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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Fik has sucessfully transferred

I looked at my MyCompassion page tonight. I didn't really expect any changes. As far as I know CompassionUK don't work at weekends and the 'view correspondence' has never been updated on mine, despite recently receiving letters.

I was therefore very happy to find Fik on my account. He managed to transfer over from the US website from where I sponsored him very quickly.

It means I'll be able to send out my Christmas e-cards and Christmas gift fund money for all my children now.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Milda has sucessfully transferred

I logged onto MyCompassion this evening and found that Milda had transferred safely from the US website and onto my CompassionUK account. The process only took ten days. It's a big relief as I have heard of children going 'missing' when transferring across and eventually ending up with a different sponsor. I've got to wait for Fik to transfer over as well before I can totally rest easily. I sponsored him a few days after Milda, so hopefully he'll appear next week.

Milda's birthday is on November 17th. She will be 19 this year. I sent her birthday gift over tonight. I also sent her a birthday e-card. I tried to insert a picture of all her co-sponsors that was taken on Tuesday. I don't know if it worked or not though, it claimed it added it, but was refusing to show me the normal card preview. I didn't really know what to write in the e-card. We are writing the first letter on Tuesday as a group. I don't know if that will get to her before the birthday e-card and whether she will know and understand that she is being co-sponsored. In the end I went with:
All of your sponsors want to wish you a very happy birthday Milda.

We hope that you are well and happy. You are a beautiful young woman and you are important to us. Never forget that you are special to us and you are special to God. We are pleased to be able to sponsor you and send you lots of love. We hope that you enjoy attending your Compassion project and we are looking forward to learning more about you and your life.

We pray for you, your family and your Compassion project.
From all of your loving sponsors.

Numbers 6:24-26 God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper.

Second letter from Roses this week

I got another letter from Roses today, just two days after his last one :)

It's an undated response letter. He thanks me for writing and mentions lots of paper. I assume that is the paper aeroplane kit I sent him in March. He also mentions an animation card, I think that is the 3D movable picture bookmark I sent to him. I really like the bookmarks, you can get them from lots of places and they are so much more interesting to send than a normal paper bookmark. He says he shared the paper gifts with his brother and sister. He also received the starfish poem letter as he writes about the starfish story.

None of my letters that have arrived recently are appearing on MyCompassion. I can see the ones from mid-August and before, but no recent ones have appeared. I hope they do update them eventually as it is an excellent resource. I keep all my children's letters in a folder, but sometime's it is easier to re-read them online. I don't know if other CompassionUK sponsors are having the same problem?

Letter from Beatriz

I got a letter from Beatriz today :)

It was written in July and she answered questions from many of my letters. He brother is called Victor. Her birthday is May 22nd and not March as she mentioned a couple of times. It is cold where she lives.

She also asked me many questions: favourite colour? favourite food? how I am doing at work?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Letter from Roses

I got my fourth letter from Roses today :)

It's a thank you for the birthday gift I sent him. I think I sent £10. With it he bought:
  • T-shirt
  • Pants
  • Kerchief

Monday, 24 September 2012

Getting ready for the Christmas package mailing

It's that time of the year again when Compassion sponsors start thinking about Christmas in earnest. The Christmas gift fund emails have gone out to all sponsors and I've got about a month left to donate to the gift fund and send my e-cards to my children online.

I'm also busy getting ready all the paper gifts to go in their Christmas packages I'll be sending out in early October. For my 7 sponsored children (Sunita, Beatriz, Ladan, Roses, Jayner, Joselyn and Fik) I've so far managed to find the following for each of them:
A Christmas nativity sticker scene book. Available here from Amazon.
A press out and make nativity scene. Available here from Amazon.
A Christmas nativity sticker scene. Available here from Tattoos4Kids.
Some happy birthday Jesus stickers. Available here from Tattoos4Kids.

