Letter Writing Challenge: Getting Started

LetterIn my post, Renewing the Vision, I mentioned an idea of doing a monthly card challenge. While I’m not quite ready to launch the first challenge, I would like to get some opinions, ideas, and help from you!

To begin with, if you know of a missionary working with orphans or an adopting family that would be uplifted by receiving some cards of encouragement, please tell me about them or link to their website/blog. My biggest concern with this idea is actually finding folks to send the letters to.

Second, how do you think this should work? Would you rather write actual notes to these people, or create scripture cards (something like this and this) and bookmarks to be included with one overall letter? Do you think it would make more sense to mail your letters directly to the recipient, or mail them all to me (perhaps with some extra money towards postage if it’s going overseas) and send all of them to the recipient in one package?

Please, share your ideas! This idea has plenty of potential, but it’s also a bit overwhelming to try to figure out.

Want an idea to do this month? Amanda Beguerie shared a link to “Messages from the Heart.” Follow the link to find directions for sending a note to a child in Tanzania.

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Valentine Card Challenge

make one cards, for one child, change one life

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Crista Moriah at Uniquely Fashioned for His Glory. Some of you may already know about her challenge from her blog or her post on The Rebelution. As a commenter on The Rebelution said, this challenge is a brilliant way to turn one’s focus away from self and channel it into service this Valentines day. But, instead of continuing to talk about it myself, I’ll let you read what Crista has to say.

~*~

Jesus broke my heart into so many tiny pieces when I learned of the imprisoned children of Uganda.  I read over my dad’s shoulder the story of how a ministry Sixty Feet was born to serve these orphans and bring them restoration and hope in Jesus’ name.  My life has never been the same since.

He captured me with a love that mirrored His.  It was fearless, bold, dreamed big, and knew no boundaries.  It was willing to do anything to be a voice, to defend these kids, taking the stance of an advocate.

You might say I fell in love with a country, a people even while they stretched oceans apart from me.  Jesus was my Matchmaker, pairing me up with who I needed.  Only He could arrange something so perfect.

A few weeks ago, He leaned in close.  Whispering a whimsical, beautiful idea gently to my heart: Cards.  Bright, hope filled messages that would serve to spread His love to the world.  To orphans.

On my first trip to Uganda, cards brightened the day of many lives in the prisons.  I knew how much they would mean to these orphans.  It made me realize just how tender, how compassionate is the heart of our God.  The Father to the fatherless, Helper of the orphan reaching down with a simple way to tell them “I love you.” My heart thrills at the thought.

That’s what brought about this Valentine Card Challenge: 1,400 Cards by Feb. 14th.

 There are approximately 200 children in each prison and 7 prisons exist in Uganda.  That means in order for every child to receive a card, we need 1,400.

Please be the balm of healing to these broken hearts.  Share God’s love letting it spill out of your hearts and onto the pages of just one card, for one child, to change one life. We are called to do this. God calls anyone who considers the helpless blessed.

This is my Valentine Card Challenge to you.

Will you take it, for one?

Here’s what to do:

1. Make a simple card(s) with the John 3:16 verse written out, and “God loves you” or in Lugandan you could put “Jesu Okwagala”; sign your name. Please have your brothers & sisters make one, your friends, parents, family, people at your church.  Anyone can help participate to meet our goal.

2.Write “Valentine Card Challenge” on the back of the envelope. (If you have a lot of cards, just send it in a large envelope or box. )

Address & send to the ministry SixtyFeet:

Sixty Feet Inc.
2451 Cumberland Parkway
Suite 3526
Atlanta, Georgia 30339

3. In order to keep a tally, please comment on this post or under “Contact Me” telling how many cards you sent in.

Also, please feel free to share this on your own blog, through email, Pinterest, whatever you like.

That’s it!  Three simple steps that can change the world with God’s love.  All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what He asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.

~*~

So, what do you think? Will you send a card (or two … or three … or more)? Let me know if you do!

