My name is Boer, James Boer. But you can call me Kees, which is pronounced “case.” My middle name is Jacobus, which translates to James. See, I’m Dutch, which means I grew up in the Netherlands.
Once in a great while we would have people visit our home from the United States. It was always such an exciting time. I used to love listening to them so I could imitate their English.
When I went to high school, I started learning English myself and was finally able to communicate with our guests. At the end of the visits, I’d be sure to get an address, and I would write letters and then wait and wait and pray that they would send a letter back.
Some of them did, and I was always so excited. I wouldn’t receive more than a couple a year but getting one made my whole month. I’d read and reread the letters until I almost had them memorized. And I still have those letters after all of these years.
A few years ago I interviewed Wess Stafford. He shared a story about a huge flood in one of the countries Compassion works in.
The local staff was evacuating the children, but one child kept trying to get back into her home. Finally, the worker let the child go. A couple minutes later, the child came back with a little pouch. In it were all the letters her sponsor had written her.
This is a sample of what the children I sponsor write to me. Although the words are different, they often have the same message.
The first one is from Dulce, from Bolivia. She doesn’t have a father anymore. And although we have been writing each other for quite a long time, she didn’t actually know how to write then so someone from the child development center wrote for her.
“Dulce always shows your letter to everybody. She tells them that her father is named Kees and he is from the Netherlands.”
This one is from Gabriela, also from Bolivia.
“I like receiving your letters and reading these. I keep these in a small box; I hope you visit my country.”
Then this one from Jhoselin’s mom … also from Bolivia. I like Bolivia. 🙂
“She feels so loved by you and when she feels sad, she looks at the letters and she feels glad to know there is someone who loves and helps her from afar.”
Then this one from Rasmané, a little boy in Burkina Faso, who I cosponsor.
“I was so glad to read your letter. I can’t find the words to express my joy. I love you so much!”
Then this last example is from Shedenka … Bolivia … again.
“Letters arrive often, but some children don’t get letters. I always receive a letter, thank you. I feel the most important girl, because I get your letter.”
That last letter reminded me of a trip I took with my Dad a couple months ago. It was to meet the child he sponsors.
When we met Cristina, she was happier than a dog with two tails! But I noticed her little sister crying. I asked her why and found out that she is also a sponsored child, but her sponsor never writes.
Every time the mail comes to the Child Development Center (which doesn’t happen every day but rather once a month or so), she is excited to see if her sponsor wrote, but she never gets a letter. I took her under my wings for the visit to help convey her a sponsor’s love, and had impressed upon me the importance of writing regularly.
Since then, I spoke with a Compassion sponsor relations representative in the call center, who told me that some children actually drop out of the program because they are so discouraged that their sponsor hasn’t written them. I don’t understand this. Nowadays, it’s so easy to write a letter to the child or teen you sponsor.
Have you written that special student recently? Your letters are very important!
398 Comments |Add a comment
I made a blogger account a few months ago, and i added some pictures to my sidebar and don’t know how to remove them. I used the image hosting site ‘Photobucket’ to put the pictures on my blog, and put my login information there nd they did it for me. I don’t like how one of the pictures look and I really want to remove/delete it. Help? Thanks..
Hi Robin! To remove this, you will need to go back to Photobucket and get help from them specifically or your blog hosting site. If you’re unable to get assistance removing this from your blog, please email us at [email protected]. 🙂
My husband and I sponsor a lovely girl in Uganda. We have been blessed and honored to do this for many years. She is about 15 now, and a few years ago we totaled over 50 letters from her! Of course I am the one to write. Each time I receive a letter, I kiss it all over and thank the Lord for its journey and for our young girl we one day hope to meet. Please take the time to write to your chid.
I just returned from a mission trip with Compassion. What a blessing! I have to tell you, it was so sad to see and hear first hand the impact it has on a child when the sponsors do NOT write. Some of the children actually cry and are heart broken because they do not receive letters. Their situations are so desperate that a simple hello and note makes a HUGE difference. It’s validation that they matter and that someone cares for them. We met one lady who planned to leave the church and her faith and drop out of the program as a child. She wrote her sponsor and told him so. His response kept her in her church and as an adult now, she’s married to a pastor! Your letters matter!!
How long does it take for a child to receive a letter by email and do they print it out for them? Also what address do you mail letters to?
I have written my child twice, once last month and today. How often should I write? Thanks. Virginia
Hi Virginia! As Susan mentioned below, it takes 2-3 months for letters to be delivered both ways. When your letter is submitted through the website, it is printed on high quality paper and mailed to your child along with the hand written letters. We like for your child to still have a tangible copy to take home with them! You can send your child letters to:
Colorado Springs, CO 80997
This is the full address. Please include your sponsor number and child number on anything you send. Thanks for writing to your child! 🙂 -Emily
It can take up to 3 months for the letters to get to your child. I would recommend at lease once a month. It’s amazing the hope it brings to the children. Being blessed to visit to projects on a recent mission trip, I’ve seen the huge impact letters have on the children!
I try to write monthly. I always ask questions and try to share about my life. At times I have wondered what my kids make of my questions. It seemed like my questions rarely got answered, but I recently got a letter from both of my kids and both responded very specifically to either something I asked for prayer for or a more in depth question I asked. I was so very encouraged by the obvious though that had gone into the letters. It’s probably partly that my girls are getting older but maybe it is also that I am sharing more deeply about my life as well. They seemed to like knowing how to pray for me.
When I started sponsoring my first child, I not only want to be financially, spiritually and physically supportive but I also wanted to be emotionally supportive as well. Personally, letter writing and receiving letters from the sponsors is such a big deal with these children. They want to know who you are as a sponsor and as a person. On my end,I also want to know personally about the child that I sponsored. Writing to them, sharing about your interests, your goals, your likes, your family and friends and your prayers for them touches them in a deeper level. They feel that someone in a far away country truly cares about them. A couple of years ago, I visited my sponsored child in the Philippines. The staff from the student center informed me that my sponsored boy was one of the sponsored children who frequently receives a letter while some of the other sponsored children hardly or does not receive a letter. These children asked the staff why they are not receiving any letters from their sponsors. The staff did not know how to respond to the question and felt bad for these children. I encourage you to write at least one letter a month. It just means a lot to your little boy or girl (or maybe not so little). Nevertheless, I thank all the sponsors for being a sponsor!
Hi, Sherry, you had the same question that I had when I first started sponsoring. The letters take about 2 to 3 months one way and 2-3 months the other way…. So, she probably hasn’t received it yet.
But I can tell you this that she will be very happy to receive your letter. It will make a huge difference to her. She will probably share it with everyone in her “class” and in her home…
Yesterday, I saw a lot of the children writing the letters here in Bolivia. They love their sponsor very much and when you get a letter back, realize that she might have spent 4 hours or so writing it.. Depending on her age maybe with the help of her mother and the tutor…. (Though if the child is a teenager, she is probably a lot faster)
I’m so glad that you are writing her. Oh, and the children love the photos and the little things like stickers. That means that her letter is really special among the other letters. You sound like you are a wonderful sponsor for her!!! I’m so glad to meet you on this forum!!!!
I started sposoring a 10-year old girl in Ghana several weeks ago. I received a packet giving information about her and asking me to write a letter to her introducing myself. I did and included several pictures, stickers, etc. Then last week I received a first “introduction letter” from her (dated about the time I sent my first letter). I wrote back sending more bookmarks and stickers. Then today I received a letter from Compassion saying that soon I would receive a first letter from her and sending stationery for me to write my first introductory letter to her. I understand that there are difficulties in letters “crossing in the mail” but my concern is: Do you think she got the first letter I sent introducing all my family (grandchildren, etc.) or do you think I need to do that again?
Yes I wrote my child yesterday or the day before and made my first payment I’m soo excited
To be sponcering someone I wrote her a letter over the compassion website because I wanted her first letter to come fast:) im hoping that someday we will get to meet
This is about my 3rd or 4th comment on this website but felt that I needed to write this, I received a final letter from one of our Correspondence young men who completed the program as a barber I believe, the letter brought tears to my eyes he kept saying in the letter that he would never ever forget us,that he would pray for us and that we were wonderful to someone we had never met, he also said several times that without us he would have been nothing, that we kept him going in his program with our words of inspiration when he wanted to give up and that now he has a hope and a future. I can’t wait till I get to Heaven to meet him!!!
Thank you for sharing this! Your words have been so inspiring! I started sponsoring a little boy at the beginning of this year & now have 3 correspondant children. I am so looking forward to building relationships with them!
My child answered 1-2 of my questions at a time.
Do different places get letters faster than others? Just curious my 9 year old child from Ghana I seem to get letters from frequently. I have sponsored her a year and a half ago I have received 10 letters. Seems others take much longer. Maybe her project just good with the communication interested to see how my second sonsor child will be. She is 3, turns 4 in a few months expect letters to be slower, will be interesting to see. I plan to write each girl at least two times per month. I love receiving my letters. My child is always very greatful very sweet. I know her letters make my day, hope I’m doing same for her and now for second child. Hope to become am correspondence sponsor as well, as much as id like to sponsor another cant afford. Letters so important
@Sharon Does your boy answer your questions? That is one way to know that he is receiving your letters.
Garry, no, he doesn’t… but I just thought maybe that was because he is young and might not be used to letter-writing (yet!). I’m sure he’s getting the letters…. i was just surprised that he would say that, but Ken is probably right – most likely he is just telling me to keep writing.
Sharon, my children don’t always answer my questions. I think the main reason is because they aren’t on the reciprocal letter system. By the time it is time for them to write to me, months have passed and they don’t remember that I asked a specific question. I read that sometime next year, most if not all countries will be on the reciprocal system of writing. I will be happy about that. Right now my children only write 3 times a year and sometimes I feel like I don’t know them.
I’m sure that’s probably a big part of it. Yeah, I’m curious about the reciprocal letter system as well. (I read somewhere else around here that Kenya is on the current list of reciprocal countries – I have another child in Kenya and his letters are definitely not reciprocal, although they are very sweet and full of detail when they do come.) I’ve also heard of the plans for the new reciprocal system for next year and am interested to see how that turns out.
My 8 year old keeps saying “Please write me a letter!” I write to him CONSTANTLY. (I hope this doesn’t mean he isn’t getting my letters, though I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t?)
Even though I write to my children on a regular basis, a few of them will still tell me to write and send pictures. Its seems that they always look forward to receiving a letter and pictures regardless of the amount of times I write. This may be the reason why he always tells you to write. It’s exciting for him to be told he received a letter and he wants to make sure those letters don’t stop coming.
I know that I am guilty of this! I encourage/ask my kids to write to me. Even if they are in a reciprocal country, I want them to know that I look forward to their letters and enjoy getting them. As a kid, I was one of those kids that always sort of wondered if I was bugging people or if they wanted me around or were just being nice. I think that for these kids knowing their sponsor actually WANTS their letters, and looks forward to them is huge. So it may be for them that they just really want your letters; perhaps they feel that if they don’t ask, you won’t write. You never know.
But I can assure you that, unless something really unusual is happening, yes, your boy is getting your letters! 🙂
Of course, I can gaurantee that sponsor letters are very important and meaningful to children. I’m one of staff who is working with child & sponsor letters in Compassion Thailand. Thailand is also a reciprocal country. I can say that a child who usually receives sponsor letter, he/she tends to write a letter better and better each time. On other hand, It’s kind of hard if a child rarely or never received a response from sponsor to think of/write a good content especially, when is young. I encourage Compassion sponsors to write to your children. It doesn’t have to be long and nice prepared just showing something that you still love and care for them or just send one of your photo. PS. it would be helpful if you just simply put the date on each letter you write. Blessings!
I would like to make contact with other sponsors of children in Ecuador. I’d like to be able to send an actual gift by someone who is going there, instead of just sending money, with no personal touch.
[quote comment=”27547″] In the reciprocal countries, (which in the next few years, all of them will be) the children generally get the letters and they are required to write back a letter within a certain time frame. Like in Bolivia, it is 10 days. The real younger children will take a long time with the letters. I’ve heard of children spending over 4 hours on a letter. The older ones write the letters faster.
Kees, Do you know if Ecuador is a reciprocal country? My child is in Ecuador, and I am eager to hear from him. I have written to him twice, plus the introductory letter.
Kees is in Bolivia at the moment and his internet access is slow and hit and miss. Mostly ‘miss’ lately. He will be there another couple of weeks. But – I can tell you, that yes, Ecuador is a reciprocal country. 🙂
Kees, I am just coming back to this and I have to thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this. For each sponsor you inspire, that is one more child who will be smiling on mail day! Today I posted about giving the gift of time. Just 20 minutes a month can make such a difference! http://www.bloggingfromtheboonies.com/2011/05/gift-of-time.html Later this week, I hope to post about the importance of letters and am going to link to this post. 🙂
Thanks, Michelle. I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but it is asking me an “openID.” I have no idea what this might be…. 🙂
Kees – Thank you again for the great information you add to this blog on a regular basis. I know I must speak for many others when I say your input is extremely valuable. On the subject of becoming a sponsor at a concert, I did; and not just once, but twice. About 25+ years ago, I went to a Christian concert on the Missouri Fair Grounds, and left the concert as a new Compassion sponsor. Recently (March), our church hosted a musical group, and a representative from Compassion was traveling with the group. Honestly, I don’t recall if letter writing was emphasized at the concert I attended 25 years ago (doubt it), but once I received information from Compassion stating I could write my sponsored child, I was thrilled. And, the minute I received Ana’s information a couple of months ago, I wrote her a letter immediately, with my photo attached. In my opinion, letter writing serves as the “bridge” between God’s heart, my heart, and my sponsored children’s hearts. I recently heard that children spell the word love, “T I M E”. All children hunger for the undivided attention of a caring adult. As Compassion sponsors, our monthly gift provides a child the opportunity to learn, have nutritious meals, health screenings, and medical treatments; however, the letters we send the Compassion children deliver the most valuable gifts of all…the message the child is “worthy” of someone’s time, caring, and love.
How do you get involved by writing letters to children who don’t have people to write to them? (e.g. those sponsored by those unable to write or sponsored by large corporations). I cannot afford to sponsor more children, but would be willing to write letters.
You just call Compassion and request it. It’s called a correspondent. Do be aware though that if the sponsor decides to cancel his sponsorship that you get the option of sponsoring the child yourself. If you can’t, you’ll be able to write a final letter to the child. There is also the remote possibility that the sponsor changes their mind and decide that they do want to write….
Ellen – If you prefer, you can click on the tab “Contact Us” on the home page of the Compassion site. That’s what I did, after reading Kees info about the correspondent program last week. Within just a few hours, I had two messages from Compassion’s “Sponsors Donor Relations Department”. I was informed that I would be receiving a child packet within 3 to 4 weeks. Like you, my husband and I cannot afford to sponsor any more than the 3 children we currently are sponsoring. I certainly have the “time” to send encouraging letters, and lots of Christian love to other children, though. What a blessing it is to have this additional way to reach out to God’s precious children.
[quote comment=”27553″]Could that boy be put in the correspondence program?[/quote]
The only way that the boy would be in the correspondence program is if the sponsor were to take the initiative and call Compassion or write them and request this to happen.
Thanks, Kees. That’s very sad about the boy whose father thinks he’s trash. 🙁
I know we must all be grateful for the financial sponsors, even when they don’t write, because without money, the programs couldn’t continue.
Yes, that’s why poverty is so much more than just a lack of money. We really need to help these children. And ultimately, the Solution is Christ.
Yes, I’m very happy for the sponsors, who choose to have a correspondent for their child. They are still helping the child a lot and they love the child enough to request that. I just wish that sponsors understood that this is even a possibility. You have to almost look for it to know that this is a possibility and if you don’t know that it is a possibility, you’re not going to look for it.
A question for Compassion Staff, or others. Can a sponsor ever write too frequently? I tend to write my children about once a month, with maybe an occasional birthday card or Christmas card tossed in. Each letter is different (I hope!) and usually includes some small item, such as a bookmark or some stickers. But from the child’s standpoint (or from the perspective of the family or the local CDI, does this come to be seen as “routine” or “expected” — sort of an automatic kind of correspondence rather than a sincere expression of love and concern? Would it be better to skip a month or two and then send out a letter or two or three as the Spirit moves me? Right now I don’t have a set schedule but I find that after three or four weeks I have an increasing urge to write to “my” kids. Any thoughts?
I think this is wonderful. The vast majority of children love to get your letters!!! They love to get any letters that you can send them. Now, some of the children don’t like to write the letters…. In the reciprocal countries, (which in the next few years, all of them will be) the children generally get the letters and they are required to write back a letter within a certain time frame. Like in Bolivia, it is 10 days. The real younger children will take a long time with the letters. I’ve heard of children spending over 4 hours on a letter. The older ones write the letters faster.
For this reason, I write my children twice a month, but if they are under 10 years old, I write them once a month. Your letters mean a lot to these children and they read them many times.
Just yesterday, I heard of a boy in Bolivia, whose sponsor never writes him letters. He’s so discouraged over it, that he’s considering not even coming to the center any more.
So, I wouldn’t write more than once a week, especially not with the smaller ones. Also, the mail does not get to the center more than once a week anyways, since it doesn’t get to the country office more than once a week.
Kees, I really love to read all you write and all the wealth of info share on children sponsored from bolivia. our little girl is from bolivia and it is exciting to think that we will recieve letters a bit more frequently than we thought…can’t wait to send out her little package tomorrow-got some great spanish books on CBD!!
Maybe you want to email it to me at: [email protected]
Wonderful. If you tell me your child’s number, I’ll be in Bolivia soon, there is a remote chance that I might be able to see her and take photos and videos of her.
Could that boy be put in the correspondence program?
What is the correspondence program? I haven’t yet read about it.
The correspondence program is a program where sponsors who can not write (for whatever reason) can call Compassion and request that their child receives a correspondent. Then, there are volunteers, who will get assigned this child and the volunteer will write to the child and the child to the volunteer. Some of the children will know that the person writing them is a correspondent, others will look towards the correspondent as their sponsor.
The reason that the financial sponsor can’t write might be that a huge company is sponsoring 1000 children, and can’t have their employees write, or the financial sponsor doesn’t have the health or the time to write.
I’m very thankful for these financial sponsors, because they love the child enough to make sure that the child gets letters. It would be a dream come true that every sponsor, who doesn’t write would call Compassion and request a correspondent.
Just today, I received a letter from Shedenka telling me about her two friends, who never receive letters and how sad they are and how they are always praying to get to know their sponsor, because the children are required to write letters. (at least 2 program letters/year) They feel they write and write, but never receive an answer. This week, I also heard of a boy, who wants to drop out of Compassion, because his sponsor never writes. And I’ve heard of a father telling his child that the child is “worthless and trash and that everyone knows that, even the sponsor knows that because the sponsor never writes.” This can be very harmful to the child.
Kees – I would like to be a correspondent. What steps do I need to take? I love to write letters and send items to our 3 sponsored children, and probably do so way too much. Seriously, I would be happy to write on a regular basis to 5-10 other children. I have no preference to gender, age, or country, and begin ASAP.
Hi, Patti, That is wonderful. You need to call the Compassion Office. If you are in the USA, just call 1-800-336-7676. There is only one drawback to keep in mind….. If the financial sponsor quits, you generally get 30 days to sponsor that child. If you can not sponsor the child at that time, you can not continue with the correspondence. You are allowed to write a final letter though. There is also the remote possibility that the financial sponsor changes their mind and decides they want to write the child themselves. In that case, you also have to discontinue the correspondence.
If the financial sponsor discontinues the sponsorship, then the correspondence sponsor will get first dibs on sponsoring the child. I had this happen and it broke my heart that i couldn’t take on another child at the time. But they do give you a chance before simply putting the child back in the system.
Kees, you have been such an encouragement to me, and obviously a strong advocate for Compassion and the various programs offered to children through Compassion. THANK YOU! In the way of an update, I contacted Compassion by email late last Thursday evening. By the time I logged on to the computer Friday morning, I already had a reply from the “Sponsor Donor Relations Department”. Here’s what I learned. Due to a limited number of children waiting for a correspondent, only three correspondent children can be linked to any one sponsor’s account. (I had asked for 5-10—any gender, any age, any country!) It was explained that, although many sponsored children are not receiving letters from their sponsors, those children cannot automatically be assigned a correspondent UNLESS the assigned sponsor request for them to be assigned one. That’s where the problem lies. As you stated, most sponsors don’t even know this option is available. It would be wonderful if all sponsor could and would write to their children, but of course in some cases, there’s valid reason that is not the case. Would you know if Compassion contacts sponsors that have not written at least a couple of letters to their sponsored child in a certain time period (such as a year) to make them aware of correspondent program?
Hi, Patti, From what I understand…. The sponsors do get encouraged to write their letters. If they haven’t written their child, they get a postcard thing in the mail, that they can just write a little on and send it back. I don’t think that it even needs a stamp from what I remember. I remember sorting the letters in Bolivia and I would see quite a few of those cards, so they do work. One of those cards was a little sad to me…. The sponsor had just written “God bless you” with a smiley face and send it in…..I wish the sponsor had taken 10 seconds more and written just a little more…. If the sponsors call in and ask about their child, the representatives will check the account and see if the sponsor has written recently. They will encourage the sponsor to write.
