Friday, May 4, 2012

Child Sponsorship

My role in the ministry here is called the "Sponsorship Coordinator". I am sure many of you have sponsor a child with one of the various child sponsorship organizations and have a photo of a cute little kiddo hanging on your fridge.

Kids Alive does child sponsorship as well, and its my job to take those photos of the cute little kiddos and send them to you! Along with lots of other duties-I'm the middle man. I receive the letters that sponsors send to children, translate them to Spanish, then give them to the child. Then I have the child write a response or a thank you, translate it to English, and send it to the home offices to send out to the sponsors. I'm also in charge of having all the children write a letter/card or do an art project for their sponsors three times a year, and preparing yearly progress reports and photos for the sponsors.

A couple girls at the childrens home working on letters to their sponsors

It been fun to see the "other side" of sponsorship-how it affects the kids. I wasn't sure how the kids would respond to receiving letters from perfect strangers--but it seems to me that most of them really like it. They love getting letters, and I think a lot of them feel like they "know" their sponsors, especially the ones that write often. One girl has a sponsor who I know personally, which she thinks is SO COOL, and almost every time I see her she asks me about her "madrina" and if I've talked to her recently. On occasion, one of the sponsors will come down to visit their child, and that's a big deal. One time, one of the boys' sponsors came to visit, and when he pulled up 5or 6 of the kids went running into his house to let him know that his "padrino" was here, they were so excited for him. The boy was cute; he was nervous but being a bit older he had to try to play it cool when they met.

This little 3 year old girl from the Care Center LOVES getting letters from her sponsor

While the children love getting letters, I would be lying if I said that writing back was their favorite activity. There are a few who enjoy writing letters, and almost all of them enjoy decorating the letters or coloring pictures on them, but like any normal kid I usually have to make them sit down to write a thank you note. I must admit I often feel overwhelmed by this job--I am struggling to balance the work load with my own little ones at home, and homeschooling Lucy. It's a big job--there are a few hundred sponsors between the different sites and that is a lot of letters to translate and a lot of letters to ensure get written and sent off. Thankfully, Diane (the awesome wife of our field director) has been helping me a lot as well as a wonderful volunteer from the UK named Anneret who I am convinced was sent here by God to keep me sane.

My favorite part of sponsorship is knowing that these kids have all these people in the U.S, Canada and the UK praying for them. What an amazing gift. That's the best part about the whole thing. Sponsorship is a lot of work--there's a lot of details involved in getting the right letter to the right kid, and having the right kid respond to the right sponsor.  Sometimes when I get frustrated with the work load I wonder if its worth it--surely there's another way to get the funds to take care of the children, right? But Im reminded of its worth when Im translating a letter to Jose from his sponsor, and Jose's sponsor says that they have his photo up and pray for him daily. I love that there are people out there, who know Jose and pray for him by name; that correspond with him regularly for years and know the areas that he needs prayer and are taking his needs to the Father on his behalf. Sometimes when working with the children I'm completely overwhelmed by the obstacles they have to overcome in life. Those are the times when I am so grateful for all of the sponsors out there that are covering our children in prayer.


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