Each child also has a personalised Christmas card from Moonpig or MarksandSpencersPersonalised:
For Ladan, Jayner and Fik.
For Beatriz, Sunita and Joselyn.
For Roses.
For Milda. I ordered a larger card so that all her co-sponsors can sign it.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Welcome Fik

Sometimes OurCompassion can be a bad influence I think. I popped on there to find a post about Fik from Indonesia. Being hard of hearing myself I couldn't help adding him to my list of sponsored children. Now I just need to wait patiently for a couple of weeks before he transfers over to my CompassionUK account.

Name: Fik
Birthday: April 30, 2008
Age: 4
Gender: Male
Region: Asia
Country: Indonesia
Program: Ikthus Baru Student Center

Personal and Family Information:
Fik lives with his father and his mother. His father is sometimes employed as a farmer and his mother is sometimes employed as a farmer. Fik works at home running errands. There are 2 children in the family.

As part of Compassion's ministry, Fik participates in church activities. He is also in kindergarten where his performance is average. Soccer is his favorite activity.

Fik has partial hearing loss. Please pray for him and be assured that your sponsorship helps him to live a fulfilled life.

Fik lives in the coastal community of Ngalo-Ngalo Baru, home to approximately 4,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement floors, brick walls and tin roofs. The regional diet consists of bananas, cassava and rice.

A common health problem in this area is malaria. Most adults in Ngalo-Ngalo Baru work as subsistence farmers and earn the equivalent of $78 per month. This community has electricity and clean water but needs libraries, qualified teachers, income-generating skills and reliable public transportation.

Your sponsorship allows the staff of Ikthus Baru Student Center to provide Fik with Bible studies, nutritious food, medical checkups, sports, music instrument classes, scholastic materials, English classes and computer courses. The center staff will also provide worship services, health and hygiene education and child protection workshops for the parents or guardians of Fik.

Indonesia consists of 17,000 islands along the equator between Australia and Asia. The larger islands have central mountain ranges and fertile plains and lowlands. The climate is tropical with a rainy season from October to April.

The country squeezes a population nearly the size of the United States into a landmass roughly triple the size of Texas; it has the fourth largest population in the world. Indonesia is also a diverse nation with many resources. More than 300 languages are spoken but the most common is Bahasa Indonesia. Islam claims 90 percent of Indonesians; however, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and animism are also practiced.

When Columbus sailed from Spain in 1492, he sought a new route to the Spice Islands of Indonesia. The Portuguese arrived in the sixteenth century but in 1602 the Dutch began slowly gaining control of the islands. Following Japanese occupation during World War II, the country, led by Sukarno, proclaimed independence in 1945. Suharto ousted Sukarno in 1967 and held the presidency of the military-controlled republic until 1998, when a collapsing economy fueled riots and demands for reforms. In 2001, the country elected a female leader, President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Welcome Milda

I attend a small group attached to my church and we've been looking at poverty this month. We've been doing the No Ceiling to Hope DVD course. I've been adding a Compassion section to the end of each session. No-one wanted to sponsor any of the Compassion Sunday children I had packets for (though one is thinking about it). Instead the group decided to co-sponsor an older child. There were none on the UK website tonight, so we've picked to sponsor 18 year-old Milda from Indonesia through Michelle's link at Blogging from the Boonies from the US site instead.

Name: Milda Fariyanti
Birthday: November 17, 1993
Age: 18
Gender: Female
Region: Asia
Country: Indonesia
Program: Eliezer Student Center

Personal and Family Information:
Milda makes her home with her father and her mother. Washing clothes, making beds and cleaning are her household duties. Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home. Milda is not presently attending school. Playing a musical instrument, listening to music and reading are her favorite activities. She also attends youth group regularly. Because of your sponsorship, Milda will have new opportunities to learn and grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. Thank you for your concern and prayers.

Milda lives in the coastal community of Phailus, home to approximately 15,100 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement floors, wood walls and tile roofs. The most commonly spoken languages are Indonesian and Javanese.
The regional diet consists of fish and rice. Common health problems in this area include dysentery, tuberculosis, lung problems and skin diseases. Half of the adults in Phailus are unemployed but some work as fishermen or day labourers and earn the equivalent of $11 per month. This community has electricity but need affordable education and vocational centres.

