I had a call from Compassion, Intl yesterday. At first I feared it was about Estiben, a 4 year old from Guatemala. When I look at children to sponsor, I don't generally look at little kids, mostly because it takes a long time to form a relationship because you can't really write the way you'd write to an older child. Also, everybody wants the little guys; the older kids are more difficult to find sponsors for.
But look at that face.
How could anybody pass it up?
So I agreed to sponsor him back in October, and maybe in a couple of years, I'll begin to feel that we are developing a relationship.
But then the volcano blew. Those of us with kids in Guatemala got a notice that they were assessing the situation and if any of our kids were affected, they will let us know. So naturally, I assumed the call was about that. But it wasn't.
The call was about Edilsar, a young Mexican boy I sponsored briefly, who left the program awhile ago. Turns out that before his parents took him out of the program, I had sent him a $10 birthday gift and they wanted to let me know that they have been unsuccessful in finding him to give him the gift and wanted to know what I wanted them to do with the money (I had it sent to another child for his birthday)
It all made me realize that I was getting behind in my letter writing. I sponsor 14 kids and write to an additional 14 whose sponsors don't want to write to them. About once a month I write one general letter that I send to all 28 kids. It's either something that we've been doing here--like celebrating holidays or birthdays, or else it's something interesting I thought the kids might appreciate. I sent a big letter about beavers, for example, with lots of photos from the Internet. The Internet is a great source for photos to send to the kids!
But in addition to the "general" letter, I also try to answer each letter I receive, with a more personal response, and my stack of "to be answered" letters had grown rather thick. I'm learning more about some of the kids that I hadn't known before, and some are good about telling me more about their daily life.
Brightone from Kenya, for example, is 12 and told me that he helps at home fetching water, taking care of animals and doing farm work.
Mwongela (age 8) is also from Kenya. He obviously has a great relationship with his father. He says that his favorite person is his father and that during school breaks he stays at his father's garage and he hopes in the future to repair a motorbike an see it operate.
Josphat (12) always writes long(er) letters, and in English, which I really appreciate. He tells me that it is planting season in Kenya and that they planted beans and maize in their garden and are hoping for a good crop. He always ends with a bible quote for me to read. This time it was Romans 6:23 (For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.) Sometimes I wonder what causes the choice of Bible quotes from some of these kids!)
Emmanuella (17, Ghana) also sent a bible verse (Ephesians 5:11, Have nothing to do with the worthless things that people do...) but also says that she has been "seriously sick" for two weeks. It's letters like this that make me wish for a closer relationship so I could find out what "sick" means. Two of the boys I write to also mentioned that their fathers were sick and one has been asking me to pray for his mother, who seems to have been sick for a long time.
Mercy, who had one of the best smiles of "first pictures" I've seen, also writes in English (which i guess is one of the languages of Kenya) and writes long(er) letters, most of which are pretty textbook, but she told me that she was 10th out of 33 in school this year and that her parent told her to "go to school and work harder for future you will be a good person."
It sounds like I am Kenya-heavy. This is because I had three sponsored kids from that country when some corporation decided to sponsor something like 1,000 kids but didn't want to write to them, so a bunch of us all took on corresponding with the Kenya kids.
The frustrating thing with the Kenya kids is that despite my asking, NONE of them has ever talked about whether or not they see elephants where they live, though their stationery comes with elephants in the background.
Leniel (11), from the Dominican Republic writes the shortest letters of them all, but he draws great pictures
So I managed to get caught up yesterday, but have two more letters to answer today