Personally, I think it would be great if there were two lines on the sign in sheet, like:
__ I will write my child from time to time
__ I will be happy to pay for the sponsorship, but please find a correspondent.
I think it is good to educate the sponsor before the sponsorship instead of afterwards….
But I am very glad that you are going to be able to correspond to three of the children. These children will be so blessed. I think the children that have correspondents get way more letters than the ones that just get sponsors, because the correspondents are committed to writing and know the importance. Whereas the sponsors might not know, depending on how they might have learned about Compassion.
A sponsor might go to some concert. Hear about the plight of the poor and how $38 can make such a difference in the life of a child. They might think: “Oh, that’s a good way for part of my tithe.” Then they raise their hand and get a child given them during a packetpass. They take the packet. Sign the paperwork and turn it in, never realizing that they just also stepped into a relationship with that child. On the other side of the world, the project learns that one of their children is sponsored, because they receive a piece of stationary called a “First Letter” So, that’s how the child finds out that they have a sponsor, so the first thing they do is write a letter.
So, to the sponsor it is primarily a financial commitment, but to the child it is a relationship.
This is why during concerts, I have made it a point when the sponsor comes to me and ask what they need to do to sponsor this child, I take two things out, first I tell them to fill out their first letter and then they fill out the financial form. I think that is the best way to start off a sponsorship….
I ALWAYS talk about letter writing when helping a new sponsor sign up (I’m an advocate). I always say, “Many children value the letters more than the money. They treasure your letters; there are stories of children who had to evacuate their homes and all they wanted to get was their letters.”
It’s crucial that people understand this. My dad was a sponsor for years and never understood that the letters were important. Now he does and just signed up for the online account so he can write online. 🙂
Re: “Personally, I think it would be great if there were two lines on the sign in sheet, like:
__ I will write my child from time to time
__ I will be happy to pay for the sponsorship, but please find a correspondent.
I think it is good to educate the sponsor before the sponsorship instead of afterwards….” Oh, YES, Kees! I would have never known had I not read your blogs! I sure hope the CI folks read your suggestions! I truly believe there would be more sponsors IF they realized that some folks don’t sponsor due to not being able to write their child for whatever reason. I’ve learned so much from your blogs, Kees, and I thank you for taking the time to teach me. You cannot imagine the difference you’ve made for so many of us and our sponsored children! I’ve emailed your suggestion I’ve quoted above to CI and I hope that others have, too. If they hear it enough, perhaps they’ll incorporate it. Thanks, again, Kees. You rock!
Courtesy of Compassion International: https://blog.compassion.com/letter-writing/#ixzz1SbXrFndi
How do I become a correspondent? I love to write letters to children. In fact, I may be sending too many letters to our sponsored Compassion children, if that’s possible. Seriously, I would take on corresponding with another 5-10 children TODAY. It doesn’t matter if they are boys or girls, what their ages are, or what country they are in. Just tell me how to sign up, and I’m on board!
I’ve recently become a Compassion sponsor for the third time. I sponsored two Compassion children in the late 80s, after learning about Compassion International while attending a Micheal W Smith concert. Compassion was a fairly young organization at that time, and there was only one method available for sending letters to a child. I’m thrilled to discover that I can now simply log-on, and send a message of hope and encouragement to 8-year old Ana (Peru) on a regular basis. Of course, I’ll also be sending hand-written letters and other flat gift items to Ana throughout the year, though. From my past experience as a sponsor, I understand the importance of the “personalized” touch. My former sponsored children never failed to express in their letters how much they loved and appreciated everything they received from me; letters, photos, postcards, postage stamps, “connect-the-dots”, paper dolls, bookmarks, etc. I can’t imagine how hurtful and sad it is for the sponsored children who never hear from their sponsors; especially while other children in the project do. Please Sponsors, WRITE, and write often even if it’s just a few words. If your writing by email, consider dedicating a scripture verse to your child. One of my past Compassion children, Carmen from Bolivia, dedicated a scripture to me as a Christmas gift one year. I have the verse marked in my Bible, and pray for Carmen each time I see it. Just remember that a few kind words can often times be more valuable than something money can buy. God Bless each of you, and praise God for Compassion International.
I was curious if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?
I don’t work for Compassion, but I can tell you that they actually redesigned their blog last year (I think, maybe my memory is off), and got dozens of comments about things to keep, things to remove, and things to modify or make better placed. There were lots of comments about not having the page take a long time to load (some people have what I consider slow connections-ie, slower than dsl), which I imagine is in part why they have more text and fewer images. One text thing that people did ask to keep was the ‘recent comments’ part, and that’s exactly how I found your comment and thought I’d respond to it. I’ve noticed a few changes over the past few weeks (or else I’ve just paid more attention the last few weeks). Obviously, there is always room for improvement though, so I’m sure if you had specific changes they’d listen to your suggestions 🙂
I’d recommend using the ‘contact us’ link at the top right of the webpage rather than putting specific feedback in a comment though to ensure the right person sees it.
I have been sponsoring Kevin (13) in Rwanda since May of last year. My children and I have sent many letters to him in our 10 months of sponsoring him. We have only received 2 letters back, the last one being in July. We send at least 2 letters a month, along with pictures that my children draw and pictures of our family. I am concerned that I have only received 2 back from Kevin. Should I be concerned or is this normal? I am honestly worried about him. In the last 3 months, our letters have asked him if he is OK and if he could write us a letter telling us about his family and what they are all up to. My children (13, 9 & 8) check the mail box all the time, hoping for a letter from their brother. 🙁 We continue to pray for our sweet boy!
Children in Rwanda in general send only three letters per year, so it could just be that his most recent letter was delayed for some reason. However, since it has been over 6 months since you last heard from Kevin you could call Compassion and ask if there are any letters in the system. If no letters are on their way a request can be put in to the field.
I have written before but everytime I receive a letter from one of our kids I realize the impact letters have. But has anyone ever thought of the impact they have on someone other than the child? Like the parent(s). I say this because my son sponsors a child that is developmentally disabled like my son is. I received a letter from the mother stating how glad she was that her son had someone as a sponsor who understands his disability. His problems almost exactly copied my sons problems when he was a child. She wrote a letter to me personally stating her feelings regarding her son (she loves him very much) and how she wanted him to be a “nice caring young man like Chris” who is able to handle quite a few things on his own. She says that her son has a goal now and that Chris is his inspiration and that as a mother she doesn’t feel so alone knowing that someone else, even though I am far away can relate to what she is feeling, her letter made me cry. I realize now why Chris and I went though all we had to deal with when he was small. It was to help Gustavo and Jack his other developmentally disabled sponsored child. They are truly a blessing to us. Even though Jack has lost both parents and lives with his Aunt,he says he knows he has a hope and future, what more could someone ask for?
Yes, those letters are many times read by the friends of the children and the family might get together to listen to what the sponsor says. It has a huge impact. I even know a translator and his wife got saved because of what the letters that her husband would bring home to translate.
This is a mother expressing her thankfulness on behalf of the child. Notice how it affects her:
Our son Chris sponsors a boy named Dex from the Philippines and he writes in every letter how much he loves receiving letters from Chris, he asked his mother to get him a special book to keep the letters in, she reported to me in one of the letters that he sleeps with this special book every night. We sponsor some girls and they write to tell us that our letters mean so much to them and that we really care because we ask questions about their family, what they do at the center, etc. One girl wrote that she would not be in school now if she didn’t have our encouragement. The most important letter so far is from a young man in India who stated that through our encouragement, he prayed to become a Christian and now all the bitterness toward his dad abandoning the family is gone.
the letter writing is important, Compassion is the only child-sponsorship program we know of that allows a person to sponsor a child with special needs. Our son is developmentally disabled and he sponsors 2 boys just like him. They really relate to each other. My son can encourage them and they know that he knows what he is talking about. I can’t imagine growing up in poverty, let alone being special needs and growing up in poverty. The letters they exchange are precious to both the kids and our son
Tigh, have you ever heard the story about the starfish? It may not make a difference to everyone, but it will make a difference to that one person. 🙂
Amy, I reminded my ten year old of that story after showing her your blog about your daughter’s birthday party! 🙂
This post totally inspired me today!
i recently had a conversation with my mother. the subject of compassion arose. and i said, you can have all the compassion you want but there will still be people dying, suffering, starving, with loss and pain. and these are people that you do not know and they will never know you. i said maybe it might make a difference in your life but only for you and not for the other people. well i may be wrong. i will be the first to tell you that i don’t know very much. i am very much aware that we are all connected. but we have drifted so far apart. not only from each other but from god. i know i am not the only person who is experiencing this. i am sending this message not for me but for the ones i know and love.
Wow. I’ve written one letter now, just because every time I try to write one, I’m totally lost for what to say. But I haven’t heard from him since I sent the letter, so hopefully it’ll get easier?
I really liked writing the letter, but goodness, it was tough!
A blog that has really helped me is Michelle’s (scroll up to her Oct. 4 post on this page). Click on her name and on the right hand sidebar are links to tons of things to write about.
Hope this helps!
Before I write a letter, I ask the Lord for wisdom about what to write. Trust me, He always gives me great ideas! So ask Him and He will do the same for you!
LOL. Yeah. my child hood passion was pen pals, so it’s just journeyed into my adult years. 🙂
I am going to give it a shot. You never know, right?
[quote comment=”21013″]I write to my sponsored kids once every 2 weeks. I am 36 years old and every time I go to the mailbox and see no letter for me, I am disappointed. I don’t ever want my kids to feel that way. 🙂
Question: Would it be possible and/ or a good idea to put a card in with our regular letters and ask our child to give it to someone who didn’t get anything? It would almost be a way of teaching them to give. I was thinking of just saying “You matter and God loves you”.
That is awesome!!! I appreciate you writing so much!!! Well, I’ll tell you, one thing for sure is that your child is not disappointed by not getting enough letters. As a matter of fact, your child is probably known as the one, who gets a lot of letters. And many children wish they had you as a sponsor. The average child gets 1 letter/year. So, no, your child should be very excited. Now, if your child is from a reciprocal country like Bolivia, you should get quite a few letters back. I was in Bolivia and Holland for 4 1/2 months and when I got back, there were around 300 letters!
Regarding your question as to adding a card. I think that is a great idea!!! I did this myself. The only thing that I noticed when I went to visit the child is that the child showed me all of the letters that she had gotten and there were all of the cards. Instead of giving them out, she kept them all. I think she didn’t understand it. Now if your child is from a country, where they answer the letters, maybe you can say something like: “I sent you some extra cards. These are for some of your friends, who don’t get letters. Can you tell me whom you give them to?” Maybe that would make it clearer.
I write to my sponsored kids once every 2 weeks. I am 36 years old and every time I go to the mailbox and see no letter for me, I am disappointed. I don’t ever want my kids to feel that way. 🙂
Question: Would it be possible and/ or a good idea to put a card in with our regular letters and ask our child to give it to someone who didn’t get anything? It would almost be a way of teaching them to give. I was thinking of just saying “You matter and God loves you”.
Just curious…How is the “forever yours…” post relevant to this blog?
It wasn’t relevant. It was spam. Thanks for being our second set of eyes.
@stephanie I try to write to my kids every month. I just got two letters in the same day from my girl, Julietta, in Colombia. They were written on the 15th and 21st of September. You can’t send small packages. https://blog.compassion.com/give-a-gift-to-your-sponsored-child-how-what-why/ will give you an idea of what you can send.
Just curious how often everyone writes? How often do you send small packages?
I write every 3 weeks, and send a little something – stickers, photo, pictures to color, etc. with each letter to the younger children. To the older ones, I will often send a short devotion with the letter. When I have a new-to-me child, I will immediately send an e-mail, then when I get it, send the Sponsor Folder, then in the next week send a letter with additional family photo or a map of where I live. I know the children are as anxious to know some basic stuff about us, and see our pictures, as we are to see theirs, so I will send several of those things quickly, then go to the every 3 week schedule.
Long term impact of letters:
In the 1990s, my son, Abbot, sponsored a girl, Indris, in the Dominican Republic. When he was 19 years old (1992), he sent Indris a letter with a photo in it of himself and his older and younger brothers. The youngest brother, Giles, was 9 years old at the time. Fast forward to 2009: Giles and I are on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Indris is all grown up now, and she and Abbot have continued to correspond by email, after Indris graduated from high school and the Compassion program. Giles, of course, is all grown up now, too (27 years old at the time of our vacation). We go to visit Indris, who still lives in the same house with her mother. When we come in, she greets Giles, like a long lost brother, though they have never met. She goes and gets a box out from under her bed with Abbot’s letters in it and the photo from 1992—and there is tiny little Giles at the end of the row of his very tall, adult brothers. Now, of course, he is
the tallest, and he and Indris had a good laugh over that. On the walls of Indris’ home were photos of Hope and Brooke, Abbot’s now 8 and 6 year old children. Our families are united forever by photos and correspondence—and Abbot didn’t even write or send photos that often in the 7 or 8 years that he sponsored Indris, but apparently those few letters and photos still mean the world to her!!!!
my tears are flowing how absolutely beautiful. I’ve been writing about 1x/mo and email 1x.. thanks for your story
I’d like to let you know the impact this blog post (and the associated comments) has had on me. At the time I first read it, I’d been a sponsor for about 2.5 years, and while I’d sent several birthday and family gifts, I’d written only about once a year because I didn’t think letters were all that important. Learning how impactful letters can be made me decide to write more regularly. I’m not as prolific as some folks around here, but I have developed a habit of writing to each of my kids every other month (I wanted to establish a writing frequency I can commit to long-term — ). It has been such a joy to read their responses and see them open up more to me!
So I thank you for myself and, I’m sure, on behalf of Josephine, Jennibe, and Manzi!
Last month, I shared a story on my blog that was written by a friend over on Our Compassion. It is titled The Delivery and is a must read. It will show you just how important those letters are. Click my name to go to my blog, you’ll find a like to The Delivery on the right hand side-bar.
Michelle, I visited your blog some time past and read the story titled, The Delivery, and I thought it was really good! I agree that it does show how important our letters are to our children. As I was reading it, I myself took on the emotions of the children. I can imagine the hurt and disappointment of looking to see if something comes for you, but nothing does. I hope that this story inspires sponsors to write their children. It sure inspired me to keep on writing to my beloved friend in Ethiopia. No doubt he is now happy to receive something from me every time mail arrives at his center for the first time in 4 years! Just the thought of his face beaming with joy fills my heart! It is important to all of us to know that someone whether their near or far loves and cares for us. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. God bless you.
This touched my heart. It took me a little while to finally write my child, but it is so rewarding to know that you are making such an impact on a child’s life and his or her Christian development. It almost brings tears…
My self and the wife are sponsoring 4 very nice and God loving kids at present. It takes Months for letters to get to and from. But we love getting the letters. One letter let us know that Mom and Dad came to know Christ. We Wept. We give thanks that we can do this.
I can’t speak for all the Compassion countries, but I do know that in Bolivia, a letter via email goes much faster. They are being sent from Colorado Springs every day ain MS Word Attachment. Then every other week, they are being printed out. They also are being emailed to one translator, who will translate them within a few days. Because of the email, this process goes much faster. Also, the letters are then printed on very nice stationary and they are sent to the project. Most of the other letters that arrive in the country office are on the US stationary that comes with the letters, that you receive. I would guestimate this to be about 80 to 90 %. So, the letters, that are on email, actually are on very nice stationary with colors.
Anyways, depending on when you send your letter, it could take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks to reach the letter by the child. This is much faster than via the regular mail.
Again, I want to emphasize that I just know how the Bolivia office handles this. It might be very different with another country office.
Thanks so much, Kees! I’ve learned so much more about the process of sponsoring “my child” from YOU than I ever have from the CI website! I sure wish you’d do something on the CI website for fairly new sponsors like myself AND for all the others I’ve seen post that say, “I’ve sponsored my child for 5 years and never knew that!” You’ve been an absolute blessing to so many of us sponsors and we love you and your heart! -Kim
this is awesome info. we try to write emails at least once a week-been feeling so bad bcoz we want to send handwritten ones with little ‘gifts’ to go with it as it definitely is more personal, but sometimes just don’t have the time to put it all together. the email letters have been so helpful for me just to even write to my little girl there in bolivia to tell her that we are thinking of her and praying for her and that we love her. thank you for this info..it feels nice to know, she gets them quicker..
If the little girl is very small, it might be difficult for her to write back every week….. When your letter arrives in the Bolivia country office, it generates a piece of stationary that the child will get along with the letter. It’s a thank you letter. It has green parts to it. The child is given that letter along with the stationary. They have 10 days to reply to the letter, otherwise the country office follows up on it. I’ve heard some small children with their parents taking about 4 hours to write the letters. So, with the ones that are under 10 years old, I only write them once a month because of that. Once they are older, they are much faster, because they can write the letter themselves. But you should be getting a lot of letters soon….. 🙂
she is 11yrs old!!
Wow, Kees thank you so much for that! I now know how long Abigail will have to wait to get my letter! 🙂 Muchos Gracias!
I just checked with Compassion. The emails do go to the country office now. When I visited Compassion earlier, they where sent with the other letters at that time. I send an occasional email, but will stick with letters. I always have other things to send my kids, so email doesn’t usually work for me.
Thanks Garry for checking!
@Sharon I don’t know how the children view letters versus emails. I know I feel letters are more personal, but the kids will love anything they get. As for the processing time, it is basically the same. The emails are printed in Colorado Springs, then put with written letters until they have enough to send. Then all the letters and emails go to the country where they are translated. So, there is really no time savings sending email. Also, you can send photos and various “stuff” with letters. Email doesn’t allow that. But, whatever form you choose to use, the number one thing is be sure to write your kids. The letters are gold to them.
I’ve heard multiple times that the emails are sent directly to the country office and that it can save about 2 weeks time vs mailing letters.
I too think letters are more personal, so I like to alternate between the two.
I was wondering how children react to “email” letters versus handwritten letters. Email is certainly easier for me, and the webpage says these can be processed faster, but do the children feel they are impersonal?
Call Compassion, Monday through Friday at 1 (800) 336-7676. Tell them you want to be a correspondent, and they will get the process started.
hi there, i was just wondering how you can become a correspondent to a child ??
I reply with an emphatic YES. Last time I went to Peru and inside of one of the classrooms at a project, somebody from the group asked a teacher how important a letter is when the child receives it. The reply I could still remember, “Many children tells and show their friends about their letters.” That reply, I still remember, even after 15 months! Every month, the children are handed out the sponsor’s letters to them and every month, the child hopes that they get handed one. Inside of that classroom that day, I could kind of feel how it would be to be that child! So, please send letters! They LOVE them!
Thanks for this story. I saw the little link in a Compassion email I received that said “Are my letters really that important?” so I clicked it and read the story and wrote my sponsored child in India a letter immediately afterward. I had not written him in many months. Thank you and I will remember what was said in this story.
Wendy and Bridget,
Children in our program have an insatiable thirst for pictures and letters from their sponsor. Often, children are asking for more pictures and letters from their sponsor and it is translated as “I have not received a letter or picture from you.” Without looking at your account, I am unable to give specific information. Please contact us at (800) 336-7676. One of our representatives would be happy to discuss this with you.
Wendy, if you are sending birthday gifts, there should be an accounting of what was purchased with that money. You should get that in one of your child’s letters within the year. It should list what was purchased and how much each item cost.
If you have not gotten that info, you should definitely call Compassion ASAP and let them know. Actually, if your child claims she’s never gotten a letter or pictures from you in 6 years — and you know you’ve sent those — I would call Compassion immediately. Compassion would definitely want to look into that.
Thank you Lisa,
I have never received an accounting of what I have purchased. I didn’t know that one even existed. I am calling Compassion today and find out what has been going on.
My husband and I have had a sponsored child for 8 years. She is now 14 years old. In her most recent letter, she was complaining that she hasn’t received pictures or letters from me ever. Every time she writes I write back immediately. Is there a break down somewhere? I hope that my checks are getting to her and the birthday and Christmas gifts. How do I know for sure? This has been frustrating for us needless to say.
I love reading these blogs! I always feel so encouraged to sit down and write to my child after hearing the huge and positive impact they have on our beautiful compassion children.
Kees – you mentioned delivering one of the sponsor’s messages personally as a video. I sponsor a child in Haiti. Is there an option for me to send some sort of video correspondence with her? I think it is such a powerful idea, because it allows the child to really see us as real people, and hear how our voices sound.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write these blogs – I LOVE them! I get so many wonderful letter writing ideas.
@Andrea I couldn’t agree more with what you have said. I have sponsored 10 kids in 20 years, two for over 12 years.They are all different in the way they write. You mentioned Jaime wasn’t a “good” writer. Males, as a whole are not natural letter writers, however, we learn with time. I have visited all but three of my kids. ALL, whether you would think so by reading their letters, are deeply grateful for your support. I have a couple girls who write short letters. Both also call me “dad.” Keep writing. The kids appreciate your letters more than you know.