Your sponsorship allows the staff of Eliezer Student Center to provide Milda with Bible teaching, nutritious meals, vitamins, medical exams, health instruction, opportunities for community service, field trip, tuition, school equipment, tutoring and vocational training. The center staff will also provide educational seminars for the parents or guardians of Milda.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Paralympic letters

I got the chance to go to London this weekend to see the Paralympic games. This was the theme for this fortnight's letters to my kids. I handwrote all the letters inside these colourful notecards I found in the local supermarket.

Roses got a press out and make cactus, a small history activity booklet and some more Bible study pages. Jayner got an animal colouring a sticker book. Joselyn got a Winnie the Pooh colouring book. Sunita and Beatriz got press out and make woodland scenes. Ladan got a small maths activity book and a small shapes, sorting and writing activity book.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Five new Compassion children's packages have arrived

I opened the post today to find another five children's profiles fall out. I don't know if I got sent them because I sponsored Joselyn and Jayner or whether I got sent them because it is getting closer to Compassion Sunday. I don't think there's any way I can get five children sponsored though. I will be adding the Compassion Sunday talk into the new study we are doing in my small group. But I don't think there's enough members to be interested in sponsoring that many children. I'll hand them out to as many people as I can over the next month though.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

More letters for my kids

I didn't have a particular theme for this fortnight's letters to my kids. I just wrote some general news about what was happening in my life. Again they were handwritten on decorated notecards.

Sunita and Beatriz got flower themed notecards; Jayner and Joselyn got beach themed notecards. All four children got a woodland themed sticker scene and colouring book. Roses and Ladan got sock monkey themed notecards. Ladan got pages from a Cars magazine. Roses got an activity booklet and some more Bible study pages.

Sunita and Beatriz also got replies to their recent letters on Compassion writing paper.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Two letters from Sunita

Two letters from Sunita today :)
Both letters have the same date and arrived in the same envelope. One letter is a form letter about her house. The message section on this is left blank and the message is written on the separate sheet. She's drawn me a picture of her house. Her letter tells me it is rainy season now (it's written in July so will be the monsoon season where she lives). It also tells me a little bit more about her project.

Letter from Beatriz

I received a letter from Beatriz :)

She takes me for the photo scrapbook I sent her and talks about my job. She is taking lots of tests at school and wants me to know she is doing well. She asked me lots of questions about my family.

It was written in early April, so has taken four and a half months to get to me. Letters from Beatriz aways seem to take a while to reach me.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Letter from Sunita

I got a letter from Sunita today :)

It thanks me for the letters and the paper gifts I sent to her. It tells me that she has her summer vacation soon. It also says she reads the Bible and goes to Church every Sunday.

Olympic letters

I spent the weekend at my parents' house. On Saturday I travelled to London to watch the Olympic Race Walk events. This was the theme of my letters to my kids this fortnight. I handwrote the letters onto notecards. Like last time I used printed paper to decorate the blank pages.

Sunita and Roses got glittery butterfly notecards and animal stickers. Joselyn and Jayner got Wallace and Gromit notecards and colouring books. Ladan got a 'if I travelled the world from end to end, I would not find a better friend' notecard and some cards big colouring posters and 4 mini cars jigsaws made out of thin cardboard. Roses got the same world notecard, a Dr Frankenstein anatomy book and some more Bible study pages.

Sunita also got a separate letter on Compassion stationary thanking her for her recent letter.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Welcome Jayner and Joselyn

I've given in and sponsored the two children CompassionUK sent me packets for. I've not succeeded in finding any other sponsors over the past four weeks. I get a pay rise in late September, so that should cover their sponsorships from then on.

Name: Jayner David Gonzalez Laguna
Gender: Male
Age: 9
Date of Birth: 03/04/2003
Project: Hijos de Abraham Student Center
Country: Nicaragua

About Jayner David Gonzalez Laguna:
Jayner lives under the care of his parents. His home duties include running errands. There are 2 children in the family. For fun Jayner likes playing football, cycling, playing house, playing hide and seek, playing with toy cars, playing volleyball, running, playing ping pong and playing ball games. He attends Sunday school & church regularly. He attends school where his performance is above average. Please remember Jayner in your prayers. Your love and support will help him to receive the assistance he needs to grow and develop.

