Writing the First Letter

I’m a letter writer. I was the kid who always wanted a pen pal. I got excited when someone gave me fancy stationary. I collected stamps, for crying out loud.

Image Credit: Tim Morgan

Yes, even in this age of e-mail and text messaging, I am still a letter writer at heart. So, when I heard that Compassion really emphasized letter-writing as one of the most significant parts of their program, I couldn’t help feeling a little bit giddy.

I immediately began thinking about all the things we could share with our sponsored child and the questions we could ask her. Shopping suddenly became a treasure hunt to find things that could be included in our letters without violating customs regulations.

Do you know what happened? I found myself putting off writing that first letter. I kept thinking about the importance of first impressions, and I wanted everything to be just right the first time.

I admit–I can be a bit of a perfectionist. You wouldn’t know it by peeking into my laundry room today (or “the pit of despair,” as I like to call it), but I am. In fact, I often let the desire to “get it right the first time” prevent me from doing anything at all.

Then I thought about Happyness….

Does she really care if I include a family photo in the first letter? Does she really care if it’s handwritten?

I doubt it.  By all accounts, sponsored children just want to hear from their sponsors!

So, I decided that I could either let perfectionism grab hold of me and prevent Happyness from receiving her first letter for many weeks or even months (as it already takes a long time for letters to reach their destinations) or I could just plunge in and send a short note just to let her know that we do care and we are praying for her.

I chose the latter. I logged onto my Compassion account and sent an email (which, I have been told, usually arrive a full two weeks earlier than snail mail).  I tried my best to keep it short and on the reading level of a young child (that’s hard!). This is what I ended up with:

Dear Happyness,

What a beautiful name and a beautiful girl! You have already brought much happiness to our home since we became your sponsor family!

My name is Megan. I live in the United States with my husband, Tim, and our two daughters, Hannah and Lauryn. We are so glad to be your new friends! We will mail letters and photographs soon so you can get to know us better.

Do you know the song, “Jesus Loves Me?” The words say:

Jesus loves me this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong

They are weak but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

Yes, Jesus loves me

The Bible tells me so

Happyness, I hope you know that Jesus loves you and we do, too!  We are thinking of you and, most importantly, praying for you and your family. Will you please pray for us also?

So, there. I did it. The first letter wasn’t what I had planned–no cool stationary or photo collages or coloring book pages–but they were sincere words written from the heart.  Isn’t that what really matters?

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11 Responses to Writing the First Letter

  1. Woohoo!! I am so glad you got a letter out to Happyness. All of the photos and goodies, they’re like frosting on the cupcake. They’re nice, but it is the letter, or the cupcake, which fill you up. May this start a looooooong journey of letter writing to your sweet girl!

  2. Cynthia says:

    What a perfect first letter. I love it! I’m sure Happyness will treasure it always.

  3. That is a great first letter. I’m sure happyness will be very blessed by it!

  4. Jessica says:

    That is such a sweet first letter. And don’t feel bad, I was a terrible letter writer for the first full year of our first sponsorship, and I’m just now learning how to be a better corresponder. 🙂

  5. This makes my heart 100 times bigger than it was a moment ago. LOVE IT.

  6. Teena says:

    How awesome. Great first letter. I know she will love it.


  7. JD says:

    I, like you, am a letter writer… and I love the quest of finding “stuff” to include with the letters and have them be “just so”. It’s hard to take that first step, but you HAVE taken that step and haven’t let ‘perfection’ get in the way of loving that precious girl…. and I’m celebrating that right by your side. I’m GIDDY with excitement for your family and for her family!

    This is AWESOME!!! Keep us posted 🙂

  8. Kees Boer says:

    That’s a great first letter. She will be very happy to receive it. I’m so glad you write her. These children really treasure each of these letters and they read them many times…. Many times, they will listen to the sponsor more than even the people at the student center. You are so important to them… Thank you for sharing this.

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