In response to people having problems with “cold” letters from Ethiopia: My mother sponsors a the little girl from Ethiopia, and she has not been distant at all. She writes detailed letters and you can tell that she is a big personality. I don’t know if that’s just her and she’s unusually outgoing or comfortable with my mom (she’s been sponsored 6 years now) or it could just be her project compared to another. I guess I wanted to encourage you that I know a girl from there who is probably a better writer than my Mom or I.
I have noticed that her letters are usually this big outpouring in the “open” section of the letter, and little blurbs that are answers to some of the questions on the back. She always includes “pray for me” and usually something about school under the section for questions to your sponsor. But realistically even if she feels these are things she “should” say, it’s a good sign that she’s thinking about them.
On the other hand, my Mom has had her boy in Guatemala a little longer than the girl in Ethiopia and you could see his letters as “distant” if you didn’t pay attention. You can tell that he’s not a big writer, and he struggles a little in school. It’s the beautiful drawings and the little details that slip in that give away how much it all means to him.
I think sometimes we are a little hard on the sponsor kids. We feel like we deserve a letter for what we are doing for them. But I know for a fact that no matter how grateful my little brother is you aren’t going to get a composed sonnet out of him. He’s not a good writer, partly because he has a slight reading disability, but also based on his personality, he tends to be a bit reserved. My Mom’s boy from Guatemala is also not a good writer (as far as long detailed letters) but the little details he occasionally adds are exactly the sort of thing my little brother occasionally says without thinking. Things that show you how much what you are doing affect him.
Personality can vary so widely, while I have to “make sure” I sit down to write, once I do I usually run out of room. I know that even when my brother knows what he wants to write he struggles to get it down on paper. While my Mom and I haven’t gotten to visit Jaime (the boy in Guatemala) yet, I definitely get this “between the lines feel” that even though his letters aren’t super detailed they take him a long time to write.
So please don’t think that they don’t care, or that what you are doing doesn’t matter. There is no “typical” when it comes to children, they are all individuals. However I do think all of these children really need our support.
@Sandy The letters are written in the child’s first language. There is something lost in translation though. All my kids speak Spanish, and I have a friend who worked for Compassion in Guatemala who tells me that it is very hard to get a translation that has the true meaning of what the child, or writer, was trying to say. Keep writing and building a relationship with your little girl. When she is old enough to write the letters herself, I think you will be able to see her personality better.
The child I sponsor sends me letters that are written by her teacher. The letters have little drawings and a sample of her handwriting. She is only 5 (6 now?) so I’m hoping that she will write the letters when she gets older. The letters from the teacher are very similar each time. I have also gotten letters from her mother after I send birthday gifts and the like. I have found these letters to be more personal and give me a special perspective on the little girl. I’ve heard so many great stories about how our letters bless the kids and their families.
I wonder if the letters were written in their first language rather than in English if they would be more personal?
Thank you for writing the child as you have. I am not sure why you are having these letters like this. I understand that sometimes some of the letters are written by the help of a sample letter and so your child might be copying the sample letter. I don’t know. Maybe you can ask the child about this. I get a lot of letters from the children. Some of the children open up a lot more than some of the other children. However, sometimes, when you think that your letters are seemingly have no impact, they might have the greatest impact. Some children and some adults for that matter might not know how to express themselves in writing. Them writing a letter to you is an education all by itself. Maybe you can ask some specific questions. Number them and mark them in yellow.
But do remember that just because the child writes the same letter over and over again, that doesn’t mean that your letters aren’t making a HUGE difference in that child’s life. We’re dealing with different cultures and these children don’t think like us. I hope that helps.
I sponsor 1 child with a group, 2 on my own, and I have 3 correspondence children. That’s 6 altogether! I have been challenging myself to write to them 2 times each month this year. Last year I wrote once a month. I want to thank everyone for their wonderful ideas and inspiration. I remember reading a blog last year that really made an impact on me. I don’t remember what the author said word-for-word, but the part that I remember talked about how they wanted their sponsored child to receive some kind of correspondence every time letters were delivered to their project. That way, the child would know that the sponsor was thinking about them and taking time to write to them. That really inspired me to write more often.
Happy writing everyone!!
Not to be a downer on the Compassion blog, but this strikes close to home today. I have sponsored the same child for 8 years, and she is now nearly 18. I have written letters over the years, although not nearly as many as most sponsors probably do, and it seems as though she still has no idea who I am. Last night I received another message form her that was basically the same as every one I have ever received over the years. “I like to go to school, I like to help at home, for Christmas we did this, for New Years we did that. How old are you? Are you married?”
When I read messages like Kees’, I feel like I’m being told I am not doing a good enough job as a sponsor. At this point, I feel like I am sponsoring the program my child attends, instead of the actual child. I don’t expect to have a relationship with my sponsored child, but I hope that my sponsorship of the program she attends is good enough and still appreciated since it seems that letter writing isn’t working out.
One thing you can do, if you are concerned, is call Compassion’s 800 number. They can often check on situations like this to see what’s going on. It could be a situation where there is a sample letter being written, and the child is copying it.
Another thing to check on: how does your child do in school and what grade is she in? You can check this on compassion.com if you sign up for an account. For example, I just started sponsoring a girl who is graduating from the program next year, and she is now 20. However, when her info was last updated in 2008 (remember they have well over a million children to keep up with), she was only in the equivalent of the 7th grade, and her performance in school was “below average.” Her letters are usually something like, “How are you? I am fine. I’m praying for you. I know that God always provides for me. Please pray for my schooling.” They might be a bit longer, but they often seem like they are written by somebody much younger.
I recently was at a small Compassion Advocate’s conference, and our regional director spoke about a boy he had sponsored for many years. He said his letters were very impersonal, and he never felt like he had a relationship with this boy. He was going to be in this boy’s country, and had the opportunity to visit him. However, since he felt he didn’t have much of a connection with this boy, he wasn’t nearly as excited as he had been when visiting other children he sponsored. But when he got to the project, he said the boy literally jumped over tables to get to him, he was so excited, and spent the last half hour or so that they had together crying because he was so sad that his sponsor was leaving. This boy loved his sponsor deeply, but simply wasn’t a letter writer.
You and your letters and your sponsorship probably mean far more to your child than you’ll ever know. But as I said before, I’d encourage you to call the 800 number and ask them to find out what is going on in this situation. They should be happy to find out for you.
I get the same letters! I am not a downer either, but I am starting to wonder if my child has the many pictures, letters, gifts we have sent over the years. We adopted her when she was 6 years old and now she is 14! Wouldn’t you think that she could write a letter? Maybe the translators have been wiritng the letters and she has never been aware that they have been coming until now. It remains a mystery to me and I am hoping that someone from Compassion will explain.
I would like to know about the kids who don’t get any birthday money. How does Compassion handle that? Is there jealousy among the children over that?
I received my first letter from my sponsored child yesterday. I can’t tell you how it made my day! I’ve written her three times already. LOL. Her letter only took about a month to get here. The date was Feb. 13, so that’s a pretty short time, all things considered. I wasn’t expecting a letter so soon.
My heart is full as I write this. I’ve always wanted to sponsor a child, but only recently have the finances been in a place where we could do it. I look at that little letter and it fills me with such joy.
It’s so good to be doing something I know God has been calling me to do for years.
I just wanted to share that I stumbled across this this morning. I thank you for all those prayers! I have been a sponsor for about 15 years. I have written the kids off and on over the years and then because of some very difficult things in my own life stopped altogether for about 5 years. As things have been calming down in my own circumstances, I have felt impressed to write my compassion children again and have just started doing it again. As I was reading many of the comments on this and about how many of you pray for sponsors to write, I was really moved. God IS ANSWERING those prayers! I am an example. Thank you for praying and I will join you in praying for others!
I love hearing from my child. I am only 15 years old so my parents really pay for my child but I am the one who begged my parents to help me sponser her. I also light up when I recieve a letter from her. It definatly goes both ways. I love to send her letters and telling her that I pray every day for her and her family. Once she told me in a letter that she really can’t wait for what I tell her next in my letters. Even my brother says he likes to read what my child says. I think talking to your child is very important. Keep on sending those letters!!
Thank you Kees for sharing your heart! I am the trainer for the Sponsor Correspondence Team and we see your emails to your children every day! THANK YOU so much for being so faithful in corresponding with your children!
To answer your question, I wouldn’t that was too much, but it is a lot. Many times the letters might arrive once a month. So, your little girl will be very happy to receive these letters. One thing to keep in mind is that it takes about 1/2 year to receive an answer back, because it takes 3 months for the letter to get there and 3 months for the return letter. You should get your first letter soon, which will be on a yellow piece of stationary. That piece of stationary was also the piece of stationary that she found out that she was sponsored with. It arrived to the student center from the main office in Cochabamba and it had your name on it and that’s how she knew she was sponsored. I’ll be in Bolivia in 3 weeks. I can bring a CD with you talking to your little girl with me. Just contact me at [email protected]
I sponsored a girl from Bolivia at the ending of October and have already written thirteen letters to her. The last letter I sent was yesterday. Writing is a hobby that I have enjoyed from the time I Was a child but, I wonder if I might be writing too much?
I just received my first letter from my child who lives in the Dominican Republic. I was ecstatic! I cannot wait to be fluent in Spanish so I can write to her in her own language! Sending a letter is about as much fun as getting one in return.
I cannot wait to see what God will do in both of our lives in the coming year!
We sponsor 3 girls and are correspondents to 6 more children. We have had several of the children write to say that it is our letters that keep them going to school and getting good grades. For the kids that can’t write yet,one of the guardians will write and say that they are glad we sponsor their child and always thank us for any gifts we send and if it monetary, what was purchased.
Yes, the children absolutely get every last little thing in our envelopes. They are very good about commenting on everything they received in a letter. I also keep track of what I have sent since I have 7 kids and don’t want to send the same thing twice. They thank me for every item each time. I too was originally worried that they might not receive everything. I am happy they do. They also let me know how much they receive for the family gift and I always use a currency converter and it’s always the amount I sent. I am so impressed with Compassion, they are so committed and so thorough with everything.
@Caitlin -This has been something that has been on my mind as well lately. I too, question some of these translations. I see words in the children’s letters that do not appear in the translated version. I don’t want to miss a word of what they have to say but I also realize I can’t keep sending letters back for retranslation. I hope the translators aren’t overwhelmed and just give us a summary of what the child said. Each word and thought they write is very important to me. Anyone else wonder about the accuracy of their translations?
hello, my name is yang hyelin
i’m from korea
i saw compassion is Love of god delieverer so i want to volunteer
here. as soon as i know there is a tranlating mate i signed here
i will translate letter for chilldren and for LorD
hi I’m from Korea
and I’m doing volunteering by translating korean sponsor’s letter into English.^^
Actually before I read this thing, I didn’t know that these letters are that important to them..but now I get it.
I should translate a lot more letters than before so that more children get the chance recieving their letters.
I was wondering how people sent band-aids because I called and asked if I could put them in a ziplock or something like that and the lady said well you could but we would probably take them out of the bag. How will they get them since I can’t exactly label each one? Do I need to tape a bunch to a letter or something?
Thanks for any ideas?
It came from Haiti. The letter was 3 pages longs, both sides, so I think the translator may have been overwhelmed. I know just enough Creole to notice “something’s not right here” but not enough to correct it. Plus there were numbers in multiple sentences in Creole, and no numbers mentioned in the translation. Then there was one whole page of Creole writing and the complementary English page had only “I thank you and your family for their prayers.” And she asked me a question that didn’t get translated… so I am eager to find out the translation, I just want to know what the letter said! 😀
Found your comment. 🙂 It took about 3 weeks because someone there was on vacation, but they did get to it! They are busy. Also, from what I understand, it may have to be sent back to the country it came from to get redone. I lucked out on that not needing to happen to mine.
What country is your letter from?
I’m glad they were willing to redo it. They also sent a memo to the field office to let them know that the translation was lacking.
Have a great day. I hope it comes soon.
@Amy Brooke – Congrats! How long did it take the translation to get to you? I’m waiting on a retranslation myself, and I really really want to read it now 😉
I got the retranslation on the letter to my little one in Ecuador. I was write in that it wasn’t an accurate translation. Compassion worked hard to get me one and they are letting the field office in Ecuador know about the mistranslation. Compassion works so hard to make this a good experience all the way around.
@Cora Collado –
Were you sponsored through Compassion International? They have an office in the Netherlands in Apeldoorn.
Being from Holland myself and being “Boer” myself, I know it is a fairly common name in the Netherlands, so it can be difficult to find a person like that with just that much information. Do you know their first name. That would narrow it down considerably.
So, if you were sponsored through Compassion in the Netherlands, I can maybe forward your contact information to them and see what they can do. I know that they can’t give out the information without the consent of the sponsor.
I hope this helps.
I am not sure if they will be able to find your sponsor. People often move and support other ministries. But I am sure that your former sponsor know how much you care for them.
Also want to thank whoever mentioned that you can sign up for a correspondence child. I did not know you would do that. I sponsor one and now have asked them to put me on the list for a correspondence child also. I am so excited about it!! Thanks again for all the good information.
We are all truly blessed!!
Thank you for all your wonderful ideas! Especially the one about printing a sheet of labels-great idea!
Keep the ideas coming for teenage boys-I am at a loss on what to send him.
Thank you for the information on sending things for siblings, too. I had not thought of that. He has a 5 year old sister, so she will be easy!
@Joy – Joy, you are probably correct that they don’t know how to change the setting…currently my camera has the wrong date. I have visited my sponsored children in Peru and I know that they received the gift money I sent for their birthday and other times. Feel confident that Compassion is really giving them the gift money that you send.
I love getting letters and sending them too. We were recently sharing about our sponsored children to a skeptical friend. She asked how do we know the money really goes to them, etc. Well we had just received a photo with one of the children with a gift she wrote that we got for her with gift money. But of course our riend noticed a big white out mark at the bottom and was like “what are they hiding there?” ugh! I hadn’t even noticed it. Later I scratched off the white out and it was a date from 1 year ago. I would just like to think maybe they don’t know how to change the setting? I don’t know how I can know for sure-but i’m not telling the friend I scratched it off. What do you think?
I totally love the picture and our sponsored children!
Thanks Sandy-I bookmarked it too!
Hi, I am Cora, i was a foster child way back then in my home country Philippines. As a sponsored child, we get to receive a not so frequent letters from my foster parent which i only know as Mr De Boer. I was very young then, and when i got to finish school and learned how to use the internet, i have been trying to locate the contact details of my foster parent but to this date, no avail. It was very unfortunate that one of the rules way back then was not to write letters to the foster parent directly. Addresses and contact details are withdrawn from teh foster child and its just the center who mails them the letter so basically the only authorize person to have the details of the foster parent is the center branch in our city. I dont know if my foster parent knows my full name as well. But now, all i want is to get in touch with them to tell them personally how grateful i am for all their help. They are from De Boer family in Netherlands. I hope someone could help me with this. Thank you so much!please get in touch with my email, ([email protected])
I’d like to say how encouraging it has been to read the ongoing comments and see how committed you all are to sending gifts and letters!
Also, I have an official answer on the amount of letter writing. I checked with our Correspondence Team and was told there is no limit to writing your child and if, in the future, there was a limit once a week would still not be too much. Hope that brings some clarity…write on!!!
Joy–Yep…it’s a valid page. The link for country-specific info on what certain child/family gift amount will buy is:
It took me quite a while to find it the second time I wanted to use it, so I added it to my “favorites” so I wouldn’t lose it again!
Just go to this page, click on the country you want and
Thanks to all who answered about if the children actually receive our small gifts. I am excited to send more things now. 🙂
I thought I saw a link here that showed what a certain amount of gift money could buy in each country. I can’t find the link now and I didn’t see anything like that on the compassion site. Does anyone have that link and it is still vaild? THANKS!
I write a little more than 2 times/month. In Bolivia, the children pretty much write back, when they get a letter. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen it where a child gets my letter, while I’m visiting them. What happened is that they got my letter and with the letter a blank piece of stationary to reply on within the next 3 days or so.
So, I’ve wondered if it was too much and if I should cut back, because I thought maybe it is overwhelming them to have to write so many letters to me.
I’ve asked a lot of my children in person, if I should write less and I asked them to be very honest with me. All of them told me that they like the amount of letters that they get and not to cut back. So, in general, I don’t think that the children see it as too many letters at least not at the point of 2 letters/time.
Having said that I remember Michelle Tolentino telling me that her sponsor after they had build up a solid relationship, slowed down writing the letters a little bit and she was fine with that too. She realized that he probably got busier.
@Dyan – Thanks. I was just curious. Roughly estimated, I write weekly, but I alternate every other week between short notes on blank cards and slightly longer letters. I haven’t heard any complaints yet…in fact, I’ve talked to some compassion Q&A folks over the phone while they were answering my questions, and many of them have thanked me for writing so often. But I have also wondered if it is too much for the kids to handle. Just when I decide I’ll cut back, a picture flashes through my mind of the disappointment on my kids’ faces that first month when they receive half the amount of letters they used to…and I can’t do that to them… so until told otherwise, I’ll keep my trend going.
I know that my children do recieve the little gifts that I send them as they have all thanked me for the items individually in their letters.
@Joy – I have been sponsoring kids for 19 years and some of the items that are being mentioned as things to send to the kids are fairly new to me. However, the home visits I have made to my kiddos, they have all the postcards I have sent them, bookmarks, some stickers, although the stickers are a hot item with the kids and have been used. My kids have thanked me for all the items I have sent, so my response is yes, they do receive the things you send them.
Joy, I can tell you from having visited 50 children in the last couple of years that they certainly do and when you visit them, they are all too eager to show them and the letters to you. They are very happy with them.
Do we know if the children actually receive the little gifts in our letters (such as stickers, bookmarks, postcards, etc.)?
@Sara Benson – Outside of this particular situation, I’ve only heard of one time, where someone was asked to write less and that person wrote about every day. Some of the projects might get letters once a month or maybe even once every month. I can imagine that it could be overwhelming to get 40 letters from one person. Especially, when that is all the mail you get in your life!
@Dyan – Although writing once a week may mean that some of your letters end up getting delivered together, I have never been told that there is a maximum number of letters that can be sent. I was wondering the same thing as Caitlin, Was it a Compassion worker who told you that it was too much?
@Caitlin – I was told that once a month was fine. I was sending stuff out weekly and was informed that it was too much.
@Dyan – Just wondering, who told you it was too much?
@Dyan – I haven’t been told that. They are very short so it shouldn’t be much problem for translation. They probably receive three or four at the same time. It is just much easier for me to write short letters.
@Jeanette – I was told that once a week is too much.
@Rebecca – How often do you write?
@noname i just found this blog..i have 4 kids, and i want them to be excited and happy when the mail comes!! so i go to stores and get things like color books, guideposts, stickers, scrapbook materiels etc, on sale and i buy one for each of everything, then at the dollar store i buy the manilla envelopes in different sizes for 6/$1.oo then when i get time like tonite, i package it all up, address and take to p.o. for stamps,,,,but i take it home,,,,i have a shoe box for each kid,,(of the gifts) and a saturday outgoing box…on sat am,,,,EACH WEEK… i take out one envelope per kid and write a small note, so it is current,,,,,i do this each week, only cost postage to colorado,,the stuff inside is pennies and worth millions to the kids,,,my kids get mail each week and i don’t have to write long letters,,,
sometimes if i’m in a hurry, the note is as small as a post it note taped to the items,
GIVES ME AS MUCH JOY AS THEM….I JUST WISH I COULD SEE THE FACES ON MAIL DAY
Hello, everyone! I just returned from San Pedro Sula, Honduras on Sunday. I was able to meet my sponsored children (and ended up sponsoring another!), visit some of the sites (341, 320, 347, 349, and 327, I think) and help clean up the area a little bit! This trip was truly a blessing and makes me want to support Compassion’s effort to help these families even more. We visited some of the families’ homes, and the children who were sponsored always showed us their letters from their sponsors! I have pictures of some of the kids holding the letters. If you are interested in seeing pictures or hearing more, email me or add me as a friend on myspace or facebook to see the pictures. WRITE TO YOUR KIDS!!! It’s so important to encourage them, make them feel special and give them hope!
Cleveland, Ohio (Parma)
@Ramona S – i always write regularly regardless of whether I recieve a reply. If I wait for a reply then it will have been bout 4 months for her to get another letter. 2 to get to her and 2 to get back to me and another 2 to get back to her.
I write as often as I can because I know that it encourages them so much. I write short letters, most of the time email, and try to write once a week.
If this was a spanish speaking country the English word niece looks like the Spanish word for granddaughter. I have had my niece called my granddaughter before…
@Stephanie G – I have sponsored multiple kids in both Guatemala and Colombia. I have never kept it from them. When I visit, I take them both to the same place. They love to spend time with each other as well as me. My kids in both countries pray for their Christian sisters in the other country. I send them pictures of the other kids I sponsor. They are very inquisitive and ask about the other kids.
