Writing Letters Is Inconvenient — And That’s a GOOD Thing!

Woman wearing a pink dress and head covering. She is sitting in front of a window in her home and is writing a letter to her sponsor.

If I told you to handwrite and mail a letter right now, what would you have to do? First, find a piece of paper. And not just ripped out of a notebook — I’m talking about the good stuff. Stationery or a greeting card preferably. Also, you need a pen. The first one you grab is a cheap one from the bank that doesn’t work anymore. But at the bottom of your purse you finally find one of the good ones.

And then you have to find an envelope. Then hunt around for a stamp. And then Google how much it even costs to mail a letter anymore because all you can find are stamps with reindeer on them from six Christmases ago.

All of that and you haven’t even started writing yet!

In summary, writing a letter is inconvenient. But that’s what makes it so beautiful. Inconveniencing yourself can be a gift to the child you sponsor. And it can also be a gift to you.

Every time I write a letter, I am sending the message “I care about you.” I care enough to find the paper and pen (or start up my computer and choose the perfect stationery if I’m writing online) and write and send you a letter. I care about you enough to sacrifice my time and my thoughts. I care enough to pause and think of you — only you — for a few moments. And what a beautiful gift that is!

Girl wearing a purple and orange patterned dress. She is sitting in a blue plastic chair outside her home and is holding a letter from her sponsor.

And writing a letter is also a gift to me. It forces me to slow down. Breathe deeply. Think about this child that I’m writing to. Pray for her. Ask her questions that she may never answer just so she knows I want to know more about her.

When I sit and write a letter, I am fighting all the distractions around me. My favorite TV show or that load of laundry may be tempting, but I must remind myself that in just a few minutes I can stop, pick up my pen and tell a child in poverty they matter.

That’s why, once a month, I address a stack of envelopes and put them where I will see them every day on the corner of my desk. Some are to family who are feeling lonely and isolated. Others are to friends who live too far away. And at least one is to one of the children I sponsor. I paperclip a piece of stationery to those envelopes, I hunt for stamps and put my favorite pen on top of the stack.

And throughout the month, once a week or so, I inconvenience myself. I slow down. I pray for that person and I try to share words of truth and encouragement. And when I mail it, I feel a weight lifted.

Inconvenience, my friends, is such a gift.

Will you join me in writing the child you sponsor this month? Let them know you’re thinking of them and you care about them, especially in this year of difficulty and isolation!

25 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Karol Hassani August 19, 2021

    Thank you Shannon! You all are so wonderful! I appreciate the updates. Thanks for letting me know not to add Carlo’s info in this correspondence. I will not do that in the future. Thank you again, so very much! 🙂

  2. Karol Hassani August 16, 2021

    Thank you Nicole! You made my day! I love writing to Carlos a couple of times a week. I was so worried it would be considered too often, but you have eased my worries, and renewed my excitement for writing to him. I do understand completely that I may not get any letters back from Carlos, or even possibly only once a year. I’ve even told him in some of my letters that he shouldn’t feel obligated to write me as often as I write him, and I told him that I’d try to write him a couple times a week. I just wanted to know for sure that he is receiving my letters. Is there any way to tell if he has received any of my correspondence or gifts? Also, yes, if you could check on his center for me and let me know their status, it would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you! 🙂

    1. Shannon August 18, 2021

      Hi Karol,
      I am glad to know our team could be helpful for you! Please know that I do see both your gifts are still being sent over, so he has not received those quite yet. Also, I don’t have a way to know when a letter reaches his hands, but if none have been delivered yet, I am sure it will be quite soon! Lastly, I do see that his center is meeting in small groups at this time. Our main office location is open but only essential/limited number of staff are allowed to work from the location. Most staff are working from home. Most of the activities are being conducted through phone calls, video calls, and virtual methods (examples include WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook etc.). I hope this is helpful! (P.s. I removed the child specific information from your message, just for the safety of Carlos.) Feel free to email us directly at [email protected] if you have any other questions!

