Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Do You Write About?

Yesterday I invited you to become a Compassion International correspondent (call this number 800-336-7676) or a sponsor (visit this site 

Some of you might wonder:  What in the world do I write about...especially to an impoverished child in a whole different world? And what if I don't even like to write letters?

These are understandable concerns! First of all, God will equip you. He always equips us to do His will.

That said, there are topics I routinely avoid in my letters to Divya, Nelson, and Raphael, and other topics I routinely include. I'll explain why.

We are a one-income family currently underemployed, so my own children live quite differently than most American children we encounter. Though my boys comprehend how blessed they are, there are times they feel envy when lifestyle differences stare them squarely in the face. Knowing this, I am sensitive about lifestyle differences when I write my Compassion children. I want them to feel nothing but blessing and love when they read my letters. 

Any topic or picture that would invite lifestyle comparison, I avoid. That means I don't write about toys or bikes, or huge holiday meals or presents, or allude to the fact that we eat three meals a day plus snacks. I also don't photograph my house or my furniture or my carpet. It's quite easy to crop your pictures on the Compassion website; in fact, you have to crop them to fit their format. If a photo was taken in my home, I crop out everything but faces or one object of interest, as pertains to my letter. Mostly, I stick to faces and outdoor pictures.

I recommend the following list of topics, some of which fall under discipleship. Remember, these children are new Christians or about-to-become Christians, in many cases. They need spiritual guidance and direction, beyond what they get in church or at their Compassion Child Development Center. We can be a valuable influence in their Christian walks.

- Nature (This is educational; different nature specimens are found in our region of the world.)

- Seasons (This also is educational; many impoverished countries don't have four seasons. I describe the seasons, including how they look and feel and I include pictures of leaves, snow, etc.)

- Outdoor Activities (hiking, playgrounds, backyard)

- Weather

- Seasonal Activities (sledding, swimming at a lake, collecting leaves, gardening, planting bulbs, etc.)

- Bible Reading (I'll list favorite verses from everyone in my family, for instance, or what verses/chapters I'm currently reading.)

- My Prayer Life (Details about how I organize my prayer, what times I pray, and how it makes me feel.)

- My Gratitude Lists (I tell them how to keep a gratitude list, and I give samples from mine. But again, I don't include material items on my lists, though I might mention a favorite food, such as strawberries.)

- Questions For The Child (I ask about the child's activities, work, school, friends, family)

- My Relationship With God (I describe how God comforts me, how He guides me, how I love Him)

- Ask For Prayer Requests (I also give prayer requests)

- Thank Them For Their Letters (I include what I loved about their letters, and how they made us feel)

- Express Love and Caring (I say how happy we are to write to them and pray for them and how blessed we feel to have them in our lives; I tell them Jesus loves them and that they are very special to Him and to us; I also write We love you) 

Please add your ideas in the comments!

Visit Compassion's blog to learn more about letter writing and about the work Compassion does around the world. Visit this post for specific letter-writing ideas:

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