Get Involved: Be A Correspondence Sponsor

Compassion InternationalEarlier this week on the TIO Goodreads group, a reader mentioned the possibility of corresponding with a sponsored child via Compassion International. Here’s what she said.

Do any of you sponsor with Compassion at all? I’ve been a sponsor with them for about 9 years, and I know that a lot of people don’t realize that in addition to financially sponsoring kids, they also have a program for individuals to simply write to kids whose financial sponsors are not able to write for whatever reason. (For example, often companies will sponsor loads of children, but can’t commit to writing.) It’s called being a “correspondent sponsor”. In addition to writing letters, you do have the option of sending money for birthday/Christmas/family gifts, as well. I thought some of you may be interested in it, and thought I’d throw it out there just in case you haven’t heard of it before. It’s not something they advertise. –Rachel

Compassion Letter WritingI’ve heard of this before and always thought it would be something TIO readers would love to learn about. Rachel’s comment gave me the little push I needed to contact Compassion and learn more. If any of you are interested in writing to a sponsored child, here’s what Compassion said.

Thank you for contacting Compassion with this wonderful opportunity and for your heart for children in need. I have provided a lot of information below, hoping that some of it may be useful to you.

 We do offer the opportunity to correspond with a child in our program when his or her sponsor is unable to write. If you become a correspondent, you will receive a welcome packet with the child’s photo and biography and the child will write you about 2 letters a year. You will want to send words of love and encouragement. The requirement would be to write the child we assign you a minimum of three to four times a year, and you may write as often as you’d like.

Sound like something you might be interested in? While the focus of Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program is not orphan care, ministries like this play an important role in preventing children from becoming orphans in the first place. If you’d like to participate in Compassion’s ministry, here’s how you get started!

If you’d like to be a correspondent to encourage a child, just reply by email to ciinfo@us.ci.org or call us with your name, address, telephone and email address. There may be children available now, or you may need to wait for 2-3 months before you receive your child’s packet. You may also contact us at 800-336-7676.  We are available to serve you MondayFriday, 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, Mountain Time. Thank you for wanting to be an encouragement to a child in need!

I’m excited to see if any of you decide to give this a try! This opportunity is perfect for teens who want to sponsor a child but can’t afford it. If you go ahead and start the process, here are the guidelines Compassion sent about corresponding with sponsored children.

Share with your child information about your family, children, siblings, grandchildren, parents and especially pets. Tell them some fun stories about your life, like getting surprised by a big wave when you were swimming in the ocean. Hobbies are also fun to write about and you can send pictures of what you are working on. Let your child know about your likes and dislikes in almost any area – weather, your city/state, favorite food, your favorite bible verse or something special about God.

 The important thing is to write often. Short, frequent notes, cards and web letters are best. Sometimes when sponsors first begin writing they feel they need to write long and newsy letters. However, we’ve learned that it is the “personal touch” of a letter that counts and not its length. It is the frequency of the correspondence that tells your child that you care – far better than any words you can write.

 You cannot sent toys or clothing, but here is a list of items you may send:

  * Postcards

 * Bookmarks

* Small writing tablets

* Cartoon band aids. The children will wear them even if they do not have a cut.

* Stickers (they will stick them on anything and anybody)

* Sports trading cards

* Construction paper

* Wrapping paper (folded to 8.5 x 11)

* Gift Bags (please cut off the handles)

* Calendars (no spiral binding)

* Magazine pages

* Small posters (folded to 8.5″x 11″)

* Cancelled stamps

* Pages from coloring books

* Music/singing or recordable greeting cards

 Especially valued by the children are photographs of their sponsors and their sponsor’s family, including pets! Children can never get enough pictures and will continually ask for more. It’s best to avoid pictures that may reflect a higher lifestyle, so focus on fun outside pictures of your family outings. If you are writing your letter online, it’s very easy to upload your photos and add them to your web letter. The letter writing wizard tool will walk you through the steps. 

I’d love to hear what you all think of this? Do you find it to be an exciting opportunity? Do you have any questions about it?