in word form to your precious kiddos in the letters. God bless you!

  54. Nancy Fleck June 3, 2016

    I am grateful to Compassion Int. for all the hard work that goes in to helping children around the world. If the new letter writing format is more helpful and cost effective, then I am all for it. More money can go towards helping more children. I certainly do not want to add frustration to this by being negative. There were people complaining about letters taking too long to get to their child and their child’s letter getting to them. Problem resolved! The two beautiful children that my husband and I sponsor will not suffer because they receive a copy of our letters. I do believe they would be troubled if they thought we were causing a stir about this with Compassion. Please, use any money saved by scanning our letters to help another child.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 6, 2016

      Nancy, thank you so much for your kind heart for children and for your support of our ministry and this new change that we’ve implemented! I pray that you see it’s benefits and continue building a beautiful relationship with your precious children. We appreciate you and I know your kiddos will be overjoyed to hear from you again!

  55. Heather Hollifield June 2, 2016

    I haven’t read through all the comments, but am I understanding correctly that we are no longer allowed to mail anything to our children? No gifts, cards or letters through regular mail???

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 3, 2016

      Hi Heather! Our guidelines have changed. However, you are still allowed to mail items to your child. You can still hand write letters to them but they will be scanned and sent digitally to our field offices and then printed out and delivered to your child. They’re very high quality and still very enjoyable for your sweeties :). Most of all, they’re still getting your words of hope and truth! Also, you can still send bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and stickers. All three of these items will be mailed physically to your child. You can read our new letter guidelines in full detail, here.

      1. Heather Hollifield June 3, 2016

        Ok, thank you. I just needed clarification.

        I would like to say something in Christian love though…. I understand why people are disappointed at not getting to send more gifts and their original letters, but I think the trade-off for having faster, therefore better, communication with our children is worth it. I feel like sometimes we focus too much on the material things anyway when the content of our letters is what’s life-changing and truly meaningful. I think it’s hard for us, living in such a material world, to understand that our sponsored children do not live in societies like ours. Besides, I know the Compassion Centers provide crafts and fun projects for the kids. One of my children in India recently told me how much she was enjoying making paper flowers at the center. It doesn’t matter to me if the crafts she enjoys come from my hand or from the center. Either way, she is enjoying them and it brings her happiness. I’m just thrilled that I am able to send more pictures because that seems to be what my kids like most (other than letters). They love seeing our pets, the area where we live, places we go on vacation, etc. That opens up a whole new world for them and makes them feel apart of our lives.

        Another point to consider… One of my correspondence kids in Kenya recently told me that he really wanted a ball. That is something that I couldn’t send him anyway. But, we do have the option to send a little extra money so they can buy the things they want or need, which are probably items that we were never allowed to send before the recent changes. And to those of you who have already purchased or made items to send to your children (I have a box of things myself), may I suggest packing those items in an OCC shoebox this year. Your items will still go to a child in need and will be cherished.

        I also understand that some people liked to pray over their letters before sending them, but we should remember that God is not bound by handwritten letters or electronic ones. Our prayers will be effective no matter what the “medium” is.

        I don’t say any of this to make anyone angry or to be critical. I just hate to see Chritians upset with each other over ministry. Change is never easy and it always takes time to adjust but I think great things can come from this more frequent communication. We just have to focus on what we’ve gained, not what we’ve lost.

        1. Karen Sheets June 7, 2016

          Heather, you make some very good points. I’m really struggling with this change and my heart still feels a heavy burden over it. Part of that is also because it’s taking so long to hear from my girls about $ gifts I sent way back in the beginning of October 2015, but prayerfully once they get this change all ironed out, frustrations such as mine will be diminished. Thank you for your perspective. It helps me a little. I just really hope the kids aren’t as disappointed as the sponsors are. That’s what worries me the most. I’m not convinced that they won’t be.

          1. Emily Vanhoutan June 8, 2016

            Karen, I’m sorry you feel burdened about these changes and I pray that as we continue rolling out this new system, you see the beautiful impacts it will have on your relationships with your children. I’m looking at your account right now and I see one of our representatives contacted you yesterday with some great news about on of your children and the gifts you sent. It looks like we sent you a picture as well :). I hope you enjoy it and I’m sorry for the delay in getting you your thank you letter. I want to encourage you that the children absolutely love getting letters from their sponsors in whatever form they’re in and are overjoyed whenever their name is called out that their sponsor wrote to them. Your words are powerful and I’m excited about the ideas sponsors have been putting out there of creative things to still send with our new guidelines that I know your kiddos will treasure and find so special. Keep an eye on our Pinterest page for ideas as we’ll keep it regularly updated. I understand this change is hard so please know we’re here to talk through everything with you and are happy to answer any other concerns you have.

            1. Karen Sheets June 8, 2016

              Thank you, Emily. I did get a picture of Christina with her grandmother and a man (not sure who he is) and the nice things they were able to purchase. It does feel better knowing she did indeed get the gift and was able to get some things to help out her family, including a goat! It’s really not about the thank you for me; just to know and to see what she was able to get makes me feel much better. The picture of her with her family and the gifts is definitely thanks enough. I got an envelope in the mail today saying “New pictures of your sponsored child!”. The pictures were not new, though. They were the same one I’ve had for awhile, of Adele. I hope things start running smoothly with all the new changes soon.

              1. Sarah June 9, 2016

                Hi Karen! It sounds like you received quite a special photo from Christina! Thank you so much for blessing her family with a special gift- one that keeps on giving :)! I’m looking into the photo of Adele for you. It looks like the photo is the same one that was taken in 2015. It’s one of her in a skirt (what a pretty pattern) and a soccer jersey, correct? I’m sending an inquiry today to have them take a new photo of her since this one is not an updated photo at all. It usually takes between 6-8 weeks for us to hear back from the office in Burkina Faso, but I will contact you as soon as her photo has been updated!

        2. Emily Vanhoutan June 6, 2016

          Heather, thank you so much for your feedback and for your support in this change. We appreciate your heart for these precious kiddos and patience with us through this transition! I’m so excited for them to continue receiving loving letters from you and more fun pictures of your pets! 🙂 Also, those are fantastic ideas! Thank you for helping and encouraging other sponsors. I’m so glad that your sweeties are having fun making crafts at the center!

  56. Pam June 1, 2016

    It takes Compassion International nearly 2 months to “officially” communicate this change to it’s sponsors??! The people this affects the most! And then via email? I wouldn’t have known about this change in the communication process at all if I hadn’t accidently visited the blog sometime in late April myself as I don’t make it a habit to visit the website. My sponsored child’s information doesn’t get updated more than once a year at best and I am a firm proponent of the hand-written letter’s importance so visiting the website wasn’t important to me. I might as well use it exclusively for communication now since anything I would send my sponsored boy will only be scanned and then tossed/donated. Nice way to contribute to the Colorado landfills. My family and I have enjoyed acquiring post cards of places we have visited specifically with the intent of sending them to him. That opportunity has been taken away from myself and everyone else with this communication delivery change. No longer will he see the front and back of a post card with information included just for him, I expect only the front picture will be scanned and sent now. Time, love, prayers, and thoughts go into the “objects” that sponsors send their children. “You matter enough to me that I’m going to spend my time making something specifically with you in mind.” I appreciate the fact you’re trying to shorten the communication time for everyone involved, however I personally feel it has been cheapened. I would be happy to have the option to add extra postage if I knew that anything I wanted him to receive based on the previous guidelines would be sent. I’ve been trying to come to terms with this change since I learned of it, but the near two month delayed notification email I received today is the tipping point in my silence. I won’t repeat the complaints other commenters have stated. I have the same ones and you’ve heard them all already, along with seeing their same responses. The next time Compassion International considers a change of this magnitude which directly affects the very reason they exist, THE SPONSORS!, that you do a much better job of communicating with those people ahead of the change. My sponsored boy is not the cause of this issue and I won’t punish him for it by withdrawing as his sponsor, but you can be certain that my family and I have strongly considered whether we should due to this issue. It appears Compassion Int’l is more concerned with the money than the compassion to us. The value of the human touch cannot be underestimated, but it appears it has been.

    1. Susan Sayler June 2, 2016

      We hear you, Pam. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We greatly value your partnership in ministry to Santos over the last two years! We fully recognize that these changes could have been communicated better and this is why we decided to work towards making things right by sending out a communication to all sponsors. Again, we are so sorry that these changes have caught you off guard and caused so much turmoil for you. I pray that you will still look to connect with precious Santos despite the new letter writing process.

  57. Terri May 31, 2016

    I have been with compassion for a very long time. I was in the middle of making a hand made gift for my sponsored and coorespondence kids, when, like most of you happened upon it by accident, on this blog, which I am on maybe 4 times a year. The first blow happened, when compassion failed to communicate all these changes with the sponsors. Who spoke on behalf of the sponsors?
    The second blow happened when I had to throw out all my hand work that were intended as gifts!!
    Forget about calling headquarters, you will not be able to speak with anybody that can answer any questions for you.
    What about the wise use of our resources? If I send a letter, on paper, it is scanned and printed on paper, what happens to the letter I wrote? Is it just thrown away? I have seen a letter that was scanned into my account, it is blurry and I can hardly read it. That is why I want the original the child wrote, and on that subject, my letters coming to me have completely stopped. So much for faster is better. Not so.
    I thought I was the only sponsor that felt as though the joy was gone in communicating with my kids. After reading a lot of comments tonight I see that I am not alone in that feeling.

    1. Susan Sayler June 2, 2016

      Terri, I can hear in your post that you are very frustrated with these new changes. I am so sorry for the frustration and disappointment you are feeling in regards to our lack of communication on these changes. It was certainly not our intention to catch you by surprise. Have you tried calling us? We are more than happy to help and all of our representatives are standing by to speak with you. Our number is 800-336-7676. We are available Monday through Friday 7AM to 5:30PM Mountain Time. If you have any specific feedback regarding a call in which you did not feel that you were served properly, please email me at [email protected] and I will make sure that representative receives additional training. We are currently in transition and working to build the kind of quality we want to see with the letter scanning process. I am so sorry the letter you saw was blurry. Could you tell me which letter that was so that I can let our web team know? As far as the letters stopping, it looks like there are five letters that are in translation on their way to you from your children. I trust that you will receive these letters real soon.