Your child will be very happy with the letter. The first letter gets send fairly soon after they get sponsored. As a matter of fact, I found out that in Bolivia, the first letter gets send from the country office to the project and when the project receives that letter, that’s how they know the child got sponsored. In other words the stationary that the first letter was written on is the way that the country office communicated to the project that they got sponsored. This might just be Bolivia. I don’t know.
I sponsor quite a few children in Bolivia. I just went to see them a few weeks ago. When I first started sponsoring children, I would try to keep it a big secret that I sponsored other children too for the very same reasons that you mentioned. As I went to visit them at times, I had to have them together and they got to meet each other. I never noticed any jealously with each other. I give them each plenty of personal attention. Now, maybe that’s because of the Bolivian culture. I don’t know. But one thing that I really enjoy now is that they are starting to form friendships with each other. I have videos of them hugging each other, which I love watching. Also, last time, we ended up going to Lake Titikaka and two of them joined us there. These two had met last year and this time, they were like best of friends and we had a really good time together. I tell them that they are like sisters of each other. As a matter of fact, if they can encourage each other, then I would like that, because then they are more encouraged.
@Lisa Miles – I dont use the Compassion stationary. I find fun graphics of teddy bears or other things to use as a background, and create a letter form with the same info as the Compassion stationary. I think it makes it more personal and fun for the kids. I have about six graphics that I rotate.
I completely spoil my little boy Dereje. I send him stickers, photos, paper boats, bandaids etc.. I’m getting very clever at finding flat paper items that are fun for a kid to play with. Once I even send him a folded up burger king paper crown to wear on his birthday. lol
@Arie Boer – What happened to the translator?
I think one of the things I felt intimidated about when writing a letter was Trying to write 3 or 4 paragraphs and not have enough to say. Now I write 2 or 3 short paragraphs and don’t worry about it. It is enough. It is much better than not writing. Plus I write more often now that we can use email.
I still send those letters with stickers and things, but I can’t do that more than once a month. With email I write every week.
@ Sandy Schwarzkopf
The post you’re looking for is Where Do You Sponsor a Child?
I like the idea of a blog with other people from the same child development center. I can’t find this blog though. Would someone have the link?
@Sara Benson – Thanks for that additional explanation, Sara. I hadn’t considered the general Christmas gifts the children received. She did tell me that she bought jeans with the money! We were just very excited to get something from her – even if not specifically addressed to us. We’ve been sponsoring/corresponding with kids in Ethiopia, Mexico, Peru and Indonesia since March and this is the first letter we’ve gotten.
I know there has also been some discussion about the dates on the letters and I thought it was interesting that this one was dated April 2nd and we received it on May 2nd which I thought was pretty fast for Ethiopia. It was the date put on it by the translator at the country office so I’m not sure when Genet actually wrote the letter. We can’t wait to get more!!
@Kristen – Hi Kristen. I think that I can clarify a little bit. I too am a correspondence sponsor.
Your daughter’s correspondence child received a Christmas gift because all of the compassion children do. All Christmas donations from sponsors are pooled together so that all of the children can get a gift at least once a year.
The letter saying thank you was written and in the mail before your daughter was assigned to write to her, so it was labeled to the monetary sponsor. When the compassion office received the letter months later, your daughter was signed up to receive all letters. So even though it had the other sponsor’s name, it was delivered to you.
The little girl was told about your daughter “sponsoring” her probably in April. So any letters that she writes after April, will be addressed to your daughter.
I believe it is still possible for the other sponsor to send a monetary gift and in that case she will think it is from you. Though this is not very likely and in my experience, my gifts to my kids have been the only ones they receive.
I hope this clears things up a little bit.
I love being able to develop relationships with my correspondence kids. I hope it will be a great experience for your daughter as well.
Thank you so much for posting this.
I just got my first letter from my child. I’m so ashamed that the first one to write is him, not me.
I finished writing him my first letter, and I will continue to write from now on. His letters will become my most precious belongings.
I am looking for some clarification on the relationship with correspondence children. My daughter got a correspondence child from Ethiopia in early April. On May 4th we got a letter from her but it was actually a Christmas gift thank you letter and the label on it was addressed to her sponsor, not my daughter. I called Compassion to see if I should send the letter back so the sponsor could get the thank you and they said to keep it because the sponsor has indicated that they are not interested in the letter writing component of the sponsorship. They explained that future letters will be addressed to my daughter as, as far as Genet in Ethiopia knows, she is now her sponsor. But I worry that it will confuse the child that she is getting gifts from her “real” sponsor in addition to letters from my daughter. We just sent a birthday gift to another correspondence child in Indonesia because I assumed her sponsor wasn’t sending gifts. Now I’m not so sure! Does anyone else have experience with your correspondence children also receiving gifts from their sponsor? Maybe she will be told that future gifts from her sponsor are really from us? Thanks for any help to understand how this works!!
I have been one of those sponsors who didn’t write. I did send an email a while back, but recently sent my first hand written letter with a photo of myself with my nephew. It breaks my heart that my child in Kenya may be sad about not getting letters. That hadn’t really occurred to me. Thanks to all who have shared the importance of writing to our children.
When I went to El Salvador, I had one child there. On the day before the “child visit day” I met a girl named sara and began sponsoring her that day. Both were there on the child visit day, and of course Nahum had no idea I sponsored another child! To me, having Sara there really helped. Nahum is very shy and reserved. And a “guy”. Sara was full of energy. She helped keep the day moving! Also, I had brought gifts for Nahum, but of course none for Sara, since I didn’t know about her. I pulled some of the stuff I had for Nahum, and put it in a plastic bag for her, Nahum had his stuff in a backpack. She wasn’t comparing, she was just so happy to have a sponsor and the few things I gave her made her very happy. I was worried, because it was so little compared to Nahum. I was told (and saw this myself) that the kids are usually happy for each other and not jealous.
In my tours, I have seen sponsors with several sponsored kids, and it’s never seemed to be an issue. They are all just so happy to have a day with their sponsor, and sharing the happiness with another kid doesn’t lesson their own joy.
I have a question for those of you who sponsor multiple children in the same country. Do your sponsored kids know that you sponsor more than one person? Do they ever ask or have you ever offered that information?
I’m wondering because I’ve sponsored one child in Tanzania for three years and have recently been blessed with two correspondent children there, all of whom I would love to meet. I’m thinking of taking a sponsor trip next year but I wouldn’t want any of the kids to feel any less special because I was meeting several of them at one time.Has anyone had a similar experience meeting more than one of your children on a single sponsor trip?
@Valerie Long –
Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I’m finding this site so refreshing and full of new ideas.
Yikes, just re-read my reply to Kees and realized it sounded a bit whiny and complaining, NOT my intention!
I love sending stuff to my kids and don’t begrudge the labeling, I’m just glad there’s an idea of a more efficient way so I can get their letters out to them sooner!
@Marci in MO – Marci,
I almost always send things for more than one child at a time. What I’ve done is get some smaller envelopes (either manila or I often send cards so the envelope of the card). Then I label everything, stick it in the smaller envelope and label that envelope with the child’s name/number. Then I stick all the envelopes in a bigger envelope and mail them all at once.
I haven’t heard anything that suggests this is not ok as long as everything is labeled properly so it gets to the correct child!
I found the smaller 5×7 manila envelopes along with the larger 9×12 work well for this purpose and are fairly cheap if you buy ’em in bulk. 🙂 Hope that helps!
@Kees Boer – What a great idea to create labels to place on the items you send!! Thanks for sharing that as I would never have thought of that one on my own!
I have 7 sponsored kids and 2 correspondence kids and to send stuff to all of them like at holidays when I send several sheets of stickers or something it gets tiresome writing all the numbers over and over. I do it because I know the kids will enjoy the items when they get them, but what a great idea to make labels so it’s even easier!
Thanks for sharing that!
Arie, no fair! I love hearing your opinion, but my English and Spanish just aren’t gonna cut it in this situation, so I’m dying with curiosity about what your post said!
How to teach your sponsor child to write.
How does a child/person put his thoughts on paper? How is it possible to write to somebody about the things you want to tell to someone else?
I think this is a very important question for everybody.
In the following short letter I want to explain how this is possible to do for everyone.
Always start your letter where and when you write, for instance:
Bogota, Sinai student center, 14 April 2009, 3 ‘o clock in the afternoon. Or if you are at school: just …..School 3 o’clock in the afternoon. After that you write down the name of the person to whom you are writing.
Now, look around and write down what you see, for instance you see an old skinny horse and you think: ”that old horse must be hungry”.
Now you write down :
Poza Rica, student centre 14 April 2009, 3 o ‘clock in the afternoon (or: 3 PM)..
Dear (Dad, Mom, friend, sponsor, teacher, just choose to whom you write, or put the name of that person.)
I just saw a very old horse. The animal was very skinny; therefore I think he needs to be fed.
Unfortunately I didn’t have anything to eat for the poor thing.
Well, I hope to see you tomorrow when you will help me with Geographic’s.
I am really grateful for all the help you gave me last week.
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
This is just an example of a very short letter.
It tells what you saw and where you saw it and also the time you saw it.
Now you may go on and write about something you experienced today, write it down and if you just practise it enough, you will become the best letter writer in your project.
Hi everyone, love this forum. I have been following with interest. I have been sponsoring with Compassion Australia for about 2 1/2 years, and now have 6 beautiful children – 3 girls from Sth/Central America and 3 boys from Africa. I have not always been that into the letter writing, but since I’ve been made aware of how important it is to the kids, I have become more regular. All six of mine are good responders, and I feel like we have a connection, which is a huge blessing.
I had fully intended on planning a trip to Central and Sth America later in the year to visit my girls, but now have this amazing job opportunity in the pipeline which would mean I couldn’t just up and leave. So I said to God, “if I get the job, I’ll sponsor four more kids” (and fully intend on doing so). Thus everyone wins!!
I know what you mean about wanting to wait for a response. When I first started sponsoring, I was going to do just that. Then, going on a Compassion tour and getting to visit my child, I realized just how important writing letters is. Plus, I know that I have a hard time waiting for a letter, so I can just imagine how they would feel if they went a long time without one. Now I write once a month no matter how much my children write.
Hallo beste Vriendinnen en vrienden,
Het is weer een tijdje geleden dat ik iets van mij heb laten weten.
Ik zat er over na te denken dat het misschien wenselijk zou zijn om onze sponsorkinderen te leren hoe zij een brief moeten schrijven, of met andere woorden hoe zij de kunst onder de knie kunnen krijgen om hun gedachten op papier te zetten.
Als zij die vaardigheid beheersen kunnen zij in de toekomst mogelijk ook een beter positie in de maatschappij veroveren. Hoe denken julie hierover?? Het idee laat mij niet los en ik zou graag jullie zeer gewaardeerde mening hierover willen vernemen, het gaat tenslotte toch over het belang van onze kinderen.
Mag ik hier nog eens wat van jullie lezen. In naam van ons aller kinderen dank ik jullie voor de moeite,
Hartelijke groeten uit zonnig Nunspeet,
What a story to bring tears to my eyes. I love sending and receiving letters myself. I have 4 Children that I sponsor and 2 that I correspond with and 2 more corresponence on the way. What better way to bring love and joy from afar than in a letter.
You are an inspiration to us all.
I have two children in Tanzania (one new last month, one I’ve had for 3 yrs.)
I find that it usually takes 7-8 weeks from the time my child writes his letter until the time it gets to me. If he is writing in response to one of my letters, it is one that I wrote to him several weeks before the date of his letter. Chances are, if you just wrote in March, the letters may not have even gotten to your child yet.So the turnaround time is NOT quick but in reading the stories on Compassion’s site about the travels of a sponsor letter, I can better understand why it takes this long. I’m not sure if the timing of this varies from project to project or is fairly consistent throughout Tanzania.
I have had to learn to be patient as it can be months before you receive an actual reply to your letter.I find it helpful to date my letters on the day they arrive so I can track how many weeks it took to arrive from Tanzania. I also file all the letters I receive as well as copies of those I’ve
written so I can keep track of our questions that have been asked or answered in previous letters.
One thing I find encouraging is that my child writes quite regularly (meaning I usually receive a letter about every other month). The last letter came in January and because of the fairly regular schedule of letters, I know that it has been a little longer than usual and I’ve been praying that he and his family are okay.
Hang in there, though, and know that your letters will arrive and brighten her day.And it will be the same for you. It always make me so happy to find that envelope in my mailbox that says” Message From Your Sponsored Child”.
My little girl is in Tanzania, and I’ve sent 2 letters in March. Does anyone know approximately how long it takes for her to receive it, and for me to receive one back? I would like to write another one this month, but since I have not received a response letter, I am thinking about waiting. I wish there would be an online system where they would post the date when your letter has been received by them and sent to its appropriate country…
I believe the letters are absolutely important for sponsored children. We write back and forth all the time and they’ve got a leading edge on me. 🙂
The thing is, is that showing love and encouragement is very important and the kid will pick up on that. They go through their daily lives and from time to time, they look forward to that time when they are remembered by their sponsor.
I sponsor two children (Ecuador and Peru) and I’m very thankful for the opportunity God gives me to make a positive impact on their lives.
I do this all the time. The main thing you want to make sure of is to properly label each item you sent. I’ll tell you the little secret I do and that is that I created labels. So, when I want to send each of the children a postcard, I can put a label on the address part or so and then concentrate on writing the postcard.
I have. The last batch of letters that I sent to my kids were in one large envelope.
My kids are in three different countries in Africa. My thinking was, that the letters have to be removed from the large envelope in order to be read in Colorado for appropriateness, and then slotted to their specific countries in order to ship them out.
I have not heard back that this is not acceptable.
@Caitlin – I have been wondering this as well. Has anyone sent letters to multiple children in the same envelope?
I was wondering the same thing! When I went to send my letters recently, I realized I only had one envelope. I ended up sending both letters in one envelope and part of me wondered why I hadn’t thought that before while I also wondered if it would be a problem at all. As long as the letters are clearly marked, I assume it’s alright. I usually send more than just the letter, so in that case I’ll use more than one envelope to keep it from getting too confusing.
I like that question very much. I tend wonder about things like that too, because I am interested in systems.
I don’t think I’ve seen two letters from totally different projects in the same envelope. The only thing that I can remember seeing is two letters from two different children from the same project in the same envelope. I’ve also seen many times multiple letters from the same child in the same envelope. One time, I got 6 letters from one child in one envelope. Also, most of my letters tend to come in batches. Like yesterday, I got 9 letters. I’ve had 25 letters in one time! Also, in one of the projects, I sponsor two children, a boy and a girl and I know when I open one of the envelopes and it is of the one child in the project, that one of the other envelopes will be from the other child.
One time, I got a letter that was never translated and I’ve gotten a letter with the wrong reply form in it. I remember reading it and thinking it was of one child and then when I got to end of the letter and saw the name, I realized it was of the other child. Then I reread it again with her in mind. 🙂
Random question about the technicalities of letter writing: I have two compassion kids, one in india and one in haiti, but I know the letters go to the same place initially, does anyone put two kids’ letters from different projects in the same envelope (Wiht proper numbers marked on the letter of course) to save on postage? Will this throw a kink into Colorado’s system?
I write to my children weekly. Sometimes I send 2 envelopes..one with a letter and the other with “goodies”. I hope they don’t feel like they have to write back at all. I know getting letters from them will be a blessing to me (I haven’t gotten any yet because I’m new), but the blessing I get is everyday thinking about and praying for my children. I have so much fun finding new things to send them. I don’t expect letters. I’m satisfied just knowing that they will have food in their bellies and learn about Jesus. To me, this is the most important thing.
I have a child at BO702. She is 8km south of Cochabamba.
I agree with Misty. I think that sometimes our children might be afraid to say too much for fear of losing us as sponsors. Also, I think if they are having a translator they might be hesitant to really say what is on their mind. My children ALWAYS say they are fine and basically “all is well”. I sometimes really have to question that considering their circumstances. I try to just keep encouraging them to say whatever they would like to say.
In speaking with an LDP student from Uganda, I learned that there were times he wanted to describe more of his life, but felt to do so would imply he needed more money from his sponsor…like family gifts. He was so grateful for the assistance he was getting and knew that his sponsor really didn’t have extra money and he didn’t want to worry her or seem to ask for more. As she continued to write and let him know it was ok to tell her anything, he got braver. He eventually began giving more details. He also said that many kids aren’t good at writing and there is a form letter that they can look at when replying and they just go off that. So….maybe just encourage your kids to write whatever they want…sooner or later they will believe it.
Aaaaaw 🙁 Guess I’ll just have to have a lot of patience. . .
I just started sponsoring a boy in Honduras ( HO 353 ) and am really looking forward to getting his letters.
Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia are the reciprical letter countries!
If you have a child in one of these countries and are not receiving reciprical letters it is because the country is very new to the system and it may take a while to get it up and running.
Alright, so I read the blog https://blog.compassion.com/letter/ the trip of a letter (or something). It is not specifically about haiti, but another system on reciprocal system (which is why I tossed the roughly part in), so while, from my experience on the receiving side, the letter systems may seem similar, I can’t guarantee it. I just noticed it takes about the same time to get a letter to me from haiti as it mentioned in that blog….but at the bottom of each blog is a list of related blog topics, and I just kept clicking underneath that blog, and it led to all sorts of blogs about the letter systems in general…it was really helpful to me.
I’m curious…which Compassion project countries are on the reciprocal system for letters?
I don’t know what happened with Maxine. She might be busy. My dad really loves his sponsored children. He’s got 12 of them! So, we bought frames to put all of the pictures in, so they can all be in one wall. My dad also recently became an advocate.
Wow, that would be something 16 letters being dropped in the child’s lap! They will feel that they are loved. And you don’t have to worry…. they don’t get junkmail, bills, or use catologs, the type of mail that we tend to get a lot of. I’ve also never heard of a Compassion child that ever threw away any of their letters. They all tell me that they have them all.
So, I sponsor a little boy in Haiti and yes I heard that they are not on the reciprocal system! Where did you learn about how they distribute the letters? Do they really only distribute it once every four months? I was hoping that my child will get my mail at least rather frequently… even if he doesn’t write!!!
Thanks for sharing!! =D
On the writing burden topic. I wondered that myself, but Haiti’s not on the reciprocal system, so I figure, I can write more often without being a burden, because it will allow her to just receive. I’ve just recently learned how they distribute the letters (roughly, once every four months), so I don’t think the kids would be upset if they got sixteen letters each dropped in their lap at mail time…thinking back to being a kid myself, I know I sure wouldn’t mind! ( I don’t think I’d mind now…so long as they weren’t bills)
I write to haiti about 3 times a month. My india child, I think may be on a reciprocal system, and he’s five, so I write just as often, but let him know that it’s okay for some letters if he just wants to send me a picture of something interesting.
Stephanie, I have a child Mosses, that is the way he spells it, in Tanzania. He lives in Namanga near the Kenya border. I looked on the map to see where your “Frank” lives and it is not terribly far from Mosses. Does anyone else have children in this area? Has anyone been to Tanzania?
I wonder what has happened with Maxime. Do you know anything about her???
Is she still alive?????
It is such a long time ago I saw a message from her. The last message was that she was in Denver.
I framed al the pictures of my sponsorchildren but they are still in the frame and not yet on the wal.
Hope to do this job in the next weekend
Kees and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback…that was the encouragement I was looking for and I mailed a letter today.
Barbara- We’ve been sponsoring Frank in Tanzania for almost 3 years. He’s somewhere near Dodoma in project TZ 216. Haven’t seen any matches in that project yet. But he is a joy to sponsor and I hope to visit him someday.Do you have a child in TZ as well?
Stephanie, I agree with Kees. I write once a month and like you wonder if more would be overwhelming, but then I think about how much I look forward to THEIR letters, almost standing at my mailbox, and then I know that our letters must be REALLY special. As Kees said they do not ever receive any mail. How long have you had your child from Tanzania? Do you know the area he is from?
Can we send yarn?
This is a great question and I’ve wondered about that myself. I write my children twice a month and they write back for every letter that they get.
So, when I was in Bolivia, I asked some of them if I wrote too much. I didn’t want it to be a burden on them. Without exception, all of them said that they loved receiving my letters and didn’t want me to slow down. Now I guess, it is possible, that they were polite, but one of them even asked me if I could write her more often.
Also, remember this, that these children don’t get any other mail than your mail. So, even though we get bills and all sorts of advertisement in the mail and then emails too, these children, the only thing they get is your mail. So, it means a lot to them.
I would be interested in learning how often others write to their sponsored kids. Our child is almost 12, in Tanzania (and on the reciprocal system)so I want him to know we’re thinking of him often but don’t want to overwhelm him (or those involved in the writing/translating process), since he still writes with assistance from the project staff. I write once a month but would like to start writing a bit more often and wondered how often other sponsors were writing.
Kees, THANK YOU for the words of encouragement. I, like you, enjoy writing and I always need to remind myself that not everybody does. For many, if not all of these children, letter writing is probably a new idea. For me to think that my children are going to sit down and compose long, informative letters is probably a little unrealistic. I will continue to write and encourage as always and just pray that they know that they are loved. You are right. We cannot even begin to know the impact we are having and the ripples that are created from one letter. I REALLY enjoyed the story about your dad at the beginning of this blog.