About Hijos de Abraham Student Center:
Your sponsored child lives on the plains of Barrio Jerónimo López and Nagarote, home to approximately 38,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, cement walls and corrugated iron roofs. The regional diet consists of maize, beans, plantains, rice and fish. Common health problems in this area include malnutrition, diarrhea, flu, coughs, parasites and respiratory diseases. Most adults work as street vendors and earn the equivalent of $111 per month. These communities have water, telephone service and electricity but needs school supplies, libraries, clothes, shoes and employment opportunities. Your sponsorship allows the staff of Hijos de Abraham Student Center to provide your sponsored child with Christian education, Bibles, medical checkups, health education, special celebrations, field trips handicraft training and academic tutoring. The center staff will also provide evangelism classes and meetings for the parents or guardians of your sponsored child.

Name: Joselyn Estefany Gonzalez Nerio
Gender: Female
Age: 9
Date of Birth: 01/04/2003
Project: Josué Child Development Center
Country: El Salvador

About Joselyn Estefany Gonzalez Nerio:
Joselyn lives under the care of her parents. Her home duties include running errands, making beds and cleaning. There are 2 children in the family. For fun Joselyn likes playing house, playing cards and drawing. She attends Sunday school & church, Bible class and Vacation Bible School regularly. She attends school where her performance is average. Please remember Joselyn in your prayers. Your love and support will help her to receive the assistance she needs to grow and develop.

About Josué Child Development Center:
Project: ES-720 Josué Child Development Centre Location: Juayúa, 19 km north of Sonsonate, El Salvador Your sponsored child lives in the forested community of Juayúa, home to approximately 8,000 residents. Typical houses are constructed of dirt floors, adobe walls and corrugated iron roofs. The most commonly spoken language is Spanish. The regional diet consists of maize, beans and rice. Common health problems in this area include bronchitis and flu. Most adults in Juayúa are unemployed but some work as labourers and earn the equivalent of $57 per month. This community needs water, electricity and employment opportunities. Your sponsorship allows the staff of Josué Child Development Centre to provide your sponsored child with Bible teaching, medical and dental checkups, birthday celebrations, literacy training, school supplies and English and computer, music and English classes. In addition, non-schooled children receive developmental activities. The centre staff will also provide meetings and parents' school for the parents or guardians of your sponsored child.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Letter from Ladan

Today I got my second letter from Ladan :)

It's in English again, and although he is only five Ladan has made an attempt to write the answers to the questions himself. Someone has helpfully corrected his spelling. It's good to see that although he is still so young and in Class 1 still that his writing is becoming easily readable already.

The letter is all about his project. He goes one day a week. The message thanks me for the paper gifts I sent to him. I drew me some pictures again and coloured them in as well this time.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Summer job letters

I finished teaching at school for the summer. I've had 2 weeks 'off' now. In fact I spent 3 days setting up my classroom for next year and I've spent 6 days in my new summer job. I'm working a summer day camp. The beginning of my summer was the theme for this set of letter, which I handwrote in flowery or landscape notecards. I printed pictures out to stick on the blank and back pages of the notecards, so that ever page was decorated.

Sunita and Beatriz both got rose themed notecards, these I got free through the post from the British Heart Foundation. Beatriz also got a matching bookmark. Both girls got colouring pages and animal posters pulled out of magazines. They also got sticky note pads that came free on the front of the magazines.

Joselyn got a princess paper doll, Roses got a Winnie the Pooh activity book and some more Bible study pages, Ladan got a phonics magazine and Jayner got a funny animal faces sticker and colouring book.

Roses and Ladan also got notes on Compassion stationary replying to the recent letters I received.

Again this package went out late, which is why it included Joselyn and Jayner.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Letter from Roses

I got another letter from Roses :)

It was thanking me for his birthday paper gifts that I sent to him. He says that he likes to play cricket with his friends. He thanks me for sending him Jeremiah 29:11, he writes, "Thank you for writing the beauitful verse from Jeremiah 29:11 yes God has a special purpose for my life to give you as my sponsor."

