I love to write, I had time to write another letter on a regular basis, and I wanted to help another child one way or another, but there was no way we could pick up another financal sponsorship back then.
The idea behind this program is that financal sponsors who don't want to write or aren't able to write, can ask Compassion to sign them up for a correspondence Sponsor. For Compassion, it's important that the children receive letters, that they get told how special they are and that someone cares for them.
So, about five weeks after I started sponsoring Citlali through Compassion Deutschland, I contacted Compassion International to sign up for the correspondence program. (I did contact Compassion Deutschland as well, but they told me that it would take months until I got a child - honestly it took two years. But that is great, because obviously there aren't many kids on the waiting list that need a correspondence sponsor.)
Only a few days after I contacted them I received an email letting me know that they had assigned Genet to me.
My little girl lives with her grandparents in the Sounthwest of Nazareth/Ethiopia. Both her parents are alive but divorced and don't live with her. Genet doesn't have any siblings. Her family duties are running errands and cleaning. Genet loves to play with dolls, enjoys group games with her friends and likes to play house.
She doesn't write her own letters yet and all of them are form letters where she (or most likely a project worker) just has to tick off the correct answer.
I once received a prayer request from Genet that stood out from the others. She asked me to pray for her to be wise and nice.
Here are a few more quotes from her letters:
"She thanked for you are willing to support her."
"I love you."
"Thank you about your letters."
"I received your letter. Thank you so much."
The more letters I wrote to Citlali and Genet, the more I realized just how much fun it is to write them. I always looked forward for my next 'letter writing day'. In late summer 2012 I asked to be put back on the waiting list to get another correspondence child.
Like the first time, I didn't ask for a specific age, gender or country, I simply had the feeling I would be matched with the right child. In October 2012 I welcomed Maryuri from Colombia to my Compassion family.
I sent her an introduction letter right away. I told her where I live, about my family and my hobbies.
More or less patiently I waited for her first letter, and when I got it, I knew instantly it was the start of a wonderful relationship.
This first letter was written with the help of a tutor and it was full of information. I learned that she wants to meet a dolphin and to play in the snow. Someday, when she's grown up, she wants to help her mother and buy a house for her. I was told that she and her mother live in a house with her aunts, uncles and cousins, that she visits the project with her cousin Liseth and that she receives help with her homework.
In the letter I was asked a lot of questions: how old I was, where I live, what I like to do and if I study. The most important question for Maryuri was if I could send her a photo;obviously she hadn't received my first letter yet. She also made sure I knew that she wanted us to become great friends.
To the day her letters overflow with information and kind words. She is for sure a talented letter writer.
And now I will share my favorite quotes from her letters:
"I would like to visit the city of Bogotá because my dad and little brother live there."
"When I grow up I want to be a nurse because I want to help other people."
"I thank you for your letters and support because I am happy learning that you are well."
"My mom is proud of me."
"I want to thank you for being so special with me."
"The gesture you for me of making that beautiful book about dolphins was so beautiful." (note: I sent her the book for her birthday 2013)
"I would like you to pray that Good will give him (her cousin who has problems in school) so much intelligence so he can get good grades too."
"I'm happy to know you think of me."
Over the past two years I have slowly taken up a few more correspondence sponsorships - one at a time, when I felt the urge to ask. Today I have 11 kids - Citlali and ten correspondence children.
To introduce the other eight kids in this post as well would be too much. I will leave that for a later date. But one thing is for sure, being able to have all of them in my life is a blessing.