I am sorry to hear about the letters from Ethiopia. That must be really difficult, but your letters are making a difference. When I was in Columbia, the person, who guided me told me that many times the sponsor’s words were taken more serious than the words of the project. The reason being is that they are at the project on a very regular basis and so it is very similar to us being at our local church. So, if the project encourages the child to read the Bible, it definitely has an effect, but when the sponsor does so, it can have a huge effect. They are like “the expert from out of town.”
Yesterday, I was talking with my dad and he mentioned something to me. The letter gets read by the translator, then it gets passed on to the child, then the child shares them with the other children, because they share letters with each other. Then the letter gets read in the home. Thus your letters might have an effect on people that you are not even aware off. This is one of the reasons, why my dad and I sponsor a few children in the same project. This way, when I write, both my dad’s child and my child get encouraged, because they’ve become best of friends. And when my dad writes, the same thing happens. So, matching up the projects that are written about here can have a really good bonus effect. You can say: “I’ve got a friend, who sponsors your friend!”
Also, it can be very difficult to measure the response of a child. Some children can have a very difficult time writing the few sentences. For me it’s easy to write; I do it all of the time. But for them, it can be quite a job. You might not know till you get to heaven, how HUGE an impact letters might have on a child, even when they don’t seem to reply.
@Sara Benson – Sara, I would love to read about your experience when you visited the project in Kenya. What was it like?
@Ramona S – Yes you do need to mark them. When your letter and “attachments” get to Compassion they are logged and then put in a container with other letters to the same country.
Putting your child’s name and number on them ensures that your child actually gets the things that you send.
Can someone please let me know whether you have to label the things you send in a letter with the child’s name and number? I read in the brochure to write the child’s number in the letter, so I am wondering if I have to do the same with the things i send along.
@Gayle White – Thanks for the clarification, Gayle!
The new blog is called “Where do you sponsor your child?” or something like that…..
I’ve been a bit busy, so I haven’t been keeping up – but here are my children:
PE 316 – my new girl
Let me know if there are matches….and I’m hoping that no one feels embarrassed if they have only one – helping the life of one child is a great gift, and sometimes, a great sacrifice.
My Ethiopia guys do fill out the form letters but they put some of themselves into the letters.
My Tz and PE and UG children seem to write in response to just about every letter – and since these are young ones, I am so thankful that the projects do this. I even get photos of some every time I send a monetary gift, showing what they were able to purchase with the gift!
My CO girl – I don’t hear from her very often at all – but when I do – it’s very grateful and personal.
Hey Everybody!! There is now a new blog post specifically for us to connect with other sponsors who have kids in the same projects. Check it out!
Hi Lisa, In answer to your question regarding school . . . Yes, your sponsorship allows for your child the opportunity to go to school. However, this can look very different from project to project, country to country.
In some places school is provided by the government and the project provides books and uniforms so that the child can attend. In some places there are fees required to go to school that sponsorship money will pay for. Most normally the church or project is not the actual school but a form of tutoring or school support among many other things.
The thing to remember is that Compassion relies on the local church that hosts the Compassion project to use community resources in conjunction with sponsorship money. This allows the benefits to reach farther and can many times looks different from community to community.
@Barbara M. – Barbara- I have a 10–almost 11 year old girl in ET-513. Her name is Bethelehem. I also have 2 other sponsored kids in Ethiopia–a 9 year old girl and a 15 year old boy. I’ve received 1 letter from each of them, almost immediately after sponsoring them, and then nothing. The girls did the form letter thing, but the boy really suprised me and actually did write a bit of a letter along with the form stuff.
I’m still very new at this and don’t have much of a basis to judge by, but I have to admit that of all the children I’ve only received one letter from, I feel I know the least about the girls in Ethiopia. I write regularly and have received multiple letters from some children in other countries, but not Ethiopia. It’s kind of reassurring to see the same thoughts of the kids being disinterested expressed by others.
As others have stated though: it’s a challenge and one I hope I can meet!
@Sara Benson – Sara: Fasna is 11. I sponsored 2 girls from India (different projects) in December and received my first “India” letter yesterday. It was from the other project, but I’m hoping this means a letter from Fasna is on its way!
A general question for anyone whoe might know: In the letter yesterday from India my sponsored child stated she goes to school during the day and then the project at night. She gets dinner there. I thought school was part of what the project did. Have I really misunderstood?
Thanks for any insights.
I have a child in Haiti and 3 children i correspond with in Ethiopia, India and Indonesia!
The projects are:
HA – 192
ET – 535
IN – 665
IO – 297
I have just barely started sponsoring and corresponding only so I’m still waiting for my first letter but would love to be in contact with other sponsors!! =D
@Carolyn F –
I agree, a message board would be great. From what I have heard this type of interactive format is something that is in the plans. It would allow sponsors to communicate with each other and possibly eventually let sponsors and kids have conversations! Wouldn’t that be cool!!
That is great that we have girls in the same project!! Though, I too just started sponsoring mine in January.
Bibitha is 13 years old. How old is your girl?
No matches so far… my two are ET310 and TZ205. I’m beginning to think Compassion needs to start a forum or message board with sub forums by country (or project!) for us to chatter!
@Carolyn F – This is rather interesting about the Ethiopian children. Two of my children there are older and they actually do not seem that interested in corresponding. I sometimes feel like I am a bother…..”time to write my sponsor again, boring”…..It is kind of like they fill in the blanks on the form and then say “I am fine, pray for me. Bye.” I think what is discouraging for me at times is that I would like to be an encouragement to them and when it appears they are not interested it becomes more of a challange to try to stay connected. Here are the projects my children are in. Any matches?
ET 201,513,540,653. TH 308,643,932. TZ305
One of my three Honduras girls is in HO412 (probably in the same area as HO413 but not an exact match). My other two are in HO259 and HO511. I like the idea of matching projects.
*Correction* That there ARE matches out there!
I would also like to talk with sponsors who have kids in the same projects as I do. While I have kids in many of the same countries as you, I only have one match. I also have a child in IN-791, but I’ve only recently started to sponsor her so I haven’t received my first letter. Here are the other numbers:
Hoping that there a matches out there!
Barbara, I have visited a project in Kenya it was KE-744.
I would love to be able to talk with sponsors whose kids go to the same project as mine. Here are their numbers:
EC-330, -551, -592
EI-209, -426, -441
One of my kids goes to a project that was featured in a photo slide show. Even though my child was not in any of the photos (I checked the all) it was great to be able to see the church and their ministries. I hope that slide shows like that keep getting made.
How do I find out the project number? I looked on my childs information and it does not say. It just says the name. My child is part of the Nuca Huasi Student Center in Ecuador.
Hmm…Do you have any idea why I am only getting three letters a year from my Indonesian girl?
I’m going to rely upon Brianne – again! 🙂 – to answer your question.
I too sponsor a child in Ethiopia. I have written him, sent a Birthday Gift, Christmas Gift, and a Family Gift, yet only received his introductory letter, which came three weeks after I sponsored him; that was August 2008.
I have two girls in Burkina Faso, and another in Ghana. They are better at writing, but it’s different for each child.
I will keep on loving them, writing them, and praying for them each day, and allow the Lord to work in their hearts and lives as He wills.
@Carolyn F –
I also sponsor two girls in Ethiopia. One of them is 18 and the other is around 6 years old. I can truthfully say that even though they are on the reciprocal letter system I really don’t get that much mail from them. I also noticed that their letters can be a bit form like,not so informative. The 6 yr old used to write more than the older girl(or at least whoever wrote for the 6 yr old!)and the letters were really nice. All of the sudden the letters changed and felt somehow colder.I really don’t know what happened. Ethiopia uses the paper designed by a former sponsored child but it’s a bit too form like for my tastes!
I also have a correspondence child in Tanzania,a bit older boy, but I haven’t heard from him yet. I wrote him a letter.Who knows maybe I’ll hear from him soon! I really hope so. I love to sponsor in Africa!
I would like it too, that you could specify to sponsor a child by filling in a project number.
I can give you a little thing that might help it though. If you’re using MS Explorer or Firefox, when you move your mouse over a childpicture, on the bottom of the screen in what they call the “Status bar” it will show you the link that you go to when clicking on that child. If you read towards the end you can see what the child number is and thus the project. That’s what I do many times, even to see which children my children might know.
Having said that, I can say from experience that just because the child is the same age and the same project, doesn’t necessarily mean that they know each other. My dad and I both sponsor a girl in the same project with the same age and they didn’t really each other, because they would go to the project on different days.
I have a correspondence child in Ethiopia. In nine months of writing every 2-3 weeks, I’ve gotten 2 letters from her, both received recently. And they were very form like. She’s older, so I wonder if she’s a bit jaded? Regardless, I take it as a challenge to continue to pour love into the letters to her, and pray that I receive more so it will guide what I say to her.
I’d love to be able to connect with other folks who sponsor children in the same projects. I’d also love to see it as a search feature for unsponsored children — to be able to search by project.
@Caitlin – I’d like to know if anyone has ever gone to Kenya to visit their child?
My child is in KE-704
PS Because of this discussion, I went and bought cards, balloons, stickers, post-it notes in the shape of a star, so I can write on the top one and she can have the next few under it… You all have changed my letter writing! And my “daughter” (she calls me her mother) will love it!
I’m sorry, I don’t have a child in BO-426. In Bolivia, I have children in 178, 571, 360, 181, 132, 125, 175, 222, 557, 184, 137, 180, 154, and 436. I figured out that you can tell where the general location of the project is by the first number. Projects starting with a 1, 2, and 4 are in the La Paz/El Alto area. Projects starting with 3 are in the Santa Cruz area and projects starting with a 5 are in the Cochabamba area. These are all big cities. There are some other numbers, like 6 and 7. I think they are in other cities.
KEES, It appears you are in great demand here this week! We are all so eager to hear about your visit with your children. So, rest up for a bit and then DO TELL! We are waiting to hear. I agree with CAITLIN’S request about being able to chat with others that have children in the projects that our children attend. So often the letters are sketchy at best and it would help if we could hear from others. It might round out the picture of what life is like for our children. One last question, I have children from three different countries and I have to say the children from Ethiopia are the least likely to respond and their letters are quite “form-like”. I’m curious if others have experienced this as well. I too, so appreciate this forum for its information and encouragement. HEATHER, thanks for the info on Thai boxing. I think this is not something I will be encouraging.
@Chris Giovagnoni –
Is there a list of the countries that are on the reciprocal system?
Indonesia is indeed on the reciprocal letter system. Here is a link to the 10 countries currently on the system.
As far as I know Indonesia is not on the reciprocal system. I have sponsored a girl there for 5 years and even though I write at least once a month, I still get the standard 3 letters a year.
Maybe this is a topic for another post, but I couldn’t find a better spot for it, and well, Kees started it ( hehe). All this talk about Bolivia and project numbers…I would love to be able to chat w/ people who have kids in the same projects I do, maybe they’re getting info through their letters I’m not, and vice versa. Maybe we have kids in the same classes. (Granted, I am rather new at this, so I’ve only had one letter thus far, Haiti is not on the reciprocal system yet, so I would have less info to share, but maybe later) Any one else find this idea interesting?
I’ve got an 11 yo in HA 204, and a 5 yo in EI 218
Marlene is in project 426. Do you sponsor a child in this project?
Yes, Bolivia is on the reciprocal system for quite a while now. I write each of my children about 2 times/month and I get about 26 letters/year from each of the children.
I know how you feel. I wish I could sponsor every child. But in some ways, I don’t wish that, because then I would be the only one with the blessing.
Bolivia is not on the reciprocal letter system – officially. They are not required to have the children respond to each letter a sponsor writes. They may be doing so with certain church partners, or maybe all the child development centers are currently doing it, but they aren’t required to do this, which means that you may get more than the three letters a year – the standard in non-reciprocal letter writing countries – but you also may not get a letter in reply to every single letter you write.
Additionally, there are no current plans to move additional countries on to the reciprocal letter writing system between now and the end of next fiscal year (June 2010).
Oh Bolivia is on the reciprocal system? Someone told me on another blog entry that the countries with the reciprocal letter systems are: “Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador, Thailand, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Indonesia, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia!”
I am still praying about sponsoring another child! I just recently started sponsoring a little boy from Haiti! My heart is really for the children, but I’m still trying to see when would be the time when I can afford to sponsor another so I’ve been praying hard about it! =D
Thanks for the information! and of course your heart for the children of bolivia too!
Wow, thank you so much for your heart for Bolivia. I love the children of Bolivia. They are so sweet and very polite. I’m so glad that you have such a heart for them.
The children thus far have all written me in Spanish. Many of them know Aymara or Quechuan too. One of them, Gabriela, wants to learn many languages and be a translator. So, I’m teaching her English through the letters. She’s been teaching me some Aymara too! This week, I got a letter from her, where she wrote me that Maya means 1.
I’m so blessed that you have such a heart for Bolivia. That’s where my heart is too. As a matter of fact, you can pray, right now, I’m looking for a sponsor for a little girl named Teresa Beatriz. She is from the La Paz area. She is almost 11 years old. She is in the same project as Shedenka, a girl I sponsor too there. She likes to sing, and play with dolls and hide and seek. She also attends the church.
One thing I like about Bolivia is that they write a letter back for every letter that the sponsor writes, so you really get to know them well.
I would love to write something about Columbia. I haven’t settled down quite yet, since the trip.
I am very interested to hear about your recent trip to Colombia too! Would you be blogging about it here any time soon?
Also, I had a question about Bolivia… what languages do the children there usually speak and write in? Just out of curiousity… recently, the bolivian children seem to touch my heart… and it is also in my understanding that they are one of the poorest nations in south america!!
Thanks for sharing!
I feel so humbled! That is awesome. The children of Bolivia are so sweet. In what project does she live? It’s the first three numbers after the BO.
God bless you so much for helping this little girl.
I’m new to blogs and posting, but I just had to say how incredibly motivating I found many of the recent posts on this site. My enthusiasm for letter writing has increased ten-fold with all the great ideas and confirmations of how much the letters mean to the children.
I was so touched by Kees report on his travels that I sponsored an additional child today. She’s in Bolivia, her name is Marlene, and she’s 1 of 10 children! I can’t even imagine what it must be like to have 9 siblings.
Thank you so much to all of you who shared your experiences. It was so enjoyable to read and learn from!
My two kids are in Ethiopia too!! I wish I could understand Amharic but it looks nearly impossible to learn. I wish I could send them something in their language!
@Barbara M. –
Thai Kickboxing is incredibly violent sport. There’s a big star from Thailand named Tony Ja. It’s nothing like karate at all. There’s head strikes,skull strikes and any joint or limb can be broken. Check out Tony Ja’s movies if you want to see some of it in action. It’s not for the faint of heart though(not gory just..crushing..).
Good to know that some of the countries print out the emailed letters on neat stationary. I always wondered if my emailed letters were just printed out on white paper and the kids were disappointed when they compared the emailed to the normal ones.
I just came back. So, there isn’t anything I have written yet. I’d be happy to tell you. Maybe you can give me a call??? Just click on my name and it will take you to my website. 🙂
It was amazing though. I suggest everyone to go visit his/her children.
Kees, You had written that you were going to visit your children in Columbia. I, for one, would be very interested to hear how it went. If not on this blog is there a place where we could read about how your visit went for you and your children? I would love to read about it! Geri, Thank you for the info on Thai boxing!
@Barbara M. –
Hi, Thai boxing is a martial art and is the national sport of Thailand. I think it is described as a “hard martial art”. In Thai boxing hands, shins, elbows, and knees are all used. It reminds me a bit of kick boxing.
I think you can find a good description on Wikipedia.
Thank you! Yes, it does help. I’d found converstion sites for inches to cm but not quarts. I wish CDompassion would include the metric measurements when giving out information.
I’ve heard that the average English word is 5 characters, so I guess that would about a 1000 word letter or maybe counting the spaces as a character too, it would about 833 words.
You can also visit your sponsored children without a sponsor tour. I just came back from visiting my children in Columbia last week. It’s a bit less expensive that way. You just need to make sure to set it up with Compassion at: 1-800-336-7542 at least 6 weeks before the visit.
You probably could do that, but on the letters that I sent, I noticed that they were translated on a seperate piece of paper. It probably depends on the country that they are going to. I know with Bolivia, the email letters are printed on real nice stationary.
I understand how you feel about the Metric System. I myself like it a lot better. It’s so much easier. I always tell my math students that I support the Metric System every inch of the way!
8 1/2 by 11 basically is the size of a piece of writing paper. It’s slightly shorter and a little bit wider.
Can’t swear to these, bc I was too lazy to pull out my old science books to get the conversions, and school was too long ago to recall, so I googled the conversions.
8.5″x11″ x 0.125″ = 21.6cm x 27.9 x 0.3 cm and 1 US qt= 0.94635295 liters
(Yes, I think the metric system is better, but as an American finished w/ 15 years of schooling, I really don’t desire to reprogram my own brain through it permanently…my kids brains though? Have at it!)
Hope it helps
A question for anyone who might know…. one of my sponsored children lives in Thailand and is very interested in Thai boxing. Is that the same as American boxing or is it more like karate? American boxing seems a little violent to me but then I’m a “mom” so…….I would appreciate any feedback on this Thai sport. Thanks!!
Actually it is a 5,000 “character” limit.
Sorry about that. Wow 5,000 words would be really long.
Thank you very much for your answer. Things are more clear now 🙂
I am 99% sure that your child will get BOTH the typed sheet and letter from you. I know that with some of my letters the translation is typed on another page then glued onto the origional letter.
I am sure that your kids are getting the letters that you are writing, and enjoying all of the colors 🙂
Hmmmm, I never considered the fact that the translator may just type the translation and not give my child my card/paper along with the translation. Does anyone have experience with this? My child is in El Salvador and I’m hoping that she’s been getting my cards / letters. I always try to pick pretty papers or fun cards, but I’ve not been leaving a blank space for translation. I hope she’s not just getting a typed sheet!
Sara – LOL,
I want to go to Peru so badly….but I see there are no tours planned for 2009 yet….and unfortunately, we will have to wait for 2010 – unless the Lord does something special.
Our Peru children have asked for us to visit….and our Uganda child….and Tanzania child. The teens from Ethiopia have not even mentioned a visit….I’m afraid they may be a bit jaded….but we hope to warm them up!
opps… I just looked above and realized that you said you already have a form 😛
I am sure that your kids love all of your letters no matter how the are set up. They probably like the variety too!
Yeah!!!! Congrats on your new sponsored girl! I have been to Peru and I fell in love with the people.
I too speak a little Spanish and enjoy reading my kids’ letters. As their handwriting gets better, I like to tell them that I notcied and encourage them to keep up the good work.
For “side-by-side” letters try using Microsoft Word and choose the columns option. You can type your letter in the left column, then fill the right side with lines by holding down the underscore button. If you like to write your letter by hand, then you can fill both sides with lines and you will have a guide for writing.
I like to print out forms because they give me lines to write on and and I can still print it on cool paper.
I have several from South America – and it is so neat to see their hand writing improve as they grow older. Since I know some Spanish, it’s also neat to read their writing. I assume they would like to read my writing, and therefore, I set up my ‘pretty’ papers in a format that places the translation on the same part of the page. I have done this as top and bottom, but after your comment Sara, I wonder if I should do it side by side…that may even be better for those learning English!
My two in Ethiopia write in a different alphabet – and I wish there was a way to write something to them in their language.
After blogging with you all here, we have just sponsored a teenage girl from Peru as well. I fell in love with her on the web page….and Now, with these wonderful ideas, I’m going to shower her with that Love, straight from the Lord’s heart!
Good question. I sometimes fill up the whole card when I write too. I have been told that the translators will just write the translation on another page. I have also noticed that some of my kids’ letters come with a typed translation, so maybe the translators would have typed out the translation for your child on another page anyway.
I usually leave a blank space for the translator, even if it is the back of the page, because I want my kids to be able to see my writing and the translation side by side.
btw, my little girl from Brazil is named Rebecca too 🙂
Yes, your child will be the one writing back to you. At least 3 times a year she will write a letter to you. In some countries (I don’t know about Tanzania) the children will reply to each letter they get.
However, if your child is not old enough to write for themselves, one of the compassion workers will help them write it.
Each child is develops writing skills at a different speed. Give her time and keep writing even if it takes a few letters to get answers your question.
You CAN give gifts to your sponsored child for birthdays, special occasions, or just because. However, packages cannot be sent through the mail because of the costs and logistics.
If you would like to send a monetary gift to your child you can do that through the website, mail, or over the phone. The gift will be used to buy a useful and fun gift in your child’s country.
If you want to include small items with your letters there are some small things that can be sent(see other posts)
Best wishes and Congratulations!!
