When you sponsor a child with Children’s HopeChest, there are two primary things you’re asked to do: pay the monthly sponsorship fee and writing to your child.
I’ll admit I’m not the best at the writing. It has been hard to get my family in a good habit of writing to our sponsored kids on a regular basis. There are so many things in our lives vying for our attention that taking a few minutes to write a letter can simply slip through the cracks. I always have good intentions, but often it gets forgotten.
In November of 2014 we started writing to our three sponsored children in Uganda, Mary, Joseph, and Jorem. I wrote to Mary. My daughter to six-year-old Joseph, and my husband, Matt, wrote to Jorem. Jorem was nine when we started sponsoring him. One of the most amusing things about writing to the kids was getting an answer to a specific question we asked. I remember asking Mary what her favorite color was, and a few months later, she told me she liked green and orange.
Since the mail from HopeChest is addressed to me, I typically read all of the letters before handing them out to their recipients. One of Jorem’s letters to Matt in January of 2015 had one single sentence that stood out in my mind as different from all the others. The sentence, written by someone on staff, went like this: “‘I will give my Mom a hug when I reach home,’ says Jorem.” It was clear from the letter that Jorem was writing very specifically to what Matt had written him, stating that he was happy to know about our family, our dog, and Matt’s job. But then this sentence, set apart from the rest in quotation marks, was clearly a direct quote from Jorem to the translator.
I asked Matt what it was about, and he told me that he’d encouraged Jorem to give his mother a hug. I thought, “Aw, that’s sweet, you’re the best!” and then promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward to my trip last summer to finally meet all the precious children in Ongongoja. I frantically scanned the crowd during the welcome ceremony, looking for one—if not all—of our sponsored kids, but had no luck. A few hours later, we passed out nametags, and I finally got to set my eyes on many of my friends’ sponsored kids, plus my own.
However, very few of them understood a word I said. For Joseph, the child my daughter writes to, I could point to my name on his tag and then point to me and smile really big. “I’m your sponsor!” And even then, I’m not sure he really understood. After wrestling with some clumsy translation on my own, Jorem seemed to get idea that he and I were connected…somehow.
Finally, though, something clicked, and he ran and brought his mother to meet me. She hugged me politely, and I tried to tell her that Matt, Jorem’s sponsor, was my husband. But I butchered the word and needed help. After finding the translator again, Jorem and his mother finally understood what I’d been trying to tell them, and a light went on in their eyes…Especially in his mother’s eyes. Then she gave me a HUG. The kind of hug you get from a friend you haven’t seen in a year, or a child you were away from for two weeks. And from then on, she always acknowledged me, talked to me through a translator whenever possible, and thanked me—and Matt of course—for sponsoring Jorem.
It was awesome to meet Jorem’s mom like that, but it didn’t occur to me that there was anything more to it than that. On the second day in Ongongoja, I got to visit Jorem’s home and meet his sister and some extended family. I was nervous. I’m bad at meeting new people when I know how to communicate with them, to say nothing of this being my first visit to a home in a foreign country. I was supposed to ask them questions, but I literally had no clue what to say, so someone else took the lead there. Thankfully.
Before we left, Jorem’s mother gave me a chicken. I laughed watching Jorem and a neighbor chasing the chicken during our conversation, and then my stomach did a flip-flop when I realized it was most likely for me. OH MY. Talk about an honor! (I loved that chicken. If I could have snuck him home in my suitcase, I would have!)
Again, Jorem’s mother hugged me tightly, thanked me, and told me to thank Matt.
Later that day I think God, through His Spirit, brought to mind that sentence Jorem had written to Matt seven months before. Matt encouraged Jorem to hug his mother— and Jorem said he would when he got home.
I know that I will always love her fiercely. I know that there was something there, beyond words that connected us, and I know I will never forget it.
THAT could be the power of writing to your child.
I bet Matt never imagined what that simple idea, that suggestion, could become. Because God is good, and He works all things together for good for those who love Him, I believe it’s just possible that one hug could fill a mother’s heart to bursting, and she then poured that love on me, so I could take it home for Matt.
So write to your kids. Send them love and encouragement and Jesus’ words because those good things, that love, that good news, those life-giving words, will not return empty but will accomplish what God pleases. You simply never know.
Originally published here: https://orphansofteso.com/2016/02/03/the-impact-of-writing/
Take a second to write your child today! You never know the impact a few encouraging words will make on the life of a child.