I recently saw a photo essay that featureshoot.com characterized as Photos of Children From Around the World With Their Most Prized Possessions.
With that title I expected to see evocative photos capturing the strong personal connection between the child and whatever was most dear to him or her. However, what I got was interesting photos of children from around the world with their toys.
I’m not in a position to say that the most prized possession each of these children have isn’t a toy; however, the phrase “most prized possession” and its connection to children reminded me of a story about the immense value the children we sponsor place on the letters we write and the relationships they represent.
I even know a little girl in Honduras whose house was flooded, and our project director went in and rescued her from the rising water.
It was up as high as her chest. And he picked her up and carried her out of her house and the whole time, she was reaching back toward the house, crying. And he thought: ‘She must have a puppy in there or she must have a doll or something that she doesn’t want to leave.’
When he put her down on dry ground, she turned around and ran back into that flooding house. She felt around in her little corner of the house until she found her little baggie with her sponsor’s letters in it, and only then, with that in her hand, was she willing to be rescued. She was not going to leave that behind.
That’s how precious it was to her. These sponsors are so much more important in that child’s life than they can possibly imagine.
~Wess Stafford, as recounted by Kees Boer
So, with that background, here’s a different look at what some children around the world consider their most prized possessions.
We originally published this post on March 25, 2013.
34 Comments |Add a comment
What’s really cool is that sometimes your child will TELL you that your letters are his/her most prized possession! My girl said she treasures my letters, and it goes both ways 😉
“Quiero agradecerte por todas tus cartas, me encantan y me ponen muy feliz!!” “I want to thank you for all your letters, I love them and they make me feel very happy!!” Her exact words <3
The little girl I sponsor has a sister . I worry that siblings feel left out when sponsored children receive letters and small gifts. Are we permitted to send them anything too please.
Thank you so much for considering your child’s siblings feelings! Be assured that all siblings will benefit indirectly by things their brother or sister shares and by participating in our partner church activities. However, you can bless the sibling’s by sending extra stickers and other paper items with your letter to your child. You may also bless the entire family by sending a family gift. You may give $25-$1,000 a year and designate it as a family gift. The project director will consult with the family about what their greatest need is and help them to purchase the item(s). I hope this is helpful! And thank you again for being such a blessing to our ministry! -Shannon
I’ve sponsored children through Compassion and another child sponsorship organization for the past 17 years. I have kept every letter that every child has even wrote me. I keep my kid’s letters, photos and other mementos that they send me in 3 ring binders, I’m on my third binder of letters. I keep a bag with my most treasured material possessions in it at the ready in case of emergency evacuations for fire, flood, etc. The binders with my kid’s letters were the first things added to the bag. Letters as treasured possessions are the same for child and sponsor…at least with me they are.
Replying to the length of time the letters are being mailed. Is it faster to write a hand written letter verses an electronic letter through the website?
Chantel, all letters whether written by hand or sent through the online writing tool, take 2-3 months to reach your child. You’re welcome to use whichever method you prefer :). We hope that our new writing tool on the Compassion mobile app is convenient for our sponsor’s as you can now take your child with you wherever you and write as often as you’d like!
Why does it take 2-3 months to send a letter? It seem it will be very difficult to have a conversation with the delay. Is there anything we can do to reduce the time?
pplease lrequest you to sponsor this childrens in our community
Hi Melisa! Please email us at [email protected] for more information on partnering with us and finding loving sponsors for the children in your area.
John, I am so sorry for the frustration in regards to the long length of time that it currently takes to deliver a letter. We know 2-3 months is a long time and we can do better. As we speak, Compassion is working on updating our systems and you will see dramatic decreases in the time it takes to send a letter within the next few years. Stay tuned!
Joliner will not receive his Christmas letter until March. I wish I would’ve known the time frame. Does it take that long for the children to receive gifts?
Hi Meagan! I’m so sorry that you were not aware of the time it took to send your child letters but I want to encourage you that your child will be so excited to receive it from you and read those special words that God placed on your heart to say! It will still mean so much even if it’s late. Yes, gifts do take 2-3 months to reach our children. However, for Christmas, each child gets a gift on time, at the center, when they have their Christmas party :). Joliner also received one and was told that the gift that the staff picked out for him, was from you. For birthday gifts, we recommend sending them 2-3 months in advance.
I also didn’t realize how much our letters are treasured. I may have read this somewhere but don’t remember, how long does it take our sponsor child to get an electronic letter versus a handwritten letter?
Hi Cindy! Letters written online using our letter writing tool are printed out in our USA office and sent in the mail to your child. This means that it takes about two to three months for all letters to be sent.
I didn’t realize how much they treasured the letters, I’m so humbled and will definitely write my sponsor children more often…
I feel silly asking this question, but how do I send a hand written letter to my sponsored child? I’ve looked all over the website and can’t figure it out.
