By: Elias Seeman   |   Posted: August 24, 2023

Letter writing is the foundation that Compassion’s ministry was built on. Amid groundbreaking innovation, it remains crucial. Here’s why.

Why Write? How Letters Impact Children

Letter writing is the foundation that Compassion’s ministry was built on. Amid groundbreaking innovation, it remains crucial. Here’s why.

Written by Elias Seeman
Photography by Jehojakim Sangare and Ryan Johnson
Boy holding letter in front of him doing the heart in the middle of the letter with his hands

“The worst thing about poverty is the hopelessness.” These are the words of Owen, who is now a Compassion alumnus. These words are also the reason we encourage our sponsors to write letters.

What Letters Do

Hearing from sponsored children about the letters they get is evidence that letters can transform lives. Take it from Owen in Kenya, whose sponsor was the first person to tell him “I love you,” or from Sophia in Brazil, who can tell her sponsor about her work in school. These letters aren’t just words. They are tangible hope and encouragement. They let children know that they are not alone. That someone loves them. That they are seen.

Owen in Kenya holding up a photo
Owen from Kenya holds up a picture of himself from when he was a sponsored child.

God uses the letters sponsors write. He uses them to draw children close to himself. That is what happened to Fabrice in Burkina Faso. The Bible verses in the letters he received from his sponsor were the first verses he memorized. God did not waste these seeds Fabrice’s sponsor planted. Years later, they were what prompted Fabrice to turn his life to God. But his relationship with his sponsor didn’t stop there. Thirteen years of consistent letter writing later, and Fabrice knows he has family on the other side of the world.

Fabrice holding up image that was painted
Fabrice from Burkina Faso holds up a painting he created.

Poverty hurts everyone, but especially children. Jesus often praised children for their wonder and trust. Wonder and trust are what poverty seeks to destroy. Letters have the power to shine light into that darkness and encourage children in poverty to dream and trust again. Dream that things can be better. Trust that they are valued and loved. These are powerful, life-changing truths. And they cause joy. Joy that brings smiles to faces and hope to hearts.

What to Write

There are lots of things you can write about! But here are three ideas:

1. Encourage your child. Encouragement is one of the most life-giving ways we can love people around us. And we see it commanded in the Bible! Hebrews 3:13 tells of the importance of consistent encouragement. In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Paul tells us where this encouragement comes from. It comes from hope. Hope that Christ is risen. Hope he is coming again. It is out of this hope that we can encourage those around us. Gospel-centered hope is what the world — and the child you sponsor — needs.

2. Share favorites! Tell your sponsored child about your favorite things (and ask about theirs!). This is a great way to build connections and let the child get to know you! Describe a favorite animal, share a favorite memory, talk about a favorite activity or write about a favorite Bible verse. Just share about your life! Children want to know you and they want to be known, so ask them to share as well. You’ll be surprised by what you learn. What we learn from the children we support is one of the most beautiful parts of sponsorship. It is why sponsors often become family.

3. Share about your childhood. This can be a great way to bring letters to their level:

  • What did you like to do when you were younger?
  • What were your hobbies?
  • Did you have any pets?
  • What did you want to be when you were grown up? Why?
  • What dreams and hopes do you have now?
  • How have you seen God through your life?

All of these are great ways for your child to know you more! And always try to share about your dreams. Your letters have the power to help kids dream again. So, help them imagine what God could have in store for their lives!

What to Do

Now you know — you know what letters have done and what they can do. You even have some fun ideas about what to write! So let’s write.

Send Hope and Love

Letter Writing in action!

All it takes is a letter.

Letter Writing in action!