|   Posted: January 19, 2024   |   Updated: October 30, 2023

Seven graduates of Compassion’s sponsorship program share how their sponsors’ words encouraged them as they grew into the people they are today.

What’s the Most Memorable Letter Your Sponsor Sent?

Seven graduates of Compassion’s sponsorship program share how their sponsors’ words encouraged them as they grew into the people they are today.

Story and photos by Rachael Cudjoe-Yevu, Edwin Estioko, Piyamary Shinoda, Fernando Sinacay, Doreen Umutesi and Alejandra Zuniga
girl smiles while reading letter

We asked adults who were in Compassion’s sponsorship program as children: What was the most memorable letter your sponsor sent to you?

Their answers demonstrate the power that words have to show a child how much they matter. Sponsors’ encouraging letters, prayers and gifts can help children in poverty recognize their true worth in Christ and reach their God-given potential.

Diana, El Salvador

Diana smiles at camera

Diana was registered with her local Compassion center when she was 7 years old. She remembers many important and unique experiences there that changed her life — like being sponsored by Mark and Joy from the U.S.

Her relationship with her sponsors, developed through many years of writing and receiving letters, was a beautiful means God used to show his love in her life — a love that extended to her family and community in El Salvador.

"The most memorable letter that I received from my sponsors, Mark and Joy, was their first letter," Diana recalls. "They said they were thankful because of the picture that I sent in my introduction letter. They encouraged me to keep going to church and school, and they advised me never to move away from the Lord’s paths. At that moment, I felt like the happiest girl in the world! ... That letter made me feel loved and chosen, and I felt that there were two people truly interested in my life — interested not only in my life but also in my family."

Diana and her family would gather around to read what Mark and Joy said in their letters. “They not only were my sponsors. They were a way of how God showed his love to me and my family. They become part of my family."

It was beautiful to feel loved and feel that other people cared about me. More than sponsors, they were an essential part of my life and family.

With Compassion’s support, Diana was able to attend university, graduating with a degree in public accountancy with a specialization in public audits. She now works as a tax analyst.

"I always remind myself: When something is in God’s purpose and we are chosen for that purpose, that is going to come true," says Diana.

"My dream is to open my own business that could one day be administrated by my daughter! I want to generate jobs for others in my community. My first step toward that dream is to start a master’s degree next year."

Celestine, Ghana

Celestine smiles at camera

Celestine, 22, graduated from Compassion’s program in 2023. He shares how a letter from his sponsor inspired him:

"One of the most memorable moments during my time at the center was receiving a letter from my sponsor,” Celestine remembers. “This particular letter detailed his incredible work with autistic children. It struck a chord within me, and I decided that I wanted to make a difference in the lives of special needs children as well."

Celestine began volunteering at his Compassion center, helping the dedicated staff teach the students on Saturdays.

"This experience not only allowed me to develop my teaching skills further, but also gave me a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by these children," he says.

Celestine also works as a painter and assists in renovation work at the center. He recently began studying hospitality management at a technical university in Ghana. He welcomes prayers for his development as a teacher, mentor and university student.

Anurak, Thailand

Anurak looks at camera

Anurak, who graduated from Compassion’s program in Thailand in 2012, shares some of his fondest memories of his time as a sponsored child and teenager.

"It is a vivid memory: I think I was around 5 or 6 when my mother took me to the Compassion center for the first time," Anurak says. "It wasn’t too long after my father had passed away. My mother was still mourning, and I was too young to understand how sad she was and what she had to do to raise me. I only remember how excited I was every weekend to go to the Compassion center."

Anurak says the people in his life when he was a child in Compassion’s program — his tutors, friends and sponsor — helped give him a good childhood and fond memories. "I might not have a father like my friends, but I love my childhood memories. Because of the Compassion center, we had things to look forward to every weekend."

Anurak says he began dreaming about his future in art class. He had an especially inspirational art teacher, who helped him think about who he wanted to be when he grew up. The teacher was one of many caring adults in Anurak’s life. Another was his sponsor.

"My most precious memory is of my sponsor and how he made me feel that I had a complete family," Anurak says. "His name was Scott; he wore jersey number 41. I had a picture of Scott, and in the picture, he was dressed as an American footballer. As a kid, I felt he was super cool. … I felt like we were family because we shared our lives, families and thoughts for years through letters. It was like a family conversation through letter writing."

Scott always sent money for Anurak’s birthday and during Christmas. “One gift in particular changed our perspective of our lives,” Anurak says. "My mother and I were in awe of how much Scott cared for us. … He sent a gift for me and my mother to buy a calf. From there, we learned to set goals for our finances and income."

After Anurak graduated from Compassion’s program, he wasn’t exactly sure what career to pursue. He changed jobs many times, unable to find fulfilling work. But then he decided to enroll in higher education.

"Today, I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science," says Anurak, who works as an assistant to the area chief, where he has a voice in politics and local decision-making. Because of his good character, he received a scholarship from the Thailand government to complete his degree in politics.

I desire to serve, help and be a voice for my community’s people and the young generation.

Sharon, Rwanda

Sharon holds baby and smiles at camera

Sharon says it’s hard to choose one memorable letter from her sponsor because there were so many during her years in the program.

"There was a time my grandmother was very ill, and I really needed support and encouragement and prayers," Sharon says.

She wrote to her sponsor, "Mrs. Sue," and shared about her grandmother’s struggle with cancer. When Sue and her family replied, it gave Sharon much-needed comfort.