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message) - I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Olympics are coming letters

I got a bit behind in my letter sending, so two of my July letters got sent to the kids in the same package. Both were Olympic themed, so it worked out well. The Olympics and Paralympics are coming to London in August and September.

The first letter was a picture scrapbook letter about the Olympic torch. It passed though Leicester recently and I was able to go and see the torch relay. The second letter was a general letter about what the Olympics are all about and my excitment at getting tickets to go to London to see the Race Walk events on 11th August.

In the package I also included: a make you own origami olympic rings kit for each child, olympic sport colouring  pictures and a design and make your own olympic torch craft activity. For Ladan and Roses I also further included information on the Olympics as they write in English.

These packages went out late, so they also included first letters and about you sponsor picture scrapbooks for Jayner and Joselyn.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Compassion Sunday

I'm part of a small group for people in their 20s and 30s that is attached to my church. I'm always on the lookout for small group activities that we can use in our studies. Back in March we looked at Live :58 that I got sent through a Compassion link. Following that one of my friends went on to sponsor a baby through Compassion's Child Survival Program (UK sponsors can sponsor babies from 1+). Compassion sent me an email about their Compassion Sunday materials this year, which in theory had resources for small groups.

My pack arrived recently. It's the standard stand up and present video and talk at your church about the work Compassion do and tell everyone about your sponsored kids. I'm not sure it's much use as a small group resource on it's own, but I'll try and find some way to link the DVD clips into our studies later on in the year.

Compassion also sent me two child packets, in order for me to find sponsors for the two children. I'm not sure exactly why they did this as: I'm not an advocat (unless you get signed up automatically if you request the Compassion Sunday resources), I didn't actually request child packages, if they are for the Compassion Sunday talk that is due to be completed in September and the epiry date for the packages is in early August. Once I've got over the shock at them falling out of the envelope, then I'll set about trying to find sponsors for them.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Letter from Roses

Today I got my second letter from Roses :)

He asked me lots of questions about myself and my family. He also says he will be spending his summer vacation at his grandmother's house.

I love the way he ignores the separate sections of the pages and just writes his letter on the lines the way he wants to.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Footprints letter

A couple of months ago I prepared a Footprints poem themed letter. I also picked up some Footprints bookmarks up at Spring Harvest a few weeks ago. I sent out both along with: another Jonah Bible sticker scene booklet for Ladan, more pages of the Bible study guide for Roses, and Winnie the Pooh sticker and colouring books for Sunita and Beatriz.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Handwritten letters to my kids

I recently went to the Big Church Day Out weekend. It's a weekend long music festival held in the British countryside each year. I went with a friend and we stayed with my parents who live a few miles from the field where it is held.

I bought cards at the festival and wrote my kids handwritten notes about the festival and my visit to my family. Sunita and Beatriz also got a paper doll and some princess outfits out of one of the books I bought the other week, Ladan got a David and Goliath sticker story book and Roses got the first part of a children's bible study guide.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Letter from Sunita

I got a My Project form letter from Sunita. It tells me: she walks to her project, she goes to her project 6 mornings a week, her best friend is also called Sunita, her favourite project activities and a typical project meal.
She also drew me a papaya and a pomegranate.
There is a short note telling me she is learning a lot at the project and that she is keeping me in her prayers.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

You are special letters

The theme for this set of letters to my kids was you are special. I designed this a few weeks ago after finding the idea off the OurCompassion website. I also included a postcard telling the kids about the school residential trip I just went on with the six and seven year-olds at my school.

I included the last of the fairy sticker scene book for Sunita, British birds colouring pages for Roses, colouring pages for Ladan and a Me to You bear colouring book for Beatriz.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Letter from Roses

I received my first letter from Roses today :)

He has written it himself and it is in English.  It tells me about his family and his favourite activities. He has one brother and one sister and lives with his parents. He's got beautiful handwriting and the grammar and spelling are fantastic for an eleven year-old.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Alton Towers letters

This fortnight's letter theme was all about Alton Towers, the theme park near my home. I've got an annual pass, so I go frequently and I draft many of my kids letters whilst sunbathing in the garden.

