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Entries in letter writing tips (18)

Why We Ask You To Write Your Child

We've shared often how much your letters are treasured by your child. Your words of encouragement may be considered your child's most cherished possession.

Recently, some of our staff visited our programs in India. While asking some of the children if they saved letters from their sponsors, several of the project staff spoke up.

They had once been sponsored children themselves, and they still had the letters to prove it! 

Many of these young women, now on staff at the same project that had served them as children, continue to treasure the letters they received from their sponsors even though several years had passed! 

Does this photo help you understand how powerful your letters can be? The impact of your letters can last a lifetime -- especially when you incorporate Scripture into your encouragement!


"You Are Loved!" Prayer Card Ideas

The prayer cards you are sending for your sponsored children are wonderful! We thought we'd share a few we've received so you can see what other sponsors have written or how they sent their photos along with the card.

Laura, who writes the Heavenly Homemaker's blog, shared pictures of their card and said that "praying for our little girl is better than any other gift we can send her." We couldn't agree more! To see Laura's post and how she and her family are praying for Gladis, their sponsored child, click here.

Perhaps you don't have a hard copy of a photo you can send. This sponsor family sent their prayer card through their printer to include a photo, and we love it!

We also love the prayer they included because it uses Scripture throughout:

Our prayer for you Nourah is that you would understand the height, depth, and width of God's love for you! Seek Him with all your heart and you will find Him. Stay close to Him and He will stay close to you. Your sponsor, Jan.

Other sponsors sent in this wonderful prayer for their child in Kenya:

May the Lord have his hand on you always. May He bless all of your efforts. I pray for you to be given a strong relationship with the Holy Spirit. God bless your education and may He protect you always. In Jesus Christ's name!

What have you written to your child? If you have pictures you'd like to share, post them to our Facebook page! You can also send us a tweet or tag us on Instagram, @onechildmatters.

How To Use Scripture In Letters To Your Child

Yesterday we shared some of young Hiwot's story and the letter her sponsor family wrote that meant so much to her.

We loved the letter, too, because we could see Scripture woven through every line. Although they were not direct quotations of Bible passages, the hope and encouragement echoed in these phrases is eternal:

Dear Hiwot,

We pray for you and your family that our Lord will keep you safe, healthy, and provide for all of your needs. (Psalm 16, Numbers 6:24-26)

Pray to our Lord for everything so that He will know your heart, and His sweet Spirit will live inside you. (Romans 5:5, Acts 15:8, Romans 15:13, Ephesians 3:17)

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. (Galatians 2:20, John 3:16, 1 John 4:9)

He knows your heart, Hiwot, so always speak to Him through prayer. (Psalm 139, Romans 8:26-27, Philippians 4:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)

We hope your studies are going well, and thank you always for your prayers.

In God’s love, Your Sponsors

The love Hiwot's sponsors have for her is clear, and it is infused with Scripture. When we spoke with Hiwot's sponsors, they made it clear that they felt the Holy Spirit had guided them in how they responded to Hiwot -- which is why we see so many biblical truths throughout each line.

Just imagine the confirmation Hiwot would feel as she read her sponsors' words and how they echo what she is learning about God. As she reads the Bible, she could pick up on these themes. God's words are sprinkled throughout her heart and life, reinforced by her sponsor's letter!

The book of Isaiah tells us that God's Word does not return empty -- it will always accomplish His purposes (Isaiah 55:11). The power of God's word in your letters is clear, but what is the best way to use Scripture in your letters?

For the new You Are Loved! postcard, consider including one particular verse for your sponsored child. If you're not sure what to include, pray and ask God to give you a specific verse!

Click on this link to download a great resource you can use to find verses to pray over your sponsored child in your letters and in your prayer times.

Or, if you'd like some sample prayers, read what other sponsors sent in the first time we asked them to write out prayers for their sponsored children!

Sample Prayers

Different Ways To Write Out Prayers

We hope these resources help as you write a short, encouraging note on the postcard. If you want to write more, you can attach your own stationery to the card. Just be sure to leave half the space for translation, and to write your child's name and ID on your letter along with your own.

As always, THANK YOU for all you are doing for your sponsored child. You are investing in their life and heart, and it is a tremendous gift. Thank you!

Writing Advice From Other Sponsors

We've started a new writing campaign, asking you to write your child and include a family photograph with your postcard.

