‘I Love Letters From My Sponsor’

By Donna Atola, Kenya Field Communications Specialist

A sponsored girl in Kenya shares the joy and encouragement that comes with each letter she receives from her sponsor.

Jessica lives with her parents and four siblings in Lokwii, a small village in Turkana East community in Kenya. In 2007, when Jessica was 3, she was registered into OneChild’s program, then called Mission of Mercy.

Her mother had heard that children were being registered for sponsorship, and she took little Jessica for registration at the Hope Center.

Jessica has received many letters over the years from her sponsor, Cheryl.

Jessica’s family, like most families living in poverty in the area, was going through a hard time because Turkana is a dry area in Kenya and rarely gets any rain.

Because of the intense heat and dryness in the area, most families depend on livestock farming of goats, sheep, and camels for survival.

But when drought hits this already arid area, the pastures dry up, water becomes scarce, and families experience hunger.

Most families in this community survive on one meal a day; some go days without meals during drought seasons.

So, when OneChild offered to sponsor children in Turkana East community, Jessica’s family breathed a sigh of relief with the hope it would bring the family.

Strengthening Trust in Christ

Jessica, now 16, enjoys attending the program at Lokwii Hope Center because of the meals offered, the clothing given, and the many gifts she and the other children receive for Christmas and during birthdays.

She also loves to study and play with her friends. She says her teachers at the center made learning enjoyable and also taught her about Jesus and the Bible.

“I used to look forward to Saturdays because that was and still is a special day in life,” says Jessica. “Saturday is the day I get to attend program at the Hope Center, and it brings a lot of joy with it. I enjoyed meals, clothes, gifts, and playing with my friends at the Hope Center.”

“I also got to better my studies because the teachers at my Hope Center teach with a lot of love, and they understand us individually. We also attend spiritual sessions, which has helped strengthen my trust in Christ.”

Jessica has come to appreciate the effort that her mother made to ensure she never missed attending sessions at her Hope Center. Her years of attending activities at the center gave her hope for the future.

Jessica, the second-born in a family of five, wants to become a doctor when she grows up. She says her encouragement comes from her sponsor, Cheryl, who has never missed writing her a letter.

Jessica, alongside her mother, shows some of the letters she has received over the years from her sponsor.

Messages of Encouragement

For the years that she has been sponsored at OneChild, Jessica received 14 letters from her sponsor. She says she is confident that her sponsor loves her beyond measure, and this has over time greatly encouraged her.

“What more could I ask of my sponsor?” Jessica says. “She sends a lot of letters, and this great channel of communication has allowed me to know so much about her and her country. I feel like we are united, and the barrier of time and distance is always covered by the letters.”

According to Jessica, her sponsor sends sweet messages of encouragement and love, which has kept her going even in hard times.

“Most children just like me never had hope in life,” says Jessica. “But these letters make a huge difference in encouraging us and giving us hope. It means a lot to a child when they receive a letter from their sponsor.”

“I cannot imagine how it feels like to miss a letter because I have never missed receiving a letter.”

Jessica treasures the letters. She stores them in a metallic box in her small house.

“Even after I graduate from the program, I will forever keep these letters safe, because they hold memories of hope, love, life, mercy and truth,” Jessica says. “Memories that I will forever treasure.”

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