How many correspondent sponsors do you have?

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Just curious how many correspondent children everyone writes to? Do you have all ages? Do you send stickers and other paper gifts with your letters, or mostly write online?  What is your favourite part about being a correspondent? Do you get that jolt of excitement when you see a new child on your account, or that letter in the mail? Just some curious questions this Friday evening!
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Beth

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Posted 4 years ago

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Michael

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My wife and I sponsor 3 children and we each correspond with 3 more. Our youngest child is 5 years old, our oldest child is 19. We send pictures more than anything, but have sent stickers and other paper gifts. Our favorite part of being a correspondent is speaking life thru the word of God into these children and their families. We do love seeing the letters in the mail. It's heartwarming and a little disheartening wondering which of us it's for. One of us is always disappointed ... unless more than one letter arrives on the same day!
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Katie Keech Ostermeier

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I sponsor 3 children and currently correspond with two (both boys, aged 15 from EI and Bolivia). I corresponded with another teenage boy from Guatemala but he ended up dropping out of the program so that he could focus on school. I've been a correspondent for both boys for almost five years - almost as long as I've been sponsoring. I LOVE being a correspondent. I treat them like my sponsored children - birthday gifts, family gifts for Christmas, monthly letters with either stickers or pictures, and lots of prayer! I occasionally send other gifts when I get creative or find something cool (e.g. post cards, cool U.S. maps). I made labels with my kids names, child number, and my sponsor number so I can easily stick them onto paper items. 

Both boys write such wonderful letters and I feel so proud of the young men that they have become and the men they are growing into. My favorite part of being a sponsor/correspondent is seeing my kiddos grow. I have considered taking on more correspondent children, but I want to be able to financially sponsor them if their sponsor ever drops. Also, I feel that I can only handle faithfully writing to and sending gifts to 5 children write now as I'm in school. 

I do write online occasionally, but I prefer hand-written letters :) In total, my kids are from 5 different countries and range from 10-17. 
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Stephanie Barnard

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I am newly a correspondent to a 12/13 year old boy; what topics do you write about to your boys?
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Tracey Evans

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I sponsor one Indonesian girl through Compassion UK and have one correspondent girl from India through Compassion USA.  Both are 14. Compassion chose them both for me and they are both sweet girls that I have grown to love dearly. As I'm in the UK , I usually write online to my correspondence child as its expensive to send letters to the USA, but I try to send a few paper goodies for her birthday and Christmas. I  mostly write online to my sponsored girl too because its quick and easy. I love getting letters from them both. I suppose I initially asked for a correspondence child for partly selfish reasons- I wanted more letters- as well as to make a difference to another child's life.
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Rachel Hoffman

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We sponsor four and have 12 correspondents, ranging in age from 3 to 13. I try to make sure they all get the same amount of letters, but that doesn't always work. Just like my own biological children, some kids communicate more than others and some are just easier to communicate with. But all our sponsor and correspondent kids get at least one letter a month.

I like the online letter writing tool for when I want to send pictures, because printing three pictures for each child can be tedious. And it's good for when I want to update them all on the same thing, because you can copy a letter and then edit the name and other small details. But I prefer sending handwritten letters. I send little gifts to all the kids. Santos in Bolivia really likes the bible story books I found him that are written in Spanish. Mireille in Haiti likes stickers. I love how even though they often send form letters, they each have their own distinct personalities.

We love when we see a Compassion envelope in the mailbox. I often find myself praying "Lord please let us get a letter today" as I'm driving home from work. I imagine this is how our correspondent kids felt before they were assigned to us, because most of them only received one or two letters ever from their financial sponsors.

I especially love knowing that when we have an issue that really needs to be covered in prayer, we have this small army of children who never fail to lift us up in prayer. They are awesome little prayer warriors and I'm so very grateful for that.
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Elizabeth York

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I correspond with one 10 year old girl from Nicaragua. I've been corresponding with her since April, so I won't receive a letter for a little while, but I love writing her letters and sending her little paper items! I also love that I am able to pray for her! When I logged in and found her on my account, I wish I could have seen my face! I was so excited that God was using me in this way. I am going to ask for another correspondent child soon when school is over for the summer. I was really moved to get involved with the correspondent program because I wanted to help these kids, but I knew that I couldn't afford to sponsor while in high school. When I heard about this program, all I  could think was," can Compassion get any better?" My favorite part of being a correspondent is, even though I'm in high school, I can still encourage a young life and be a witness to her for Jesus Christ without financially sponsoring! I try to alternate writing a handwritten letter and an online letter. I'm so excited to be a part of Genesis' life!
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Katie Keech Ostermeier

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Elizabeth,

I think that it's wonderful that you're sponsoring in high school! I also started sponsoring as a teen (although I was in college). It was sometimes tough to scrape by when you're in school, but definitely worth the sacrifice! Your kids are lucky to have you and I'm sure that you're such an encouragement to them.

