It wasn’t a profound letter. It wasn’t even terribly interesting, to be honest. She basically just listed every event her church has had for the last quarter. “On Dec 8th we celebrated Christmas, On 1st January we had celebrated the new years day, on 26th Jan we had celebrated republic day…”. No descriptions of the festivities, just a listing of them.
But still, I stared at the letter, and marveled at the fact that this young woman in India wrote this thing to me on March 21st, and now I was holding it in my hand.
And I spent a long time studying her text. I study Shila’s handwriting more than any of my other Compassion kids. It’s so precise and round and pretty.
I also got a letter from Compassion recently telling me that Shila would be graduating from the program this year and encouraging me to write to her even more in her remaining months. I knew this would happen. I specifically chose Shila because she was the oldest girl listed in India on Compassion’s site. I’ve never gotten a picture from her other than the one listed in her profile, and she’s never shared anything life changing with me about her life.
But I can only hope that, when describing me, she has a different story. I hope that the letters, and pictures, and scriptures, and stories I’ve sent to her have made a positive and lasting influence on her existence.
I did not know this when first sponsoring her, but I’ve since read that the maximum entry age into a Compassion Project is 11. So every child above that age that you see available for sponsorship has been dropped by a previous sponsor. Possibly many. I don’t know Shila’s sponsorship past (although if you contact Compassion, they will give you a brief history on your child). So I don’t know how many sponsors have dropped sponsorship of her, or how few letter’s she may have received from a less than committed sponsor as a younger child.
All I know is that at the age of 19, we became “Aunty and Uncle” to the girl without a smile. The oldest girl in the program. I hope our faithfulness to Shila has meant something to her and helped ground her for the hard life ahead of her still. It’s an odd feeling knowing one day soon we wont’ be able to correspond with her anymore. That we won’t know the end of her story. But I’m thankful for the part we’ve been able to play in it.
Are you sponsoring a child yet through Compassion? If you’ll really commit to letter writing, to the community of other sponsors online, and to the wealth of knowledge out there to make your sponsorship experience special – it can really change your life.