I have heard about Compassion today, and my husband and I were eager to sponsor a child. I am really looking forward to corresponding with my child from Tanzania, and hopefully hear back from her. I think the stories that you have posted here are amazing and encouraging. I understood that our letters get translated to the children, but are the children the ones writing back? Someone mentioned that sometimes children receive gifts, like clothing and various items, from the sponsor. Do they receive these from the monetary donation through Compassion?
I am curious if I should be leaving blank space on the paper/cards that I send. As of now, I’ve just been filling up the space and assuming that they translate on a seperate sheet of paper. Should I change that?
Sara, thanks. I have created my own formats, based on the Compassion letter size – and I use typical cutesy paper, and I type the letter in the top – and then have lines at the bottom(some papers go side by side).
I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t short changing these precious children.
Oh – all of our five children have grown and left the house, so we sponsor children close to their birthdates….we’re continuing our family that way!
There is a 5,000 word limit for emails, but from what I have heard, the shorter the better. I have had times where I took one letter and split it into two because it was too long. As a kid I know I would have liked to have gotten the two instead of just one.
I have been using the Compassion forms for a long time and kinda use that as a gauge for how much to write. (though I have found that if I write small I can fit a quite a bit.)
@Alex – Hi Alex, I’ve not caught up with all the comments, but you mentioned that you felt badly for the ‘lazy’ letters.
I split a pretty paper in half – and only fill the top so that the translater can fill the bottom.
I am always afraid that I will write letters that are too long.
I try to add color pages that have very little writing.
Is there any word limit to a letter?
That is Great!!! Thank you for the update.
A year or two ago I had called to see if I could send some hair ribbons and I was told that everything had to be paper. I am glad that the rules have changed a little.
Was this quote directly from the Compassion website?
“Sponsors can now send plastic, craft foam and small pieces of cloth along with all paper items to their kids. We still have the 8 1/2″ x 11″x 1/4″ size restriction. However, they can now use a quart sized zip lock baggie, the flat kind without the slider. Some new items that can be sent: a small flat plastic ruler, 2-3 deflated balloons, a handkerchief, a cloth bookmark, and a flat ribbon that will fit in an envelope or baggie. We still can NOT send any metal including jewelry, ornaments, magnets, perishable items (gum, candy & flower seeds), and larger items (soccer balls, clothes).”
How large is 8 1/2″ x 11″x 1/4″ in cm? What is a quart sized zip lock baggie? I’m sorry but I’m not American.
Also can we send gel stickers?
@Kees Boer –
Thank you so much for sharing your stories and your experiences with us. I have known that my letters were important and hearing your accounts confirms my desire to keep in close contact. I am amazed that the Haitian would have gone back after the hurricane and specifically gotten the sponsor letters.
In awe of the privilege that has been entrusted to us.
Great point — I noticed letters had slowed down from the child I sponsor in Tanzania, who really writes regularly. What a coincidence that I read the latest comments today, and then in the mail I got a big fat letter (with a new picture!) from her.
I started a correspondence sponsorship in July with an older child in Ethiopia. I write both kids twice a month usually. I didn’t get my first letter from the young lady in Ethiopia until two weeks ago. I had actually started to worry things weren’t ok.
As hard as it is, I agree with the other posters, that we need to remember the importance of our letters, and write them regardless of any response we get. This is about the giving to the children. What we get from the process is a gift, not an entitlement.
That’s wonderful! You can definitely join my club. As a matter of fact, I got three child packets from the very project that the child, who writes me the most letters of all of the children I sponsor is from. All three children about the same age, also about the age that my child is. They probably all know each other. If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring them, let me know. They are all three from Bolivia, a country which uses the reciprocal system.
I’ll be out of town for a little bit, but I’ll get back with anyone that wants to sponsor as soon as I get back into town. 🙂
P.S. These children are through Compassion USA.
Kees, 60 letters?????? Amazing! How wonderful! I’m Dutch too, can I be in “your” club? Thank you for all the great and encouraging information about the letters. Sometimes it does get discouraging and it becomes easy to feel as if our letters really are not that important. Thank you for the “pep” talk.
It could maybe take 3 or 4 months for the letters to start showing up to the sponsors. For some reason, January-March are very slow as far as getting letters are concerned. I think it has to do with the country offices being closed around Christmas. Then in April, it really picks up. I remember last year, I got about 60 letters in a period of 2 or 3 days!
One of the recent 10 question posts said that India projects are supposed to be on the new plan with replying to all sponsor letters.
I also had a corespondent child in Eastern India who sent many amazing letters.
I would just encourage you that each child is different in their response time, maybe when the child gets a little older, he will open up more.
I understand that El Salvador is on the reciprocal system. Maybe India isn’t yet. That could be difference.
I like your Dutch name. I’m Dutch myself and it’s nice to know another Dutch person! Or maybe you’ve married a Dutch man, which means you choose wisely!!! LOL!
I would find it very difficult if I got the same letter all of the time also and I can definitely understand how you feel. I would give the sponsor relations people in the call center a call about it. (1-800-336-7676) Maybe they can do a fieldmemo to find out how the child is doing and why the child writes the same thing. I don’t know. They would know what to do.
I can tell you from experience that letters really make a huge difference in the lives of the children. I’ve seen so many children and the first thing they show me are the letters that they got. That’s all the mail, these children get.
I just recently was in the Dominican Republic and I made a video of a formerly sponsored child, who was now a translator and one of my Compassion children. She is a little older and she speaks of the letters. The funny thing is that a certain rooster had a lot to add to the conversation too! He started adding to it and as soon as I quit filming, he stopped!
A lot of the children have heard the devastating message that they are worthless and will not amount to anything for years and years. As a result, it can be difficult for them to express themselves through writing. So, sometimes, when they write the letters, they’ll do it and they might have “sample letters” as to how to write a letter. Maybe your child copies much of the letter and that’s why the letter might look the same. I’ve heard of children thanking for a photograph, even though a photograph was never sent. But because the child sees that in the sample letter, they’ll write it.
Next time that you write a letter, if you really want an answer to a question, you might highlight the question in yellow and number the questions. That way the question stands out.
There are two systems of writing in Compassion from what I understand. One system is that the children will all get together three or four times a year at their project and then they’ll all write their letters to their sponsors. Then there is the reciprocal system. This system will have the children write the three to four letters a year, but on top of that, the child is expected to answer each letter that they get. For instance in Bolivia, they got that system. When I went to visit my children in Bolivia last July, I got to witness how that actually worked, when I saw one of my children got a letter that I had written several months before. With the letter came a blank piece of stationary for her to answer the letter on! Then several months later, I got the answer to that letter!
Talking about the reciprocal system, I understand that by the end of this year, all of the Compassion countries will have switched to that system. As a matter of fact, I was in Mexico last week and I found out that this very week, they are implementing that system in Mexico.
Also, when I was in Bolivia, I asked several children a question, since they were on the reciprocal system. I write the children twice a month. Since the children are required to respond to the letters, I wanted to know if I didn’t create a burden for them, that they would have to write so many letters. The answer I got back every time was that they loved to get the letters and not to write less. One girl even asked me if I could please write more letters!
Writing the letters is also a form of education for them. It will help them in their future jobs.
Sometimes with children it’s difficult to see what the effect of your ministry or letters is. I remember when I was in Bible College, I used to be a camp counselor for the children. About 1 1/2 years later, my parents were visiting me. After the church service a lady walked up to me and started hugging me and crying and telling me how wonderful I was. (I’m not trying to brag here, stay with me! 🙂 ) I had no idea who this lady was and I looked over her shoulder at my parents, who were also wondering what was happening here. Well, then she told me how big of an impact I had on her boy. Then I remembered the boy. He was the child, I always had to correct and seemed to never pay attention and was more of a difficulty than any thing else. When the camp was over, I wasn’t particularly missing this boy and I certainly didn’t think I had made any impact in his life. If anything, I thought he probably didn’t like me, because I had to correct him so many times. This was many years ago, but I won’t forget it. I don’t know what happened with the boy, who is now in his fourties, but it showed me that I won’t really know the fruit of my labour or my letters, and that many times, the fruit will come from where I least expected it from.
I just heard this last week. During the hurricanes in Haiti, the children were in shelters. Many of their homes were torn apart. One of the children got out of the shelter and braved the storm and went back to her home. At her little home, she found the letters that her sponsor had written her and took them and went back to the shelter. I’m glad that she made it back and forth safely, but it did demonstrate how much these children treasure their letters.
I am in a similar situation. I have 2 young children of my own. Together we chose a child for each of my children to sponsor. Of course, I write the letters but the boys consider each child their ‘special friend.’
My youngest sponsors a child from El Salvador and regularly receives glowing letters, pictures, and even a small Christmas ornament each year. My oldest son sponsors a child from India. He receives much more occassional letters that seem very impersonal and scripted. We write all of the children regularly and ask the kids about themselves. My oldest doesn’t understand why his friend doesn’t write to him the way his brother’s friend does.
One day he even asked if we could quit helping his friend and find a new friend who would write back more. I tried to explain to him that our friend needed our help and would be disappointed if we stopped writing to him. I also tried to tell him that sometimes we have to give when we receive little or nothing in return. It is a good lesson for him, but I still wish our sponsored child would send more personal responses. Nevertheless, we will continue to be here for him.
Kathryn, I completely understand your frustration. As well as sponsoring a child through Compassion, I also sponsor a child through another organization. Even though I’ve written many letters, I have never received any back. Because of Compassion I know how important it is to write my children, otherwise I probably would have given up a long time ago. I just cant though, because I believe it is making a difference even though I dont see any evidence to back it up. Whenever I write knowing I probably wont get an answer to any of the questions I ask, I think of all the children who write to their sponsors but never (or rarely) get a letter in return. I can think of dozens of different reasons for why I dont get any letters, but how do the children that dont get letters rationalize it in their minds?
Last thought: Maybe you should become a Correspondent Sponsor. I can see your heart to have a relationship through letters and I think that you would be perfect for writing to kids that wont get letters otherwise.
Oh, Kathryn, I’m so sorry that your child has not reached out more. My guess is that she is so encouraged by all of your letters but potentially very very shy. I of course don’t know for sure but I do know that no matter what makes it hard for her to connect through writing it isn’t you and it isn’t because she doesn’t cherish all the letters she receives from you. There could be extenuating circumstances such as abuse or learning to live with HIV or anything that could possibly just be very hard for this little girl to share with you. Please, please, please keep praying for her and give it more time. I know what you are doing matters!
Kathryn, there is a much newer thread I just found. Someone just wrote about a similar problem although they haven’t been writing nearly as long.
in case you haven’t found it, here’s the link:
Kathryn, your note touches me. I started sponsoring two children a year and a half ago. It wasn’t, still isn’t easy to know what to write — I just discovered this blog post and I’m cutting and pasting ideas.
One of my children writes fairly often and there is warmth in his letters as though a relationship is developing. It is still hard because there is so much time between the writing and receiving.
But the other child seems to write the obligatory three (I think) letters a year and I often wonder if my letters make a difference. I remind myself that children have different personalities. I have two grandchildren from one family who are positively delighted everytime they see me, and three from another family who don’t seem to notice when I come around at all. They really have very different personalities, partly taking after a parent.
But sometimes a comment is made and I realize that it does make a difference to them when we make an effort to go to a recital or event. They will remember as adults that we loved them. That has to make a difference in a person’s life!
I admire you so much for continuing to write! It is something done for the Lord and the kingdom of God and perseverance is a great gift.
My child who doesn’t connect is also in Africa, while the one who does is in South America. Perhaps it is also a difference in cultures? Or your child might also have responsibilities or poor health or other hinderances.
I truely believe that when she receives one of your letters it brings warmth into her life even though she doesn’t, or can’t, return it.
God bless you!
I feel discouraged because I have been writing faithfully to my child for about four years now, and I always get the same letters in reply — they are almost like a form letter. She never ever answers my questions or comments on what I say. I feel like I’m sending letters out into space or something. I wanted to have a relationship with her, and she is now 11 or 12 years old, old enough to reach out to me, but nothing.
She is in Kenya.
That is so wonderful. I agree with you wholeheartedly that the children in Bolivia are so kind and grateful. That’s where I sponsor my children too. I’d love to talk with you sometime. I write the children twice a month too. 🙂
Nunspeet, Augustus 7, 2008.
it was good to read your letter. We too have four sponsor children and I write each one of them twivce each month. Last week we sponsored our fourth child.
This year I visited a Sponsorchild in Mexico and was really blessed by it. Also I write with rwo other Compassion-children.
May the Lord bless you very good,
I just got back from a sponsor child visit in Bolivia and I was so happy to see such kind and grateful children! My family now has 4 sponsored children and I hope to go back again next summer. I write twice a month to each child.
In this troubled world, it’s such a blessing to know that there are people that care and serve Christ. I’m so thankful and feel priviledged to be apart of an organization who have a tender heart, and are obedient to the call of reaching out, and going throughout the earth, spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, Our Living Savior. I feel so Blessed! And, I truely love my children that live abroad.
These days, (though it’s only been like, two weeks?) I find letters with more..love. There are some families that sponsors a child together. I thought it was really nice of them to introduce their family specifically, and then ask about the sponsored child’s family. I also remember a letter from the sponsor, who thanked the child she was sponsoring for a picture he drew for her birthday. In return, she took a picture of all these rivers and moutains, introducing them, and telling fork-tales related to them. It was REALLY REALLY REALLY LONG LETTER. But I reall enjoyed translating that letter, and I hope to get a chance to translate a letter like that again in the future.
Wow–I was gone one day and came home to find all these wonderful posts! First of all, I absolutely love the interview of Wess Stafford, Kees! Good job! I’ve heard him say those very same things so many times at Advocate’s Conferences and speaking engagements.
Secondly, I will never forget visiting one of the projects in the Dominican Republic. Bernard asked the children, “How many of you have met your sponsor?” Only one little boy stood up. Then he asked, “How many have received a letter from your sponsor?” — slightly less than half raised their hands. Then he said, “How many know the name of your sponsor?” and every single hand shot proudly in the air. That really had an impact upon me. When I returned there this year, many, many of the children came to us to show photos and letters from their sponsors that they carried in their pockets. If they were not getting letters, they often asked if we could find their sponsor to ask them to write.
These letters are so important to them! Just like they are for us. Once, when I was real discouraged, I asked God to come to me in some special way that day. He did–in our mailbox was a letter from my sponsored boy in Haiti saying, “I love you and I put your photo on my bed to remember to pray for you every day.” I knew I could face anything as long as Josue was praying for me!
I just went to the Dollar Tree store and found a bunch of stuff to send to my kids. They had some educational homework books, coloring books and disney princess math flashcards. I also found some thin coloring books with stickers! And they had some trading cards from planet earth with pictures of different animals.
I cant wait to send my next letters!!
another thing I have heard of people sending is the halmark cards that can record you voice and play when the card is opened.
You might want to check with compassion to make sure that the cards fit their requirements but it would be cool for the kids to hear your voice. Even if they do not speak English wou could sing a short song or something simple.
I am getting better and better at my letter writing. All of the tips are great, and also I’ve been keeping a scrapbook of all my sponsored childs letters, drawings, and info that Compassion sends me. I don’t add to any of her art work, but I do journal on some of the scrap pages of how much I love her, and what God’s done in my life, the joy that this child has brought to me. My own 5 kids refer to her as their “little sister”, she is a part of our family! Thanks to all of you that give great ideas of creativity, and please continue to send more comments. I know that other sponsors are benefiting from ideas as well.
I write most of my letters on line at the Compassion website. I also get a receipt for every letter I send with a copy of the actual letter that was send. (or sent, never figured that out LOL!)
Thought I would add an idea for something special to send. I found these swing cards at my local Hallmark store. They fold almost flat, but open to make a 3-D scene. There have many different selections. They are made in England and it doesn’t seem easy to buy from their website, since they don’t use the American dollar, but you can get them on E-bay as well. They sell for $7.00 at Hallmark.
I have three kids and I understand how difficult it can be sometimes to keep track of what you have written to your kids.
I have started typing all my letters on the computer then writing them on to the compassion stationary. This allows me to keep a copy of my letter with the date I sent it, as well as details about what stickers, postcards, and paper I used (I print out the compassion stationary on colored and patterned papers)
I usually save the file with my child’s name, the letter number and date I sent it, ex. Jane3 8/8/08, this also allows me to quickly see how long it has been since I last sent a letter.
It sounds like you have a lot of good ideas. I also like to make scrapbook pages about different activities or vacations. I just made a page for each of my kids about my family vacation to Wisconsin. Pictures can often help to reduce confusion and misinterpretations.
-Your daily schedule in a simplified version
-Ask them what they want to be when they grow up.
-Encourage them and show an active interest in their schooling
-Ask questions about the project and their daily life.
-Remind them often that you are praying for them and that you love them.
-Make cards for special occasions
-Explain our holidays and send things that are associated with them (valentines, etc..)
-Remember any special holidays in your child’s country discuss that (Indonesia has a big celebration for their independence day)
-Think about what you would enjoy hearing from them and write about that.
I’ve been sponsoring a little girl for about 6 months now. I make a copy of every letter before I send it and keep it in a binder so that I can refer back and not repeat something that has already been said. On each copy I note what day I sent the letter out and what was included (stickers, postcard,etc.)
I have talked about a family trip to some caverns. I explained what it was like inside the cave and sent postcards so she could see it. I also told a story about my childhood in one letter. In another, I told the story of Noah since we had just been to see a play about Noah and I sent some Noah coloring sheets along. In every letter I include a promise from the Bible. I also always send some stickers and something else. I try to be creative. I went to http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/ and typed out my child’s name, printed the worksheets and sent them to her so she can practice spelling her name.
I hope some of these ideas have been helpful.
Alex & Kees,
I must admit, when I first sponsored my little girl, I really didn’t know what to write. It takes so long for cross correspondence that I really didn’t know much about the child. I have though from several years of getting to “know” my little girl, that I have grown to love her deeply, and care about “everything” she does. Although it’s still hard to write about some things, it’s easy to tell of God’s love, and my love for her! Some things have been interpeted wrong, and it takes sometimes 6 to 8 months to find out and correct. Plus remembering what you wrote……..sometimes it’s hard not to dupilcate. I would appreciate any and all tips—-it’s always nice to be more creative. And I want to be as encouraging as possible.
Thank you so much for that input. You must have read many, many letters. Do you have any input as to what you have seen some sponsors write about that you thought was really creative or encouraging to the children.
Thank you for translating.
I’m a volunteer at the Korea Compassion Mate. I translate the Korean sponsors’ mails into English for the sponsored children. And I somtimes get frustrated with the letters that seems lazy. Not all letters are like that, but many of them are. Just just write their name, age, hobby, and where they live. I just wish that people would write with more love or something. It’s just that I feel bad when I think about a child who would recieve that letter.
Hi, BTW, that was my dad, who just gave that reply. He’s the one in the picture above with his sponsored child. I really like that letter and sent it to all my children too.
Hallo Maxime, Ik las je brief nummer 34 en ik wil je wel verrtellen dat ook ik een Nederlander ben, in feite een Brabander.
Ook ik sponsor enkele kinderen en ben erg trots op hen, heb een van hen dit jaar bez=ocht en gelkoof me of niet, dat geeft wel zó een grote voldoening dat ik het iedereen kan aanraden om je sponsorkind te bezoeken.
Ik probeer hen twee keer per maand te schrijven.
In het begin wist ik eigenlijk niet waarover te schrijven, maar later kreeg ik door dat je kunt vertellen wat je zoal meemaakt en daar dan een bemoediging aan vast koppelen, ook gebruik ik dikwijls het nieuws en maak daar een goede boodschap van. Bij voorbeeld: (ik veranderde de naam van het sponsorkind in XXXXX).
Voorbeeld van een positieve brief:
Today it was the second day of the Nijmeegse Vierdaagse. I will tell you about a typical Dutch event:
The Nijmeegse vierdaagse is a typical marching festival during the third week of July, in which people march for four days, each day 50 kilometres, and that for four days in a row.
Every marching day starts at 04 o’clock in the morning from the town Nijmegen and ends also in Nijmegen.
As a Marine I myself did this in two successive years. One year it was very hot weather and we marched with our helmets on. We also carried a rifle and a backpack filled with at least 10 kilograms luggage.
This was difficult, but the next year we had a constant rain, which was even worse than the sunshine. Every inch of our uniform was soaked and I had blisters all under my feet, Most of the Marines had the same problem. Not only were our uniforms soaked, but also we had to carry these dripping clothes with us, which also added the weight we had to carry.
Still we enjoyed each day during the whole trip. We had four drummers walking in front of our platoon which made it easy to march. We marched through several towns and villages. Everywhere from most houses our National Flag was waving and people sheered at us and they gave us all kind of delicious food like apples, pears etc.
Everyday it was feast in Nymegentown.
But there was there also pain, fatigue,. exhaustion, hardship and trouble!!!!
Sure there were, and a lot more of these factors. There were the blisters, the painful knees, the fatigue, the exhaustion yes, but there was also the encouragements of our friends and especially the Corpsdicipline which says: “I will never surrender”. That all gave us an experience that we were able to conquer defeat and to have victory over our problems, and that, my dear Cristnna is what I want also for you. After the four days of marching, pain, blisters under our feet, fatigue, but also endurance, everyone got a medal and everybody knew that he really earned it.