Best,
Katie
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Elizabeth York

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Thank you Katie! I am so thankful for this opportunity that God has blessed me with! :) Have you heard of the correspondent program, Katie? It is such an awesome opportunity! :)
(Edited)
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Adam

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I think it's wonderful too, Katie! ;) Elizabeth is a great example, just like it says in 1 Timothy 4:12, for being a correspondent to a child while she's in high school. I don't remember what I was doing in high school but I know it wasn't anything that important, lol. You rock Elizabeth! I'm still praying for your event this fall at your church. :)
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Elizabeth York

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Thank you Adam! You are such an encouragement! That made my day! :) Thank you for your prayers. I'm also remembering you and your family (including Ana :) ) in my prayers. :)
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Elizabeth York

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I wanted to update this with some exciting news! I now correspond with another little girl as well as with Genesis! Ilianny is 5 and she is from the Domincan Republic! I'm very excited about this! Both times I've let Compassion decide gender/age/country...and I like that! I am now switching my correspondence schedule a little...I've decided to still alternate the letter between online/handwritten. I write to Genesis the first week of the month and Ilianny the second week. On the months I write online letters, I send some paper based items like coloring pages etc. the last week of the month with a handwritten note of encouragement. I don't know if any of that makes sense to anyone, but it works for me! :)
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Kristen

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I sponsor 3 and correspond with 6 others. I like teens so most of my kids are over 10 but I do have a couple 5 year olds at the moment (1 sponsored and 1 correspondence). I mostly write online but will send the young ones packages of stickers and coloring pages periodically. I love the surprise of seeing the faces pop up on my account when I get a new one. I like to hand pick my sponsored kids but I like letting Compassion assign the correspondence kids so I get an assortment of countries and genders and ages. I've sponsored with Compassion since 2008 and have had many correspondence children over that time. Some have left the program, some have lost their sponsor and I wasn't able to take them on, some have graduated. One of my sponsored kids and my daughter's sponsored child both started as correspondence kids that we were able to take on after their sponsors dropped them.

I had an awesome experience a few years back where I was corresponding with 2 kids and both lost their sponsors at the same time (I believe it was a company that sponsored them). I could only afford to take on one so, after much thought and prayer, I chose Genet because she seemed to have the most need and I let Metha go. A couple years later I was browsing kids on the Compassion site (because sometimes I just love to see their beautiful faces! Don't judge...) and I saw Metha out there looking for a sponsor!!! I couldn't afford to sponsor him at the time but I posted a message on the Our Compassion site (I think that's what it was called back in the day) asking if anyone would be willing to sponsor this great kid because he still had such a place in my heart. To my great joy, a woman I didn't know sent a message that she would sponsor him. Huzzah!! And then it got even better - she was going to let me be his correspondent! EEP! So after a couple year break I got to write to him again until he graduated. He is now in LDP!

So, needless to say, I think the correspondent program is a wonderful thing :-)  and Compassion sponsors and staff are just amazing!

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Elizabeth York

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That is great Kristen! What an amazing story! I love looking through those pictures too! :)
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Adam

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Kristen, Elizabeth is right, that story is absolutely amazing! I was just sitting here thinking what are the chances of that actually happening? Like, zero! lol Wow, it sounds like the Lord had a plan to keep you two together all along! :) There was a good blog post here not long ago called "What Are the Odds?" that was talking about how sometimes it seems like things just seem to fit together too perfectly to be a coincidence and your story reminded of that. That truly is an amazing story. Thanks for sharing that!
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Debi

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I currently have seven correspondent children and sponsor four though Compassion. We also have three through another organization. So I a writing to fourteen total. They range in age from 9 to 21. We have been sponsoring at least one student in at least one organization since around 2002, though it's only in the past six months that I've started to really engage through writing. (I've always wanted to write well, but didn't know how. Compassion's blog has taught me much in these months, and I am now a better writer for the other ones we sponsor, too.) So with my newness in this, it would be false to speak as if I have established ways I do things. That said, I might write around 2/3 online and 1/3 offline. The offline includes cards, photos, introduction packets (little booklets I make using MS Publisher), pictures I've colored, bookmarks, handwritten verses on colored index cards, etc. Probably not a lot of stickers and other little gifts -- I love the idea of such things, but can get easily overwhelmed by the possibilities and focus on that at the expense of the relationship. So that's related to my preference for older students.

New to Compassion, I've only received letters so far from two of my Compassion students, plus the ones in the other organization. That said, getting to know these young people through their letters and finding ways to encourage them is my favorite part. I'm thinking up to 3-4 notes per week on average is a reasonable pace for me, so I have been working my way up to 16ish children. Each new child added has brought excitement, and their gradual arrival has allowed time to really read through their profiles as they arrive.