There's not much space on the You Are Loved! postcard, because few people have the time to sit down and write a long letter... and they feel guilty for not writing often enough!

Your child simply wants to hear from you. It matters less how much or how often you write -- it simply matters that you write!

Here's our best advice for making the most of that You Are Loved! postcard:

  1. Don't apologize for not writing -- you only have a few lines to use, so focus on encouraging your child.
  2. Write out your prayers for them, or the verse you are praying over for them.
  3. Confirm that you consider them a part of your family!
  4. Be sure to include a photo! Your photos are treasured.
  5. If you don't have a photo and can't get one easily, draw your child a picture! C'mon, it will be fun and unexpected!

Hiwot's sponsors shared their advice for writing your child is important:

Your child is so interested in the life of their sponsor, and it is a most humbling experience when you know that this child and his or her family is praying for you. And we are very touched that the letter meant so much to her that she has kept it. Your letters really do make a difference in the life of your sponsored child!

And Hiwot's sponsors are right -- your child is very interested in your life and your family, and they pray for you regularly. That's why we are asking you to send a family photo with your postcard -- it will be cherished by your child and their family.

Do you have advice for writing your child? Share it below in the comments!

Hiwot's Story: Letters Bring Hope

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:

Dear Hiwot,

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.

To read more tips for writing your sponsored child, click here!

The Lesson Of A Letter

Each summer, we send you a special mailing to help you bless your sponsored child. When we first did this in 2010, you sent postcards that said You Are Loved! In 2011, you wrote out prayers for your child’s well-being and future. Last year, you focused your prayers on your child’s health.

We have been so encouraged by your heartfelt messages and prayers, and we know the sponsored children in our programs are even more blessed by it!

With that in mind, we are asking you to write another letter – this time focused on your own education along with a special message for your child. Why are we focusing on education?

Education is so vitally important to breaking the cycle of poverty that we try and make every activity an opportunity to learn and grow.

Did you know that receiving a letter from you helps your sponsored child learn?

We've written before that a letter from you is a tangible reminder that they are loved. The encouragement they receive cannot be underestimated.

Yet letters can be more than that! Reading a letter is an interactive literacy lesson, and one loaded with joy and delight because each note is a gift, something wholly devoted to them.

Receiving a letter is also a chance to exercise reasoning. As they read through what you wrote, your child can connect the dots from previous questions they may have asked and formulate new ones. They get to practice their penmanship, too!

All of these are new skills rarely if ever taught (let alone practiced) in a traditional classroom in their country, yet each is an incredibly valuable skill to have later in life.

And what if your child is young and doesn’t know how to read yet? Can you imagine how much more eager to learn so they can read your letters again and again? Just look at how Miguel responded to a letter:

“Miguel says hello. Child is 7 years old now. He also says he likes school. He also says he wants to learn writing for writing his letters by himself. – Miguel, Dominican Republic

Tomorrow we’ll share why it’s important to share about your own school experience. In the meantime, take a moment to read over these snippets from other child letters.

"Thank you for loving me so much and sent me a nice message, and soon learn it by heart and use it in my life. I love you very much." – Damarais, Dominican Republic

“I have received your sweet letter thank you so much for the lovely letter. I can feel your love through every line of your letter that you loves me so much. Now I am in class III and I am doing hard work in my study. My favorite subject is Bengali. I do pray to my Lord Jesus Christ for your wellbeing. I am fine here. Please take my love." – Your sponsored child Pratik, India

“I forgive you for take so long to reply to my lovely letter. I know education is very important because will save me all the rest of my life. I like you so much. My God bless you garden and the vegetables. Did you enjoy soccer? I enjoy it.” – Tebesutfu, Swaziland

"Your letter is in my hand, I have read it so many times. I like to read it again and again, thank you so much for your nice letter and help. You have written that God is wonderful and he forgives us again and again, but I want to know is it necessary to ask forgiveness if we say lies for something good? Thank you for praying for me to be a doctor." – Sangeeta, India

“Thank you for spending your time to wrote me a letter. Even if it’s just a letter it was valuable because it shows your love and care for me. I am so lucky that God loves and cares for us. And I also have you as my sponsor. You know what I feel when you sent me a letter? I am so happy that I almost reach the stars in the sky… – Ivan, the Philippines

How has your sponsored child expressed their thanks for your letters?

