Thursday, July 5, 2012

“Do you have a letter for me?”

Bill Griffin is a member of the Northwest Regional Board. He and his wife, Cathy, have sponsored their Godson, Erick, for 14 years. They both volunteer locally for Friends and have hosted pequeños from NPH in their home a number of times. Bill was inspired to write this blog post by the many sponsors who tell him they have never written to their Godchildren because they don’t know what to write. 

Can you take a few minutes and write a letter to make your Godchild very happy? 

Our Godchild, Erick, from Honduras, was just 10 years old. He could barely read or write. How were we supposed to write a letter to him? 

So we sent a short letter about our kids and dog. A few months passed and we received a very simple drawing, signed “Erick.” So we wrote back thanking him for his drawing, asking about his life at the Ranch. We also sent a picture of his photo mounted on our refrigerator, so that he knew he was part of our family. A few months later, we received another drawing with some words. We did not understand how important these letters were to Erick – that some strangers really cared about him. We treasure his first “art/letters” to us. 

We began to receive his report cards. He was struggling with life and school. Our next letters told him how proud and excited we were because he was working so hard, even though those math and English classes were really tough. We started asking all kinds of questions about his life and interests: about school, how many classes each day? Does he play soccer? Like music? Any special ceremonies, birthdays, holidays – how did they celebrate? What chores did he have to do? 

After a few years, Erick’s letters started to get a little longer, although he didn’t feel any real urge to use spaces, capitals or periods. It was a challenge for the translators. 

We try to send photos or some funny animal picture along with our letters. Photos would be of just the family eating, or kids hanging out together or maybe some sights around the area or the local school, or the dog, etc. 

We would always try to explain how he is part of our life: his picture on the refrigerator, saying “Good Morning” to him while getting ready for the day, letting him know that family, friends and neighbors are asking about how he was doing, etc. Erick took woodworking classes and also has some artistic abilities. He tells us about his projects. He has become a leader and is a very good example for the kids because he understands where they are coming from. 

Last year, Erick took off a wooden cross that he had carved and always wore and gave it to one of the Friends of the Orphans staff [who visited the Ranch] to give to us. Recently, he was having some girlfriend problems and asked us for advice on how to handle it! 

No, we have never met Erick in person, but it just shows how important your letters and caring can be. Even if you have never written, write a letter today. 

Your letters to them are like long-distance hugs! 

Just ask about their daily lives. Tell them about your lives. Ask them to write to you because you really treasure their letters. 

1 comment:

  1. Bill,

    I want to thank you for this - Over the last year we have talked about writing our sponsor and thought about the "perfect" things to say to her and so forth. Sad to admit, the letters were never written. I am quickly reminded by your post on the immense impact we can have with only a few words. It doesn’t have to be perfect just authentic. Your sharing inspired me to actually write our first letter and many more to come. Again Thank you, Chris Hartinger also a member of the Northwest Regional Board


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.