I started Goal #57 this week - Write my Compassion sponsor children once a month for a year.
Compassion International started an initiative that I stumbled across recently (perfect timing I'd say) that asks child sponsors to write their children on the second Friday of every month. I have been a sponsor for four years, but I never truly grasped how deeply important sponsor letters are to a child in the Compassion program. The letters these children receive from their sponsors are often the only words of encouragement that those children ever receive and you can not believe how deeply wounded they are when they do not receive a letter on delivery day. Yes, there is a delivery day. Which means that all the children line up at the Compassion centers and hope (a word so foreign to most of them) that their name will be called and that their sponsor has remembered them. When their name is not called and they walk away empty handed... my heart aches just thinking about that kind of disappointment. (Read a beautiful story about delivery day here.)
I was the kind of sponsor that wrote my kids when they wrote me, but never really made a huge effort beyond that. I loved getting letters from my two girls but was really challenged recently to invest into their lives even more, so I committed to Second Fridays as a way of engaging Goal #57. Wouldn't you know that just days after I made that commitment, I received a letter from my oldest sponsor child that just melted my heart. Here is a little excerpt:
"I have written this letter to thank you for paying my school fees and to tell you about my school because I love it. I greatly thank you for my schooling because if it wasn't for your paying, I don't know anybody who would have done it. I do even thank God who joined us together because it was because of the love he has for me. Most of the young people going to school are in Compassion because most of the have no parents like me and others are abandoned by their parents when they are still young so they live hopeless, not ever thinking that there is someone thinking about their well-being. They don't even know that just a prayer for them can make a change, so I do really thank you and God who have loved me. You are trying to make me be somebody in the future." - Nazziwa, 19 years old
Wow. Just... wow.
So here is my challenge for any of you sponsors out there: Write your kids. It means more to them then you could imagine.
If you can't afford to be a sponsor, but your heart aches for those little empty hands on delivery day, consider being coming a Word Sponsor. You get to write to children who have financial sponsors, but whose sponsors can't write them (example, I know of a guy who has 60 sponsor children through Compassion, I'm guessing he would need to take advantage of the help of Word Sponsors).
Lastly, I saw this video about the impact sponsors can have on a child. It interviews past sponsor children who are adults now. Incredible. Watch it. (pretty please)