The apostle Paul also marched
See I Corinthians 9 : 24 ¿No sabéis que los que corren en el estadio, todos a la verdad corren, pero uno solo se lleva el premio? Corred de tal manera que lo obtengáis. Todo aquel que lucha, de todo se abstiene; ellos, a la verdad, para recibir una corona corruptible, pero nosotros, una incorruptible. Así que, yo de esta manera corro, no como a la ventura; de esta manera peleo, no como quien golpea el aire, sino que golpeo mi cuerpo, y lo pongo en servidumbre, no sea que habiendo sido heraldo para otros, yo mismo venga a ser eliminado.
I told you this real story to show you that it is possible to do the impossible as long as you are dedicated to reach your goal, in spite of pain and difficulties. I know that you are able to overcome the problems in your life, only set your goal today. And think about your life and your own future. Dream big and make plans to let your dreams come true. You are a Child of the Creator of heaven and earth, He made you. Read in your Bible Psalm 139 and be sure to remember that HE wants you to live like a Royal Princes, because you are a Royal princes, the Lord created you that way and HE is not a part of a system. Therefore my dear XXXXX, hold your head high, because you are worth it. Ik hoop dat dit voorbeeld van een brief veel anderen naar de pen doet grijpen zodat ook zij regelmatig hun sponsorkinderen gaan schrijven.
Hartelijke groeten uit een nat, miezerig en kil Nunspeet van Arie en Cobie Boer
Hi, Stephanie, and thanks for asking about this. Kees is a great person to have responded, because he is a correspondent sponsor to several children, I think, in addition to those he sponsors. I will simply add that if you are a correspondent sponsor and the paying sponsor terminates the relationship, Compassion will ask if you want and are able to pick up the sponsorship in full. A friend of mine just did that, last month.
I had that same question. You actually get all of the information of the child in a child packet just as if you were the sponsor.
You get the letters from the child and as far as the child is concerned, you are their sponsor, of course you don’t have to pay for the sponsorship.
The only ‘downside’ of it could be that if the sponsor were to quit sponsoring the child for any reason, the correspondence would also not continue, because the new sponsor would most likely want to write the child themselves.
You will be able to write a “departure letter” though, so it won’t be that the child will be out of your life without having had the chance to say “good-bye” to them.
I am a sponsor of one child and interested in becoming a correpondent to another.Can anyone who is a correspondent tell me…do you receive pictures and information about the child (just as sponsors do) or strictly letters?
Thank you, Kees and Vicki and Gayle for answering my questions. I truly appreciate you taking the time to do that. I’m printing everything out and putting it in a Compassion binder along with Monica’s information. I know she’ll appreciate it even more than me! 🙂
These are a couple of places from which you can print out Christian coloring pages, which might be fun to print out and sent to the children:
I must say though that I haven’t thoroughly investigated each of these websites, so I’m not sure the group that made the website. I like some of the coloring paper that I saw though.
You can also check out the “For Sponsors and Donors” section of the Compassion webiste. There is a link at the top of the home page actually called “For Sponsors and Donors”. The letter writing and gift giving stuff is under “Connect with your Child” in the left navigation bar. Here is a link to the FAQs like what you were asking.
Oh, well. Clicking on my name will take you to my blog. In the sidebar on the right, below the Sponsor Me! widget, scroll down a little more to the link called “Email me.” That’ll work.
The basic rule of thumb, with the recent additions as quoted by Kees, is anything you can send in an 8-1/2″ x 11-1/4″ envelope, 1/8″ thick. Coloring books are great ideas, but you’ll probably need to send a few sheets at a time. Any baggie or envelope that will go to the child (as opposed to Colorado Springs) should have your name and sponsor number, and the child’s name and number, as well.
I scrolled up a ways to read recent comments in the thread, but I’ve missed a lot of them. If I have duplicated what someone else said, above, I do apologize.
I have a list of 20 things you can send, a compilation of suggestions from area coordinators in the *old* southwest region, not long before some of us were shifted. If you would like me to send it to you, click on my name and that should enable you to get a request to me.
I got this in an email:
“New Ways to Engage with your Child!
Sponsors can now send plastic, craft foam and small pieces of cloth along with all paper items to their kids. We still have the 8 1/2″ x 11″x 1/4″ size restriction. However, they can now use a quart sized zip lock baggie, the flat kind without the slider. Some new items that can be sent: a small flat plastic ruler, 2-3 deflated balloons, a handkerchief, a cloth bookmark, and a flat ribbon that will fit in an envelope or baggie. We still can NOT send any metal including jewelry, ornaments, magnets, perishable items (gum, candy & flower seeds), and larger items (soccer balls, clothes).”
I got that around the 20th of April, so it’s fairly new. I have been able to send smaller books. There are stores called dollartrees in this area. I’m not sure if they are a nationwide chain, but I’ve found some nice things there and then Walmart has some nice colorbooks. A friend of mine went over to Bolivia and she offered to take some things for the children. So, I bought one of my children a viewmaster, with a few disks. At the time, I thought that anything could be sent over as long as it was small enough and of course appropriate, so I thought this would be nice, because I could send over viewmaster disks. Then later, I found out that CDs could not be sent over. So, I don’t know if the viewmaster disks can be sent over. Maybe someone at Compassion can answer that.
I am so glad that I found this blog and read all the comments! It’s been both informative and inspirational. I recently started to support Monica from El Salvador, put her picture on our fridge, prayed for her and kept meaning to write her a letter, but never did. I picked up stickers, etc. for her but just kept putting off writing a letter. Well, shame on me, a letter came to me first! She is only 4 so a worker wrote the letter for her but she colored a picture on the back. It was so sweet! I made sure to write her back right away and I have another letter ready to mail today.
I have a question, though, Kees. Could you possibly do a post about what exactly we are allowed to send. I read through the comments that cloth is allowed, but someone at Compassion told me on the phone that I could not send ribbon. I thought I could mail a pretty ribbon for Monica to put in her hair. If cloth is allowed can we send things like ribbon and felt? It might be neat to send felt figures.
It would be nice to read a post with all the things that are permissible through Compassion in one place. I would really appreciate that and I’m sure other sponsors would as well!
I plan to send Monica some paper dolls and clothes that I bought for her so that is an idea for anyone who has a little girl. Also, in many stores you can find notepads and stickers with names on them. I’ve been looking for anything with the name Monica on it to send to her. Of course, this is easiest if you have a child that has an American-type name. Someone mentioned that you can send stick gum. Is that true?
I’ll make sure to come back and read some more. Thank you so very much, Kees!!! 🙂 May God bless all the sponsors and their children.
Yes, that is a great book and if any one hasn’t read that book, I would highly suggest it! There isn’t a whole lot about Compassion in it as an organization, but there is a lot of compassion in it. (I hope that makes sense!)LOL!
Wow, Kees and Linda, that was inspirational. Have either of you read Wess’ book Too Small to Ignore?
It’s so great to be a part of such loving people. This is where we can be apart of God’s Holy word and work. Romans 8:28 becomes alive when we think, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” These children can live that verse, and we get to see and be a part of the miracles…wow—We serve a Great God!!! It’s so much fun to be a Christian!!
One of the things that I find so encouraging about sponsoring and writing with a child is that when a child gets sponsors, it doesn’t affect just the child, but the entire community around that child. I heard Wess Stafford say on a CD that on the average about 30 people get reached with the Gospel for every child. Now, that’s amazing and it really is awesome if you think of that. Because instead of Compassion reaching one million children right now, they are reaching 30 million people. For instance I sponsored Dulce. She got saved and then we were praying for her mother to get saved. Her mother got saved. Just recently I started receiving letters how little Dulce and her mother are sharing the love of Christ with all of the children in the neighbourhood! And Dulce is just 9 years old right now. Can you imagine how many people will have been reached by Dulce by the time, she goes home to be with Lord??? God can use these children in ways that we can not even imagine!!! And God loves to use the weak to comfound the wise. So, I’m so excited, because the children are the fruit right now, but just like real fruit, there are seeds in the fruit and we are only beginning now to see the harvest. That’s why you can have a huge ministry, even corresponding with these children.
We have a correspondent child, as well, and that is excellent to know that if the paying sponsor decides to stop sponsoring, the correspondent has the option to pick up the sponsorship. That is something we would do, if the situation arises.
Wow, I am learning so much from this message thread!!!
The correspondent program was a great idea. I have had the chance to correspond with two children so far. I would love to be able to sponsor more children but with full time college I can’t pull it off. The program gives me a chance to affect the lives of more children and do the part of sponsorship that I love best.
One of the sponsors I was writing for stoped sponsoring the child and I had to stop writing. Before the relationship was severed, a compassion rep called and asked if I would like to sponsor the child (saddly I couldn’t). I had never asked for this consideration so I assume it must be automatic.
Anyway, I think that it is a great system.
Final letters can be written. We do everything we can to respect the relationship that has been built. In fact, what Mary said above about offering the sponsorship to the correspondent happens more often then one might expect. Sometimes God blesses the correspondent to be able to take on the sponsorship.
As far as your other question about if the relationship can be maintained until a new sponsor is found . . . I don’t think that happens but I could be wrong. If you call the 800 number they can tell you for sure.
Yes, that’s true, you can visit your child that your correspond with. In a month, I’m visiting my two children that I correspond with in Bolivia. I’m actually also visiting my dad’s two children and then my own children, all in Bolivia. I can’t wait!!!
Gayle, I’m kind of curious though. During the time that they look for a new sponsor for the child, can the correspondent continue writing the child? Or is it so, that as soon as the child’s sponsor quits, the correspondent can’t write any more. If that’s the case, will the correspondent be able to write a letter of “final letter?”
Just call 800.336.7676 and tell a sponsor relations rep that you would like to be on the correspondent list. There may be a waiting list but they will have that kind of accurate information.
My response is in regards to Linda’s (Milby)question. I have been a correspondent person.
I called Compassion at the 800 number and asked for my name to be put on the correspondence list. Any of the compassion representatives should be able to handle this request.
It took a month and I had a new little girl to write to. Keep in mind that it can take longer if you have a specific request, say a boy from India or a girl from Tanzania. I was willing to be open to a boy or girl.
It is wonderful. However, the sponsor couldn’t continue financially supporting her. So, I was given the chance to become her sponsor. I couldn’t. So, my heart was broken and I had to say goodbye to her.
I had asked Compassion to let me know if the sponsor couldn’t continue and that is why I was given the option. I had asked for it. It doesn’t happen automatically that you would be contacted.
Also, I asked Compassion if a correspondence person can take a trip to see the child they write to. Yes, you can!!!!
I hope this helps.
I would love to help someone write to their child if they don’t have the time. Could you direct me to who ever would put me on the list. I wish I could sponsor more children, but my income isn’t enough where I feel like I could take on another child as of now. I like to be able to send extra gifts, birthday, family etc. but writing just takes time and love-and I don’t have much time, I make it though, and I have lots and lots of love,…….so….
I don’t know whether the term “Co-Sponsor” is actually even an “official” term. If for instance, you wanted to do that, it would mean that you and a friend decide to sponsor a particular child together. You and the friend would work out who does what. Maybe you do the writing and anything it involves, while they pay, or you split it or however you work it out. The only thing that I different with those is that I set up a different account number. This way both of you have access to the account and it avoids any confusion as to who sponsors who. For instance, if you sponsored Carlos in Mexico by yourself and you and Sally decided to sponsor Angela in Guatemala. If you added Angela to your account, Sally might not be able to access the account, because it’s in your name or if you do give her access to the account, she’ll have access to Carlos’ information. And if her name goes with that account, she might look like she is liable for any payment that Carlos might need.
I hope that helps.
Compassion does not do co-sponsorhsip. We believe in the one-to-one model so that the child does not get confused and the sponsor understands their role in the child’s life is a critical one.
Now, if a family is sponsoring or two friends agree to sponsor and they manage this on their own and relate to the child together that is perfectly fine to do. But Compassion doesn’t link more than one sponsor to a child.
If you are referring to the correspondent piece I mentioned earlier . . . basically what happens is the sponsor who is funding the sponsorship calls us and says hey, I sponsor 50 kids and I don’t have time to write to them all can you find someone else to write? We say sure we can help with that.
What this means is that the correspondent then becomes the sponsor in the child’s mind. It is very hard for the child to understand that the person writing is not the sponsor and we don’t think it is crucial for the child to understand this. The only problem with this is that the correspondent is at the mercy of the person who is funding the sponsorship. If that person stops paying then the correspondent relationship is ended so that the child can get a new sponsor.
This is a problem but we believe in the letter writing relationship portion of the sponsorship so much that we allow for it anyway. Because sponsors in a correspondent relationship are typically adults they have a better understanding of what the issues are.
Did this answer your question?
How can someone become a co-sponsor? What does that involve?
Thanks for clarifying that about the color printers and particularly the time involvement. So, I get from the fastest way to get some information to the child is to do via the form on the internet under your account, i.e. contact your child.
If I can ask for a prayer request. I just got a letter from Eliana, one of the children, I sponsor in Bolivia. She’s having fainting spells and they took her to the doctor and they discovered she has a problem with her heart. Please, pray for her and her family. She is a girl, full of dreams and love of life. (She wants to be a singer, or a doctor and visit Los Angeles!)
Hello all, I just love all of this conversation. It is so great to hear how letters impact kids and sponsors.
One thing occured to me though. I know it can be frustrating for sponsors who don’t feel the letters from their children are easy to connect to. Maybe they are not even written by the child.
I wanted to encourage those sponsors with a few things. It may take some time to build a connection with your child through letters and because of the lapse in time due to postal delivery and customs issues it can take longer than seems right. Please hang on though, sometimes the child just has a hard time connecting or their personality takes a longer time to adjust to letter writing. All of your letters are making a difference though. The children are getting the letters even if it doesn’t seem like it in their letters back to you. It took awhile for me and one of my kids (multiple years) but then something broke through and it’s much better now.
Also, regarding the email address to send photos. We don’t have color printers at the field level that can handle the volume of photos people might send over email. And since the plan is to send emails directly to the country office I’m not sure when that functionality will actually be available in all countries. It is happening in some already.
What happens now is that someone at the Colorado Springs office prints the photo you send to that email address on a black and white printer and then sends it to the child. We don’t have color printers to do this because it is only a short term solution. The only time savings for the letter to get to the child is on the postage time within the US.
Just wanted to let ya’ll know. Compassion is wanting to spend money on the long term solution rather than a short term solution and since we have over 25 country offices it just takes us a little time.
Love, love, love all these great ideas. It is such a blessing to know how fabulous Compassion sponsors are. Much love to all you.
I usually email or call those who I know sponsor and invite them over to my house for a “Compassion Letter Party”. It’s nothing fancy….we just sit down at a table and write letters together.
I put all my children’s letters and photos and drawings and everything in plastic sheet protectors too! I love re-reading them. I think my greatest treasure is their letters.
Thanks for sharing about Wess Staford saying that he sees the sponsor as discipling the child. That will help me in my future letters!
I also liked the idea of your sending postcards for the kids to give to their friends. I send extra stickers if I know that my child has siblings and I ask them to give the stickers to their brother or sister.
That’s a great idea to laminate the pictures. When I went with my dad to visit his child in Mexico, I noticed that Compassion had laminated the picture for him.
When I got the news about the CD that I couldn’t sent, it was within a couple of weeks. I would be suprised if hadn’t gone through since you hadn’t heard anything. Now, it might take 1/2 year to hear back from the child.
I don’t know many specifics about Nicaragua itself. All the children that I sponsor by myself are in Bolivia. Then there are three children that I cosponsor with actors and they are in Indonesia, Burkina Faso, and Columbia. You might call Compassion and ask them about it, because I think it is different for each country.
Kees, do you know if they have a special day or month in Nicaragua that they have letter day? Do they save all the letters and distribute them at that time?
I did laminate pictures with my childs name and ID # as well as my name , sponsor # and info about the photo. I’ve not recieved any news that it wasn’t acceptable from compassion, and it was mailed back in Jan. 08, I guess if you wanted to laminate your letter, as long as it was small enough that would be ok to.
I sponsor a girl named Jhoselin too, only she in Bolivia.
I don’t think, one can send the plastic sheet protectors, but you could call Compassion. One thing to keep in mind is that some countries have different size paper then the United States. Thus they might have a different size binders and the sheet protectors might not fit. Maybe a way to work around it is to give a gift through Compassion to the child and specify that maybe it could be used for a binder with sheetprotectors. I know the Dutch sheet protectors are different than the American ones.
Can we send plastic page protectors with our letters?
I am making a scrapbook for one of my children and I was wondering if I could send the page protectors so that my child could put the pages in a binder.
Is this allowed?
I’ve made one scrapbook of my little girl out of Nicaragua. I’m getting ready to start the 2nd one. I love looking through it over and over. She’s colored me beauiful pictures, which I’ll treasure forever. It’s amazing how much love you can have for these children. I feel like she really mine. I keep her picture on my desk, and email often because I see her sweet face. I also make her cards with glitter and her name spelled out with stickers. Someday if the Lord will provide fiancially, I will visit her. I’m sad because there is a trip scheduled for June 14, 2008, and I’m not a part of it, but if anyone out there is going that sees this, please tell the children how much they are loved, even if there sponsor could not make the trip. My beauitful little girls name is Joselin. thank you!!
I do the same thing. I do almost everything on the computer. My handwriting has gotten lousy though. LOL!!!
I also keep my eyes open for any thing that doesn’t cost something, but that the children might enjoy. When I was a child in Holland, I remember an American missionary bringing me stuff from America when he went there. Sometimes they were things like a postcard with a Howard Johnson on it. I was really excited to get that from a “foreign country.” Now, I realize that he probably picked it up for free! LOL! I don’t sent junk, but when I see something that is appropriate, nice, within the size-guidelines of Compassion, I’ll pick several of them up.
For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I was working in a store that sells really nice paintings. I believe the painter is a Christian. In order to sell the paintings, they have free postcards with pictures of the paintings on the front. So, I told the owner of the store, what I was doing with Compassion and asked him, if I could take some of the postcards. He gave me a lot of them.
So, I’m sending the children the postcards in the letter. Now, I try to send a few postcards per child. And I give them an instruction. I tell them that one of the postcards is for them and to give the other postcards to children, who don’t get letters as a gift. It does a couple of things. It gives the child the opportunity to be a blessing to others and to learn to give and of course the child that never gets letters or so will be blessed, because they get something.
It actually was a little convicting to me. I thought about how I would feel if I went to visit the child and the child told me that instead of giving what they had away, they had decided to keep it for themselves. I would almost be a little disappointed, though I would still really love the child. Then I thought about the Lord, how He blessed me with so much and how He blessed me, so that I can be a blessing to others. How would God feel if I kept something for myself, which was meant for others.
When I write letters to my kids, I start by typing the letter on the computer. When I am happy with what I have, I hand write it on the stationary.
Using the computer allows me to quickly edit the letter and to save details about what kind of paper, stickers, and add-ins I put in the letter. This way I make sure I don’t send the exact same things over and over.
I love writting to my children. But I also make a copy of each letter that I send. Also, when I buy a postcard, stickers or any other items I buy enough to send some and to keep one for myself. I have a file folder in which all of the childrens letters go in..as well as copies of all that I have sent. Eventually I plan to create a scrapbook for each sponsored child. That way I can see how the child has grown in their letters (and in their pictures) over time. I will also be able to see what I have written (for nostalgia’s sake).
I am hoping that by creating and flipping through the scrapbooks my own children will feel a greater connection to our sponsored children. We pray for them each night by name, but viewing their letters and pictures makes it seem more real. Knowing that I am going to have a new addition to the scrapbook makes me even more excited to write.
I really wish Compassion would come up with some type of “Compassion Scrapbook” – perhaps one with a place for the sponsored child’s picture on the front?
One of my children is now nine and is just now going to school and learning how to write. He sent me a page in which he had written his upper and lower case letters and his numbers to 100. Talk about bringing tears to your eyes! That made it all worth it!!!!
I’m a part of a fairly big church. They hold 3 different services and together they sponsor close to 400 children. The pastor sponsors several of them.
I like the idea of a party. Did you call people and just invite them on a certain day?
I like the idea of the index cards. I put all of my letters in a binder in sheet protectors. Then I end up reading them many times. I think about the kids all the time. They are very important t me. And I can understand how you can talk about the children, just naturally, because they are on your mind.
One thing that really put things in prospective for me was during the interview I did with Wess Stafford. He said that he saw the sponsor as a disciple of the child. That prospective helped me a lot in knowing what to write.
I’m finally checking back! And I know who sponsors in our church because, first of all, our church is small and when we have a Compassion Sunday, I know personally each person who sponsors a child. Also, because Compassion is such a passion of mine and I have a relationship with my kids, I can’t help talking about them! And so I eventually meet more sponsors because they tell me about their kids. So I guess that’s how I meet them.