  58. Karen Sheets May 31, 2016

    This situation continues to really bother me and I can see that the overall Compassion sponsors community feels the same way. I’m wondering how our children are going to feel. I think Compassion is not being realistic if they think these kids aren’t going to miss all of the special “love” gifts created and sent to our kids. I think it is naive’ to think the kids really only care about our written words of encouragement. I grew up with plenty. I wasn’t rich, but middle class, but if I got an envelope in the mail with something special in it, something made just for me, it would have been like Christmas or my birthday. I think they must all look around on letter day to see if they are the only ones confused about why everything has changed? If the sponsors are emotionally hurt over these changes, I can never be convinced that the kids aren’t as well. I sure hope all of this was explained to them better than it was explained to us. I’m sad for all of us. You don’t need to apologize because you’ve had to do that over and over and I understand the decision has been made and you’re just doing your jobs. I wonder how many sponsors will be lost because of this decision though :0(

  59. Amy May 26, 2016

    We are just a month into our sponsorship and this whole thing has been confusing. In NONE of our original correspondence with Compassion did they ever mention that our letters would be scanned or that there was a page length. If I didn’t log into my account online, I wouldn’t have known about these changes.

    1. Susan Sayler May 27, 2016

      Amy, I am so sorry for the confusion and lack of communication in regards to this change. You must have started right around the time that we began scanning letters in April. That said, we are aware that we could have communicated this change better and will look to communicate better in the future. Please do let us know if you have any further questions or concerns regarding this change as we are happy to help.

  60. Rebecca May 23, 2016

    The joy of writing to my sponsored children has been taken away by these changes. I loved making each letter unique and beautiful, created just for them. A scanned copy is no where near as personal as something that I held in my hands, prayed over, and poured love into. You’re fooling yourselves if you believe that it is and expect us to believe that it is.

    1. Hazel Helmer May 26, 2016

      I thought about that myself. Just getting to hold the same letter in my hand that my sponsored child had held just a few months before was special. But it’s not really the paper that the children care about, I think it’s the words written on it that make it special.

    2. Susan May 25, 2016

      Rebecca, I agree with you 100%. It really does take the joy out of letter writing. There were restrictions on what could be sent to children and now the letter writing quality has been diminished with the new guidelines. Creating cards and sending them is a part of touch by the one who sent them. It is something children can hold in their hands and now that has been erased by the scan and e-mail technology. It cheapens the gift.
      If I am entitled to my opinion, I think Compassion just “shot themselves in the foot” with this new letter writing rule.

    3. Sarah May 24, 2016

      Rebecca, I am so sorry for the disappointment that these changes have caused you, though I do hope that the joy of investing in these children’s lives still continues to grow in your heart. Your encouragement and investment in these children over the past eight years is something we treasure. Although scans are not the same as your original handcrafted letters, the power of your love and your words is still maintained. The scans of any creative letters you make will still arrive in your children’s hands looking absolutely stunning.

  61. Jerry Allison May 19, 2016

    OK, I’m just a little confused. I’m a brand new sponsor & I just dropped in to see how to communicate with our child. It seems that changes have just been made. If experienced sponsors are having a time with this, just imagine being a new sponsor seeing all this. I guess I’ll send all our mail electronically, but I would like to know if the items such as pictures & drawings will be printed out in color. And will pictures be printed on slick photo paper?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan May 20, 2016

      Hi Jerry! I’m so excited that you’re a new sponsor with us and rest assured these guidelines are not intended to be confusing or difficult for our sponsors. An easy check whenever you’re sending something in the mail is to quickly ask yourself, “is it flat, paper, and scan friendly?” If it is, it will go through. If it’s not, the only items that will be physically mailed in its original form to your child are musical greeting cards, bookmarks, and stickers :). Those are the guidelines but you can see an expanded list and greater detail here.

      You’re welcome to just send your mail electronically however, as we’ve added some fun new features to our online letter writing tool that I hope you enjoy! Pictures and drawings are going to be printed in very high quality and the colors are beautiful and vibrant! I have seen the prints myself and it was difficult to tell the difference between the original and the printed copy because of the high quality. The pictures are printed on the same paper that letters are on and they’re not printed on special photo paper. But they still look wonderful and will be so treasured by your kiddo!

  62. Vicki May 18, 2016

    We have been sponsoring children for over 13 years. At first I either hand-wrote or typed my letters, often enclosing postcards, stickers, and other such child-pleasing items. Then the ability for sponsors to write online was enhanced and promoted; too often, sponsors failed to add basic information at the top of a letter, such as sponsor name and number, and/or child name and reference number. Thus, Compassion employees in Colorado Springs had to spend time tracking down all of the information, to ensure that letters went to the right place and child. That chewed up time, potentially delaying the sending of a letter until the next batch went out. Our letters written online remove such problems, but they also mean that items we want to send aren’t available to go with the letters.

    The online option for sending letters has been changed and improved a couple of times in the past 10 years; one of those improvements makes it so much easier to include photos.

    All of the promotion of Pinterest, pinning, printing, etc., in more recent years, is wonderful, for sponsors who still send hand-written or printed letters, with enclosures. But do you have any suggestions for sponsors who find it so much easier to write letters online?

    1. Susan Sayler May 19, 2016

      Hi Vicki! It sounds like you have an excellent understanding of the letter writing process. Thank you so much for all of the love and support that you have provided to children over the last 13 years! All of the above suggestions in this blog can be uploaded to the letter writing tool. We do have some older posts with ideas for topics and sample letters to assist more with the letter itself. However, you are right that more suggestions and promotion of valuable topics, themes, and ideas of what to say in the letters would be helpful. We will certainly look into providing more ideas along these lines in future posts. Stay tuned!

  63. Maddie May 17, 2016

    I have been sponsoring for about five years or so and love communicating with my sponsor child. However, I am not a particularly sentimental person and am often unable to accurately relay my thoughts in words. The previous allowance of small paper items fitting within certain parameters permitted me to more efficiently connect with my sponsor child through my art work. I would often create watercolor paintings of various depictions (galaxies, flowers, animals) to communicate my care for her. As I spent hours composing pieces for her, I could imagine the way each carefully placed brush stroke would convey that someone thousands of miles away cares deeply for her. I know that words like “I love you” and “I encourage you in your walk with God” are important. However, painting and drawing and sketching afforded me (and I am certain many others as well) outlets to create time capsules of sorts. Three or four or five, six, even seven hours could fit on a small sheet of paper. The bumps created by enthusiastic application of paint and slight warping of paper from dabbing at the work with carefully controlled water will be lost with this new process. I know that I can still send bookmarks of my own creation; but, it saddens me that my sponsor child will no longer be able to receive my art work. Art has been used for centuries to communicate a deeper level of humanity and I aim to do just that with each work I send. Imported scans are shabby mockeries of original work. Though I do not think this highly of my work, I still lament the loss of connection through original lines of ink and paint. I theorize that an aspect beyond superficial details will be abandoned as well. Holding something created by another human being is like holding a piece of that fellow human being’s heart, mind, soul. It is the originality of expression and the knowledge that someone labored for hours over a piece of paper that before treated with time and care and creativity, was unremarkable like any other blank sheet. I understand that the message, the message, the message is the most important component and would be perfectly fine with the efforts to save time and money by reducing allowed items if those reductions did not exclude items that can hold such powerful sentiment but allow items that relay nothing but America’s fondness for the hamster dance song and “Who Let the Dogs Out” (which, I might add, is not actually about innocent little puppies running amok). To me, it seems that loopholes could exist. Inform me if I am wrong; but, if I were to “customize” a musical greeting card and outfit it with my original work, would it make it to my child? Also, I recently bought a birthday card that is about the size of a musical card. Rather than emitting music or chipmunks chattering or distasteful melodies, it features pop-up animals. Would this be discarded or do you suggest finding a way to make it emit a tune? I propose that instead of completely prohibiting items that exceed the three very specific items allowed, create a new rule. One sheet outside the letter is permitted for delivery in its original form. This is no different than stickers or musical cards and actually takes less space. I encourage you and the Compassion staff to consider my proposal and those of my fellow commenters. I understand that creating an efficient system where more children can receive letters in a timely manner is extremely important. However, I postulate that this could be done in a way that does not diminish the quality of communication. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to review this post and may God bless you.

    1. Susan May 24, 2016

      Maddie, I agree with you 100%. I have been sponsoring two boys since 2014 and I have enjoyed making my own cards for them with stock card paper and pasting a picture on the front. I am disappointed with the new rules Compassion has implemented by “saving time and money.” Nothing takes the place of original artwork given as a gift to a child. The tangibleness of an actual card to hold and to read with original handwriting enclosed tells the child I took the time to make this for you and this is the evidence of my love.
      Scanning original letters and sending them digitally cheapens the gift. How about instead of sending a dozen roses to a sick friend, we just send them a picture of the flowers with a note attached, “I didn’t have the time or the money to send you the real flowers but here is a picture of them.”
      As far as “receiving letters faster,” there is a kind of spiritual and character growth in what is called delayed gratification. Waiting builds character and patience is a virtue that we read about in Scripture. Patience is a fruit of the spirit. Maybe I’m missing something here.
      Communicating has lost its meaning and significance in today’s society with instant e-mail. We have to have things right now! Instant coffee, microwave ovens etc. In spite of all of the technology in communicating with people today, people still tell me they enjoy receiving a handwritten letter in the mail from a friend. Someone took the time to address an envelope and put a stamp on it and to sit down and write their thoughts on paper.
      I won’t be mailing cards anymore to my children. I will just use the e-mail system on the Compassion website. Why should I waste 45 cents when it will just be digitally scanned and e-mailed? I don’t make the rules, so I will just learn to live with it.

    2. Emily Vanhoutan May 18, 2016

      Maddie, I appreciate the time you took to share your heart and I can tell that you feel strong about sending original artwork and care deeply about sharing personal and hand crafted art with your child. Thank you for your heart to want to bless your child so tangibly and please know we appreciate this! We always encourage feedback both good and constructive suggestions as it helps all of us grow together and we’re always striving to improve our program. I have passed this feedback along for you. Please know we still encourage creativity and your artwork is still so special. Although it will be scanned, artwork can still be sent whether it’s done by hand or are beautiful print offs. Since you’re an artist, one thing I just thought of would be sending her homemade coloring pages for her to fill in. This way, you don’t feel as if your hard work in the colors and details are being discarded and she’ll still get something you created that is still special and she can even add to it! It will be like you created a piece of art together. I hope this helps get your creative juices flowing! I am deeply sorry if these changes have hurt you in any way or made you feel as if we’re taking away a valuable part of the relationship you have with your child. This is certainly not our intent and I pray that you see the positive impacts it will have, overtime.

