Mike and I really fell in love with Compassion this past April. As you may have read in earlier posts, I had sponsored Thalia for two and a half years before things really "clicked" and we became passionate about the organization. That month we sponsored 5 new children: first Ntetina and Rom from Kenya, the next week Sharon from Honduras, and later that month Pheby from India and Jherlany from Mexico. It was so exciting when first letters began pouring in! I felt like we were starting to form connections with our kids. Then second letters started coming, and soon our mailbox was flooded with those cream colored envelopes. It was wonderful (it still is).
But there was one thing I really struggled with: patience, specifically where Sharon was concerned. Months went by, and letters kept coming, but none of them were from Sharon. I remember when I first saw her on the Compassion site: I was scanning through the "red heart kids" (children who have been waiting at least 6 months for a sponsor), and there weren't very many available at that time. They were mostly boys, too. But then there was this sweet, solemn face of a little girl with pigtails, who was easily one of the cutest kids I'd ever seen on the website. I looked at Mike and said, "how on earth has she been waiting so long for a sponsor?!" Later that evening, we decided to sponsor her.
I was so excited to get to know Sharon, but the wait was unbearable. 3 months went by, then 4, and then 5, and still no letters. We were adding many children to our Compassion family, and I just didn't "feel" it with Sharon anymore. I was discouraged and sad, and wondered if it had been the right decision to sponsor her in the first place.
When her first letter came after 5 months in early September, it was a template letter with very little information. It was nice to see that she had filled it out herself, at only 7 years old, but the most I got out of it is that her favorite thing about herself is, amusingly, her fingers. I was still discouraged, and thought that maybe sponsoring from Honduras was not for me (ha!).
Then, things began to change. As the cream colored envelopes appeared in our mailbox, many of them were from Sharon! I got to know her beautiful personality, and slowly but surely, she nudged her way into my heart deeper than almost any of our other children.
Letters from Sharon are so encouraging to me. She reminds me of myself, with her enthusiasm for writing and her affectionate heart. I am almost positive that Sharon asks to write us often. I know that Honduras writes less frequent letters, but she has written me at least once a month since June! Some excerpts from her wonderful letters:
"Why did you decide to sponsor me? I want to tell you that with the money you sent me I bought food, because at that moment we did not have. [...] I say goodbye to you with much love wishing you blessings. I love you." Written June 2, 2011
"I like to write a lot and I'd like to tell you many things but I don't have enough paper to do so." Written August 17, 2011
"Dear sponsors Mike and Amanda, it's a pleasure to be able to greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus, I want to tell you that I feel very happy to have received your letter and I'm very grateful, I love your presents very much, because I will paste them in my homework sheets, and I feel very happy to have met you by picture, the one you sent me. I want to tell you that you are very handsome and you look very happy, thank you very much for everything. [...] I hope you always pray for me and for my family, I always pray for you, I love you very much. May God bless you always, I love you very much, Sharon" Written August 23, 2011
"For me it's a joy to receive your letters, cards, stickers, and your picture, you look very happy. Thank you for remembering me always." Written September 30, 2011
I have received 5 letters from Sharon since September, and I feel so connected to this sweet girl. God is faithful and I know that sponsoring Sharon, and sponsoring from Honduras, has been a calling for my life. In June I will get to meet this precious girl, and her other Honduran sisters, and I would not have it any other way. Originally I had considered visiting Honduras as a way of getting to know our children there, since I was very doubtful that I would ever get to know them through letters. But that is clearly not the case. Sharon is so special to me and I can't wait to hug her (a lot!) and tell her in person just how much I love her.