Thanks for sharing about how you tell them a story. I tell them Bible stories, but have never thought to share stories like the Hiding Place! That’s a great idea! I can’t wait to tell them more stories like that!
I love to pray for my kids too…and I ask them to pray for me. They always are faithful to pray for me and to ask if God has answered my prayers. I’ve found it helpful to write down important details about my kids on index cards and whenever I write I refer to those cards (they have information about their families and friends and prayer requests).
There are certain guidelines as to what can be sent and the size of it. It has to do with the shipping contract, I believe.
But it can’t be bigger than 8 1/2 by 11 inches and not thicker than either 1/8th or 1/4rth of an inch. (I’ve seen both written in the guidelines, maybe someone can clarify. I guess if you stay under 1/8th of an inch, it will be fine.). It has to be either paper or cloth.
If it doesn’t go through, Compassion contacts you. I sent a little book one time and it had a CD in it. I actually discovered the CD after I bought the book. It was the story of Moses. I had no use of the CD and I thought that I could sent it. So, I mailed to the child and then I got a call from Compassion and they mentioned that I couldn’t sent a CD and they were wondering if I wanted the CDs back or if they could donate it to a local charity. I was encouraged by the integrity displayed, but also I was encouraged to know that if something isn’t right, that they would contact me.
Just make sure to always include your name and the child name and both of the numbers on the item.
What I did was I printed out some labels with the information on it and now, I just put the label on there.
On the issue of asking questions, one thing to keep in mind is that it takes about 3 months for the letter to reach the child and it takes about 3 months for the letter from the child to get back. So, if you ask a question, it can easily take 1/2 year for the answer to come back. I actually wrote that in the letters to the children too. I remember writing a letter to one child. While I was writing the letter, I was eating peanuts. I mentioned it in the letter and half year later I got a letter back, asking me how the peanuts were!
How do we send something larger than the envelope provided? I see someone mentioned a singing card. Can we send any size envelope as long as it is flat?
Wonderful post! I sponsored my first child in February, and have written about every two weeks since. Words cannot express the love in the three letters I’ve received from her. Hands down, writing is the best thing you can do, and it will bring SOOO much joy back to you. Great idea about asking how she found out she was sponsored. I wondered about that — she had been unsponsored for more than six months before I discovered her.
I write about what my kids are doing in school, what we are doing in church… basic everyday stuff. I’ve sent her one handwritten letter besides the “get to know your sponsor” packet. I’m dying to hear about how that letter (with stickers) was received!
Folks, this can be such a blessing to you as well as your child. WRITE!!!
I’ve sent one email since starting a sponsership in April. I’ve wanted to write again a couple of times but wasn’t sure how often we should write. Seeing the comment that mentioned writing twice a month makes me feel good. I’d love to write more and now that I know I can, I certainly will. Very glad I followed a link here. 🙂
Thanks for the reminder of the importance of our Compassion letters.
Also, thanks for the suggestion on emailing photos. I didn’t know that.
You can sent them pictures of you and your family. You can email the pictures too by using the email address: [email protected]. Be sure to put your sponsor number and the child number in the email address.
I was just rereading this and I meant to say, be sure to put your sponsor number and the child number in the subject heading! LOL!
That’s awesome that you sponsored a little girl in Bolivia. All the children that I sponsored myself are in Bolivia. (I cosponsor some with actors). I wonder if your little girl knows any of my children.
These are some things to share with the children that I’ve done.
I’ve sent them pictures of natural things, such as a mountainrange, a beautiful flower, or something that doesn’t show any wealth.
My dad and I visited cargo ships growing up. So, I searched and found a lot of pictures of cargo ships. Some of them have names like the child and I’ve sent the children pictures of the cargoship with the same name. For instance I sponsor a girl named Eliana, so I go to the website http://www.shipspotting.com and I find a ship with that name and there it is: http://www.shipspotting.com/modules/myalbum/photo.php?lid=63084
Then you can share Scriptures with them and what they mean to you.
You can share stories of various Christians and what they have gone through. If you on line behind the story of the various hymns, some of them are very encouraging. For instance the story of the hymn: “What a friend we have in Jesus” was written after a person lost his fiancee to a fatal accident and then lost another fiancee again that way.
The children in Bolivia really like Dora. You can go to Walmart and buy a Dora coloring book as long as it isn’t too thick.
You can sent them pictures of you and your family. You can email the pictures too by using the email address: [email protected]. Be sure to put your sponsor number and the child number in the email address.
You can scan the picture that they sent you in the childpacket in and then print out several copies of them, so that they can give them away. That can be a blessing to the family.
You can ask them questions about the way things work at the project. Such as: “How did you find out how you were sponsored?” “How did you find out about Compassion?” “How often does the mail come to your project?” etc, etc…
Even if you just tell them that you’re thinking about them and that you pray for them and to keep going, that can be an encouragement.
You can dedicate something to them and then sent it to them. I write articles for the newspaper and every week, I’ve been able to dedicate it to a different child. So, then when their week came, I wrote them and told them that they are in the newspaper! Then I sent them copies of the page, so that they can see it. I realize not many people write for a newspaper, but maybe you do something else that you can dedicate to them.
If you are around actors that give out autographs, you can ask them for an autographed picture made out to your child. Make sure that the actor is a fairly good role model though. I have a friend, who played the lead in the movie Gracie and she used to play on the Lizzie McGuire show and movie. She just sent me a stack of autographed pictures made out to each child with a saying that said: “You can do whatever you desire.”
You can sent pictures of your pets. They love that. Most of my chidren pray for Corgi every day! (http://www.aboutcorgi.com)
If you let me know the project number, who knows, I might see her.
I hope that helps!
Thanks for this reminder. Writing to our girl in Bolivia has been hard to keep as a priority for me. She has never expressed that they are meaningful to her, and hers to us are always about the same–like they’re just dictated or copied. It’s hard to know what to write sometimes. Could you do another post on creative communication?
I don’t know how to go back and edit that post, but the %20 should be replaced by a space, otherwise it’s in the Nieuwsarchief.
Great to hear from you. I worked with a 007 Bond girl for a couple years, whose name was Maxine. Denver is quite a bit different than Holland. It’s so flat over there, unless you’re in Limburg. Yes, Compassion in the Netherlands is doing a wonderful job. If you go compassion.nl, they have a lot of good stories too. I like reading them, because it educates me more about Compassion. My dad’s story is on there too. It’s says something like Sponsor, 82 years old visits his child. This is the link: http://compassion.nl/index.php?id=nieuws/verhalen/Sponsor%20(82)%20bezoekt%20sponsorkind/
Ik ben zo Hollands als maar kan zijn :-). Woon sinds vorig jaar Juni in Denver, dus vers van de boot. Dankje voor de link naar je vader website, wat fijn om iets te lezen in het Nederlands waar God ook een blangrijke rol speelt! Iets wat je steeds minder vaak tegen komt in Nederland.
Here are some FAQ links for compassion.com.
What should I write about? Is there anything I shouldn’t write about?
Can I send a package to my child?
Tips for mailing small gifts
How do you come up with what to say in a letter to your sponsered child? I can never figure out what to say. I’m always worried I’ll say something wrong. That my letters will somehow shout, “Look what we’ve got here that you don’t have there!”
Gewelding, or (wonderful in Dutch!) I’ve got a sticker saying: ‘Yer not much, if you ain’t Dutch!’ It’s kind of funny. I appreciate your blog on courtship too! So, do you speak Dutch too? If so, you might enjoy my dad’s website with the Compassion stuff on it. It’s http://www.arieboer.com
Great post… I’m Dutch, too – een echte kaaskop ;-). Thanks for the inspiration!!!!
That is wonderful! Your child is treasuring those letters a lot. It will take a little bit for the letters to start coming back, because sometimes it can take up 3 or 4 months for the letter to get there and then 3 or 4 months for a letter to get from them to you. It all depends where the child is, I guess.
We only recently started sponsoring a child. I am still anxiously awaiting a letter from her. I have sent her a letter with each payment, but I have done it from the web site. I will make the extra effort to send a handwritten one.
I am getting so many great ideas through reading these comments. We just recently began sponsoring a little boy from Brazil, but have sponsored a little girl from India through another program. I am amazed at the difference in the programs. The other program really does not encourage letter writing so much. They have standard cards they send us to sign and send back with some money, but that’s about it. I love that Compassion encourages us to build a relationship with our sponsored child and equips us withthe tools necessary to do it.
I love writing to all three of my sponsored children. I was on a Compassion trip last year and meet my sponsored child in the Philippines. Since meeting Florence our letters have continued on a regular basis and she continues to grow and develop in so many ways.
We heard several LDP graduates talk and share how much hearing from their sponsors made a difference in their lives. The relationship developed between sponsor and child is so special and unique. By the end of the night not a dry eye was left. It was so moving and powerful we left with a renewed commitment to do everything we could to help our sponsored children in any way.
I received a letter yesterday from my newly sponsored third child. He stated he loved the Valentine card I sent and that he is “taking care” of the card and letter I sent him.
Also, I was talking with a Compassion representative and she stated sponsors can send a few more items, beyond stickers and bookmarks. She indicated customs is ok with
1. 2 or 3 deflated ballons.
2. Craft foam, not sure how to explain that one.
3. Singing cards.
I recently bought the singing cards that Hallmark displayed for Mother’s Day. I recorded my voice, (only 10 seconds) and also sent blank cards over for them so they can send them back to me with their voices recorded.
Hello again all, what a fun conversation we are all having. Lisa, I’ll keep working on that stationary. It might be a little while but I suspect you will see something one of these days. You wouldn’t believe all that is going on here.
Miriam, bless you, bless you, bless you. God is taking care of you and your children. Thank you for your commitment and care. It’s amazing they way God brings us all together. Thanks for the comments on community. Yes, it is so true. Organizations don’t create community. People do.
I love all the letter writing ideas here. I think I’d like to have a party, too. Compassion won’t give out sponsor information though due to privacy reasons . . . however if you get a bunch of friends to sponsor then you can have a party with your friends. :)Cool!
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Kees! And I’ve loved reading the responses too. It’s amazing how much a letter means to each child. And it is a simple thing but it takes time. Sending money is easy – giving time requires more effort, doesn’t it? I am reminded of the time that God spends watching and waiting for me. He didn’t do the quick thing, did He? What an example for us!
Thanks for the offer, Kees. The clouds are lifting (or at least the hellraiser is gone). My boy has gotten at least one letter from me this year, maybe two. I don’t remember. I am working on another one when I can get my film developed.
I only offered my story as an example of the types of things that can make it difficult for a sponsor to write.
I think sponsors supporting other sponsors is a good thing. There is no substitute for community. But organizations don’t create community. People do or don’t as the case may be.
That’s a great idea to have a letter writing party. I should do that in my church. How did you find out, who sponsored the children? I’d love to do something like that. I’ve been writing 2 times/month. Sometimes, when I wonder what to write, I tell the children how special they are and I sometimes write stories to them. Some of them funny, but sometimes also stories like The Hiding Place or maybe even a Biblical story. Or I might share a verse and what I’m learning from it.
One time I wrote all my children a letter and I just wrote a very short letter. I wrote:
“I just wanted to tell you that I’m so thankful that I can sponsor you. I’m praying for you every day. Remember the Lord is watching you every minute of the day and you are very precious to Him. Love, Kees”
I wanted to keep it short, because I wanted them to really know that. Maybe I should have written a longer letter. LOL.
I really care for the children a lot and pray for them all by name daily.
I love writing to my kids and I appreciate your nudge to those who aren’t writing. I’ve begun to have “Letter Writing Nights” for my friends who sponsor kids but don’t write to them where we all get together and write to our kids. The first one opened my eyes because a friend of mine hadn’t written because she felt that she had nothing in her life to write about. We were able to talk through about writing letters and then I found some resources on the Compassion website which have helped immensely. But all of us getting together makes it such a wonderful time of sharing what God has done in our lives and what God is doing in our kid’s lives!
Gayle, thank you SO much for taking the time to respond to my post! It sounds like you’ve got some great programs implemented and you’re on the case! It’s awesome to hear some of the things you’re already doing to address this.
I will add this issue to my daily prayer time, for sure.
I know this is one of the arguments people use against one-on-one child sponsorship — that some kids end up feeling rejected when their sponsors don’t write — so I’m glad to hear it is an area in which you are focused & innovative.
p.s. I like the redesigned stationary idea A LOT! Perhaps turn the form into something that would be fun for a sponsor — or a sponsor’s children — to fill out. Something colorful w/cool questions to answer. Something that could be a family project to complete and send off. The current form is just so painfully blah.
I wonder if there is mistranslation somewhere??? I gave a gift to a six year old girl for her birthday and I got a letter back saying that she bought a Dora backpack with it and a plunger. Now, unless this little 6 year old is quite enterpernurial and wants to start a plumbing business, I couldn’t imagine what she would do with a plunger. I looked at the Spanish and it looked like the word for blouse was used, which would make sense.
You could maybe ask her.
The letters I get are so irresistibly sweet that I feel like I have to write.
I do have one question, though. One of my sponsored children said something in a letter about how my granddaughter must be so beautiful. I am 28 and single. Could there have been a mix-up?
Hi, I thank you all for the kind comments on this post. I didn’t know that it would make such a difference I’m especially so thankful that several children have been written a letter. That makes such a difference and I’m so thankful.
Miriam, I appreciate your thoughts too. I’m praying for you as I’m tying this. God is a rock. His understanding truly has no limit.
If you can’t write, I would be happy to be the correspondent for your child for a while. But only if you would like me to and if it would truly help you.
Gayle, thank for your great insight. I appreciate you praying for the sponsors too. I never thought of that. I thought the children are the ones praying for the sponsors, but didn’t realize that the staff of Compassion is praying too. That is amazing!!! Thank you so much!
Tina and Dave, yes… we know each other through Myspace! It’s fun to see you all on this too. This is almost like a little forum!
I just wanted to add that in my experience as a poor letter writing sponsor, Compassion does what it can to stress the importance. Yes, I have gotten my “Dear Sponsor, you haven’t written your child in more than a year, please at least send this card” letters before.
It was shortly after I received my boy’s folder and agreed to be his sponsor that his mother walked out on him. To my knowledge he has barely known his father. Just after I received the letter informing me of this, I began at least 5 years of hell (at last that’s all I can think to describe it as). 2001 was a bad year all the way around.
I have tried to keep up letter writing while not causing my child worry. But it’s very difficult to support someone else when you have no support and even more so to find words to write when you haven’t anything to say to anybody…only rivers of tears to cry.
I know that no matter how hard I try, what happens to me affects my children. That’s the way God created human relationships. My children have been through bankruptcy, heartbreak and all with me, mostly unbeknownst to them. And God has been faithful. At least, I managed to stay off of the streets.
Now that my boy is 15 years old and asked, I have explained briefly. I tell him all the time what a rock our God is. I know this from deep personal experience.
Hello all, my name is Gayle. I work at Compassion and I feel intimately involved with this conversation for many reasons.
First, I’ve met kids who don’t get letters and it breaks my heart too. I think everyone at Compassion feels the same way.
Second, we are always trying to find new ways to help sponsors who don’t write write more and children who don’t get letters feel loved despite that. It used to be a very important part of my job but I’m not the only one putting energy into this topic.
Third, we know kids who get letters do better overall even though there are kids who don’t get letters who still succeed in so many ways. We actually have a desire for 100% of children in our programs to get at least one letter per year.
So, all that to say. Yes, Compassion is doing something. 1. We send a tri-fold postcard to sponsors who haven’t written in 10 months (If you have written you wouldn’t receive this). This card is easy to return and we even pay the return postage too. 2. We also send stationary with every letter the child writes hoping that this is the most inspiring time to write back 3. we have a correspondence network . . . if a sponsor tells us they can’t write we find a volunteer who will write for them . . . but we don’t over encourage this because it really is best for the child to hear from the sponsor.
We’ve even considered sending cards to kids from people who just care but do not carry on a long term relationship . . . but again . . . What the child wants and needs is the long term love and care that the letters show.
Actually, right now, too we are looking at redesigning the stationary to make it simpler like you mention above. So, yes, we feel the heartache too and we try to do all we can to get more sponsors to write . . . but then as the one post said we don’t know what is going on with the sponsor either and we want to respect people who step up to sponsor whether they are writing or not . . .
So would ya’ll (yes, I’m from Texas) PRAY for the sponsors who don’t write with us? We do that too here. We seriously pray for our sponsors even by name even when we don’t know them or their situation. We believe God can impress upon those who are not writing how important it is.
Thanks for praying with us. Hopefully someday we will have 100% of our sponsors writing!!!
OR perhaps the database of sponsors could be set up in such a way that, if a child hasn’t received a letter during that calendar year, the organization would be alerted and a form of this type could be generated and sent…that way the form doesn’t have to be sent to all sponsors each year.
I’ve always been concerned about those children who don’t receive correspondance from their sponsors. It makes me ill that children are heartbroken over this.
Yes, sponsors should be writing on their own volition. BUT I have to put this back on Compassion somewhat. What is Compassion doing to further help facilitate correspondence?
I know that when a sponsor joins, they are sent a “get-to-know-me form” that they can fill out and attach their photos to — and this will go to the sponsored child. I LOVE that! Could Compassion perhaps come up with a yearly “here’s-what-I-did-this-year-form?” They could be sent out to sponsors on a yearly basis to fill out and send back. Perhaps there could be a space for a photo, and some prepared questions that the sponsor could answer.
It wouldn’t have to be that expensive — not more expensive than any other mailing that Compassion sends. Perhaps an 8X10 printed cardstock folded in half.
For those of us who are excellent correspondents — of course we’d go above and beyond a yearly picture/Q&A form — but for those who it just doesn’t even occur to to write their child, this would be a prompt — and something easy to fill out and send back — and at least their kids would get ONE letter each year.
I should write more. When I don’t write for a while I try to give a small gift as penance… which always seems to be enough for a large piece of furniture!? 🙂
On a home visit during my first sponsors tour, we met a lovely 13-year-old girl who had the brightest smile, until someone asked if she had a good relationship with her sponsor. As the question was being translated, her face fell, and she slowly shook her head. She had had one sponsor for the full 7 years she had been in the project. She had received one letter, early on, and not one thing, since then. A year before our visit, her father had been making repairs to their front door, when he had a massive heart attack and died. She wrote to her sponsor to tell her about her dad’s death; a year later, she was still waiting for a reply.
I noticed that, after this conversation had begun, she went to get her one letter. It took no time, at all. She knew exactly where it was, and it showed signs of having been handled many times.
None of us could believe that the sponsor had not responded, even when the girl’s father had died. Yet, none of us had any information about the sponsor’s circumstances, and as she had apparently paid, faithfully, for seven years, could we really judge her as a “bad sponsor”?
It’s tempting; I have to admit that: It’s tempting. But…not our place, is it.
Hey Kees! I agree with Dave up there, seems like I’ve been seeing you around a lot lately. Thanks for sharing about the importance of writing to your kids. It can sometimes be hard to know what to say, but your child will love it no matter what. 🙂
Thanks Kees! You are like all over the place these days. May the Lord bless your comings and goings…
The letter writing is what makes Compassion so different from other programs, and so effective. I love writing my sponsored children, but especially enjoy receiving their letters. They are all too young to write, but the pictures they draw and color are priceless! I admit putting a little bit of a guilt trip on my sister and my best friend for not writing their sponsored children. It worked, and now they write regularly!!
I love this post. It encourages me to write my child more often. I do write occasionally, but not as often as I would prefer. Thanks for the small nudge. 🙂
I just returned from a Compassion trip to El Salvador, and we visited one of the children’s home. We asked if they had a sponsor, and he quickly told us their names. Then, I asked if they ever wrote and with excited eyes he ran to his room, pulled out a tin box that was full of pictures and letters. They were so important to him!
There were a lot of things that I walked away with from this trip, but the number one thing is I am more passionate about write my little girl!
What an inspiring post. We just sent our first letter to our little girl in Peru. I packed it with stickers and fun paper. I told her to that I put extra stickers and paper in for her siblings just in case they didn’t have someone to send them extras. I thought I was going overboard, but I think you’ve made me see today that what I did was okay. 🙂
I love writing to my little girl Evita in Indonesia. I recently got my first letter from her, and it was the sweetest thing. I try to space my letters out, but as soon as I read something like this I want to send another one. 🙂
Write to your child; it means so much to them.
Great post. I love writing letters to my sponsored children and getting letters from them. I agree with Kelly that the best kind are handwritten with stickers and photos. I also like to print the compassion stationary on brightly colored papers.
I got a letter from my little girl Uli in Indonesia (written by a project worker) which said.
“She is very glad and embarrassed when your letter is read in front of project friends. She really enjoys the stickers that you gave. She is proud when she shows all your letters to her friends.”
Whenever I read that I have to sit down and write another letter. I think that writing letters is one of the most important things a sponsor can do.
I really don’t get this. You can even e-mail your letter to Compassion these days — although I’m sure there’s nothing like getting a real, hand-written letter with pictures and other fun stuff.
There’s no justifiable excuse.
Beautiful story. And that picture made my heart smile. Broadly.