Letters from the Heart

The relationship between child and sponsor is key to our ministry.

These relationships are often deep, close and warm enough to break down language, cultural and geographical barriers around the world.

There are many stories about how the child-sponsor relationship not only blesses children, sponsors and their families, but also affects the whole community. Such is the case with children living in East Indonesia.

In maintaining relationships between children and sponsors, correspondence plays an important role. Correspondence is the easiest and least expensive way for children and sponsors to build a relationship.

Understanding the importance of letters, our office in East Indonesia held a special campaign with the goal of improving the quality of the children’s letters.

We designed a Child Letter Campaign that focused on improving writing skills. This campaign spanned 17,097 sponsored children and 39 child development centers.

man teaching

The training for this campaign was led by a partnership facilitator and training specialist who taught other staff members about the impact of letter-writing on sponsorship. They also learned how to manage and process the children’s letters efficiently and effectively, and how to develop the ‘Writing Letters’ creative module and lesson plan.

This training brought more information to our staff and gave them new perspective on how to manage letters.

Some development center leaders confessed that, before the training program, they had no idea about the importance of children’s letters and how they could affect sponsorship. Staff members committed to share their knowledge with the tutors in order to help children improve letter quality.

man writing a note

Wolly was a sponsored child in the 1970s and 1980s, he spoke at the Child Letter Campaign, sharing with the staff how he kept his sponsor’s letters for years.

Those letters gave him strength to reach his dream, he told those in attendance. Wolly has his own business now, having finished law school and becoming a lawyer.

His testimony gave wider perspective to the Child Development Center staff. They saw evidence of sponsorship and how its impact on the life of one child made a difference.

After the training, the program featured a Child Letter Competition which was the highlight of the campaign.

The competition was designed to help children who participate improve their writing skills and become aware that writing letters to sponsors is important.

There were 13 clusters participating in the competition. Each cluster selected its 10 best letters to compete. Of the letters entered, 40 passed the selection.

Finally, there were six letters chosen to compete further for the best letter. The judge asked each child to write their letter with “My Dream” as the theme.

Stella, from the Kharisma Waya Student Center, won the competition. Ester, from the Senggighilang Student Center, was the runner-up, and third place was Frits, from the Alfa-Omega Student Center.

All winners were enthusiastic.

Frits promised to improve his letters and to joyfully write them.

boy receiving award

“I will help my friends to write good letters to their sponsor.”

And Ester shared,

“You must write the letter from your heart.”

She loves to write in a diary, which also helps improve her writing skills.

woman receiving prize

The campaign closed with a contest for the best creative writing letter lesson plan. Each cluster sent its best lesson plan to the competition, and the Talentu Student Center won.

The growth of our ministry in East Indonesia brings more responsibility to provide excellent service to sponsors, service that helps them have positive experiences. This understanding was the foundation of this letter-writing campaign to improve the quality of children’s letters and help all children write letters from the heart.

14 Comments |Add a comment

  1. sbrazell September 16, 2012

    Thank you for sharing Carolyn! Stephany is onlly 4 years old & lives in Honduras. I pray that I am really making a difference in her life as she has made a difference in my life. I write to her every week and I’m praying I will hear from her soon.

  2. Carolyn September 16, 2012

    Before I got the most recent letter from my child in Uganda, I was feeling down and wondering why I was sponsoring her and if I was really making a difference other that monetary. Then I got a letter from Brenda and she said “You are great to me and you have taught me how to love and care for others.” So, yes, our letters are so very important.

  3. Stephanie Green September 13, 2012

    What a wonderful idea to have this campaign to improve the children’s letter writing skills AND create awareness among project staff about the importance of quality letters. I, too, hope other countries will follow suit and do the same to create “win-win” situations like this for all sponsor/child relationships.

  4. Justine September 12, 2012

    I love reading posts about Indonesia! 😀 Can’t get enough!

  5. sbrazell September 12, 2012

    Wow! That was an awesome post! Thank you very much! My sponsor child is only 4 years old & does not know how to write yet but when I do receive a letter from her. I am overjoyed & I keep them in a binder to reread. I love her drawings and they are from her heart. She is such a blessing to me in my life and I pray that as she grows. I do have to admit sometimes it’s hard to write letters to every week but I pray about it and our heavenly father helps me.

  6. Stephanie September 12, 2012

    What a great post! I’m so happy to hear that these children have been taught the importance of their letters. As sponsors we are told how important our letters are, but I hope that the kids know that each letter they send is cherished and special! I keep every letter from every one of my sponsored kids, and each letter says something different about them. Everyday I anxiously check the mail and hope there is a cream colored envelope inside!!
    I am so happy to hear that letter writing is being stressed on both ends of the relationship. I feel so confident about my sponsorship and the ministry every time I receive a really great letter from one of my kids!

  7. ronda September 12, 2012

    What a great post. I try to convey my excitement about receiving a letter to my sponsored kids in every letter I write to them. Like Teresa I hope and pray for a letter from one of my children every time I stop at the mailbox. It’s so much easier to write to the kids who write often than to the ones who only send 1 letter a year. How painful it has to be for kids who never get a letter.

  8. Mike Stephens September 12, 2012

    I love competitions, even if I lose I often still have a great time.

    Hebrews 12:1
    Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,

  9. Ellen September 12, 2012

    I need to admit, I have really slacked off on my letter writing, the forms sit on my desk and get put under the stacks of paperwork for weeks at a time. After reading this article, I have realized that it is so important to send those letters to our Compassion children, thank you for this, i really needed it. i will now be placing those letter forms on the TOP of my priorities! Good to have the reminder, thank you for that.

    1. Jacquie Parella September 12, 2012

      Glad to help with the reminders. Now I need to remind myself as well!! 🙂

  10. Yvonne September 12, 2012

    This is great information! In our technological age, I believe it is still going to be important that letter writing remain to continue to develop to build strong relationships between sponsors and their sponsored children. For many of us, we may never have a chance to meet our sponsored children. Letter writing is the one way that we can encourage these children to reach for their dreams.

  11. NIna September 12, 2012

    I very much enjoyed this article! This is a win-win! Children learn better writing skills, sponsors get better letters, which help them to be more connected to the child and to write better letters to them, which in turn helps the child to be more connected to their sponsor. I hope this type of training can be implemented in other areas.

    1. Stephanie September 15, 2012

      I agree Nina! And I also hope that this type of training can be implemented in other areas. Those letters from our kids really make the sponsorship connection so strong.

  12. Teresa September 12, 2012

    How awesome! The letters from our children mean so much to us. We’ve read in previous blogs how they anticipate the days letters are passed out at the center, but I hope they know we hang out by the mailbox, crossing our fingers that today, a cream colored envelope will appear. I also keep all their letters, in the same way Wolly kept all his. They are treasures.

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