I work on the oil rigs so I’ve only written electronic letters.
Does anyone know how to do this?
Hi John! Happy to help! If it is more convenient for you to continue writing letters online on our website, that’s just fine! However, if you’d like to send letters and items in the mail, please make sure all of the items you’re sending are paper, less than 8 1/2″ by 11″ and no more than 1/4″ thick. Also, please write your child’s name, your child’s number, your name, and your number on whatever you are sending. You may send these letters and items to: Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004.
We are SOOO blessed having these wonderful children in our lives! : )
I have a question. I sponsor three girls (ages 4 to 12) in Ethipia and Burkina Faso, who I adore beyond belief. they are truly the light of my life and I love writing them as much as I love getting their letters. My question is this, is it ok to sign my letters “Love, Jennifer”, or to say I love you in my letters? I sponsor some children also through a diferent but similar organization, and I remember reading in their welcome materials that is is not a good idea to say I love you to your sponsored children becuase it will make people in different cultures uncomfortable. This has been terribly difficult for me because i DO love them all so much, I am literally overflowing with so much love for them I cant stand it! but I do not want to make them or their families uncomfortable. And I dont not want to come off as a crazy lady either! Please help, some advice would be so very welcome! Oh, and I have been sponsoring all my children for about a year and two months now.
Jennifer, You’re so sweet! Thank you for loving and caring for your children like you do! I think it is definitely okay to sign your letters with “love.” You’re role as a sponsor is to help break the lies that poverty speaks to children – telling them that they are unlovable, ugly, worthless, etc. You have an opportunity to show them to love of Christ and their dignity as a child of God through your words in your letters.
I agree with Susan. I don’t remember being told by Compassion not to say I love you. I am hoping that the Compassion translators would have the discretion to screen for that sort of issue IF the community
they are in would have a problem with it. If there would be another word or term that the particular community uses to express what we call “love” they would probably just translate it into that term. Love, Mary Ann
I also would like to know if that is an ‘okay’ thing to say. (My sponsored child is in India.)
I too received same e-mail as to “their most prized possessions” and had similar thoughts “I don’t think so” but it did bring to my attention their poverty. With that said my thoughts did run to Compassion International and our children. The greatest possession they could ever own and us too is very simple. Too simple for most to realize but if I can share with one child and they believe it true then they have prized the possession. “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”. I love the work of Compassion!!!
Un saludo a todos los participes de esta gran labor elaborada por esta gran empresa que se ha dejado tocar el corazon por Dios y ha servido de guia para que muchos salgan de la extrerma pobreza tanto material y como principalmente espiritual.. Dios los bendiga
On one of my sponsor tours to the Dominican Republic, I saw in one home that a number of items were hung, nailed or otherwise attached to a beam across the ceiling. We were told that many families in poverty live next to rivers and streams that flood, in heavy rains, so items they value are hung above flood level. Tacked onto that information was the further statement that sponsors’ letters and other items sent (that are not used up) are among the items valued most highly.
Hey, have you tried refreshing your browser and loading the pictures again? -Emily
I was blessed to receive a picture and letter from our sponsor child showing us what he was able to purchase with our additional giving. It was so rewarding to see him smiling with his new outfit. I eagerly await every letter and find great pleasure in writing to him and sending him new photos each time. God is good.
I also have enjoyed getting pictures of gifts received by our sponsored children. The look on their faces is worth a thousand words. Letters from each of them are so precious. I recently learned that one of our sponsored children moved away from her project, and will not have one in her new village. I always feel a sadness when losing a sponsored child, but at the same time praise God that He is caring for them right where they are. Yes, God is good…all the time!
Jan, thank you for writing this. I have “lost” a few sponsored children, my first one in the Rwandan genocide. My heart breaks each time and I wonder to this day where they are, how they are. Thank you for reminding me that God knows and has known since time began what would happen to each of his children. He is with them right now and was with them then as well. He will never leave nor forsake his kids! Praise God that he is caring for them right where they are!
yesterday i received a letter in the mail from a little boy i sponsor and he really made my day. he even included a small drawing he had done. my heart was lifted the rest of the day and even this morning when i woke up. all these children (3-22) are precious and deserving. i am blessed.
Joanne, am very impresed with this your message, it make me remember an adage that says what ever a man sow so shall he reap. it is good to be good.
We got to meet one of our sponsored daughters in September in the Dominican, first of all it was an amazing experiences I will never forget and secondly, I was so touched to hear our little girl carried our family photo around with her every where she went, she had it in her book bag.
I had the blessing of meeting my sponsored child a few weeks ago during that visit he told me he had my picture and a letter I had written to him hanging on a wall of his room so he could see it when he entered . I felt so humbled by that, really I never imagined that he would do such a thing. I also know how blessed I am by his letters to me. I get so excited when I open the mailbox and find a letter from one of my sponsored children 🙂