Why Not Spread The Love?

Looking for some new letter writing topics? Kate, who works in One Child Matters' communications department and writes most of the stories on this blog, shares this interesting angle after receiving yet another letter where one of the girls she sponsored thanked her for her help and sponsorship.

Take a look at that drawing above -- Sovanna drew the famous Ankor Wat temple in Siem Reap and included it with one of her letters. I am so thankful I hung it just over my computer monitor at work, because when the day grows long, it's always within my sight. That intricate pen-and-ink drawing reminds me to pray for Sovanna and Munni, the other girl I sponsor in Bangladesh.

I've sponsored them for almost three years now, and sometimes it's hard to figure out what to say in my letters to them. So when I received Sovanna's letter, her sweet "thank you for all you continue to do for me" at the end inspired me.

Why not write a thank you note back to her and to Munni? There are so many reasons I am grateful for them, why not tell them directly?

Munni and Sovanna have opened my eyes to a different part of the world, and not just through their fantastic drawings. With each letter or prayer for them, I discover more of God's heart for justice and mercy. His redemption knows no bounds, and it is exciting to be a part of that.

As my heart for them grows, I want them to see themselves as God does: beloved daughters of the King. Yet in trying to emphasize that, my self-perception has changed. They are as fearfully and wonderfully made as I am, but do I live out of that identity?

Since sponsoring my girls, my habits have changed. I love to shop, but I increasingly find myself wondering, "Do I need that? Could this money be put to better use?" (And almost always, the answer is yes.) I am more conscious of each dollar I spend and what I am supporting by those choices. In the end, the money isn't mine -- it's God's -- and my choices either glorify Him or glorify myself.

I'm thankful that my sponsorship gives my girls access to a solid education, a nutritious meal, and interaction with adults who will love and encourage them. My girls are so worthwhile.

I am thankful that although sponsorship started as something sacrificial, it has become joyful. What I hoped was life-giving for them has brought me life, as well.

So my tip is to think about how or if sponsorship has changed your heart. And if it has, write that down. Send it to your sponsored child. One of our goals at One Child Matters is that a sponsored child will learn that he or she can change the world. Wouldn't it be cool for them to know -- to know -- that the first person they changed was you?


When Will He Write On His Own?

How should you respond if your child is not yet able to write? When should you expect them to write on their own?

One sponsor found some surprising answers...

How Can I Be Sure My Child Gets My Letters?

It may seem like a simple question, and the answer is hugely important. It involves your prayers and perseverance... and to help, we've included lots of tips.

Click to read more ...

Four Great Letter-Writing Topics

When you think about writing to your sponsored child, do you struggle to come up with something to write about? The inspiration for four letters may be right outside your window...

One sponsor shares an idea of a simple way to share about God's great love for us while allowing your sponsored child to learn more about your life. Click here to read more!

Is My Child Truly Poor If He Mentions TV?

How do you measure poverty? If a child has access to a television, is he truly poor? If your sponsored child has mentioned watching cartoons or movies, this may provide some perspective.

Click to read more ...

How Do You Write To A Muslim Child?

One sponsor shares how committing to help a young Muslim girl changed the way she wrote letters... click here to read more.

A Sponsor's Journal: An Embarrassed Confession

Have you struggled to write out your prayers for your sponsored child? One sponsor reveals her hesitations, and what a project worker in Ethiopia said to change her mind.

A Sponsor's Journal: Make It Personal

How have you responded to the prayers of others? What will it be like for your sponsored child to receive a written prayer? A Sponsor's Journal explores her own child's requests...

Group Sponsorship: The Next Level

Trying to keep all of your group members engaged in child sponsorship can be tricky. And yet with a little creativity, you can find ways to include everyone – including your sponsored child – in this unique ministry. 

Click to read more ...

Simple Idea, Lots Of Fun!

Writing a group letter to your sponsored child doesn't have to be difficult. Just take a page from these two group sponsors!

Click to read more ...

Tip Tuesday: Dissecting Group Letters

Does what you write (and how you write it) affect the translation of letters to your sponsored child?

Click to read more ...

Return To Sender?

If you want to send a small gift to your sponsored child, what should you send? How can you best ensure that these items make it to your sponsored child? Learn about the restrictions and see pictures of what cannot be sent so you can encourage your sponsored child well!

Click to read more ...