letters retrieval - technical difficulties

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 1 year ago
  • Solved
Archived and Closed

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies and is no longer visible to community members. The community moderator provided the following reason for archiving: case resolved

The letters I wrote last month to Tutor and Thanapat never showed the usual status notices such as, in transit and translating. Now this month I've twice attempted to write letters, today and four days ago, and I get an error warning - Technical difficulties, try again later. What's the problem?
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes

Posted 1 year ago

  • 1
Photo of Shannon Massey

Shannon Massey, Employee

  • 1761 Posts
  • 302 Reply Likes
Good morning Mark, 

I am so sorry to hear that you are having issues with the letter portal. I am taking a look at your letters from over the last six months and I see that all the letters we have in our system did go through just fine on our end. May I ask what dates you wrote your kiddos last month that you are thinking may be stuck or did not go through correctly? I do see that the letters that you had written on 5/12 did go through just fine! Also, are you trying to write on our website, or are you using the Compassion App? Thanks for getting back with us, as this will hopefully help us figure out why you are getting this error. 
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Hi Shannon, My last letters were on 5/12 and I use the compassion website. To clarify, the problem was with retrieving previous letters to review and consult before writing new letters. I never attempt to write a letter before bringing up, in separate tabs, their and my last correspondences. I just opened compassion.com and was finally able to access our letters so I presume the letter writing function will cooperate as well. Thanks for your reply.
Photo of Shannon Massey

Shannon Massey, Employee

  • 1761 Posts
  • 302 Reply Likes
Hi Mark! Thank you for letting us know that this issue seems to be resolved. If it gives you any further issues, please let us know! Also, I think it is awesome that you take the time to look up your previous letters before writing again! I am sure that this really improves the quality of your letters and therefore the quality of your relationship! :) 
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Thanks for replying Shannon, Since you bring it up I'm not really satisfied with the state of our relationship as I don't really know what's going on with them. I would think that the worker who takes care of writing for them would familiarize themselves with the details of my letters to them to do the best possible job of communicating real info as the boys are both only 5 y.o. I've written now, 10 & 9 letters to them and have received only 2 back from each. I have no idea which letter their letters have been in reply to. I've taken the trouble in all letters to find and send neat pictures they may enjoy and have never gotten feedback about those. These stickers that I've read about in the forum seems fraught with obstacles and unnecessary difficulties so I haven't attempted that. With the monetary gifts I sent, I made sure there was enough money for family care expenses plus toys for them and stipulated such for the governor's information. I've sent monetary gifts in excess of $60, 5 and 6 months ago, and haven't gotten actual acknowledgement of their receipt - not to mention the promised photos, and that's too long to have to wait. I don't like to send new letters to anyone before knowing that they have received my latest. I do hold out hope that at some point matters will equalize and I will get a letter a month. I hate to think I'll become another casualty on the dearth of correspondence roll.
Photo of Shannon Massey

Shannon Massey, Employee

  • 1761 Posts
  • 302 Reply Likes
Good morning Mark, 

Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. We truly do value the input from our supporters!

I do understand how frustrating it can be to feel as though the letters that you write are not being addressed in the letters that the kiddos write in return. But as you mentioned, your kiddos are only five years old so it likely does make this a little bit more difficult for the person writing for them. Furthermore, you are probably the only person your child has ever written a letter to, and sometimes children have trouble grasping the concept of having a “conversation” by mail. When children receive their letters, they often take them home and put them in a special place. When it is letter writing day at their project, they may forget to bring your letter back and may not have any references to your letter’s content, as it may have been weeks since they have seen it. And regrettably, if the child did not bring the letter back, the tutor will not have it for reference either. 

Over time, we typically see that the kiddos do learn the concept of having a conversation and the quality does improve as they get older. But for now, I know this is difficult and frustrating. If you have specific questions for your child, I would personally encourage you keep them brief, simple, and number and highlight each question. This will call the staff’s attention to your questions.

Also, I hope it is encouraging for you to know that I do see a new letter from Thanapat that just came in this morning! :) As we also hope that our new letter system will help speed up letters from the kiddos, we are still working through some smaller complications with the new system which is still slowing things down at this time. When all is resolved, we believe that we should see roughly six to eight weeks in between letters. This will be a huge improvement and we all look forward to this being the new normal! :)  

Furthermore, when you do send gifts to your kiddos, especially those over $60, we want to make sure that these are addressed specifically with details of what was purchased and that they do include a picture. Regrettably, this process is a bit more lengthy, so we do have to wait a full six months from the day that you have given the gift to send an inquiry. However, it looks like it will be six months coming up on July 3rd, from the date that you gave a birthday gift to Thanapat. Please do let us know if you have not received your thank you letter by then, and we will be happy to send in an inquiry. We thank you so much for your patience on receiving these thank you notes!