      To address your specific question, regular greeting cards will not be sent in their original form. If the card is not a musical card, it will be scanned. All things that are able to be scanned, will be sent digitally. I apologize for this inconvenience but if you put your own artwork on a musical card, the original will reach your child. That’s a fantastic idea! 🙂

  64. Lorri May 16, 2016

    After reading the new guidelines, I made a copy of my photos and included a sentence description to be translated. If my letter, the photo pages, and coloring pages equal 6 pages, can I still include stickers to be mailed? Thank you for clarifying.

    1. Susan Sayler May 17, 2016

      Hi Lorri! If your letter, photo pages, and coloring pages equal 6 pages, I would recommend waiting till the next time to send the stickers. The whole letter package needs to be 6 pages or less. Thank you so much for loving your sponsored child so well!

  65. Beth Horner May 15, 2016

    Can we hand-write letters on paper, scan them ourselves, then use the “Send Photo” feature to upload the scan(s)? And with this new letter-writing process do we still need to leave room for translation?

    1. Susan Sayler May 16, 2016

      Hi Beth! You are welcome to write your letters on paper and upload them as full page photos. There is no need to leave room for translation. You are also always welcome to send these handwritten letters in the mail. It might be just as easy to type a letter on the online letter writing tool rather than scanning and uploading a handwritten letter. However, you are welcome to do whichever is most convenient for you.

  66. Caryl Tieszen May 12, 2016

    Is it okay to glue or tape flat items on the back of a page that I’ve written a letter on?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan May 13, 2016

      Hi Caryl! Yes, this is fine :). As long as the letter stays flat and is able to be scanned! Thanks for being so personal and creative in the letters you send. Happy writing!

  67. Nevae May 7, 2016

    I already purchased 20 postcards for the six children I correspond with showing various sites from the area where I live. Since postcards are the same thickness as bookmarks, just a different shape, will these be mailed? Thank you!

    1. Cora June 16, 2016

      I also did the same thing! I bought postcards and then separated them into which ones I thought would be best for each child, then I even separated them into months so that I could send one per month per child. In the past this kind of planning ahead really paid off and made it easy but I guess not this time!

    2. Susan Sayler May 9, 2016

      Hi Nevae! While the postcards would not be mailed, we are able to scan them so they can still be sent to your children. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness in sending items to your precious children!

  68. Carolina Lazgin Ciercielli May 4, 2016

    I am stunned! I came across this webpage accidentally and had no idea of this change or the grace period! Why with something this important would Compassion not make the time and effort to communicate atleast by email to me? I receive lots of regular emails from Compassion on other topics they believe is important for me to know about. Why is this not important enough to inform sponsors directly?

    Why not give sponsors the choice? If our opinions matter, then why not give us the choice to send snail mail or electronic? There are times I may want to choose the faster electronic approach. And there may be enough volume of electronic letters to still allow Compassion to save financially a substantial sum of money while still allowing snail mail for the sponsors who value the originals.

    I sent a letter to my sponsored child a little over two weeks ago that included a lovely booklet in Spanish. I have more booklets that I have saved for future letters. Did the booklet get mailed to Ecuador or was it thrown out?

    Malena, my sponsored child, creates the most wonderful colored pencil drawings and includes them in each letter. There is absolutely no way a scan of the drawing can be the same as holding the original. Something the art world is very well aware of; prints never sell for the value of the original work of art. I would be more than willing to wait the additional time to be able to hold in my hand the drawings that Malena creates.

    Also, I regularly include 4″x6″ photographs that I have taken for Malena. She can save them in a bundle or display them. I do not believe a scan onto a piece of paper can compare!

    Who decided that ONLY 3 types of items can be snail mailed? What were the parameters in making that decision? Why not ask the sponsors what WE value? Are not the sponsors actually the ones who are carrying out the mission of Compassion by sponsoring children?

    I would like to send thin booklets to Malena. How does this have less value than a bookmark? I would like to send a greeting card. Not a scanned piece of paper of one. A card that Malena can put on a table or display if she would want to. Why is a musical card of more value?

    Bottomline, the sponsors ought to have been included in this process of determining what is in our best interest along with the children. It seems that Compassion has under estimated the relationship between sponsor and child. I urge Compassion to give sponsors the choice in how their letters are sent. You will still be sending many electronic letters. And those of us who wish to send originals ought to be able to. I also believe that art work from our children ought to be sent in the original form.

    This doesn’t have to be such a all or none solution in letter writing. Compassion can do both! Please pass this on as I understand there are many many sponsors who feel the way I do. It is never too late to rectify a decision ill conceived. Please forward my letter to Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado.

    Kind regards,
    Carolina Lazgin Ciercielli

    1. Susan Sayler May 5, 2016

      Carolina, I am so sorry that these new guidelines took you by surprise. We are aware that this could have been communicated better and are making changes to communicate better in the future. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We really do appreciate it. I am passing along your feedback to the appropriate parties.

      You are welcome to select your letter receipt preferences on your online account. However, please rest assured that your personal account has been noted so that you will receive the original letter from your children in the mail. It will take longer than usual to receive them but we will send you the original letter with original drawings on them.

      Regrettably, I can’t see what it was but there was a letter or item that was sent to your child on March 14. If that was around the time that you sent the booklet you mentioned, it was sent in its entirety to your sponsored child. Moving forward, we are not able to send booklets. You could take it apart so that it is scan friendly and we can send anything six pages (front and back) or less.

      We made these decisions based on several years worth of sponsor and child surveys, consulting, and great amounts of prayer. Again, I am so sorry this took you by surprise but we have been planning for this for many years and really felt that God was calling us in this direction.

      The decision specifically to limit the three items that will be physically mailed was based upon items that are most frequently sent but cannot be scanned. There really is a great amount of cost savings and time savings involved in scanning as much as we can and being as efficient as possible in the processing. For years, we have been very personal and went to great lengths to send everything we can in the mail. Regrettably, this is not sustainable over time and with greater amounts of children that we hope to serve. We understand that there are pros and cons to these decisions. For many years, we had heard that having faster mail was a priority to the majority of our sponsors. In addition, we felt that being able to bring letters and support to more children was more important than sending a greater variety of letter items, especially when the children and families told us that they prefer the words of encouragement over mailed items.

  69. Melissa May 4, 2016

    If cost is an issue, would it be possible mail a letter directly to the site in El Salvador?

    1. Michelle Port May 17, 2016

      I’m also bothered that this process wasn’t communicated directly to me, especially since I do get fairly frequent, mailed, solicitations for additional funds.

      1. Cora June 16, 2016

        I love Compassion International but I totally agree with you – I get lots of “other” mail from Compassion all the time but only heard about this new letter writing process in an email and just once, I don’t think there was any warning that new changes might be coming.

        1. Sarah June 17, 2016

          Hi Cora! I am so sorry that you just found out yesterday about the changes to our letter system. We completely understand that these changes could have been communicated better, which why we decided to work towards making things right by sending out a communication to all sponsors. I do hope you will check out the new letter system online if you haven’t already. It looks like you have historically sent your child letters to us through physical mail, which you are still welcome to do as well :).

          1. Cora July 10, 2016

            Oh yes, I did start using the online system and I love that you can copy the letter for each child and just make small changes as needed! I will do that and then use my stamps/cards to send letters to family members and friends instead.

    2. Susan Sayler May 5, 2016

      Hi Melissa! I appreciate the thought but regrettably, we are not able to accept mailings sent directly to the children. For security and child safety purposes, we do not give out direct addresses for our student centers.

  70. Jackie May 4, 2016

    Can bookmarks have a tassel? Are 3-D bookmarks acceptable? They are flat but a tiny bit thicker. Are puffy stickers acceptable? Sorry. I can’t find the description for these items. Thank you for your help.

    1. Susan Sayler May 4, 2016

      Hi Jackie! Bookmarks need to be flat and paper. This means we would not be able to send bookmarks with a tassel and only paper 3-D bookmarks would go through. Regrettably, we can no longer send puffy stickers. I am loving your ideas though! Thank you for being so creative and thoughtful in sending letters and paper gifts to your sponsored child!

      1. Lois May 18, 2016

        By 3-D bookmarks, I think she means the lenticular pictures. Will these go through? They are paper or cardstock with a coating on it which contains the 3-D picture.

        1. Susan Sayler May 19, 2016

          Hi Lois! As long as the lenticular pictures are very obviously bookmarks, they will be physically mailed to your child. An important aspect of lenticular pictures is the way that they are printed, the inks that are used, etc. and we would not be able to offer this level of printing if they are scanned and sent electronically. However, as long as they are bookmarks, we will physically mail them.

  71. Amber May 4, 2016

    I love to write to my child, I write almost daily from the app and I love to add photos. I started taking screen shot photos of coloring pages and activities for her to do instead of just family photos. Also I have drawn pictures for her in her language and taken a photo of those because I wanted her to have things to look forward to when I couldn’t always write in the mail everyday. I hope this helps you be creative as you write using the app so your kids can hear from you more often and have all the great activities too!

  72. Colleen May 4, 2016

    I am just getting familiar with these current changes. My question may have already been answered (sorry if that is the case):
    1. If I chose to receive our letters electronically, is there is an option to print them out? I keep a binder for each child to hold the letters we have received. Treasures to me. As God changes their stories through sponsorship, sponsors’ lives are also changed by Christ.
    2. My disappointment was that I just bought greeting cards that said Lovely and our child’s name is Lovely. I found cards that say Hola! And we have two children who speak Spanish.

    I love the work of Compassion and praying I look at the pros of these changes.

    1. Susan Sayler May 4, 2016

      Colleen, when you view your letters on your online account, there is always an option to print the letter. This means that if you choose to receive your letters electronically, you are welcome to print them out yourself if you would like. You are also more than welcome to still send greeting cards, including the special ones that you mentioned. These cards just need to be flat and scan friendly so that we can scan and send them to your children. Musical greeting cards will be mailed. Thank you so much for your loving commitment to these precious children!

