Compassion has thousands of staff—and countless more volunteers—around the world who work faithfully in their specific roles, to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
Whether at a national office in southeast Asia, at our global headquarters in Colorado, at our office here in Canada or elsewhere, Compassion has a global team that top to bottom does what they do for a reason: to see lives transformed because of the love of Jesus.
Betey is one of those people. She has been working at Compassion’s national office in Ethiopia for three years, translating the letters that are exchanged between sponsors and children. Because of her diligent work, children and sponsors can encourage each other, share prayer requests and express their love for one another. The words that she translates bring motivation, inspiration and hope to children and sponsors alike.
We had the chance to talk with Betey and find out what motivates her, inspires her and makes her laugh in her job as a letter translator!
What is the funniest thing you’ve read in a letter, either from a kid or a sponsor?
It’s funny because, for sponsors, animals are pets, but for the kids, animals are not pets—they’re just food or maybe a good business. So, when sponsors say, “My cat just died, and we buried him last week. We were so sad…” There’s like a whole page about the cat! And the kid would respond and say, “Oh. Oh, I’m sorry. Okay.” They take half a sentence. That’s funny. Kids don’t really keep pets here, so they don’t get it.
What is the most impactful thing you’ve read that a child has written to their sponsor?
It’s impactful when the child writes what they are really going through. It might be a happy moment or a sad one, but you can see that the child really meant it when they wrote the letter.
When the child says, “I will pray for you guys. I love you,” they really mean it. I have a few friends who were sponsored, and they say, “Oh, we really meant it. Our sponsors had a big, big influence on our lives.” It’s a big deal—the kids say thank you again and again. The most repeated words in the letters are: “Thank you, thank you. How are you doing? Thank you.”
What motivates you as a translator?
The thing that motivates me is knowing how important it is for sponsors and children to communicate. Kids should know what the sponsors really feel, and the sponsors should know how the kids feel about them. So, I do my best in translating whatever is in the letter. I feel like I am in between the sponsor and the child, so it’s a huge responsibility.
What do you wish sponsors knew?
I wish the sponsors could come and see their kids here. It is the ultimate wish of the child. They say, “I wish my sponsor could come see me here. They could come see what I do—I go to class, I help my mom at home and I do my chores. They could come see how life has changed for me since they came into my life.” So, I think that would be great for the child.
What would you like to say to the sponsors?
Good job. It’s really nice that you pick a child—you don’t know the child, you haven’t seen the child—and you just start to sponsor them. It’s amazing how you are willing to do that for children you don’t know. It must take a very huge heart to work extra to prepare money to send here. That takes a very big heart.
We are so thankful for people like Betey.
Her faithfulness enables sponsors to connect with the children they sponsor at a deeper level. There are faithful translators just like Betey at every one of Compassion’s national offices, ready to translate the letters you send to the child you sponsor.
Head to my.compassion.ca today to write a letter!
More: Need some inspiration on what to write? Read ‘Ask the kids!’ to find out what kids at a Compassion centre in Ethiopia want to know about their sponsors!
Written by Alyssa Esparaz and Amber Van Schooneveld
Photos by Ben Adams