Again, we truly do appreciate hearing your experience so far. We thank you so much for continued support despite the disappointment in your letters, and I truly hope that they continue to grow in quality as you build a relationship together.

I hope this information is helpful! Have a wonderful day!  
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Good morning Shannon, thanks for your reply, I am somewhat reassured. I was happy to see that a letter from Thanapat had arrived. In it the staff member writing for him says that Pat thanks me for, "the 2 letters and everything that I wrote to him." This highlights my concern that the staff member has no idea what has transpired previously. I would have thought, considering the amount of time that Compassion has been at this, that in replying to letters sent by sponsors the local staff would have access to all of the previous correspondences, online or otherwise, as that information is necessary to effectively engage in an ongoing conversation. I made the assumption that access to this info would be the norm in this process.
Again, I appreciate your concern and effort to help me.
God bless you and compassion I'ntl.
Photo of Christina

Christina, Employee

  • 1225 Posts
  • 278 Reply Likes
Mark, I am deeply sorry to hear that your experience with letter writing has not met your expectations so far :(. Please know that we are incredibly grateful for your obvious heart for this ministry and your desire to develop meaningful relationships with your children! You are probably already aware that children under the age of 9 typically use our form letters because it is easier for them to understand the concept of writing and to fill in the blanks :). Sadly, many children feel timid or have a lack of confidence when it comes to writing, and many are unable to write themselves due to a lack of education. Please rest assured that your children are receiving your letters and respond; their tutors simply write down their answers. As Shannon mentioned, many children forget questions asked in previous letters, are unsure of what to write about, or are very shy when it comes to sharing about themselves. I do believe and have hope that as your kiddos get to know you and writing becomes more regular, they will begin to open up to you :). Regrettably, our wonderful local staff and volunteers may not have enough time to help every single child retrieve their previous letters to help them remember respond specifically, especially when there are a couple hundred children in need of help. However, your kiddos are encouraged to remember what their sponsor has written to them about. As your kiddos get older, you will begin to see them write their own letters without assistance, and their letters will become more personal as they can better remember past letters :). We appreciate the love you have for your kiddos and your efforts to create loving connections with them! God bless you :).
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Thanks for your attention Christina, I appreciate it. One last thing; I'm concerned that the translators and project staff do their best to relate my letters to the boys in their entirety. Is that something that can only be verified or discerned through experience? 
God bless you.
Photo of Marci L. Ficht

Marci L. Ficht

  • 74 Posts
  • 36 Reply Likes
Oh....I LOVE THAT PICTURE!!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!!!!!! 
Photo of Shannon Massey

Shannon Massey, Employee

  • 1761 Posts
  • 302 Reply Likes
Good morning Mark! 
This is a beautiful picture! Thank you so much for sharing! :)
In regards to your kiddo being relayed the whole letter, this is absolutely the case. We know that one of the most exciting parts of the Compassion program, and honestly one of the the best parts of the lives of these kiddos is receiving letters from their supporter. I am beyond positive that the children who cannot read their letters on their own are provided plenty of time with someone who can read their letter to them. They are also given the letter to take home afterwards to keep, so I would imagine they also have time with their parents or caregiver when they bring it home as well. I do hope this helps, as it is something very hard to inquire about. I think you are right as well, you will see this become more apparent over time. :)
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Hi Shannon, It has been 6 months and I'm writing to request that Compassion
makes an inquiry relative to the promised picture and acknowledgement of my
birthday gift to Thanapat - TH030600932. I'd also like to know the day in Feb.
that I sent money to Tutor's ( TH099500180) family.
Thank you
Photo of Shannon Massey

Shannon Massey, Employee

  • 1761 Posts
  • 302 Reply Likes
Hi Mark!
I am so sorry to hear you have not yet heard how your gift was used by Thanapat for his Birthday! I have sent an inquiry as requested! :) Also, I see that you gave your gift to Tutor and his family on February 15th. 
I hope this is helpful! Have a wonderful afternoon! 
Photo of mark bowen

mark bowen

  • 75 Posts
  • 21 Reply Likes
Thanks a lot Shannon.
Blessings.

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.