Chris and Sarah Nicholson are missionaries living in Kisumu, Kenya. They serve the children sponsored by CRF at Ring Road Orphan’s Day School. Sarah recently wrote about the value of writing letters to your sponsored child. We wanted to share her thoughts with you!
Have you written your child lately? www.christianrelieffund.org/write
While most Americans have transitioned into the realm of emails, text messages, online banking, and virtual documents, the Kenyan culture is still one of pen and paper. If you could experience the mud homes, trash-filled streets, and live-for-today mentality that comprises African culture, you might share my surprise in the Kenyan’s ability to keep up with every little receipt, vaccination record, medical book, or phone number scribbled on paper.
Why are they so good at holding on to these things? Because paper still means something here. Yes, phone calls are possible and computers can be found here and there, but people here still rely on the tried and true method of physically writing down information. In a lot of ways, information isn’t believed until it is in writing.
I’m telling you all this because I want to communicate how much it means to our kids to get a letter from their sponsor. When someone sits down with real paper and writes down words on that paper, the student finally understands that someone on the other side of the world cares about them.
When I show up at school with letters to hand out, the excitement among the students is contagious. I just say a name and they all run to find their friend and tell them the good news that they have received a letter. After the recipient reads his or her letter, they proceed to pass it around to their friends so everyone can share in the joy.
For many students who don’t have anyone in Kenya that loves them enough to invest in their life, this letter represents God’s provision for that need in their lives. It represents the fact that God is big enough to send someone to His daughter or son from the other side of the world.
In Sunday school we sing a song with the children that says, “My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty!” Just how big is this God that they are learning so much about? He is big enough to move the heart of someone in the richest country in the world to make a sacrifice to provide for one of the world’s poorest children.
When you take a few minutes of your time to write a letter to the child you sponsor, you are connecting the dots for that student. Please believe me when I say that if you were here to see their face when I place that envelope in your hands, your efforts would be more than adequately rewarded.
Want to write your sponsored child, but need ideas for what to say?
Here are some tips:
- Be sure to tell your child that you are praying for him or her!
- It’s best NOT to talk about politics, pop culture (example: your child may not know who Justin Bieber is), your house/cars/etc.
- Talk about things that children of all cultures understand: the weather, your family, church, Jesus, new places you visit, foods you like to eat, etc.
- Encourage your sponsored child to try hard in school every day. Just like any child, they long for a parental figure to motivate them in their studies.
- Consider including something like a sheet of stickers, a bookmark, paper dolls, or a ribbon! (just make sure it is flat and fits in a regular letter envelope)
- If you are looking to brighten up your letter, pick out a colorful card!
Be sure to include your full name and your child’s full name and ID number. Send your letter to the Christian Relief Fund office in Amarillo:
Christian Relief Fund
PO Box 19670
Amarillo, TX 79114