  3. Karol August 15, 2021

    I am a new sponsor. I think I started sponsoring Carlos about 5 or 6 weeks ago, maybe less. I’ve already written him 6 online letters, with attached pictures, etc. Am I writing too often? I fell in love with this little boy at first sight, and I am so excited to be his sponsor, that I can’t contain myself. I write him every few days, just to let him know that I’m thinking about him, and praying for him and his family. I also tell him about my day, and just share little things that are going on in my life. One day, I had a bunny rabbit sitting on his back legs, eating the flowers on my patio. Then, he came up the steps and looked in the patio door at us. We took pictures of these, and I included them in my letter to Carlos. Is it ok that I write this often? I don’t want to overwhelm him, or the volunteers, but I am just giddy with excitement to write to him and let him know how special he is and that he is in my daily thoughts and prayers.,

    1. Nicole August 16, 2021

      Karol, this is so wonderful! Your joy and excitement is contagious. ? As a fellow sponsor, I am deeply encouraged by how often you write Carlos, I enjoyed reading about the bunny. Generally speaking, please feel free to write him as often as you like. Because of the pandemic, however, many of our children’s centers are experiencing temporary closures. I share this simply to let you know that you many not hear back from Carlos as often as you write him since supplies to write back are at the centers. Please know, however, that your letters get delivered and I am positive he will be delighted by how often you write! ? Please let us know if you have any other questions and feel free to email us at [email protected]. We are happy to help and would be glad to look at your child’s center if you desire.

  4. Jack June 22, 2021

    I just sponsored a child. It’s not the inconvenience that distresses me about writing. It is the fact that I am so poor with interpersonal communication. I Excell at my profession, that is the extent of my communication skills. Unless my beneficiary wants to talk about rat control, I really have nothing else to offer. Most people find my other topics of conversation even more off-putting than discussions of rat infestations. Is there a way I can have a surrogate write them instead or just send money with no expectation of communication. I’d rather not make things worse.

    1. Grace June 23, 2021

      Hi, Jack! We are so grateful that you have chosen to sponsor a sweet kiddo! ? We have many sponsors who are in the same boat. They deeply care about children, but writing may not be their cup of tea. We have an awesome correspondence program! This is where people who love writing sign up to take over the pen pal portion of sponsorship. You would still continue to pay for the monthly sponsorship and help provide for the basic needs of your sponsor kiddo, but there would be someone else writing to them. If you would like us to set up this option on your account, please email us at [email protected] and we can get you started. Thanks so much, Jack!

  5. Terri May 24, 2021


    We have been sponsors for nearly a decade and the only postage-paid correspondence coming from CI is the bi-annual updated picture postcard of our sponsored children. The envelopes included with our children’s correspondence requires a stamp to be affixed by us prior to mailing. You have been misinformed concerning postage-paid return envelopes.

    1. Grace May 24, 2021

      Hello, Terri! First off, thank you so much for your long-time support! We really appreciate your sponsorship of multiple kiddos!?
      I am really sorry if there has been any confusion about you receiving paid postage. You should be receiving a return envelope with paid postage in each child’s letter or contribution statement. We would be happy to look into this further for you. Could you please send us an email at [email protected] so we can look into your account and see if we can resolve the issue? Thanks so much!

  6. Kate Habegger May 20, 2021

    Where, and how often do we get postage paid envelopes for our child? Maybe I didn’t see it in my original information package from you!



    1. Nicole May 21, 2021

      Hi, Kate! That is a great question! Typically, you will receive paid postage each time your child writes you a letter. Usually, kiddos will write a 3-4 times per a year, but they can definitely write more than that as they respond to your letters. I hope this information helps! If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. Blessings to you! ?

  7. Lana Wells May 19, 2021

    The length of time it takes for my letter to arrive to my children is very discouraging. If the child’s birthday is in August, should I send a card in May or June in order for it to arrive in time. The money I give for his/her birthday, on line,, I other wonder if they get to spend it on their birthday or a month before or after. So confusing. I often feel like better direction from Compassion would help and also cut down on your phone traffic.

    1. Jesse May 19, 2021

      Hello Lana! Thank you for sharing your feedback with us. I would love to take a moment to encourage you – although the letters and gifts take time your letters mean the world to your children. I have personally witnessed a child at a center running up the hill to her house to show me the one letter she loved from her sponsor. The impact you are having now is priceless! That is a great question! We do not hold a gift for any reason. After it is processed, it is on its way to your child. So, your child could receive it in as little as a months time however, we suggest sending the letter about two to three months prior so that it doesn’t get delayed for some reason. Due to the global pandemic, the earlier the better, as the pandemic has slowed things down. I would suggest May this time around! God bless!

  8. Madison May 19, 2021

    When I write to my Compassion kids, I’m always self-conscious: Did I say something that might be considered “wrong” in their culture? Was what I wrote too preachy instead of encouraging? Would they even be interested in this at their age? What if my letter gets translated incorrectly and they don’t understand what I’m trying to say?

