When Trusty Comes to Your House
Once upon a time, there was a group of online friends who loved writing to their sponsored children, and each day enjoyed sharing with each other their ideas for writing to kids, and especially telling about the letters they received. Since it took awhile to receive letters back, these friends had some fun pretending that the mail was delivered by a little gray donkey which they named Trusty. When mail was delayed, they would post, “C’mon Trusty! Hurry up!” And when a letter arrived, they would often say, “Trusty came to my house today!”
So here’s Trusty hard at work…
No Instant Messages?!
Living in an age of instant and easy communication with text messages, Facebook, emails, Skype, twitter, and more, it is often a surprise for sponsors to discover that they need to wait weeks or months to hear back from their sponsored children. It definitely was a surprise for me! My very first sponsored child was a precious 9 year old girl in Honduras named Dora who won my heart the first moment I saw this photo of her. It was the most amazing experience of feeling like she jumped right off the computer screen into my heart… I instantly loved her, and started planning letters and gifts to send her.
I found Dora a couple of weeks before our mutual birthday, and immediately wrote a first letter through the organization’s online template option, where the letter was sent directly to her country’s office. I laugh now to remember that I actually thought that the staff at the office in Honduras would quickly print off the letter, and dash off to her home to let her know that she had a sponsor… I mean after all! Her birthday was only days away, and surely they would get the letter to her in time for a special birthday gift. Right? Oh no… months went by before I received my first letter back, but over the next few years, I was able to develop a very sweet relationship with Dora.
What’s Taking So Long?
However, while she wrote delightful letters, I was constantly frustrated with how long it took for the letters in transit. At one point it took TEN months to receive a reply back, and I could not figure out WHAT took so long! Later I found out that Dora lived in a very remote mountain community that could only be reach by traveling on foot, donkey, horse, or possibly a motorcycle. Oh. My. Goodness. I had no idea. So those challenges combined with all the time involved for translating my letter, delivering it to Dora, receiving her reply and translating it for me, and then mailing it to me, well, it was no wonder that it took so long. Fortunately that experience was rather rare since I typically receive responses back from a particular letter within 2-6 months depending on the child’s location, and I also receive letters every 2-3 months from most of my children.
Write! Write! Write!
As an advocate for child sponsorship, I am constantly talking with folks who sponsor, and encourage them to write! write! write! Don’t wait until you receive a letter back before you send another letter. Consider what quality of a relationship you would have with a person if you only spoke briefly a couple of times a year. It wouldn’t work very well, and it doesn’t work well either to develop a relationship with your sponsored child if you barely communicate with each other. Keep up the flow of conversation by writing each month, and even though there is a time lag for the mail to catch up with your previous conversation with your child, you will be delighted to see your relationship develop over time. Hang in there! “Trusty” is doing his best! :o)
In the meantime, my friends and I enjoy sharing on a daily basis about the letters we’ve received, ideas for letters to write, gifts to send, prayer requests for our kids and their families, new children that we’ve received… and just for fun, we allude to our Trusty game on occasion. Where’s Trusty? What’s he been up to?
Sponsors aren’t the only ones who feel a bit impatient waiting for a letter… the children feel the same way! So for fun, I’ve created some resources for sponsors to use in telling your child about the “Trusty Game.” But first, follow Trusty this way…