In the comments of the last post, Melanie asked what kinds of things I put in a letter to Greyci so that my letters aren’t always the same. It’s so easy to fall into a boring pattern of writing the same thing in every letter. I know I’m guilty of repeating myself. I became aware of my dull letters about a month ago. I sat to respond to her latest letter when I realized that I was just writing the same thing…again.
Thank you for the sweet letter and drawing. The Wiggins family is doing well. We are enjoying the summer season. Is it cold in Peru? I’m so happy to know you got new shoes! I hope you are doing well. I’m glad you can be a part of the Compassion project. I hope you are learning about Jesus and how much He loves you. We are praying for you and your family. We love you, L—.”
Or something like that.
In an effort to write better letters, I’ve written Greyci three times in the last month (I think), either through the website or regular mail. Here are a few tips that have helped me (at least I think my letters are improving):
1. Keep your child’s letters. I hope you have been keeping your child’s letters. Just as it’s important to keep special letters and cards from my biological children, it’s important to me to keep letters from Greyci (and soon Isima’s letters). Before writing, I re-read the last letter we received. This gives me some ideas. For instance, in Greyci’s last letter to us, she mentioned my birthday. She wanted to know if I did anything special to celebrate my birthday. Even though it was well over a month ago, I could still answer that question. Looking back over all of her letters to us this past year, she almost always asks us a question or two about our lives. I answer her questions and then ask her a few. After all, she’s the only friend I have in Peru; I don’t know what it’s like to live in her village. Oh, and I tell her where I placed the drawing or picture she sent to us.
2. Send pictures. Greyci has mentioned how much she likes the photos we’ve sent to her. I may be wrong, but I’m thinking that she doesn’t see very many people as white as we. She also enjoys receiving…
3. Drawings. Greyci seems to be especially interested in our pets. And if there is one thing my children enjoy drawing, it’s pictures of our cats. They create stories of our cats. (My boys also enjoy drawing castle battle scenes, but Compassion asks to not send any pictures or drawings that depict war.) From time to time, instead of hearing from boring ol’ me again, I’ll ask my kids to write letters and draw something for Greyci. I’m sure she feels more of a connection to them since they are closer to her age.
4. Write about daily activities. Last week, I sent a letter because Greyci came to mind while I was brushing my teeth. So, I wrote about brushing my teeth and praying for her. I’ve written about gardening, cooking, and washing dishes.
5. Tell a story. This is similar to the 4th tip, however, “Tell a story” can also include things in the past. My children enjoy hearing about things from my childhood and Karl’s childhood. I bet Greyci would enjoy stories like that, too.
6. Share favorites. Greyci always asks about a favorite _______. She has asked us about foods and animals. One thing I plan to share in my next letter is a favorite Bible verse. I haven’t always included a lot of scripture in my letters to her, but I’m going to start. Her parents and siblings will be reading these letters, too. It’s just another opportunity to read God’s Word together.
7. If it fits in the flat envelope (and is appropriate), send it. Hannah has some sticker sheets she is saving for Greyci. They will fit in the envelope, and Greyci will be so tickled to have stickers. I hope they make her smile (we have two pictures of Greyci and she is not smiling in either of them — the empty look in her eyes makes my heart hurt). Her tutor writes that Greyci is a happy child, which makes me feel better, but I’d like to see her smile.
8. Write often. Like I said earlier, I’ve written several times in the last month. My thinking is that the more I do it, the better I’ll get. Plus, our bond with Greyci strengthens the more frequently we write. I have read (and seen on Compassion videos) that sponsor letters are among a family’s most prized possessions.
Maybe you have some good ideas. Help me continue the list in the comments!!