Gifts

May I Write to the One I Sponsor?

Most missionaries and needy children don't read and write in English. Receiving letters and sending letters in English means precious funds have to be expended in paying persons who can do adequate translations.

Many of the indigenous mission groups have only limited headquarters facilities or staff. In some instances the only office equipment may be a portable typewriter. The demands of the ministry are heavy and time consuming. Handling correspondence from sponsors increases the administrative detail, using time that could be used in actual ministry. Some mission groups hire persons specifically to handle such communications, translations, getting the correspondence to the right person, and preparing and mailing the return correspondence. This adds to the administrative expense and the amount that is available for actual support is diminished.

There are missionaries serving in remote areas where mail service is almost non-existent, like places in Nepal where you ride a bus to the end of the line, then walk several days over the mountains to reach the village.

It is also costly to send mail overseas (currently $1.00 per ounce), an amount that may be easy for a sponsor to provide, but postage may be difficult for the sponsored one (or the mission group providing care/supervision).

In some areas, receiving mail from the U.S. can put the recipient under suspicion, especially if he/she is in a country hostile to Christianity. The missionary may become suspect of being an agent for the CIA, or be accused of being a Christian because he is paid to be one by "the white man's religion." In some countries mail is routinely opened, read and /or discarded by those in the postal system. There are countries where Christian Aid has sponsorships, where even the reports from the missionaries have to be hand carried out of the country to protect them from government inspection.

Within a ministry, and particularly among sponsored children, receiving of mail, packages, etc., can bring challenges to a ministry. While one or more individuals are blessed with special items, others who receive nothing feel distressed and neglected.

Typically persons in nations of poverty see the United States as being fabulously wealthy. Their perception is that all they need to do is make their needs known, and you can meet those needs out of your abundance. When the name and address of the sponsor is known, there is a temptation to seek assistance / help that can be overwhelming and burdensome to the sponsor. Some missionaries and children have even requested that they be brought to the U.S. for schooling, for example. There are instances where a compassionate sponsor has agreed to such a request, not comprehending the extent of financial and legal responsibility involved.

When a sponsored person writes directly to the sponsor, there is no check and balance to assure that the needs presented or ministry details claimed are valid. When the communication (reports) from the sponsored person come through the indigenous mission, the integrity of the report rests upon the leadership of that ministry.

SC: WEBCAM