How Much Love Can You Fit in an Envelope?

I was 10 years old when I went to summer camp for the first time. I still remember the feeling as my mom drove away in our family’s station wagon.

Utter and complete dread.

I cried in the nurse’s office that night, clutching my stomach, telling her I was sick. She understood what I couldn’t. Sadness can feel a lot like a stomachache.

The next day we gathered at the canteen after pool time. I sat by myself, trying to calculate the hours until I could see my mom again. It was complicated math for a fourth grader.

And then my counselor came up to me and handed me an envelope.

“You’ve got a letter!” she said. I took it in my still damp hands, and opened it slowly. I pulled out a sheet of notebook paper and saw my mother’s familiar handwriting.

How Much Love Can You Fit in a Letter?

I didn’t understand then that my mom had mailed that letter before I even left home. She probably wrote it while I fought with my brother in the next room.

She wrote it because she knew I would miss home.

She wrote it because she knew I might be sad.

She wrote it because she wanted me to remember I was loved.

I tell you that story because I think of it every time I write a letter to Bilha, the little girl I sponsor. She’s about the same age as I was that summer at camp. And while my childhood in Virginia may look different than hers in Guatemala, when I read her letters I remember that little girl in her damp bathing suit, reading her mom’s letter and feeling stronger all of a sudden.

I write letters to Bilha because I know being 10 is hard.

I write to her because I know that sometimes she’ll feel sad or overwhelmed.

I write her because I want her to know she is loved.

Back to summer camp for a minute. I got a letter from my mom every day that week. She told me about the weather and my little brother and what was growing in our garden. Mundane stuff, mostly. But I kept every one of those letters in my pillowcase until Friday. They got me through a week of mosquito bites and swimmer’s ear and new friends and late night giggles.

They got me through until the moment I watched my mom step out of our station wagon. Until she enveloped me in a hug.

“Thank you for the letters,” I whispered into her neck that smelled like ivory soap.

What I really meant was “Thank you for loving me.”

How Much Love Can You Fit in a Letter?

Will you write a letter to the child you sponsor this month? Will you provide a reminder that someone far away is thinking of them? That they are cherished?

Because being a kid is hard. And we all need a little reminder that someone out there loves us.


Want some ideas for your letter? Visit Compassion’s Second Friday Letter Writing Club board on Pinterest for downloads and fun ideas from sponsors that will help you give encouragement with each letter you send!

5 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Jennifer A. March 18, 2017

    I too think this is a great way for us to recall how that felt and connect to how sponsored children may feel. To think of the additional responsibilities and hardships they endure at this tender age makes it even more important to write them.

  2. Avatar
    Terri December 11, 2016

    I was raised in a single parent household by an emotionally distant father where words of encouragement were almost never spoken. My siblings and I grew up feeling unloved and with little purpose in life even though we spent a lot of time in church. Eventually I married and raised 3 children to adulthood. Now as an empty-nester, one of the most satisfying parts of my life is being able to give words of encouragement,hope, and love to the children my husband and I sponsor. I can tell our kids around the world many of the things I wish I had heard as a child, and my words come from a heart filled with empathy. I believe our sponsored children will make a difference in their families, communities, and nations and I pray for this regularly. I tell our kids that the Lord knows their names, that He loves them, and that we believe in them. One day I will be able to hug every one of them-if not in this lifetime, then in the next.

    1. Avatar
      Mary Fraune December 14, 2016

      Terri, I have the same dream to hug and hold the children I have sponsored one day. I have no living children in this world. So I focused on those children I sponsored in the Compassion program. I became very attached to one child in particular who graduated. (We didn’t really get to say “goodbye” to one another. I had sent him a care package for his parents and him. I don’t know if he ever received it. I even sent him money for his birthday, but he had left the program just days before his birthday.) So I pray for all my Compassion sponsored children. I love them all! Two of them are now adults. One is still quite young. I know I will see them one day, like you, if not in this world then in the next. Maybe there will be a big Compassion party in heaven? We can all meet, celebrate, and praise our Lord Jesus.

  3. Avatar
    Jan December 9, 2016

    Thank you, Brandy! That is why we write!!! To let our precious children know how much we, and God, love them. In a world that tells them that they don’t matter, this is gold for their souls!

  4. Avatar
    Abriana Younger December 9, 2016

    This is a fabulous way of looking at those letters, Brandy. I’m really glad you made that conparison. I remember even in high school going to school retreats and getting letters from my parents and teachers (I went to a really small high school, lol), and how much they made me feel loved. I can only imagine the hardship that my sponsored child goes through on a daily basis, and if I can show her God’s love through all of that…I’m so down. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration!

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