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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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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