  73. Kari April 30, 2016

    Add me to the list of those who are saddened by these changes. Granted, the vast majority of my communication has been through the emailing template on this site, and I think you all have done a great job with that. But I already had bigger things planned to send to each of the sponsored kids for their birthdays. I guess it’s good that I didn’t go ahead and start the crafts. Scanned items are just SO impersonal! I am truly shocked that an organization called “Compassion” is electing to remove a human element from its correspondence. One thing I have loved about my years of corresponding is holding in my hands the actual items that these kids penned, being able to touch the dents in the paper on their drawings, seeing the erasures, holding in my hands what they held. I’m an artist; seeing a printed photo of a painting is nothing like having the original before your eyes. You have eliminated one huge human element in this process and it’s disheartening. Please consider offering options for each individual mailing, or even the option of sending one “old-style” letter a year. I like the idea of improving time through electronic communication, but I can’t shake my disappointment. Am I right that even if I choose to have their letters snail-mailed to me, I will only receive a scanned copy of what they wrote? Call me old school, but thinking I’ll never receive an original-penned letter from them again–it hurts my heart.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan May 2, 2016

      Kari, I have passed along your feedback and I’m deeply sorry that this change has hurt you and made you feel as if Compassion has become impersonal. Please know that this is not our intention. We value letters and know that you each put so much love and care into what you send to your child. We also know how much of an impact they have on our children. But the most important aspect we feel that a letter carries, has not been affected; the opportunity to speak into your child the good news of the gospel and tell them they’re loved and valued. Your child carries and treasures your words with them and your words will still have the same life changing and powerful impact. God is speaking through you into the life of your child! I also want to encourage you that you are still able to send bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and stickers through snail mail and they’ll reach your child in their original form. I know that digital letters sound impersonal, but the paper your letters are printed onto are very high quality. I had the opportunity to look at a scanned letter through our new system with an original hand written letter right next to it and I had a difficult time telling the difference because of the beautiful quality and vibrance of color. On your My account, you do have different options available to you to receive your letters through your personal preference. You will find this on the right hand side when you log in to your Account Summary. But I hope that you give this new system a chance and see the positive impacts it can have on the relationship you’re building with your child as your letters begin to flow back and forth much quicker.

      1. Kari May 6, 2016

        Thanks for your reply. Now that I’ve had time to think about it more, I agree that at the end of the day, what matters most is that the resources given extend to as many children as possible. And the main thing that matters is the encouragement and hope in Christ we can offer through our words. I’ll be sure to get some stickers and a musical card to send for their birthdays, and make a personalized bookmark. I really do enjoy the online version of writing to them throughout the year–it definitely makes it easier to stay in touch more often. Thanks!

  74. Mona April 29, 2016

    I came on the Compassion website today to check some information about sending stickers with my letter and birthday card to my sponsored child. With shock I read that you can only send 6 pieces of paper now, and this scanning idea sounds ridiculous. Yes getting letters faster will be nice, but I agree with the many others who are disappointed, and I don’t think this is a good change. I too have bought items previously mentioned as being okay to send, and now they are useless. Part of this is confusing – if we send a letter AND stickers you are saying the letter will be scanned but the stickers will still be mailed? I just think anything hand made should be delivered to these children. Someone mentioned there was a survey taken for what parents thought was important, well maybe Compassion should have let the sponsors in on this type of survey too. Not being notified, even by email, is a huge mistake. Sometimes it makes me feel like it’s all about the money and not really about the children. I’m praying that my heart will someday again be as happy as it was when I first decided to be a sponsor. I don’t want to disappoint my child, so I hope Compassion is really listening to the sponsors from now on. Thanks!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan April 29, 2016

      Mona, I am so sorry for your disappointment and sadness with these new letter guidelines and the way in which it has been communicated to our supporters. You each invest so much into these children and please know that we value you and the impact that letters have on the relationship between a sponsor and child. We understand change is hard but please know this decision was made after much prayer, counsel, research, and consideration of the feedback we’ve been hearing from sponsors over the years about the delay and slowness in letter delivery. To quickly clarify, the six page limit is front and back. This means that if you’re writing a six page letter, it can fill up to 12 pages if front and back are utilized. Please understand that we want to be good stewards of this ministry and the resources that our supporters pour into helping these children. Mailing internationally was very costly and this new system will allow us to be more efficient and continue our mission of reaching even more children, releasing them from the grips of poverty through the hope of the gospel.

      Please know your letters are still valuable and precious to your child and the words you speak to them through each letter still have the same power and truth of the gospel and love of Jesus. We appreciate your feedback regarding this change and how it was communicated so that we can do better for our sponsors in the future. I pray that as you begin to receive letters much faster from your child, you see the positive impact this change will have on your relationships as you receive news and updates from them much quicker. Many of our sponsors are already imagining up ways to continue being creative and artsy with the new guidelines that will maintain the personal touch in your letters to your children. I encourage you to watch our Pinterest page and our blog in the coming months as we’ll continue to update it with ideas, helpful tips, and letter ideas for you.

  75. Angie April 28, 2016

    If I send stickers and photos in a greeting card with a message, will the card and photos be scanned and the stickers sent separately with no card, message or photos? Or will the card, photos, and stickers be mailed together? Thank you for your guidance during this transition.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan April 29, 2016

      Hi Angie! Greeting cards and photos can be scanned and so they will be sent electronically, separate from your stickers. Only the three items we put in our new guidelines will be mailed: stickers, musical cards, and bookmarks. We want to be as cost efficient as possible and save room in the boxes we mail for the items that cannot be scanned, as mailing items is costly. Another reason is that items that are mailed will not be translated like scanned items will be, and we want your message to reach your child and to be readable! 🙂

      1. Diane P May 3, 2016

        “Only the three items we put in our new guidelines will be mailed: stickers, musical cards, and bookmarks. We want to be as cost efficient as possible and save room in the boxes we mail for the items that cannot be scanned, as mailing items is costly. Another reason is that items that are mailed will not be translated like scanned items will be, and we want your message to reach your child and to be readable!”
        Please clarify. If I send a bookmark with an inspirational saying or bible verse, the words on this item will not be translated for my sponsored child? Then an important part of my message will not reach my child at all, except for a pleasant looking photo on the bookmark. This doesn’t make much sense to me. I have a whole collection of these items waiting to send, but most of their value (for the sponsored child) is in the words on them.

        1. Lois May 18, 2016

          If you would like a bookmark to be translated, why not mention it in your letter, along with the text that is on it, so that will be translated. Then when the bookmark arrives, your child will understand it.

          1. Susan Sayler May 19, 2016

            That’s a great idea, Lois! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

        2. Susan Sayler May 4, 2016

          Diane, I apologize for the confusion. Yes, if you send a bookmark with writing on it, the writing will not be translated because it will be mailed. Conversely, anything that is scanned will be translated. I am so sorry for the inconvenience! I would recommend sending bookmarks in your child’s language or sending bookmarks without any writing on them.

          1. Karen June 4, 2016

            Where can I obtain bookmarks and musical cards in Spanish and Portuguese (for Nicaragua and Brazil)? I don’t think children can be expected to realize text on these items was translated in a letter they received separately, possibly weeks earlier. I don’t want them to miss the message!

            Can bookmarks (purchased or homemade) be laminated? (my apologies if you’ve already answered that for someone else)

            I’m also interested in sources for coloring pages and other printed items (the ones we are allowed to send with letters under the new Guidelines) in Spanish and Portuguese if you have any suggestions. Many things I find online are in English. They would be more effective if my kids could read them. If the text is solely a Bible verse, I already use an online Bible and write the translation myself.

            Thank you!

            1. Emily Vanhoutan June 6, 2016

              Hi Karen! You might try browsing through Amazon as I have seen bookmarks in other languages here :). Yes, your bookmarks can be laminated since they’re being mailed in original form and it will be sent to your kiddos.

              I would suggest looking through the coloring pages that our sponsors have suggested on our Pinterest page. This is a great resource that we update regularly and I hope you find some great ideas! But rest assured that because coloring pages will be scanned, any text on them will be translated.

  76. Laura Baldwin April 27, 2016

    I almost always write sponsor letters online. I was surprised but excited to see the changes yesterday when I logged on. I chose the greeting card option for all my kiddos this time, and next will try a full page photo! I’m really excited that I can see exactly where our letters are in the process.

    I chose to get my letters delivered to me electronically, so I look forward to seeing how fast we can communicate now! It was sometimes discouraging when my kids asked me to pray for things that were months in the past. But now I think we can have closer, more meaningful letters.

  77. Kristi April 26, 2016

    We, along with several other sponsors, logged in to write to find the changes in the letter writing system with no notice! We are new sponsors and spent hours looking up ideas of things to send and purchasing items. Yes, we are hugely disappointed that we weren’t notified. Thought we were overlooked, but obviously nobody was notified. Perhaps it isn’t too late to send an email to ALL sponsors outlining the changes so people don’t keep sending little gifts that cannot be sent. It might avoid a lot more upset and hurt.

    1. Bridgette Jordan April 29, 2016

      It would have been better to get notice about the new letter writing guidelines. I still have things to mail that I bought when I saw the original guidelines. I also sent gifts to the 29 sponsor/correspondent kids I have. I don’t want them donated or mailed back. I understand change happens but it would have been better to give us a heads up. I’m a present person by nature. I also know my sponsor kids enjoy getting what I send since many don’t get crossword puzzles, etc. otherwise.

      1. Emily Vanhoutan May 2, 2016

        Bridgette, thank you for your feedback as I’ve been passing these comments along each of you. We understand that this change could have been communicated better to our sponsors and more of a heads up would have greatly helped many of you that had been saving up items to send overtime. We’re taking this feedback into consideration for changes that happen in the future as it’s important to us that you feel we’re being transparent with you. I encourage you to check our Pinterest page often as we’ll be updating it with ideas sponsors have and ideas we come up with to help you all continue making your letters special and personal for your children.

        1. Lois May 18, 2016

          Emily, here is what you wrote:
          “We understand that this change could have been communicated better to our sponsors and more of a heads up would have greatly helped many of you that had been saving up items to send …” However, I don’t know if these changes have been communicated at all, unless a sponsor happened to log on to the site or came across the information online by accident. I also have received nothing about these changes and learned of them just today by clicking on a link from an email on another topic. I understand the reasons, but there has been a breakdown in communication here and some advance notice would have been much better.

  78. Karen Sheets April 25, 2016

    Please forgive me if this has already been answered, but I’ve looked and can’t find an answer. What happens to all of these original items after you scan them?

