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Along the path outside her home that leads to the local church, six-year-old Fortune regularly saw her peers excitedly walking home, a treasured letter from their sponsor clutched in their hands. She longed to know what it felt like to receive a letter from her sponsor, but for almost a whole year, no letters came for her.

If you sponsor a Compassion child, you might wonder if your letters matter. We’re here to tell you that it’s hard to overstate how much letters from their sponsors mean to Compassion children and their families.

But don’t just take it from us. Tonton, a staff member at Fortune’s Compassion centre in Togo, says, “Letters are a sign of love for most parents and their children. When letters delay, they come to the centre and ask if letters have not arrived.”

Fortune is wearing a black dress and a face mask. She is standing at the entrance to the centre with her father, wearing an orange shirt and a black face mask, and Tonton, the centre's social worker, who is handing Fortune a letter from her sponsor.

Tonton delivers a sponsor letter to a Compassion child.

If it’s been a while since you’ve written or if you’ve never written before, don’t worry! Fortune’s story illustrates that it is never too late to start writing. The child you sponsor will be thrilled to hear from you, no matter what. And it’s never been easier to write when you use your My Compassion account.

We know letter writing has been delayed during the pandemic. Even though there may continue to be delays as Compassion centres navigate ongoing pandemic realities, we still encourage sponsors to write to sponsored children as normal. Whenever your sponsored child is able to receive your letter, it will be a joy and encouragement to them and their family.

Visit My Compassion to write a letter today.

Write a letter

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Fortune is smiling and wearing a purple and orange patterned dress.

When a letter from Fortune’s sponsor finally came after almost a year of waiting, she and her family couldn’t have been more thrilled.

“I was so joyful. My sponsor remembered me and sent me a letter,” Fortune says.

Sponsors sometimes feel intimidated about what to write. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t take much to write a life-changing letter. Like much of life, it is simply about showing up, being present and authentic, and expressing that you care.

Here are five letter-writing tips for your long weekend. Happy writing!

#1: Pair it with prayer.

As you write to your child, pray for them and any requests they shared in their last letter to you. In your letter, share that you are praying for them or even consider writing down a prayer for your child and their family.

This is often something Compassion children do when they write to their sponsors. Tonton says, “Children always remind me to include their prayer in their letter to their sponsor.” This has deepened the faith and spiritual practice of many children. They can often be heard saying, “I want to pray for my sponsor!”

“Their way of praying has changed. They are now able to intercede for other people,” says Tonton.

#2: Don’t forget the family!

Families often read sponsors’ letters together—it’s a treasured time for the whole family that brings each one of them immense joy and encouragement. Fortune’s parents, Tsokewo and Germaine, were thrilled to read the words from her sponsor.

Fortune is wearing a purple and orange patterned dress. She is sitting outside her home in a blue plastic chair. Next to her is her sister, Divine, who is wearing the same dress as Fortune. Their parents are standing behind them. Germaine is wearing a blue and pink dress, and Tsokewo is wearing an orange shirt and gray pants.

Fortune’s entire family treasures the letters from her sponsor.

“When we received the letter, [my wife] was so joyful,” Tsokewo says.

Keep your sponsored child’s family in mind as you write. Send greetings to the whole family and let them know you are thinking of and praying for all of them.

#3: Share about your personal faith journey.

One of the most powerful things a sponsor can share in a letter is their personal faith journey.

“I enjoyed reading how [Fortune’s] sponsor shared the words of God with us, and about how God worked in her life to bring her husband to Christ. I was so touched by her story,” says Tsokewo.

In this case, the letters from Fortune’s sponsor were particularly transformative: they were an important catalyst in introducing Tsokewo and Germaine to Jesus. As Fortune’s sponsor shared about her personal faith journey and how the gospel has transformed her life, Tsokewo and Germaine decided to become Christians themselves!

#4: Be encouraging.

Letters provide beautiful encouragement and motivation to Compassion kids. “The first impact of letters we have noticed is that [children] want to learn harder to better write to their sponsors,” says Tonton.

Fortune is wearing a purple and orange patterned dress. She is standing in front of her home and is holding up one of her sponsor letters.

Your simple words of encouragement go a long way. Thank your child for the letters and drawings they send to you. Encourage them to continue working hard at school and embodying the love of Jesus. Share an uplifting word from Scripture.

Ultimately, the most encouraging thing for your sponsored child is knowing that you were thinking of them and took the time to write to them.

#5: Be yourself.

It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Your sponsored child wants to know about you. That’s why Fortune was so excited when her letter arrived—she finally got to learn about her sponsor!

Share about your life, your interests and your family and friends. Share a photo of yourself. You truly can’t go wrong when you simply give your sponsored child a window into who you are. Like you were so excited to learn about them when you first sponsored, your sponsored child is excited to learn about you—this person who chose them and chose to invest in their life.

Ready to write? Log on to My Compassion to write a letter today!

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We’re looking for letter writing volunteers!

Can you commit to writing at least three letters per year to a Compassion child whose financial sponsor is unable to write? Sign up at compassion.ca/volunteer by selecting the “Write letters to children” option or email us at info@compassion.ca.

Yes, I want to volunteer!

 

Photos and field reporting by Gabriella Akpene Samaty.

Written by: Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa works in the role of Content and Communications Specialist at Compassion Canada, telling stories that inspire and equip the Church to live compassionate lifestyles. She is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, where she studied International Development.