People frequently ask me how many sponsor kids I have, or "how many I'm up to now." I also get some funny (but not necessarily in a mean way) looks when I tell them the number- which is now 22. I know that some people think that I'm weird for writing to that many kids, and I know that they are thinking one thing: why? Even if they don't really care about the answer, or if you weren't really wondering, here are a few of my reasons why.
- Because there is a need. Compassion is a well-known and popular charity (or ministry, as I prefer to call it) that is active in over 20 countries and has sponsors all over the world, from the USA to Canada to Britain, Australia, and even Korea! That's a whoooooooole lot of kids in the program. Not all of them have sponsors that write. Sometimes there are groups or corporations that do large group sponsorships- a company might ask Compassion to just pick 100 kids of a certain age group or in a certain country,which is awesome. Or maybe it's just a family that wants to help out by sponsoring, but they've found that they don't have the time to write as much as they'd like to. Either way, there are always kids who need someone to write to them. Sometimes there is a little bit of a wait, but that's fine. I'm willing to be one of the people that says "hey, if there is a kid who needs a correspondent, I'm happy to take on another!"
- Because I have a gift. At least that's what I'm told. I like sending mail. I'm the weird person among my peers that remembers birthdays and sends things like birthday cards, sympathy cards, get well cards, etc. Sometimes I feel like I am at least partially responsible for keeping the greeting card and postal industries alive in the age of emails, skype and text. I have some friends who have said that this is kind of like a spiritual gift for me- the gift of sending cards to cheer people up or make them feel loved. Over the past year, my circle of friends has changed (one might say "shrunk") kind of dramatically. There used to be a pretty big group of people that I sent mail to regularly. I don't really talk to a bunch of those people anymore. I'm definitely not saying that those people didn't deserve or appreciate to get mail from me (because that would be really stupid) but maybe this is what I'm supposed to be doing with my "gift" instead? Even if those people were still my friends, I don't think their feelings would be hurt if I used my energy and money to send cards and letters to kids instead. After all, I can always say hey to them on facebook- I can't do that with my sponsor kids!
- Because God told me to. I have always enjoyed writing to my sponsor kids- even when I just had one, or enough that I could count on one hand. I have this love to share with them, and I don't think I'm going to run out any time soon. It's kind of like when people have kids of their own, and they wonder if they're going to be able to love them all equally. I've heard them say that their heard expands with each new addition to their family- no love is being taken away from the children they already have, their heart just makes room for more. When I was in Tanzania, each time I met and connected with kids at the centers, I found myself wondering if they had a sponsor who wrote to them. I would love to take all of those kids on as correspondents if they needed one. I knew that when I got home, I would be adding my name to the list for more kids- as many as I would be allowed to have. And since I got home, I have been blessed to have several kids added to our far away family! And I would be thrilled to have even more. I think I'm going to wait a little bit before I send my email saying I'd be happy to be put on the waiting list- I have several kids that should have first letters on the way soon. So maybe when I start hearing from some of them, I'll get back on the list. Anyway, I feel confident that loving these kids through my letters is what God wants me to do right now.
I love being a correspondence sponsor to so many kids. I would sponsor more kids if I had the money, and will sponsor more as we pay off more of our student loan debt and things like that. When we have kids of our own, I plan on getting them set up with "birthday buddies" of their own as well! I am thankful that my family of sponsor kids is so big!