    1. Sarah April 26, 2016

      Hi Karen. The original items are donated if possible or destroyed after they have been scanned.

  79. Jason April 24, 2016

    I have received the first of the new type of scanned letters from one or our sponsored children.

    I know this process saves time and money but in my opinion it unfortunately provides an inferior end product.

    Some observations:
    * The letter wasted paper.
    The scanning process (at least for the letter I got) produced 5 pieces of paper but the back of each page was blank except for automated page numbering. The actual content could have been given using only 3 pages front and back instead of 5 pages, resulting in a paper reduction of 40%.

    * The overall quality was low.
    The scan/print job quality was underwhelming. The scanning process reduced the original content size to allow for a white border around the page resulting in an even greater quality reduction. Compared to before, the scanned version seems cheap and a little unprofessional.

    * The scanned letter felt impersonal.
    The new version seemed impersonal since the quality of the final product made it immediately obvious it was a scan/print job.

    It takes time to get used to something new but I don’t think the scans can compare to having original letters where the child wrote in pen or pencil directly on the paper. Just some candid feedback from a long-time sponsor…I would rather it take twice as long as before to get original letters than to get faster scanned versions.

    I have been on a number of child visits and I know from personal experience how much the children love the letters, photos, crafts, cards, etc that they receive. Thank you to C.I. for everything you do for the children, their families, and their communities.

    1. Bridgette Jordan April 29, 2016

      I checked today and it said I had new letters. Two were scanned only in the original language with no translation. I also wrote several letters that are not showing as transferred to the individual child I wrote to. I don’t know if they didn’t go through or if it’s just not showing. I have a total of 29 sponsor and correspondent children and I want them to get their mail. I have to be systematic about writing and before I could see what I wrote immediately.

      I also like to send things. It’s part of the way I show love. I know my sponsor kids enjoy getting things that are more than 12 pages. I also have more things I bought and want to send. I buy them and store them until the next letter.

      I don’t like the new guidelines and I hope my sponsor kids will still get things I send them.

      Can you please let me know if the letters I sent to Beverly, Agatha, etc. with the balloon photos got to them?

      Thanks so much.

      1. Emily Vanhoutan May 2, 2016

        Hi Bridgette! I’m sorry you opened letters with no translation! Rest assured that we were aware of this issue and found a fix on the 29th. Letters that had no translation for our sponsors are going back through our system to be translated and you should see the full letter including translation here in just a couple of weeks :). In regards to the letters you’re sending to your kiddos, I’ve been looking through them and many are almost finished with translation but not quite done yet but some have completed successfully and are already through such as the letter to Agatha. Some just take a bit longer because they’re all being processed in different countries, verified by different translators, and delivered to your child by individual people. I love the balloon festival you went to. Looks like a blast :). They’ll enjoy seeing the seahorse, white horse, fish, whale, etc. especially if they haven’t seen those animals before! Thanks for helping them to feel so involved and informed about your life!

        Bridgette, I also see that spoke with one of our representatives this morning about your letters. I’m sorry they weren’t able to verify that your letters went through. There are certain people in our office with access to view the letters through the new system right now as we’re still rolling our new system out and so I’ve made sure this individual knows who to contact in the future if they’re not seeing a letter in our system :).

        I’m so sorry that you don’t like our new guidelines. We understand that change is hard but we are grateful for your grace and patience as we transition into our new system together. Through much prayer and consideration, we believe this is where God is leading us and we’re praying this will help improve relationships between you and your children, and we’re excited about reaching even more children with the gospel!

    2. Elaine Grove April 27, 2016

      I agree with Jason. After feeling very connected with my children thru stories, crafts and letters I now feel at a loss for how to interact with them and feel they will be let down by the limited contact. I also have rec’d a scanned letter and quality was poor, size was smaller and still took 2 months to receive from the time the child wrote it. Even the translation in Spanish was not terribly accurate. I am disappointed and while I realize this comment will not result in any new changes I think it is important for Compassion to listen to faithful sponsors who have written monthly and sent packages monthly. I have been blessed by my children by receiving photos of them getting their packages, sharing the items with friends and I have been thanked by the parent for helping one of my little ones learn and become ready for preschool thru learning activities I have sent. 6 pages of paper only which include the letter means a diminished sense of connection for me. So far not impressed with new system.

      1. Sharlene Parks May 1, 2016

        Elaine, you mention sending packages to your sponsored kids. I thought nothing could be sent other than paper, and it could not be thicker than 1/4 inch. I was so excited when I signed up to be a sponsor and could not wait to send gifts like toys, books, etc. I was horribly disappointed when I found out nothing but paper, and then the 2 month delay. So much for birthdays and other holidays.

        Now the new policy of everything being scanned. I would stop right now if it were not for the fact that my 2 kids had waited year for a sponsor. I won’t let them down, but I feel no joy in this now.

        1. Jennifer Drury May 25, 2016

          There are so many wonderful organizations here in the US that would love to receive toys, books, crafts, etc., and Operation Christmas Child is a great one for sending things to other countries. Organizations have to have certain restrictions to wisely steward resources – I would be sad to think that my child didn’t have their physical needs met because I had a desire to send something in particular. It seems the most important thing to remember is what has been said about the parents: “In a survey, Compassion found that parents placed a preference on their children receiving letters over paper gifts. They said letters conveyed the love of the sponsor in ways that gifts could not.” I know that we are fairly gift-oriented in the US, but we can personally choose gifts for kids here (Angel Tree, etc.) and send monetary gifts for birthdays and Christmas to bless them. I’m always amazed at the cool things my sponsored child gets for her birthday with the money we send – a new dress, an umbrella, a school bag, art supplies, a cake, candy, shoes, and such. Even if I could send packages, I wouldn’t know exactly what she needed that would be a blessing to her.

        2. Emily Vanhoutan May 2, 2016

          I’m so sorry that the joy of being a sponsor has diminished for you, Sharlene. Although our letter guidelines have changed, the fact that you’re helping release a child from the grips of poverty and most importantly, allowing them to hear about their Savior Jesus Christ and the love he has for them, has not changed. You words still have opportunity to speak hope and truth into their lives and help them understand their value and potential in Christ Jesus. It’s such a powerful and rewarding experience seeing these children overcome the lies they’ve grown up being told, that they will never make it and are not worth anything.

          In the past, we found that sending tangible packages like soccer balls, toys, clothing, etc. was not an efficient use of our funds or good stewardship. When packages are sent through customs, it’s very costly and there is high risk of loss and theft as it goes through customs. If we allowed packages, we could not guarantee you that your item would not be sold or stolen going through customs and would actually reach your child. Also, it cost more to send items through customs than the item was worth. We value stewardship and integrity and this is why we began allowing monetary gifts instead. This way, your child is able to get what they actually need right at that time and they’re economy is being stimulated. They also learn how to wisely spend money along with being a good steward of what they’re given.

          You mention you were previous disappointed with the delay in sending letters. I’m so excited that they’re going to be quicker for you now as this was feedback we were receiving from many of our sponsors. I pray that as letters begin to be delivered to and from your child much faster with this new system, you experience the positive impacts it will have on your relationship with your child. We’re hoping that it will help build more fluid and meaningful conversations back and forth. Thank you for continuing to support your sweet children and for allowing God to love them through your support and letters of encouragement. I pray he gives you the words to speak and inspires you with creative ideas for sending items that fit our new guidelines.

      2. Sarah April 28, 2016

        Hi Elaine! I do want to thank you for expressing your concerns about the new letter system. I know this is a very significant and hard change for many sponsors, but we truly believe this will help foster deeper relationships between the sponsors and their children in the end. Regarding the letter you received, it looks like it was one from Oswaldo that we processed before the official change happened. The scans that are being printed now are of a higher quality than the one that you received. These scans will be the full size of a normal piece of paper and will take less time than that to arrive in your hands. I am so sorry that the letter you received was of low- quality. Rest assured that when our countries start using the new stationary, they will be double sided, saving paper, and also be full sized and the letter will fit the entire page. The letters that you receive moving forward will look much better than that!

    3. Emily Vanhoutan April 25, 2016

      Jason, I’m so sorry that you were disappointed with the first scanned letter you received. I’m hoping I can explain and ease your concerns. I want to encourage you that the letter you received is not how our new letters will look with our new system. The letter you received is temporary as our field countries are very careful about using all resources and being efficient. Some of our projects were using up old stationary as they didn’t want to waste it. The blank pages and white margins are a result of having to use old stationary that was not made for our new systems way of scanning the letters. Because our field countries are using up old stationary they are having to re-size the letter to fit the new QR code that has to be put on them in order to go through the new system. Rest assured that when our countries start using the new stationary, they will be double sided, saving paper, and also be full sized and the letter will fit the entire page. I want to encourage you that the quality is vibrant and beautiful and I look forward to you seeing it! We deeply appreciate your feedback and your grace as we move through this transition together.

  80. MJ April 24, 2016

    I found a card I would like to mail that allows you to record a song and voice message. Would that be mailed? I don’t want to purchase if it will be scanned. Thank you!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan April 25, 2016

      Hi MJ! Musical cards will still go through and will be mailed in their original form to your child :). Your kiddo will love hearing your voice!

  81. Greg & Jan Wilson April 23, 2016

    Wow, I am SO surprised Compassion is making this change on items being mailed and NOT being notified. This is so NOT Compassionate. It’s great that delivery is being expedited via scanning and electronic mail is bypassing the States and going direct to the country of our child. But to be left out of the information loop, just does sit right. Was there a change in management that caused this? PLEASE take this change role out as a ‘lessons learned”, and please keep us appraised of changes that affect our children. Better yet, going forward please involve the sponsors in the decision making. It sounds cold, but it is our donations that make this wonderful Compassion system work.

    1. Cora June 16, 2016

      How did you end up finding out about the change? I saw your post was from April and I just found out about the change yesterday! I wish I had known back in April!

