There are many ways to change a child’s life for the better. But when you sponsor a child, you participate in and encourage a child to develop in challenging circumstances. Here are three simple, bold and slightly radical ways you can help influence your sponsored child’s confidence and hope:
1. Where regular mail matters
Okay, so for most people, a trip to the mailbox is not exactly a daily highlight. Much to our chagrin, the mail carrier’s main duty is to deliver junk mail, bills and unwanted pre-qualified offers.
However, the encouraging and thoughtful letter that you send to your sponsor child will be read, re-read and enjoyed more than you can imagine. Given the isolated places where FH works, your letter is an oasis of words bringing hope, truth and love that cannot be measured in dollars.
Your letter doesn’t have to rival William Shakespeare or Jane Austen. Just share your life and seek to learn about your sponsored child’s life. Let them know that you love their family, and that they are loved by God.
So, take advantage of this amazing opportunity to write your sponsor child. In doing so, you will certainly impact their life. And as you get that return letter in your mailbox, your life will be changed as well.
2. Advocacy before the Father
Okay, quick truth: We pray for the people we know. I have to admit that I’ve never prayed for someone that I don’t know … except for the occasional prayer for the whole world (but I don’t know if that really counts).
As you write and get to know your sponsored child, please remember the incredible opportunity that you have to pray for your sponsored child and your child’s family and community. God has brought this child into your life and you have this unique opportunity to learn his or her story and in response, pray for God’s grace and mercy over their lives.
Put their picture on your refrigerator or by your desk – and let that be a daily reminder of your appointment with God to advocate for the life and well-being of this precious child.
3. Grab your passport and go!
Okay, so I did say this list was borderline radical. When you leave your home to visit your sponsored child’s home, you are communicating value and love that words can’t express.
My wife and I traveled with an FH team to Haiti six months after the 2010 earthquake and had the amazing honor and experience of meeting our sponsored child, Alex Joseph. After seven hours in a plane and six hours on a bumpy road, we were sitting there with Alex and his mom.
At first, we were all a bit nervous. But quickly, we moved into deep and meaningful conversation. He shared about their lives and some of the difficulties they had faced, including the abrupt departure of his father. We cried, laughed and prayed together. We all walked away forever changed.
I know it is a lot to ask, but no one said changing a life would be easy. So gather a group of people from your church and start praying about a possible trip out of your comfort zone! Your next year could be more adventurous that you expect.
I would love to hear of other ways that you’ve changed your sponsored child’s life. Please send me some more of your ideas and stories to share with other sponsors.