    The list just keeps going on for me…and then I remember: They’re probably happy to be getting a letter to begin with (when some of the kids don’t get letters from their sponsors at all). What if they don’t have access to a Bible at home and my letters including verses are encouraging and not preachy. They may be young, but when they grow older and reread my letters, they may find comfort in them; besides, I’m not writing to just them – how many people in their family are reading/listening to my letters? While, I may be worried over this and that, the fact still remains, writing letters to my kiddos sends the message: “I love you, I’m thinking of you, you’re never too far from my thoughts and are always in my prayers. You’re a part of my life…”

    For anyone who struggles with doubts, wondering if they’re doing enough, remember this: “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it,” (Isaiah 55:11, NLT).

    *Also, are the Compassion envelopes really already paid for because I’ve been adding stamps to mine…and I’ve also included sticker sheets in my envelopes (not exceeding 6 sheets), but are the stickers sent to the kids?*

    1. Jesse May 19, 2021

      Hello Madison! Thank you for posting this encouragement here. It is so hard sometimes to come up with right things to say or to know what to talk about! Personally, as a sponsor myself, I often catch myself wondering similar thoughts. You acknowledged two of my favorite things in your comment. That the children LOVE receiving letters from their sponsors – no matter the content – and that everything will accomplish God’s purpose! Keep up the good work and when in doubt, encourage your child to pursue their dreams! To answer your questions; yes, the Compassion envelopes are already paid for (it should say pre-paid on the stamp section) and the stickers do get sent to your child! Sometimes the stickers arrive a little later because they are physically mailed, so do expect delays on that. God bless and happy writing!

  9. Caryl May 18, 2021

    I write to each of my Compassion children once a month on the website. I have sent cards on their birthdays, but unless they are musical or pop up, the children don’t get the physical cards. To me that is discouraging. I’d love to send them cards now and then, but if they aren’t going to get the actual card, I feel discouraged about doing it. I also think the handwritten letters are very special but it takes a long time for the kids to get them, doesn’t it? At least longer than the ones on the website? And even then is the actual handwritten letter sent to the children? Or is it scanned?

    1. Jesse May 19, 2021

      Hello Caryl! Wow, thank you for writing your kiddos once a month and sending them birthday cards. They appreciate that so much and must feel so loved by you! What an impact you are having! I completely understand the disappointment you feel that your handwritten card is not being sent through. As a sponsor myself I have felt that! You mentioned in your comment the very reason we switched to scanning, it speeds up the letter writing process so that you can hear from your beloved children more often rather than waiting months for the letters to come through. To answer your questions; currently all letters, coloring pages or pictures will be scanned into an electronic document, unless otherwise noted above, and then printed in the child’s country office to be delivered. When we do receive the items that are eligible to be sent through (bookmarks, stickers, pop-up cards) they take longer to process and we do not want to overwhelm our wonderful field staff members, therefore we do not recommend that sponsors do this too often. If you have any more questions please let us know, we are happy to help.

  10. Brandy May 18, 2021

    Wow, Laura, I feel like you should have written this blog post instead of me. Thank you so much for sending such a powerful message to us, and to a child in poverty. You’re amazing!

  11. Jenny May 18, 2021

    I try to send a letter through the Compassion International website at least once per week per child that I sponsor. Sometimes I can’t think of something to say so I pull out the Bible and quote from the Bible and then talk about what that verse means. I try to be encouraging. I try to let the children know that someone in the world cares about them. Yeah it takes some time and a little discipline but I know how excited I am to receive a letter from one of “my” Compassion Children and I think they must be just that excited or moreso. Writing establishes a relationship. Even if it feels one way at times. But it opens the door for encouragement, a different view of the world, and a whole lot of love.

    1. Nicole May 18, 2021

      Hi, Jenny! Thank you so much for sharing your own writing tips! As a fellow sponsor, I was encouraged by how you take time to find verses and talk about them. ? We know your love and letters are making a huge impact on your kiddos!

  12. Laura May 18, 2021

    Thank you for this! Such good thoughts and very inspiring! I just hand wrote a bunch of cards today. With my hand tremors it takes me soooo long (one reason I’m so thankful for the online writing tool!), but I feel it’s worth it. Thank you for verbalizing some of the reasons why.

    1. Nicole May 18, 2021

      Hi, Laura! Wow! Thank you for your sweet note! We are deeply encouraged by your perseverance in writing so many letters for your kiddos! Blessings to you, and hand-written letters or not, we know you are making a huge impact on each one of them through your love. ?

  13. Miguel Gutierriez May 18, 2021

    Hello Brandy,
    Thanks for reminding me of the preciousness of writing a letter.

    Miguel Gutierriez

  14. Jennifer May 18, 2021

    I love writing my CK’s. It makes me feel closer to them.

    1. Nicole May 18, 2021

      Hi, Jennifer! We are so encouraged by your continual love and support for your kiddos! Thank you for investing in their lives through your letters. ??

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