    2. Emily Vanhoutan April 25, 2016

      Greg and Jan, I’m so sorry for your frustration in how you found out about this change. I do want to encourage you that we made these changes with much prayer, counsel, research, and also feedback from our sponsors over the years about the delay in letters making it difficult to have conversation with the children. This decision was not made by just one person alone nor was it made due to a change in leadership. We value your relationships with your children and feel this is the direction God is leading us. We believe that this will make a positive impact on the relationships our sponsors have with their children and help address the concerns we’d been hearing from our sponsors. Please know that surveys with some sponsors and sponsor feedback over the years, did help us in the decision to go forward with this new letter process. Again, I’m sorry that you feel wronged by us and please know this was not our intention as we are deeply grateful for your heart for children, and investment in this ministry through your love and encouragement to your child as well as your prayers and resources. We realize this change could have been communicated better to our sponsors and appreciate the feedback as it helps us with changes like this in the future.

  82. Marilyn Keim April 22, 2016

    I am excited that our letters will get back and forth faster! I also like being able to see when I have a letter in transit, though right now I have a green bar that says “read letter” but when I click on it there is no letter to read?

    Also, if I were to send some thin cardboard paper dolls could they still be scanned for the child to cut out or does it have to be paper for you to scan it?
    Thank you for your work in reply to each of our comments, I appreciate it!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan April 25, 2016

      Hi Marilyn! Thank you so much for your feedback! I’m glad you’re excited, we are too :). It will be wonderful to have more fluid conversations with your children and receive quicker updates on changes happening in their lives!

      Please know that we are aware of the green bar sponsors are seeing about the new letter available but not showing the letter when you go to look at it. We have a team in our Web department working to find the cause of this issue so that we can resolve it as quickly as possible.

      Regrettably, cardboard is not an item that can fit through our scanners. However, you can still send paper dolls! There are many really cool paper dolls sponsors are still sending that are on regular paper that the children will be able to cut out and make their own :). Thanks for continuing to be creative and make your gifts to your children so special! Happy writing and thanks for your patience as we work out all the kinks in the new system!

  83. Christine Decker April 22, 2016

    Good Morning, Thank you for what you are doing in helping with the process of the child sponsor relationship. My question is, with the new system in place, how long will it be from the time the letter is written electronically to the time the child actually receives it in hand? I try and send at least one to two letters a week, and want to make sure that they do not over lap. Also how does the child respond back to the sponsor? And how long does this take.

    1. Sarah April 22, 2016

      Hi Christine! Thank you so much for your thoughtful words and excitement over our new letter processing! We are expecting the letter delivery process to be take as little as half the time it previously took to put a letter from a sponsor into a child’s hands and vice versa. Because most projects pick up their mail from the country office about once a month, Brian is actually probably receiving a few letters at a time. Brian will continue to send handwritten letters to you. Once the child writes the letter, a staff member will take it to the country office along with all the other letters from the children for the month. The country office will scan the letters into the system, have them translated, and sent to our office in the United States.

  84. Mellanie April 21, 2016

    Thank you to the Compassion employees (Emily & Susan) who are helping people through a tough transition. You ladies have such grace to respond with patience…

    I don’t want to sound selfish, but I am glad for this change. I don’t send crafty things– just letters– and I scan and save everything on my end anyway, I’m not emotionally attached to paper. I’d much rather just have everything speed up and go digital.

    That being said, I assume postcards are also scanned? I often drop my kids postcards when I visit places.

    1. Alex June 4, 2016

      Just download (non-copywrited) web photos and print them on your letter or attach them to an electronic letter on Compassion’s website.

    2. Sarah April 22, 2016

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Mellanie! Yes, postcards will also be scanned and sent to your child that way. I love the idea of sending them postcards from places you have traveled! 🙂

      1. Lois May 18, 2016

        It’s really pointless to send postcards now because they will just be scanned and sent as photos on a piece of paper. One could just as easily send the pictures already printed on paper and that paper will be scanned. Save the postcards for another child or send to someone else.

  85. Tiffany April 19, 2016

    I just found out on the compassion website today that this new process is taking place. For my last mailing, I believe I missed the postmark cut off date of April 11 with my last mailing by about 2-3 days. What will become of this mailing that was by the old standards? It’s a 1/4 inch paper doll booklet. Will I be notified and be given the option of it being mailed back to me? Or notified that it no longer can be sent and therefore automatically donated? Or not notified and donated? I too am sad about some changes when it comes to mailing items. Faster letter arrival is great….for those who receive/send letters.

    1. Susan Sayler April 19, 2016

      Hi Tiffany! I am so sorry for the disappointment and sadness in regards to these new letter guidelines. For your last mailing, we would not be able to send the paper doll booklet. We will notify you via email, but will regrettably not be able to send it back to you. This means that it will be donated.

  86. Teresa April 18, 2016

    Today I logged on to the Compassion website to write a digital letter to the four children I sponsor. I am shocked and disappointed to discover the new changes. I write my children every month, putting pen to paper. Occasionally, I send letters via Compassion’s online letter writing tool. According to the new rules, I am no longer able to send the lapbooks, jig-saw puzzles, sticker scenes, and paper dolls that I have sent in the past. When did these new changes take place? Why didn’t I get notified that the letter writing process was being dramatically changed? I received no notification about these changes–not by email or by letter. This is a huge change. What else has changed? Compassion needs to do a better job communicating with sponsors!

    1. Susan Sayler April 19, 2016

      Teresa, it sounds like you are an absolutely wonderful sponsor! Thank you for lovingly writing and sending fun items to your children! I pray that while there are some things that you can no longer send, that you are encouraged with everything that you can still send, most importantly loving words of encouragement. It is certainly still acceptable to continue writing your handwritten letters. The only difference is that we will scan them instead of mailing them. I am so sorry for the lack of communication on our part in regards to this change. We know that it could have been communicated better. But please rest assured that this is the only change right now.

  87. Shawna S. April 16, 2016

    About how many letters would we get a year? When I was looking over the previous guidelines I noticed that It stated that we would receive about three letters a year.

    1. Susan Sayler April 18, 2016

      Hi Shawna! You can still expect between two to six letters each year depending on how often you write to your child. Great question! Thanks for asking!

  88. Kathie April 15, 2016

    I was just wondering, if we have more than 6 sheets of paper involved in a gift, will you still send it the regular way even if it takes longer? I just made each of my 3 children 60 sheets of artistic coloring pages for them to share with their classmates. I bought some adult / artist’s coloring book but since we can’t send the books I made copies and planned on sending several manilla envelopes with the copies in them to my kids. I don’t care if they take a few months to reach them, I just want to know if they will even be able to get them now. Please let me know.

    1. Susan Sayler April 15, 2016

      Kathie, each bundle of paper gifts needs to be 6 sheets or less (double sided). This means that you could conceivably send 10 bundles of 6 sheets at a time or even print them double sided to get them through. Regrettably, if the items exceed 6 sheets of paper, we are not able to send them otherwise. The extra sheets of paper will be donated to a local Christian charity.

      1. Lois May 18, 2016

        Susan, can you please clarify? If the maximum is 6 sheets double-sided, does that mean that we must mail them already double-sided, or could we send 12 individual sheets that Compassion will scan and print as 6 double-sided sheets?

        1. Susan Sayler May 19, 2016

          Lois, yes, please mail your sheets of paper already double-sided.

  89. Shawna April 15, 2016

    Can I send a crochet bookmark and a crocheted blanket to my child?

    1. Susan Sayler April 15, 2016

      Shawna, I am so sorry but items need to be paper and flat. We would not be able to send a crochet bookmark or blanket.

  90. Sharlene April 15, 2016

    I’m excited that our letters to our children will travel back and forth more quickly. However, I too am disappointed that some of the items we have been able to send will not be able to be sent anymore. I have a project that I was just starting to prepare for 6 children that I now will not be able to use. If I would have known ahead of time perhaps I could have finished this and my children would have received it.
    I am also wondering who will be translating the letters. Will they still be done by translators in the receiving country? The blog mentioned that the letters will be received, translated and then electronically sent to the country office.
    Also I am not clear about the process of receiving the child’s letter. Will these not be sent via “snail mail” as they are now. I looked on my account page and couldn’t find the place to specify that I would like to receive them in the mail. I love to have a letter to hold in my hand, not just an email.
    There will be much to learn in the coming months. I’m sure that there will be a time of evaluation to see if the new process is truly serving the children better. I have been so pleased with Compassion International and how you truly seek to follow and serve God in all that you do. God bless you.

    1. Susan Sayler April 15, 2016

      Sharlene, I am so sorry for the disappointment and confusion. We understand that change is hard, especially when we have been doing something different for so long. The letters will continue to be translated at the country offices. However, we have a translation software that will offer translation suggestions to help speed the process. There are a few options of how you would like to receive the letters from your children and receiving the paper copy in the mail is one of them. To verify or update your preferences, please log into your online account. In the Account Summary to edit the Child Letter Preferences. Click “edit” and then select the option of your choice. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and for walking with us through this transition! We are so honored by your partnership in loving and serving God’s precious children! God bless YOU!

  91. Jennifer Skikas April 14, 2016

    I am hugely disappointed with the change in policy about scan only items. My family is new to the Compassion organization and have just begun writing our sponsored child, Ajir. Ajir is 5 years old. My own sons are 10 and 12. The decision to sponsor a child was one we made as a family. My sons contribute part of their allowance to the monthly fee. We found out today, just as my son completed a handmade birthday card for Ajir that Ajir would not get the actually card. My son was heartbroken that Ajir would not be able to hold in his hands the same piece of paper that my son himself held in is own hands and made for him. We have thoroughly researched Compassion’s Pinterest board and blog as well as elsewhere on the Internet for ideas to send and were very excited about making things that will now not be mailed because they aren’t scan friendly. We will absolutely continue to send letters but with Ajir being only five years old we were trying to find things more age appropriate to make for him. I completely understand wanting to speed the time letters are received however I feel a very personal, very huge aspect has been removed. Scans are not the same as handmade. Maybe I would be reacting differently if it was just me sponsoring a child. However seeing the wind being knocked out of my sons sails over something they were so proud of and enthusiastic about is very disheartening. Please, please, please consider changing this decision or at least keep the option available for those who don’t mind the longer wait.

    1. Amy May 26, 2016

      My Sunday School class sponsored a child and each of them wrote the child letters. We had no idea there was a page limit and exceeded it so I don’t think our child will get the first letters. The kids in my class with be disappointed if that child doesn’t get them. They poured their heart and excitement into it.

      1. Susan Sayler May 27, 2016

        Amy, you are welcome to send up to six pages front and back. May I ask how many pages you had sent? Also, when did you send them? If you sent these letters prior to April 11, they were sent in their entirety. Again, I am so sorry for the confusion and disappointment in regards to these new guidelines.