"[My grandmother] was in her last stage of cancer, and they prayed with me through the letter. They sent me encouraging words. They basically gave me hope and said that even if she’s going, she’ll show up in heaven. And that’s one of the letters I can never forget."

Sponsor letters were just one way Sharon benefited from Compassion’s program at her local church. She says the program also "helped me through thinking out of the box, getting inspired, talking about my dreams, praying about my dreams."

Compassion also helped support Sharon through university. "Talking about Compassion in one word is not easy … To me, it’s more of a family that releases children in all aspects — whether emotionally, spiritually or financially."

Today, Sharon is a wife and mother of a 3-year-old son and an infant daughter. She works with an international agency as a project manager in charge of the infrastructure sector. She says she prays daily for blessings for the family who sponsored her in Compassion’s program.

"I wish I could meet them and hug them and say thank you for all you have done. … I believe that God used them to make me who I am today."

Jhoel, Peru

Jhoel smiles at camera

Jhoel, 26, says he grew up with his mom and brother in a dysfunctional home, believing that his home life was normal.

"One of the first letters my sponsor sent when I was 7 was around Christmas," Jhoel says. "I remember looking at his family picture. It was him, his wife and his children. Looking at that picture and reading how lovingly he wrote about them impacted me, and it made me aspire to … one day have a wonderful family like my sponsor’s."

Jhoel says he continued to look forward to receiving letters from his sponsors, who normally sent them around Christmas, until Jhoel graduated from the program about five years ago. "I very sadly had to write my goodbye letter," he says.

But although the correspondence ended, Jhoel’s sponsors left a legacy in his life.

"I feel God used my sponsors, in one way or another, to give me a heart for family," he says. "And that’s what I long for. I thank God for them. … They’d encourage me every year to keep getting instructed in the Word. Especially that seed they planted in me of family has been growing, consolidating and developing through the Word of the Lord. Today, I understand this is what God wants. He wants us to serve him as a family and to live consecrated lives for him."

Jhoel is currently studying economics at university and has been working in the fishing industry for eight years. He actively serves at his church in the youth ministry, loves the Lord and desires to make Christ known wherever he goes.

Brandon, El Salvador

Brandon smiles at camera

Brandon was registered at his local Compassion center when he was 8 years old. His tutors remembered him as an active and tenacious child who persevered through hardships. At the center, he experienced many important and unique events that marked his life. One of these was being sponsored by April.

Brandon says their relationship was an important part of his life. He considers his relationship with his sponsor as a way that God led him to become a better person and brought him maturity and self-confidence.

"The most memorable letter that I received from my sponsor was in March 2017,” Brandon says. “She mentioned that she saw through all my letters that God had been working a great change in my life, and she could notice a physical change in me."

At the time, Brandon and his brothers were going through an especially difficult time because their father was in jail. They were waiting to find out when he would be released.

"I remember April’s specific words in that letter," Brandon says. "She said she sees evidence of a new level of maturity in me; I looked more self-confident. Those words were confirmation from God that he was doing a work in my life. He was working in my personal skills, in my personal relationships with others."

Compassion helped support Brandon through university, and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business.

"After I finished my studies, I started working in the banking industry as a financial analyst. One day I want to be the best financier in the world," he says. "Through the Compassion program I have developed many aptitudes that make me suited to this work."

He dreams of owning his own house someday and continuing to grow in his financial career. He also gives back to the Compassion center that helped him as a child by volunteering as a tutor there.

"April showed me that despite all the circumstances that may have seemed adverse, they were not — because God was taking me to a higher level," Brandon says. "Hearing these words from my sponsor made me feel special because she was one of the few people who let me know and showed me how God continued to strengthen my character."

Deisy, Peru

Deisy smiles at camera and reaches up

"Every letter I received from my sponsors was very impactful," says Deisy, who joined Compassion’s program in Peru at age 6. "However, I very much remember the letters they’d send where there was always a word of motivation and encouragement."

Those types of letters inspired Deisy to keep working hard in school. On days she felt discouraged, she remembered her sponsors’ words.

"In many of their letters, they’d say things like 'we’re proud of you,' 'you can do it,’ ‘we’re praying for you.' All those words were very encouraging and impactful because they motivated me to keep moving forward and work harder," she says.

The letters especially made an impact for Deisy when she was experiencing depression. “I was depressed because of issues at home with my parents and family. My parents seemed distant from my situation, my life at church, academically and emotionally.

"I remember reading my sponsors’ letters then and hearing there was someone proud of what I was doing, praying for me to get ahead, having that emotional support … That season, when I felt I couldn’t breathe sometimes, I cried and cried. But then I’d hear, 'You have a letter from your sponsors.' I’d get so excited and eager to read it."

After graduating from the sponsorship program, Deisy went to college with the help of her sponsors and Compassion. "I felt they were there for me in every aspect, emotionally, financially and spiritually, because they were praying for me," says Deisy, who keeps a photo of her sponsors on her phone.

Deisy graduated with a college degree in journalism. She now works at the Compassion Peru field office, where she’s served as a program trainer for about eight years. She and her team train church volunteers to carry out the program and understand the processes of Compassion’s partnership with the local church and their roles to succeed in their different functions. She also designs the curriculum and material for the participants and tutors to ensure the program’s quality.

"I’ll always be grateful to them [her sponsors] for all their support. I’ll always be grateful for how they impacted my life."

Write a Memorable Letter

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You never know how your words will impact the child you sponsor!

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