A Letter Brought Us Together

Story and photos by Kalis Parra, Dominican Republic Field Communications Specialist

When a sponsor meets her sponsored child in the Dominican Republic for the first time, they immediately form a connection that transcends the distance between their countries. It’s a connection that started with a letter.

Emely formed an immediate connection with her sponsored child Luz because of all the letters they had written to each other.

Sponsorship goes beyond supporting a child living in poverty and providing for some of their needs.

It is a relational opportunity.

It means becoming part of the life of a child who daily faces the reality of living in a hopeless and poverty-stricken environment.

It means reminding them that they are not alone, that they matter, that there’s hope for them, and that they have people who believe in them.

Emely Gray recently sponsored a 6-year-old girl named Luz in the Dominican Republic.

She heard about OneChild at her church service and immediately fell in love with the vision of the nonprofit organization.

Emely began writing letters to Luz.

In March 2022, her church visited the country on a mission trip, and Emely went along.

And that’s when she met Luz and immediately formed a connection with her.

“What made me want to sponsor was knowing that I can have a sister in Christ who is in need of help,” Emely says.

“For me, building a relationship with Luz is so valuable. It is not just a one-way relationship. That specifically is why OneChild stuck out, because I love how relationally oriented the organization is with the letters and with the partnership with our church.”

Meeting Luz was very meaningful for Emely.

“It’s been so special,” she says. “The first time we met, a Child Champion that was there told us it’s OK, you both can hug each other, both of you are real. Just because it is easy to forget that this is a real child that you are impacting, and I am somebody that Luz is impacting.

Luz does a little coloring at her Hope Center.

“It’s not just that I came and fell in love with this little girl, and I don’t know when I’ll ever talk to her or see her again. It is so sweet that I know that I’m going home but I can continue writing her letters and we get to stay in contact with each other, and next time I come I get to see she’s grown.”

Luz, too, was thrilled to meet her sponsor.

“I am so happy I met her,” Luz says. “I love her so much and I want her to be my friend forever. I will miss [her].”

The little girl enjoys her time at her Hope Center.

“My favorite thing about my Hope Center is that I can talk to God,” she says. “My dream is to be a doctor so I can save lives.”

Visiting your sponsored children is an incredible opportunity to get to know more about the life you are impacting.

It gives you a glimpse of their everyday life. You get to know more about the culture and environment they live in, the food they eat, the weather they experience, the Child Champions that take care of them, and the things they learn.

Also, you get to learn more about their personalities, their needs, the things they like, and what their dreams are for the future.

“I think it is sweet to understand the culture where she is, meeting her family members, seeing where she lives, getting to experience her personality and the things she enjoys,” Emely says.

“Those are things that I will take home with me. After seeing her environment and how she has showed me in a very tangible way the power of sponsoring at both ends, knowing and seeing exactly where your membership and money goes to and the people who are encouraging and teaching them is a blessing.

“I can’t wait to see all the places God will lead you,” Emely says of Luz.

“I want everyone to know about OneChild and the incredible impact it is making in this community and the world. By giving just a little, you get to impact a life that can totally transform a whole community.”

This is exactly why sponsorship is so important.

We believe that by supporting one child and helping them to believe and understand that their dreams are possible, that there’s so much more than just the reality they are facing right now, we can transform a life and with that life an entire community.

And this transformation begins with a letter you write to your sponsored child.

“I want to encourage all sponsors to keep writing to their sponsored children,” Emely says.

“Writing to your child makes them feel seen, loved, and heard. And they know that there’s somebody across the world praying for them and longing to seeing them, somebody that celebrates with them in their joy and cries with them in their sorrow.

“Establishing that relationship of trust, it feels like you’re giving much more than $39 [each month]. It goes beyond that – you are making a positive impact in a child’s life.”

Emely adds, “For me, getting to see Luz in person is beautiful … She loves me even more than I can deserve.

“Dear Luz, my prayer for you as you grow older is that you continue to walk with confidence and assurance of who you are in Jesus and your identity in Christ and not in what somebody might say of you,” Emely says of her sponsored child. “You carry so much wisdom, you will be a blessing for so many. I can’t wait to see all the places God will lead you.”

Make a difference in the life of a child living in poverty through sponsorship.

Watch as Wanda meets her sponsored boy in Zimbabwe and tears of joy flow:


Help this story grow:

We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.

Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)