One other note -- this passion I've been developing through Compassion correspondence has had side effects. Like the paper gift-type enclosures can be a distraction from relational focus, the global ministry can distract me from local ministry. And, at the same time, the correspondence ministry has helped shape new perspective and ideas locally, so I am trying to also apply what I am learning to the local context, too. My goal is to Incorporate regular contact with key people in my local life (especially family, home-bound, and church children/youth) into my global contact routines.
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Adam

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That's true Debi, we shouldn't get so globally minded that we forget to see the need right in front of us. I have to remind myself of that too. I guess on the paper gifts and stuff I kind of view that as just as important as the letters right now. We sponsor a 5 yo though and I would be surprised if she doesn't dive straight for the stickers and coloring books and stuff and ignore the letters most of the time, lol. I just know how kids are. I've never seen a kid opening a birthday present who took the time to read the card with it. That's fine. I hear most of the kids save their letters and sometimes I even feel like I'm writing to her when she gets a little older. I absolutely love sending that kind of stuff to her. It can get overwhelming like you said when deciding what to send because there are so many possibilities. I kind of look at it like this though, I can just tell her about Jesus' love in the letters or I can also send her little things that might mean the world to her in her childhood until one day she stops and thinks to herself, "Who are these people sending me this stuff and why are they doing this for me?" You know what I mean? I hope it might reinforce and help her to understand that we love her because of Jesus when she has a gift from us to hold in her hands. You've got a lot of kiddos to keep up with! That's awesome! I'm amazed at how many kids a lot of sponsors on here support and write to.
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Debi

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I do love what y'all do with the enclosed gifts, and agree it is delightful to receive such items, perhaps especially for the little ones. I've even got a Pinterest account almost exclusively for sponsorship inspiration. For me, I've just chosen to do very little of that right now because I found myself perseverating on what to send and not actually sending anything at all -- analysis paralysis is definitely a force in my life! I am hoping that my mostly-older students will be able to feel loved just from the words I can offer.
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Adam

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I know what you mean, Debi. I know exactly what you mean. I'm an accountant so if I don't have something like a procedure for doing something my brain goes a little haywire. :) I just figure you can't really go wrong in the end so it's all good, but I still spend far too much time worrying over it (just with one child!). I was definitely thinking more about the little bitty ones maybe relating to things more than words. I imagine we'll send less of that kind of stuff to Ana as she grows older. I don't want to take anything away from the letters, though. Sometimes it seems like words are the only thing we really have to hold on to at times. I know that sounds really deep and everything but I think it's true. The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue and so I don't want to sound like I'm making light of that. Your words to all of your kids probably mean more than you realize.
(Edited)
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Elaine Weisenbarger Grove

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One thing that I have decided to do is I write all my letters online and upload pictures to each one. I have 2 children and write twice a month. I also send them a package once a month (following the paper guideline etc) with crafts, stickers etc. That way they come as 2 items separately and I have a much easier time accomplishing the letter writing, since I sit at a computer most days. If the package is late  that is OK but I want to be faithful and consistent with the writing since that message is more important.
(Edited)
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Emily James

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I sponsor 1 and have 6 correspondents.  My kids range in age from 5-15 and span every continent on which Compassion works, which is really fun.  I try to mix-up whether I do online or hand-written letters.  Often I'll send quick reply emails to letters I receive then do hand-written letters to everyone at once with little goodies inside.

I love the correspondent program for the opportunity it gives me to touch that many more lives.  I couldn't afford to sponsor 7 kids right now, but because of this program I can still be a part of these kids lives.  Especially after seeing the impact of letters first hand in El Salvador, I know that even what seems mundane or silly to me can make an impact on my kids, even if it's just putting a smile on their faces for a day.  Of course I love getting their letters too and immediately open those "Message from your sponsored child" envelopes when they show up.  And, yes, the thrill of seeing a new face on my account is of course great, just seeing who I've been paired with this time.  Also, most of my correspondents (if not all) are not necessarily kids I would have chosen to sponsor on my own.  However, they are all so special to me and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of each of their lives.
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Teresa Dawn

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Just curious how many correspondent children everyone writes to? 32, but I'm on the waiting list for 1 more and also write to 6 more kids (3 I sponsor, 3 sponsored through World Vision by family/friends, they don't have a correspondent program, but I just write "unofficially)

 Do you have all ages? My youngest turned 5 the other day, my oldest is 24 (LDP student) the majority are around 13-14.  (The majority was 9 for ages lol, but I've had them a few years now)

Do you send stickers and other paper gifts with your letters, or mostly write online? I mostly write online, especially with the ones on my US account, I'm in Canada so the shipping is quite a bit between countries, but I do send stickers etc with Christmas cards and the odd letter I do by hand. In Canada we can attach paper gifts to our online letters (There are bookmarks, cards, posters, colouring pages and paper doll sets to choose from)  For my US account kids I sometimes attach a colouring page or maze or something to the place where you can upload a photo! It works great!

 What is your favourite part about being a correspondent? Both writing letters and receiving them, I can't decide!  I LOVE to write, but getting the letters from the kids is SOOO fun too...  so uh... the correspondence part LOL

Do you get that jolt of excitement when you see a new child on your account, or that letter in the mail? Every time! 

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