I love all of the children we sponsor, I truly do.
I love them as a Christian, but I also love them as a mother! When they rejoice, I rejoice, when they hurt, I hurt. I would sacrifice for each and every one of them. There's an incredible strength in the relationship that we've built over time.
It feels to be as though I have precious children all over the world... Honduras, Bolivia, Thailand, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Ecuador and Indonesia!
I recently received the most amazing letter from Ato Sam, my precious Compassion son from Ghana.
I believe the country of Ghana may very well have the most delightful letter writing habits I've seen so far. It has been so beautiful to see Ato Sam's letters to us develop in the short time we've had him in our family. He started out very quiet and reserved, perhaps doubting that we were really there for him and that we truly loved him, but as we began to write to him and pour our love onto him every month, his responses have changed to longer letters full of his personality.
His latest letter to us was fantastic... It made me want to reach through the geographical distance between us and squeeze him, hear him laugh and love on him and his family!
He gave us brief updates... asked a few questions about our pets and our church. He told me that his prayer for me was that I would live long -- he has no idea how much of an impact those prayers have right now, and how blessed I am by his prayers.
He asked me to pray for him to look healthy and go to school. I love that in Ghana, a person should "look healthy" :) He also shared a scripture, Romans 3:23 -- "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Then, using a plain piece of Compassion stationary, he proceeded to write two very long, handwritten pages from his heart. It was the most beautiful letter to read, it made me laugh, it brought tears to my eyes, and it made me love him even more.
"I am happy to inform you that I have received your letter that you wrote to me." (I love the formality of his letters, that he "informs" us about the arrival of our letter!)
"In response to your questions, I wish to tell you that by God's grace, I and my family are all fine and we are all looking good by your prayers." (I love this! I also love that in Ghana, health is refered to as "looking well/good/healthy".)
"I was very happy to learn that your children always wish to hear from me and this really shows that they all love me and also care for me." This had me nearly coming undone... yes, yes we do all love him and care for him, beyond measure.
"Please may I know if Tia your best friend [has arrived] and how is she? I can see you really love your best friend very much, and what is your secret about your friendship? Please extend my greetings to her." I had explained to him that my best friend Tia was coming home to spend two weeks with us, and he could sense from my letter how much this meant to me. It just so happens that I just mailed Ato Sam a very long letter detailing our vacation with Tia, along with 20-30 photos. I think he will enjoy that!
"I am very happy to know that you and your mother are sponsoring another [in] Honduras! I want to know where Honduras can be located on the map?.... When you went to Honduras, how was Bessy?" Until my Compassion trip to Honduras in June, I had always wondered how Compassion children felt about sharing their sponsors with other Compassion kids, but I learned that they are very excited about this and love to hear about the other children we sponsor, where they are from, and they pray for these children.
"I also learned from your letter that your friend Tia has visited Africa before and she fell in love with Africa and that was true." (o: This gave me an idea... When Tia comes to spend the Christmas holidays with us, I'd love for her to write a note to Ato Sam, telling him about her experiences in Africa. That would be pretty special to her, to myself, and especially to Ato Sam.
"You said in your letter you would one day come with her [to Africa] and I wish to know if you will visit me too in Ghana?" Oh love, I wish this more than you know... more than ever!
The letter went on to write much about the country of Ghana (he would make a fantastic Ghana tourism spokesperson!!). I love that he ended this with "The people of Ghana are always ready to welcome any stranger who comes in as a visitor!... the country of Ghana is a lovely country of which many people visit!" He is adorable, I love him so! I can only imagine the look on his face someday when I do surprise him with a visit. We'll both be a mess :D
"You also ask me about my health and I wish to tell you that I am very well. Any of my family members too is looking good." I giggled... and then teared up at the words that followed... "I also pray that the good health he gave Caleb may He also grant you the double portion of it." I look forward to delivering the news to him that his prayers have been heard and answered. I can't begin to tell him how much his prayers mean to me... he is a powerful prayer warrior, my sweet Sam Sam!
He talked about his responsibilities at home, and explained that "the major work of my parents is farming and it is subsistence farming. I always feel happy to help them at the farm by fetching them water and anything that will help them in their work." I think I need to bring my son Joshua to Ghana with me so that he can learn to work joyfully like Ato Sam. What a wonderful young man of God Ato Sam is. I am so proud of him, and I may ask him to pray for Joshua, who is grounded right now because he refuses to be accountable to any of his responsibilities. Heartbreaking, the contrast...
Last but not least, his final words in the letter warmed my heart all the more... "Please extend my greetings to Mr. Terry your husband, Brandon, Joshua and Jillian, and to your best friend Tia too. I love you all... Your sponsor child, "Sam Sam", End of Message."
When I saw that he wrote "Sam Sam", I came undone. Months ago, I wrote him a letter telling him that he was very special to me, and as such, I had given him the nickname of "Sam Sam", and in his next letter, he included that Sam was the formal name used only in special occasions like school. Given how formal he is in his letters, I hoped that I hadn't offended him. Seeing him bless me by using this nickname today helped know that to him, these letters are just as much of a "special occasion" as they are to me. He knows how much I love him, and he is celebrating it through these letters.
Writing to him and receiving letters from him is most definitely a special occasion. His letters are celebrated in this household, and I look forward to writing the next one!
I can't imagine everything I would have missed out on if I hadn't taken the time to write to my sponsored children. It breaks my heart for all the sponsors who are missing out by not writing... not to mention all the children who aren't receiving this kind of love.
Write a letter to your sponsored child today... and if you don't yet have a sponsor child -- why not start now?
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