    2. Susan Sayler April 15, 2016

      Jennifer, I apologize for the shock and disappointment in regards to these changes, especially since you are having to explain to your sons. It sounds like your family had become very excited and passionate about letter writing. I am so sorry to see that altered. You might look through the ideas on this blog post to get started thinking of other creative items can still be sent. I pray that you all won’t lose heart and that you and your sons will be able to reignite your passion for letter writing despite these changes.

  92. Karen Sheets April 14, 2016

    My 2nd attempt to leave a comment; hopefully this one goes through.
    I was really shocked when I got on here today to write my girls and found all of this new information. What happens to the original things people so lovingly spend time making once they are scanned? Do all of these items just end up being tossed into a shred box or into the trash to end up in a landfill? This part of it seems truly sad to me. I can’t imagine my child’s items being thrown into the garbage. So many people make an emotional connection through the special items they create for their sponsored children and this has to feel a bit like being robbed of personal items……….I’m not trying to cause problems, I just see this as a pretty huge adjustment to expect sponsors to make and I really wonder how disappointed the kids will be who have received such special, personal items for so many years. In a day and age of everyone trying to “go green”, this also seems an issue to scan and then toss. I just don’t think people will have the same desires they once did to put their emotions and hearts into creating something that will be scanned but ultimately destroyed. I’m with so many others, feeling a bit sad and disappointed.

    1. Susan Sayler April 15, 2016

      Karen, I am so sorry for the shock and disappointment with these new changes. Please know that we very much value the love, time, and energy you and other sponsors spend sending letters and items to the children. You are still welcome to send stickers, bookmarks, and musical cards and these items will be physically mailed to your child. In addition, you are still welcome to send any type of personal flat paper item in a standard paper size so that they can be scanned. Our goal with these changes is that letters will be delivered faster while still providing things that are most meaningful to sponsors and children. Your words of hope are powerful and always will be a core piece of our program. In a survey, Compassion found that parents placed a preference on their children receiving letters over paper gifts. They said letters conveyed the love of the sponsor in ways that gifts could not.

  93. Sarah Carson April 14, 2016

    I appreciate knowing letters will get there sooner! I will keep this in mind when sending Birthday greetings, Christmas messages, and Easter messages to all four of the children I write to once a week. I appreciate your letter duplication button, as it allows me to do less copy and pasting when moving to our church’s account and sponsor child to our personal sponsor child and two added correspondence children. Thank you for adding the ability to send more pictures online! I love to take and send pictures! I just used your new application to send as many pictures allowed to all four of the children I write to weekly! Thanks for listening and for going out of your way to make correspondence faster and adding the ability to send more pictures an option!

  94. Andrew April 13, 2016

    If I physically mail one set that contains one letter, one photo, and one sheet of stickers, will you do *both*: (a) electronically scan and e-mail all three items *and* (b) physically mail all three parts?

    If my letter does not meet the guidelines, will I be notified?

    What about paintings with paints that do not absorb into the paper like acrylic? Are these scanned or physically mailed?

    Is a paper craft still scannable if it requires the front and back to line up somewhat precisely? If it is not printed double sided, or if the orientation changes, or if it moves around much, then this craft won’t work.

    1. Susan Sayler April 15, 2016

      Hi Andrew! Great question! We will scan anything that can be scanned. In the scenario you mentioned, we would scan the photos and the letter but mail the stickers. If the letter does not match the guidelines and cannot be sent, we will send you a notification email. Regrettably, any kind of puffy paint that does not dry, such as oil paints, we would not be able to scan. I would recommend using water color or acrylic paints that dry flat. I am having a hard time picturing the paper craft that you described. Please rest assured our scanners are very intelligent and precise. We have experienced issues with small, round paper crafts that do not stay put in the scanner. It really helps if the item is a standard paper size, rectangular or square, and flat.

  95. Kris Rasmussen April 12, 2016

    I am stunned that sponsors weren’t taken into consideration about being notified before the new changes took place. I didn’t receive any notice at all. I would have very much appreciated a heads-up.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan April 13, 2016

      Kris, I am deeply sorry for the shock and disappointment you feel. I want to encourage you that we made these changes after much prayer, research, and in response to feedback from children and from about the length of time that letters take to be delivered. I’m sorry that you feel we did not communicate this change well. Please know we appreciate your feedback as we want to take these concerns into consideration when communicating changes like this to our sponsors in the future. I pray that as this new system rolls out, you’ll discover the positive impact we believe it will have on your relationship and conversation with your child as you write back and forth with much less delay between your letters.

  96. Sarah April 11, 2016

    Although I am excited about the possibility of correspondence traveling more quickly, and although I understand the advantages to Compassion in terms of saving money and of expediting letters through customs, I am upset by the precipitous way in which the change has occurred. I have not received any notification from Compassion. Are they planning on doing that? What about those people who haven’t seen the news on the Blog or Facebook? What about people who have lovingly accumulated a stockpile of special items they can no longer send? I would strongly encourage Compassion to extend the “grace period” so that everyone could be notified and given a reasonable chance to send mailings which met the old criteria, but not the new.

    1. Susan Sayler April 12, 2016

      Sarah, thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We are aware that this could have been communicated better and are so sorry for the inconvenience. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and are taking it into consideration.

      1. Lois May 18, 2016

        Susan, when and how were sponsors notified of this change? I have received many mailings from Compassion but just learned of these changes today “by accident.” Did I miss something?

        1. Susan Sayler May 19, 2016

          Lois, I am so sorry for the hurt, frustration, and anger that these changes have caused for you. Please know that we greatly value your feedback and appreciate the time you took to communicate with us. We did not formally communicate this change widely to all of our supporters. As I know you have seen elsewhere on this blog, we realize that these changes could have been communicated better and we are working to correct this for the future.

      2. Sarah April 12, 2016

        Susan, thanks so much for your encouraging response. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult transition period.

  97. Denise Paran April 11, 2016

    In this age of digital communication I sometimes feel we have lost the personal touch. I still like to send thank you notes and acknowledgements with a hand written note. I do sometimes write my sponsored child on line, but make sure I then also take time to write her a letter and send small tokens, like scripture and encouragement cards, as well as photos or post cards. While I like the idea of letters getting to the students faster, I feel a sense of mourning over not being able to send those small gifts or original photos. While the crafts you suggest are great ideas, Grace is 20 now and not so much into those things anymore. I am a bit disappointed in this announcement. Sorry.

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Denise, please don’t stop adding your love and personal touch to your letters! You are still welcome to send handwritten cards and notes. Please simply make sure they are flat and paper and under 6 pages each time. To be clear, you are still welcome to send photos and cards. In addition, especially the older kiddos (like your 20 year old) need words of encouragement. You are always welcome to send that! 🙂

  98. Margie Bellmer April 11, 2016

    I just read that greeting cards will not be sent without a letter. I usually buy a blank card and write on one side of the card instead of a letter. Does that mean the card I just mailed will not be sent? Can the letter be on printable stationery or does it need to be on the Compassion supplied stationery? Am I correct that we can no longer send postcards, bookmarks, or flat portfolio folders? My Compassion children have written over the years how much they enjoy the photographs, 3D bookmarks (obviously a scanned copy won’t work), and folders to keep paper. I even included photo protectors to keep their photos clean. When did the new policy take place? Have my materials already been “donated” but not sent to my Compassion child? I have 6 Compassion children and this is very disappointing news. I feel like their cherished items are being taken away. I’m sure it is a big savings for Compassion in terms of shipping costs and I understand it is faster. I’m just sad that our children will no longer get anything but sheets of paper. I will be sure to send stickers which I know they love. And you are right that just receiving a letter will be special to them. Thank you for your guidance during this transition.

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Margie, I apologize for the confusion. You are welcome to send greeting cards by themselves as this is your letter. The card you just sent will go through just fine. You are welcome to continue to write on your own stationary. It just needs to be flat paper and scan friendly. Regrettably, we can no longer send postcards and portfolio folders. However, we can send bookmarks. These will be physically mailed to your child. You are also still welcome to send photos. The new policy goes live today, April 11. Anything that is postmarked prior to April 11 will be sent according to the previous guidelines. Anything moving forward will need to mate the new guidelines. I am so sorry for the disappointment and sadness that these changes have caused you. 🙁 I pray that you will be encouraged with what you can still send and not only discouraged by what is no longer able to be sent. Thank you for your understanding and grace as we walk through this transition together.

  99. Jennifer Lawrence April 9, 2016

    So, does this mean we can’t send stickers or photographs to our kids anymore? If we mail things like that, will they still get them, even if they have to wait longer? My kids had been making pop-up cards for our child and colored pictures for him. We also purchased or made regular greeting cards in the past. How can those be scanned? I am concerned that some of the character of these items will be lost with the new system. While I am completely thankful for Compassion’s efforts to make communication faster, I would like to know if we will still be able to send these types of things. My family sends an online letter monthly or sometimes twice monthly and special mailed items (like the pop-up cards and photographs that we make or decorate. Will we still be able to do this? My children love making things for our sponsored child. Thank you!!

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Jennifer! You are still welcome to send stickers, photographs, and greeting cards. The stickers will be physically mailed and the photos and flat greeting cards will be scanned and sent electronically. Regrettably, we can no longer send pop-up cards. Thank you so much for your faithfulness and for loving your child so well through sending letters several times a month! The letters really are and will continue to be a great blessing!

  100. Gayle Marshall April 9, 2016

    I have just spent days making paper dolls from card stock and scrapbook paper and planning to mail this week in 6 sheet packets. Will I still be able to send this? I have also made a paper doll of my child’s photo. I have only mailed 2 letters as I am a new sponsor and I’m waiting to get my first letter.

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Gayle! You are welcome to still send these paper dolls as long as they are a flat sheet of paper (not cut out) so that they are scan friendly. What a fun item! Thank you for being so thoughtful and creative with your letters! You’re already a great sponsor!

      1. Gayle Marshall May 6, 2016

        I have not checked on the Q & A page until today and finding all the comments about what will and will not be sent. I am crushed to think that all the paper dolls I made with paper clothes to match would not be sent and especially a greeting card I made with Tefi’s full length photo cut out and made like a paper doll. I have been holding manila envelopes to mail periodically, just mailing one 2 days ago. Finding the info about what to not mail was hard for a first time sponsor. Advance notice would have been appreciated. I will get over the disappointment, and comply with guidelines, but a little joy has been taken from me. I hope letters and photos will be sent appropriately and the info about musical cards is good…I will look forward to sending those. Please make it plain on the website about the guidelines. Have a blessed day!

