I can’t believe it’s been a year since I took a leap of faith and decided to sponsor a child with Compassion International. It seems like only yesterday I was sitting at my computer scrolling through pictures of children reading snippets of their stories. Each photo tugged at my heart strings and I wanted to sponsor each one. I finally decided to connect with a little girl in Togo, Africa who shared the same birthday as my son. I have always had a heart for Africa and as a daughter of the Diaspora, I wanted to learn more about this country on the west coast of the continent. Now that a whole year has flown by, this is also a time for me to reflect on what I’ve learned and my hopes for the coming year.
Write every month. There is something so special about setting aside time in our busy calendars to share your heart with your Compassion child. I will admit that this last couple of months have been hectic so I haven’t written as often as I like. This is embarrassing considering how many resources Compassion provides to help make writing easier. Whether your take the time to send a handwritten letter or use the online letter writing system, it means so much that you actually send your child something to let them know you are praying for them. I’m going to make an appointment in my calendar each month to write and send my letter.
Involve your children. I selected my Compassion child because she shares a birthday with my son. Whenever I sent her a letter I’d ask him to draw or color a picture for her. We’ve even sat down to do some research on Togo to learn together about the country and region she calls home. This year I would like to increase my son’s involvement and have him write a letter to send on his own.
Get organized. Staying connected with your Compassion child is a lot easier when you are organized. One of the first things I did was create a folder to keep my child’s letters and and supplies to send letters. This folder includes mailing labels, labels with sponsorship information, envelopes and stamps. I also decided to keep a folder with items I think I want to send that fit within the mailing guidelines like postcards or printables I find online.
Share Compassion. Outside of my talking with my son and a few blog posts I haven’t done much to talk to my family and friends about Compassion or the child I sponsor. In the coming year I would like to be more active in sharing the work of Compassion with my community. I also want to start putting money aside to visit Togo. I will admit that I was nervous after the Ebola outbreak, but have received assurance from Compassion that no one where my child lives was affected. I can’t believe it’s been a year since I took a leap of faith and decided to sponsor a child with Compassion International. It seems like only yesterday I was sitting at my computer scrolling through pictures of children reading snippets of their stories. During this year.
Make it Meaningful. When I sent my first letter I was determined to make it the best letter ever. I spent way too much time on Pinterest looking for printables and crafts that I could send that would fit inside a slim envelope. There was no rhyme or reason, I just wanted to let her know she had an amazing sponsor. I can’t help bu wonder what she thought of all the things I sent. Moving forward, I’m careful not to send a bunch of random pieces of paper. I pay attention to the things she says she’s interested in in her letters and try to find things that are practical and that she likes.
Shop to Give. Now that I’m a full-time student, I’ve been looking over my budget and am a little afraid that I won’t be able to sponsor my Compassion child forever. Luckily there are other ways that I can continue to support the work of the organization if I’m not able to make the financial commitment every month. When you shop through AmazonSmile and select Compassion International, .05% of sales will be donated back to Compassion. I have a lot of back to school shopping to do in the coming weeks, so I’m happy to see that some of my money will go to an organization I care about.
Grace over Perfection. I had a lot of ideas of what sponsoring a child meant based upon the stories I had read. A year later I realize that none of these stories mirror my experience. The letters I get from my child are very basic and general. I’ve also been a disappointed that I haven’t written her as much as I originally intended. However, I am thankful that I’ve been able to provide some financial support to give her the resources she deserves to live out God’s calling in her life. I also feel really blessed that I’ve had an opportunity to connect with a child an ocean away. I have to give myself grace that this will all work out how it’s supposed to.