Priceless Child Visits


Playing basketball during child visit day in Guatemala, July 2015.

As child sponsors, we long for letters from our children. We treasure any new bit of information we can learn about the children we love so fiercely from afar.

Even better is a letter with a photo tucked inside. It gives us a peek into our child’s world, as we scour the photo’s background for details that a quick glance would miss. It shows us a new expression on our child’s face, or maybe even a smile that wasn’t there in the standard sponsorship photo. It’s an added bonus if a family member is in the photo, too.

If a simple letter and photo can bring so much happiness, can you imagine the joy and excitement of actually meeting that child in person? It’s something I imagined for four years before it became a reality for me when I visited my children in Nicaragua with Compassion International in 2014. Then in 2015, I was blessed to be able to visit my children in Guatemala as well.

I fully expected those visits to be life-changing for me, and they were. But what I didn’t expect was the incredible and deep connections with my sponsor children and their family members that were created in those visits. I knew we had all been deeply impacted based on the smiles and emotions in those first hugs, and the full hearts and tears in our goodbyes.

(Click here to see a video of those first hugs in Guatemala.)

Once I was home again and processing all that I had done and seen, I looked forward to my children’s next letters, to learn their thoughts on our days together.

Their letters confirmed to me the value of my visits.

Jose, 11, of Nicaragua, wrote: “I will never forget the meeting we had when you came to Nicaragua. It was an unforgettable day.” That letter was written shortly after our visit.

A few months later, Jose had more to say about that day, when he wrote: “I am happy for the day that you came to visit me in Nicaragua to know me. We share that day together, and it was beautiful. I will never forget it. I am thankful to God to have a sponsor like you. At the school, I told all my classmates about your visit here to Nicaragua. We had a great time together, and it was a fun day.”

A little more to the point, Esteban, 9, of Nicaragua, wrote: “I thank you very much for your visit. It was a special day.”

And as only a 3-year-old could sum it up, Jefry’s letter said: “Jefry says it was fun to drive the race car with you.”

I’m still receiving letters from my children in Guatemala about that visit.


Hania smiled all day.

A letter I received from Hania, 9, of Guatemala, said: “Hania wants to tell you that she is very happy for your visit in July. She thanks you for meeting her personally, also for the dolls, dresses, ball, backpack and for all that you gave her. She will never forget you, and that day she had a good time, and she was very happy.”

My son Logan, who traveled with me to Guatemala, met his own sponsor child there.


Logan and Osmar say goodbye to each other.

His child, Osmar, 13, wrote: “Thank you for the pictures you sent me and for coming to see me, which was an unforgettable day for me. I loved to make competitions with you in the inflatable games, to play ping pong and hide-and-seek and many other things. That day I was so nervous, but I was happy to see you at the door.”

Unforgettable, happy, special, nervous, fun, beautiful, thankful – their words match my own in describing our meetings.

If you can make it happen, visit your child! The experience will be priceless. And if you don’t sponsor a child, yet, you can do so by clicking here.


Winston shows off a bracelet my daughter made for him.


Logan brought Osmar his own Dodgers jersey and hat.




Love in Letters: Big Hugs and Lots of Love

I’ve fallen into the habit, when writing to my sponsored children, of using the same closing to my letter every time. I always write, “I send you big hugs and lots of love.”

So when I received this letter from 18-year-old Edwin in Uganda today, I was touched to see my own familiar closing. 

Edwin ended his letter: 

“God bless you and your family. I send you big hugs and lots of love.”


Edwin, 18, Uganda

Edwin writes in English, and often shares many interesting details of his life. In this letter, I learned that Edwin’s grandparents celebrated “Golden Jubilee” in August, which was their 50th wedding anniversary. A church service including all the grandchildren was part of the celebration, and Edwin composed a song on a keyboard and sang it at his grandparents’ party.

Edwin also let me know that Manchester United is his favorite soccer team, and he listed some of his favorite players.

This young man is serious about his studies, and always asks for prayers that he do well in school. I look forward to seeing where God leads him in the future and am thankful to know him.

If you are interested in sponsoring a child in Uganda, please click here and enter Uganda in the search window.

Giving Thankfully: Love in Letters

There isn’t much that delights me more as a sponsor than receiving a letter from one of my faraway sponsored children. Today, though, I think I found something that tops even that.

