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.




Family Gift

Family Gift

Cristian, 5, is shown at left with his sister and nephew in Romania. His older sister listed the items the family bought with a recent gift: flour, rice, beans, tomato pasta, canned food, honey, peas, potatoes, dairy products, fruits, mushrooms, pasta, halvah, bagels, jacket, blouses, a tracksuit for Cristian and tracksuits for his sisters, washing powder, soap, shampoo and diapers for his sister, toilet paper and many other things.

From Serious to Smiles

From Serious to Smiles

This is Pedro from Brazil. I’ve been corresponding with this boy for about two years, and had only seen his very serious, solemn face in the first photo. It was a wonderful surprise when I logged onto my account last week and saw his beautiful face smiling back at me!

Pedro is 10 years old, and in his most recent letter, he wrote: “We have many things in common since history is one of my favorite subjects. History speaks of peoples who lived in a different time before us.” It has been a lot of fun getting to know this boy.

World Vision Gift Photo

World Vision Gift Photo

I received this photo from Andrei in Romania after sending his family a financial gift earlier this year. It looks like he got quite a few clothes, and I’m so happy to see that he got something fun – a soccer ball!

His letter:
“My dear friend,
Thank you so much for the wonderful gift you sent me. Thanks to you, Easter holidays were wonderful. My family and I are grateful for your goodness.
We will pray for you!
God bless you!
With love,

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.