She must have known exactly where it was.
That’s all our staff could think when young Hiwot ran back out of her house, clutching a letter from her sponsor. The home Hiwot shared with her mother and sister was tiny, but her quick return made them realize – she knew exactly where her sponsor’s letters were.
What’s more, the letter was two years old. It was a prayer card from her sponsors, and the words it contained were powerful, speaking right to her heart.
Our staff had asked Hiwot if she could share a letter from her sponsor because the workers at Hiwot’s project had shared about Hiwot’s transformation since being sponsored. As she walked with the staff toward her house, they learned more about her.
Hiwot’s name is quite common for little girls in Ethiopia. In Amharic, Hiwot means LIFE.
But life as Hiwot knew it was tremendously difficult.
Her father had left the family years earlier, forcing Hiwot’s mother to work odd jobs in her struggle to provide for Hiwot and her sister. Still, they had very little hope for the future.
When Hiwot’s mother learned that One Child Matters was opening a child development center in their community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capitol, she ran to get her daughters registered.
“That was the day that everything changed in my life,” Hiwot says.
In the years since, Hiwot’s life has improved dramatically, but there were times of difficulty – something Hiwot’s sponsors noticed in her letters to them. Dean and his wife Maria remember receiving a letter from Hiwot where she seemed troubled, and they wanted to write in response to that:
It was quite a while ago, but Maria remembers that what she wrote was influenced by a letter Hiwot had written to us. She wanted to encourage Hiwot because she sensed that Hiwot needed it. The Holy Spirit prompted her to write what she did.
Thus it made sense that Hiwot quickly ran inside her house and came back with that letter her sponsors had so carefully written to speak to her heart two years earlier:
We pray for you and your family that our Lord will keep you safe, healthy, and provide for all of your needs. Pray to our Lord for everything so that He will know your heart, and His sweet Spirit will live inside you. Remember that Jesus loved each of us so much that He gave His life for us so that we who believe in Him can live life through Him. He knows your heart, Hiwot, so always speak to Him through prayer. We hope your studies are going well, and thank you always for your prayers.
In God’s love, Your Sponsors
Later this week we’ll dive into why we think the letter Hiwot’s sponsor family wrote her is so powerful – as well as their advice for writing your child and our best tips for making these prayer postcards count.
In the meantime, in case you haven't seen it, here's more of Hiwot's story.