A group of sponsored youths in Guatemala make Christmas cards to send to their sponsors.
Dec 14 2016

Letters are a gift of time and thought

A group of sponsored youths in Guatemala make Christmas cards to send to their sponsors.

A group of sponsored youths in Guatemala make Christmas cards to send to their sponsors.

At this time of year sponsors often ask us, “Do you have any suggestions for what I can give my sponsored friend for Christmas?” As a matter of fact, we do, and all it will cost you is a wee bit of your time. OK, that and an international postage stamp.

Write your sponsored friend a letter.

Put yourself in the place of a sponsored child. You’ve waited and prayed for someone to become your sponsor, and one day you learn that you’ve been chosen. You’re filled with gratitude and wonder. Who is this kind, mysterious person from that exotic land called Nebraska who wants to help ease the burden for you and your family?

One of the most frequent questions sponsored children ask when they meet visitors from the U.S. is, “Do you know my sponsor?” While there’s a sweet innocence to that question, it reveals just how deeply these kids yearn to know about those who are helping them.

Aside from the benefits of sponsorship, there is nothing most sponsored children and elders appreciate more than letters from their sponsors. That fact was reinforced for Lori Kapler, an Unbound sponsor from Iowa, during a recent awareness trip.

“On this last trip to Costa Rica,” Lori said, “I again met a child who told me he had never heard from his sponsor, so I asked him if I could be his sponsor for the day. I wish his sponsor could have seen his face. His eyes sparkled, and he ran over and gave me a big hug. During the remainder of our visit to that community, he was at my side.”

Lori learned something else on that trip that has been the experience of many sponsors.

“My own sponsored child showed me every letter, picture, and greeting card I’ve sent him since I started to sponsor him,” she said. “He wanted me to know how much that meant to him.”

Letters are treasured by sponsored friends because they represent something intimate and personal, the gift of time and thought. They’re tangible reminders that Unbound sponsorship is about more than donating money. It’s about life-giving connections between human beings of different backgrounds and experiences — connections hungered for in today’s world.

A letter is a perfect gift not only because it’s something your sponsored friend really wants, but also because, unlike some items sponsors have sent in the past, it isn’t likely to get lost or stolen in transit. Like all great presents, the value of a letter isn’t in the cost of the materials but in the joy it brings the recipient.

Give yourself a break from your holiday busyness and sit down today to write a letter to your sponsored friend. Or, if you prefer a keyboard to pen and paper, send a convenient eLetter. Tell her or him about your family, your job, your favorite holiday traditions, what the weather’s like where you live — anything that comes to mind. Once you begin, the words will flow.

When it arrives, your letter is going to make the day of one very excited, very joyful sponsored friend. Guaranteed.

Note for those with sponsored friends in Guatemala: The United States Postal Service has suspended most mail services to that country. Check the USPS website for the latest updates.

Letters from sponsored friends to sponsors will not be disrupted. Unbound uses a private delivery service for communications from our office in Guatemala to our headquarters in Kansas City.

Skip the post office. Try sending an eLetter instead!

Larry Livingston

Larry Livingston
Senior Writer/Editor

Larry has been with Unbound since 2005. He has a background in theology, pastoral ministry and Catholic education, and has written for several national publications. Larry holds a bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College and a master’s degree from St. Meinrad School of Theology. He lives in Shawnee, Kansas with his wife, Kristi, and their son, Ben.

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