I sat at a patio restaurant table in Cartagena, Colombia, as the last notes of a violin solo evaporated into the air. The final violet rays of sunlight also disappeared as we applauded the recent Compassion program graduate who was now studying music.
I, a brand-new Compassion intern, was amazed at how far he’d come. And as I pondered the transformation, another graduate from across the table, a nurse, cleared her throat.
“Are you a child sponsor?” she asked, smiling and expectant.
“No, I’m not right now,” I said, squirming and gripping the sides of my wooden chair.
“But you want to be someday?” she asked hopefully.
I paused, knowing full well that the answer was no. I was all for changing lives, but the part where you wrote to a child? I wasn’t cut out for that. Other people were gifted with soft hearts that went out to children. I was gifted with a fiery spirit and was frankly somewhat afraid of kids. I would be a bad sponsor. But how could I disappoint those beautiful, expectant eyes who had seen the power of sponsorship firsthand? I gulped, “Yeah, I hope to!”
5 Years Later
God has a way of softening hearts and using fiery spirits. Five years after that conversation, I was not only sponsoring several children but also working at Compassion.
I strove to write my kids regularly, but it still felt like a weight of responsibility. Like I needed to write sermons of encouragement, words that would stick with them their whole lives.
And then I encountered a story that surprised me: A Compassion graduate, when asked about the most memorable letter he received from his sponsor, produced a brief postcard with racoons on it.
As it turns out, kids don’t always need crazy depth and sacred words. Many kids find joy in their sponsors simply thinking of them and sharing experiences, and that sense of being remembered and invited in is what sticks with them.
So now, leaving behind years of stress about being an eloquent letter writer, I often simply send a picture of something I’ve done recently and write a little about it.
If you can relate to my journey of feeling inadequate for letter writing or even just struggling to come up with new ideas of what to say, I want to share seven ideas for photos you can snap and send to your sponsored child. These are simple, low-pressure ways you can express to your kiddo that you think and care about them. And each of these are ideas you can use over and over!