My 12-year-old son, Logan, became a sponsor earlier this year. I wrote about it here. Since February, Logan and the boy he sponsors, Osmar, have exchanged several letters.


Osmar, 11, of Guatemala

Logan was excited to receive another letter from Osmar today. As usual, he opened the letter quickly to see what his friend in Guatemala had to say, then he handed the letter to me, so I could read it, too.

I am so touched by Osmar’s affection for Logan, that I have to share his letter here:

Dear sponsor Logan,

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ hoping that you are in great health. The weather is rainy. I want to tell you that in my town, we harvest corn, potatoes and beans. We have a lot of things in my town. I love you. I ask you to pray for everyone in my town and for my family. We are going to finish the school year. I am going to pray for you. I thank you for the letter that you sent me. I love you. What is my favorite sport? Soccer. What’s the weather like over there? I say goodbye with love and hugs. I hope that God continues blessing you and your family, and that he gives you blessings because you are my sponsor. Thank you.


Yes, this sweet 11-year-old boy in Guatemala just told my son “I love you” – twice.

And that is why, in this month of thanks, I am thankful for love in letters.

A Boy and his Dog


Humberto: “I want you to know my dog.”

Nine-year-old boys the world over tend to share similar tidbits in their letters.

Almost three years into sponsoring, I’ve found most boys around that age write about games, friends and pets, which are the same themes my own sons would choose.

Humberto is a 9-year-old boy in Bolivia, and he and I have been sending letters back and forth for two-and-a-half years now. He was almost 7 years old when we started writing to each other, and being so young, he generally shares one or two details in each letter, often repeating those details several times over many letters. Over the years I’ve been able to create a picture of this faraway boy in my mind.

Humberto is one of the younger siblings in a family with eight children. He most recently became a big brother again last year, and asked me to pray for his baby brother just before the baby’s birth.

He tells me he loves to draw. Actually, he tells me that in almost every letter. He also loves to play with his friends.

His most recent letter held an unexpected gem, though. Humberto wrote, “I want you to know my dog.” And tucked into the letter was a photo of Humberto and his dog!

His adorable way of writing that made me laugh, but to see that photo of Humberto and his dog was quite a treat. I’ve never received an extra photo of Humberto, so I’ve only seen his growth progress through Compassion’s usual photo updates, which occur every 18-24 months.

Now that I know Humberto’s dog, we’ll have plenty to cover in our letters for years to come.

Help! What do I Write About?


Sometimes writer’s block sets in, so here’s a quick list of topics to use when writing to your sponsored child:


where you live

history of your town/city

your education

your occupation

your dreams for the future

describe your pets

describe your garden

describe an activity you enjoy

describe weather where you live

anything unique or interesting about you

discuss favorites:

color, number, holiday, movie, song, book, book character, author, food, recipe, drink, sport, sports team/player, season


immediate family members’ names/ages

spouse’s occupation

children’s occupations

children’s level in school

what subjects children are studying

number of your siblings

your siblings’ ages

funny stories from childhood with siblings

special cousins & stories from childhood with them


when/how you became a Christian

describe your church

describe your worship service

favorite Bible verse

favorite book of the Bible

favorite woman/man in the Bible and why

favorite Bible story and why

share recent message at church

share current Bible study

favorite thing about church

describe your pastor

something you admire about your pastor

describe someone special at your church


your favorite holidays

how you celebrate them

favorite music you associate with certain holidays

who you visit on holidays



If you could have any job, what would it be and why?

What is your typical day like?

What do you see when you look out your window at home?

What do you see when you look out your window at school?

What is your dream job?

What would you do if you could fly?

Describe the best day of your life.

Who is the person from the Bible you’d most like to meet and why?

Who is the person from history you’d most like to meet and why?

What is your favorite kind of weather and why?

What is your hobby?

Have you ever had to make a difficult decision and what was it?

Did you ever win or lose a contest?

Did your parents ever make you wear something you hated?

Have you ever caught fireflies, crickets, frogs, snakes, etc.?

Did you ever move to a different town/city?

Describe something you learned from a friend.

Describe something you learned from a family member.

Name something you like about yourself and why.

Describe your best personality trait.

Write about your favorite sport and why you like it.