        1. Susan Sayler May 6, 2016

          Gayle, thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback with us and I am so sorry for the disappointment. I pray that you will be encouraged with what you can still send and will be inspired with love and encouragement to share in word form to your precious kiddos in the letters. God bless you!

  101. Margie Bellmer April 9, 2016

    I too am concerned about children no longer receiving photos, but instead a scanned copy. A sheet of copy paper is so easy for anyone to tear and getting it wet can ruin the image. I appreciate the work to increase the speed of correspondence, but am saddened to learn our children will no longer have a bookmark, photo, or even a greeting card to keep. I am glad that they will still receive stickers and musical cards. I would be willing to pay a fee so that children can receive the actual items if that ever becomes an option. Thank you for your assistance.

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Margie, thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback with us and for the offer to pay to send your items in the mail. We will certainly let you know if that ever becomes an option.

  102. Rebecca April 9, 2016

    I’ve been writing to multiple kids for years and have found it extremely difficult to build a relationship through letter writing. I don’t feel like I know my 6 sponsored kids at all, despite writing them for years. It is very discouraging. At least by being able to send them things I had an additional way to try to connect. All of the changes to the letter writing system have seemed to be a benefit for the company alone and not the relationship building process.

    1. Susan Sayler April 12, 2016

      Rebecca, I am so sorry to hear that you have had so much trouble building a relationship with your children. Please know that whether or not your children have been able to communicate this to you, every letter, item, and word of encouragement has made a huge difference in building your children’s joy and confidence. We adopted these changes in response to feedback from both sponsors and children about the length of time that letters take to be delivered. We firmly believe that these changes will directly improve the relationships between sponsors and children because letters will arrive much faster. For example, if you child asks you to pray for their tests next month, you will be able to receive the letter and be praying for them before the test as opposed to months afterwards. In addition, you are still welcome to send loving goodies in the mail. For example, you can send stickers, greeting cards, bookmarks, photos, post cards, scripture cards, coloring pages and more. We are only asking that you avoid sending more than six pages at a time and that you send scan friendly flat paper items. The stickers, bookmarks, and musical greeting cards will be physically mailed to your child.

  103. Barbara Herring April 9, 2016

    How do I send a coloring page or puzzle page if I write letters on computer?

    1. Susan Sayler April 12, 2016

      Hi Barbara! If you have a jpeg or pdf of the coloring page or puzzle page, you can attach it to your letter on the photos page. Just click “Add Photo Page.” You will be able to add up to 5 full page “photos” to your note for your child.

  104. Jolene Svoboda April 9, 2016

    Can we continue to send singing birthday cards? Or pop-up cards? In other words, can we continue to send paper items that are not scan-friendly? Or will this now limit sponsors to only word-letters. Also, why have I not been informed about this change as a sponsor? I just happen to run across it on Facebook. Would really like to know if I can still send other paper products before I spend the money. Thanks

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Jolene! You are welcome to send musical or singing cards and we will physically mail them. Regrettably, we can no longer send pop-up cards. I am so sorry for the inconvenience. You are welcome to get creative with the scan friendly paper items though! Take a look above for some great ideas to get you started. 🙂

  105. Molly April 9, 2016

    We can no longer send stickers? They will get scanned stickers? That’s no fun!!

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Molly, I am so sorry for the confusion. You are more than welcome to still send stickers and they will be physically mailed to your child.

  106. Marie April 9, 2016

    What is happening to the letters that we send electronically? Were those already getting there faster? Or does this process speed up those letters as well?

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Marie! Up until today, any letters that you sent online were printed at our USA office and mailed to your child. However, we are now sending those letters electronically and printing them in your child’s country to be delivered to your child. Both electronic and physical letters will therefore be sped up significantly with these changes.

  107. Sharon April 9, 2016

    I wish we had some notice of this change ahead of time. We have some stickers and things that we wanted to send to our sponsored kids, and we would have mailed them earlier if we had known of the changes. Now it’s probably too late, as we just found out now that they are changing over this month.

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Sharon! You are still welcome to send stickers and we will physically mail them instead of scanning. Please do send them! It’s not too late. 🙂

  108. Michelle April 8, 2016

    I just mailed posters (folded), and other items that meet the previous requirements. Does that mean my children are not going to receive them? Why weren’t we notified of this change ahead of time? Thanks, Michelle

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Michelle! Anything with a postmark date before April 11 will be sent according to the previous guidelines. This means that as long as the items you sent were received before today and were paper, and under 8 1/2″ by 11″ they will be mailed the regular way. Moving forward, letters will need to match the new guidelines.

  109. GC April 8, 2016

    I write many of my letters online using the templates at Compassion. Is this recommended for faster delivery? Are they printed out and delivered to the children? It is much easier for me to write more often online but I’m not sure how they are delivered?

    1. Susan Sayler April 12, 2016

      Hi GC! I want to encourage you to keep on doing what you are doing! You are a wonderful sponsor! Thank you so much for sending regular loving letters! And you are exactly correct that the online letters will continue to be delivered faster than physical letters. If it is easier for you to write online, all the better!

  110. Nancy Smith April 8, 2016

    I understand that it is good to be able to get things to the children faster.HoweverI love working on the projects I do each month for my girls.I put alot of thought and preparation into it and yes months ahead.But I enjoy sharing alittle history with them,something of nature some months(I do a different theme each month.One month it was “Being Kind to others”.Of course I emphaize the Bible lessons and my letters but I will be so disappointed not to be able to continue this! I am willing to pay more for sending them.So I hope this means “the old way” is not going out.Thanks!!

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      That is so wonderful, Nancy! Yes, please do not stop sending your lovely themed letters! As long as your letters and attachments are under six pages (front and back) and are scan friendly, we can most definitely send them! Please do keep your letters coming! 🙂

  111. Jeannette April 8, 2016

    I hope that this change will not become the only way to communicate with my child as I like to send the paper crafts too even if it takes longer by going through the mail to them directly

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Jeannette! You are more than welcome to send any paper scan friendly physical items and paper crafts. Please be encouraged to continue to communicate personal love and and encouragement to your child through your letters!

  112. Anna April 8, 2016

    I sometimes send bookmarks and sometimes I write on fun cards not just on a regular piece of paper. What happens to these? i like to get the children’s artwork that they touched and worked on not just scanned papers.

    1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

      Hi Anna! You are welcome to continue to send bookmarks and they will be physically mailed to your child. Greeting cards will be scanned and sent electronically to your child.

  113. Michelle April 8, 2016

    It is exciting to see how much this change enhances the relationships we have with our sponsored children! Of the letters I have sent to our kiddos, this one is my favorite. http://byquietwaters.com/sponsorship-saturday-snow/ This topic opened up the opportunity to combine Scriptural truth with some science and biography. Even though I sent a page of stickers, I think the letter and photographs alone are enough.

  114. Wess S. April 8, 2016

    In the leaky huts in which many children live, are the scanned and re-printed photos as durable as the original photos I print at Costco? In another article the blog mentions that children treasure the letters and photos for years, but according to the FAQ, you do not physically deliver photos, so it seems they will not last as long. If the child and I are willing to wait twice as long, would you deliver the original photo?

    1. Susan Sayler April 8, 2016

      Wess, I am so sorry as it sounds like these changes are really hitting you hard. The children absolutely do really treasure your letters and photos. I am checking on exactly what kind of paper photos will be printed on, and I will be sure to let you know what I find out.

      1. Marilyn Ritchey April 9, 2016

        I make very elaborate hand made cards. Will I still be able to send these. I am happy that the time will be less to send and receive letters.

        1. Susan Sayler April 11, 2016

          Hi Marilyn! Yes, as long as your cards are flat and scan friendly, you are welcome to continue to send them. 🙂

          1. Lois May 18, 2016

            I don’t understand why you don’t answer her that the handmade cards will be scanned and thrown away. She might as well send the scan herself and save the cards for Operation Christmas Child or some other purpose. Why encourage someone go to a lot of work making an original card that will not be sent? I understand the reason for the changes, but just please be transparent.

            1. Susan Sayler May 19, 2016

              Lois, it sounds like these changes really are hitting you hard. I am so sorry for that. 🙁 Please know that it is not my intention to avoid issues or to not be transparent. Regrettably, I can’t tell which response of mine you are critiquing, but I can say that I have certainly tried my best to answer each and every comment on here with compassion, honesty, and grace. I am so sorry if I have missed the mark on that in your view. The fact that cards and paper crafts will be scanned was covered in the overall post and in this one comment I must not have seen it necessary to repeat myself.

          2. Connie April 14, 2016


            You said we’re welcome to keep sending intricate hand-made cards. Do you mean that our kids will still get our handmade cards & crafts? Or will they get scanned copies instead?

            Glad for the option of faster turn-around times & surprised that the online letters weren’t already emailed to the country offices to be printed. Looks like some good moves on Compassion’s part! Any grace in the process as we all adjust would be wonderful. Praying for you guys.

            Thanks for your help!

            1. Emily Vanhoutan April 14, 2016

              Connie, if you send a musical greeting card, it will physically be mailed to your kiddos. Paper crafts and regular greeting cards will be scanned, but the scans are beautiful and are very high quality:). Thank you so much for your prayers as we all go through this transition together! We’re so excited that God has opened up this opportunity and we’re praying that this improves and enhances the relationship you’re able to have with your children as you communicate back and forth much quicker than before!

          3. Marilyn Ritchey April 13, 2016

            What if I want my handmade cards to be physically delivered to my child?

            1. Emily Vanhoutan April 14, 2016

              Marilyn, if you send a musical greeting card, it will still be physically delivered to your child :). Along with those, so will stickers and bookmarks! All other items including regular greeting cards and flat paper items, will be scanned. But I do want to encourage you that we’ve seen the printed copies that the children receive and the colors are vibrant and beautiful! They are printed on very high quality paper. We have also added an additional feature on your My Account that allows you to send your child a greeting card. We understand that change can be difficult but I pray that as we move forward, you will experience the incredible impact that we’re hopeful and confident this change will have in your relationship with your child with how much faster you’ll be able to converse with them and receive information and updates on their life through letters.

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