Friday, October 12, 2012

Letters: They're Important

One of the most important things a sponsor can do for their child is provide him/her with social support. With oceans and countries a part, how is this possible? The answer of course is letters. Writing letters to your sponsored child is absolutely vital. Why? Let me share a true story.

I recently heard the story of a formerly sponsored child in the Dominican Republic. He talked about how his family literally had nothing to eat and how he had no money for school supplies and had to sell cornbread in the streets from the time he was five-years-old. In addition to those types of challenges poverty brings he also brought up an aspect that I feel is easily forgotten.

He called it the "no hope monster". The evil, monstrous feeling that he was nothing, his life meant nothing, he wasn't going to go anywhere in his life, he was destined to sell cornbread his entire life, and that it was pointless to dream because none of his dreams would come true. These feelings are deadly. Giving up on yourself and your life leads to nothing but more pain, more suffering, more poverty. It leads to poor choices like gangs, drugs, and prostitution. And once the monster gets in your heart, it's hard to get rid of it. The monster keeps telling you that you're worthless, stupid, good-for-nothing, and that nothing will ever get better so it's pointless to try. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions which leads to more negative thoughts which starts a terrible cycle.

This is the reality of too many kids in this world and this was the reality of the formerly sponsored child I heard speak. For him it got better and his no-hope monster was crushed. How did this happen? It happened through his sponsorship and from receiving letters from his sponsor.

Throughout his entire sponsorship he only received about four letters (which is a very, very low number) but he said that he cherished those letters and the words they carried. His sponsor told him that he could do anything, that she loved him, that she believed in him, that she was praying for him. The no-hope monster was crushed because for the first time in his life he had someone rooting for him and he didn't want to let that person down. He worked hard in school, he got good grades, he went to college, and is now living his dream of being a musician. All of this because one woman wrote him four letters and believed in him. That's powerful stuff.

From talking with other sponsors I've heard countless other stories like this. About a little boy who showed off his letters when a sponsor group came to visit and all of his letters had the corners ripped off. It was because he had tapped them all to his door so that he would be able to see and read them every day when he woke up. I've heard countless stories about how the children keep their letters in a special, safe place in their home and regard the letters as their most prized possessions.

Why? Because to these children these letters represent hope and that there is someone out there in the world that cares about them and believes in them. Without that sponsor they may never hear that message and the no-hope monster could be waiting to consume their heart.

I cannot stress enough how vital letters are, I really can't. Over the next few days I will give some letter-writing tips and ideas for what to talk about in letters as well as give an example of a letters I recently sent to my siblings, Isadora and Guerby.

Love & Peace

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