I just returned from a mission trip to our child sponsorship program in El Cobre, Cuba and spent several days with not only my sponsored child but some of yours as well! What a joy to see them face to face, hug them, and to share some quality time.
One of the things that I was really struck by on this visit was the huge importance children place on communication from their sponsors. I already knew this to be true but what I witnessed brought it home once again. We visited some of the children in their homes and brought letters or short video clips from their sponsors, and the reactions were extremely emotional. From laughter to tears, their joy was palpable and spoke volumes.
For those children who do not receive any communication from their sponsors, the response was just as moving. Children were quick to ask when their sponsors were going to write them or if they were going to come and see them, and the disappointment and longing were evident in their eyes.
Letters are such an easy way to communicate to a child your love and that they’re in your thoughts. Therefore, I would like to challenge you, beginning this month, to write your sponsored child consistently for the remainder of 2019.
You might be a person who writes regularly already, and that’s terrific! Or you might be someone who doesn’t, and that’s OK too, but perhaps there is room for improvement in this area. Wherever you are in your letter-writing journey, here are some helpful tips on how to communicate more consistently and share your love with the child you sponsor!
1. Make a recurring date on your calendar.
On your PC, tablet or phone, pick a day of the month and commit to writing your letter on that day – then set recurring appointments for future months. Try to set a goal for writing that doesn’t feel overwhelming. Perhaps start with every other month – and give yourself some grace if you end up missing the date; it’s never too late to pick it back up. It’s simply the commitment to writing throughout the year that will mean so much to your child.
2. Choose some topics in advance.
If it helps, think of some topics in advance and note them in your letter-writing appointment. Maybe one topic is your family, the next one a holiday or special time of year, then perhaps about your job or your church. Don’t forget to ask your child about their lives; the kids love to share about themselves and it makes them feel important that you ask. If you need help getting started, check out these blogs:
3. Display your child’s photo in a prominent place.
On the refrigerator, your morning mirror, your desk – wherever you know you’re going to look, post your child’s photo there. The out-of-sight, out-of-mind phenomenon is real, and we can all think of examples in our lives in which this has played out. The likelihood that you will think about your commitment to writing should increase each time you see your child’s smiling face staring back at you. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to also have his or her latest letter handy as an added motivator.
4. Use Forward Edge’s easy online letter-writing tool.
Did you know that the Forward Edge website has a new log-in feature? One of the most awesome things about it is that it facilitates the letter-writing process to your child. Once you create your account, just log in, go to My Sponsorships and select the link to write your child. Then, write, add photos if you’d like, and hit SEND LETTER. It couldn’t be easier. Of course, if you’re old-school (like me) you can also just send an e-mail to email@example.com or send it by snail mail; we aren’t picky.
One of the easiest things we can do is often the one we overlook the most. We may think that praying over something as simple as writing a letter is silly and unnecessary, but it is actually a great way to remind ourselves to do it. When we take the time to pray for our sponsored child and his or her family, it is the perfect opportunity to ask God to remind us of this small physical task that carries so much emotional weight.
Your investment is eternal.
Child sponsorship means many things to many people. For us at Forward Edge, it means facilitating a relationship between a sponsor and a child that will not only help to break the cycle of poverty in their life but show them the love of Jesus Christ and the value they have as a unique child of God. As sponsors, we get the privilege and the blessing of being conduits in that process; so let’s commit ourselves for the rest of 2019 to consistently communicating those truths to our kids.
Written By: TyAnn Hunt
TyAnn has been a child sponsor for over three decades and works as the Child Sponsorship Administrator for Forward Edge International.