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Letter Writing 101: Connecting With Your Sponsored Child



  • July 25, 2016
Melissa Schultz

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Have you ever felt intimidated by the correspondence process? Especially with a child you have never met . . . and from a culture you aren’t familiar with.

Today, letter writing is an all-but-vanished art form. Few of us have written more than a greeting card or thank-you note in years. And if writing isn’t your forte, the prospect of forming a relationship via pen and paper can seem daunting at best.

You want to start connecting with your child—but where do you start?

Here are some tips to get the ball rolling:

Connect Through Words of Affirmation

Your child faces huge challenges every day—poverty, disease, loneliness, and spiritual darkness.

Your letters can be a source of hope and encouragement. It can be as simple as saying:

“I love you”

“I believe in you”

“God has a plan for your life”

“God loves you”

“You are important to me”

“I am praying for you”

“I am proud of you”

A few words of affirmation can make a huge impact on your child’s self-esteem and confidence. It also helps you form a bond of trust.

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Connect Through Prayers

You tell your child you’re praying for them, but what if you got specific?

This could be as simple as writing out a prayer or you can share specific things you’re praying for:

“I am praying that you will grow closer to God each day, that you will stay healthy, and that you will develop good friendships.”

Praying for your child directly connects you to their concerns—big and small. Don’t forget to ask for their specific prayer requests!

Connect by Sharing Scripture

Every child in our program hears the message of the Gospel, but sharing Bible verses in your letters will reinforce the Gospel.

Here are a couple Scriptures to get you started:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

You can even share your favorite verse and what it means to you!

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Connect by Asking Questions

Asking questions is a great way to connect and learn what your child’s life is like.

But keep in mind that many children write letters to their sponsors as part of school assignments, and they may not directly answer your questions. This is especially true if your child is young, speaks little English, and lives in a culture where writing letters is not the cultural norm. (Learn more about why you child’s letters may seem impersonal here).

Even if they don’t answer every question, your child still loves hearing from you and appreciates knowing that you are interested in their life.

Here are some sample prompts to get you started:

About Daily Life

  1. How do you like to spend your time? Hobbies, etc.
  2. What is your favorite game/sport?
  3. Do you have brothers or sisters…how old are they?
  4. What’s your favorite food?
  5. Do you have chores at home or at school?
  6. What’s your favorite color?
  7. What do you want to be when you grow up?

About School

  1. What is your favorite subject in school? Least favorite? Why?
  2. Who is your favorite teacher? Why?
  3. What is the first thing you do before going to school each day?
  4. What books do you like to read?

About Friends

  1. Do you have a best friend?
  2. What games do you like to play with your friends?

About God

  1. Has God ever answered one of your prayers?
  2. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?
  3. What is your favorite Bible verse? Or song?

Connection is Key

You don’t have to be a great writer to speak words of truth and hope into your child’s life, and you don’t have to write long, lengthy letters for them to know they matter.

Connection is the most precious part of the sponsorship process . . . but it starts with picking up the pen and opening your heart.

Don’t overthink it.

Just be you. Radiate love. Shine your light for Jesus and trust Him to handle the rest.

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