Each child got the letter (on printed paper showing images of the park), a postcard, a laminated bookmark of the park where the pictures move as you rotate the bookmark, a park map, a cardboard make your own rollercoaster and a picture of me and some friends with the Ice Age characters.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Letter from Ladan

I got my first letter from Ladan today :)

It is written in English and searching on Google it appears Enlgish is the national language of Uganda. I will write to Ladan and check he understands English, there's so many more paper gifts I can send him if he does.

The letter tells me about his family and his favourite things. Apparently if he could travel anywhere he would go to Kabale town to see big cars.

The message on the back tells me it is very hot in Uganda at the moment and they need prayers for rain.

He's also had a go at drawing me some pictures. Helpfully they've labelled what they are meant to be, though teaching 5 year-olds at school I was pleased I could work some of them out for myself.

Letter from Beatriz

I got a letter from Beatriz today :)

I was written in mid-December and thanks me for her Christmas gift. She bought some ballet shoes with the money. They had a Christmas party at her Compassion project. Apparently they made Easter eggs as part of the celebrations. It seems a few months early to me, but she enjoyed attending and they played lot of games as well.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Spring Harvest Letters

I spent the 10th -15th April at Spring Harvest in Skegness. Spring Harvest is a cross-denominational, all age, evangelical Christian conference, teaching and concert event that happens at Easter each year at two of England's seaside holiday camps.

I wrote to my sponsored children to let them know a bit about what we were studying. I got four notelet cards for each child - one for each study day. Each card has a picture and a bible verse that fitted in with that day's theme. I printed off two photos from the week for each child. Sunita also got some more of the fairy sticker scene book. Beatriz also got more of the old house sticker scene book, Roses also got some press out and make vehicles. Ladan also got some pages and stickers out of a magazine.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Letter from Sunita

I received a letter from Sunita. It was written on her behalf by one of her Compassion project's workers. It thanks me for my letter and says she is always learning new things. It mentions a picture, but there wasn't one in the envelope. It's written in English, with the letter on one side and the alphabet on the other side. I'm not sure what the alphabet is there for, it might have something to do with the missing drawing a guess.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Need to avoid book shops, or any shops that sell books

I think I need to avoid going anywhere that sells children's books for at least the next 6 months.

I popped into town with a friend today to buy snacks for Spring harvest and found 3 books.

A giant colouring book that has some great colour pages to tear out and send. A baby animals book, full of puzzles, push out masks, drawing pages and activities (I picked up two of these for the boys). Also a doll dress up book with premade cardboard dolls to dress up and press out clothing and accessories to go with them (I picked up two of these for the girls). For anyone in the UK, the books are available in Aldi for £1.99 each at the moment.

I also found the website of the publishing company that make the colouring book and the excellent press out and make books I found in Tesco a few weeks ago. It's Autumn Children's Books, they've got a great range on their website including Bible stories.

How to prepare a Compassion package

OK first of all some disclaimers. I know the following tutorial is teaching a lot of you something you know. However I don't think a lot of sponsors know this information. If you'd have asked me a few months ago how to send anything with my letter, or how to write on different paper, I wouldn't have been able to help you.

Also it is more important that you write to your sponsored child(ren) regularly, rather than what you include in the parcel. Do not feel you have to wait until you have something to send before you send a letter out. Your child(ren) want to hear from you, the rest is optional.

Compassion have to pay to send the letter halfway around the world. If you include too many extras in each mailing it adds too much to the cost. You might just want to send a colouring sheet or sticker sheet with your letter in between sending bigger parcels. Or even just send the letter on it's own. The pictures below show a lot of extras, as it gives me chance to show how you might package them.

Writing on your own stationary or including paper gifts in your letter is easy when you know how. Here is a step by step photo tutorial of how I sent my latest parcel.

Select your stationary. You can write your letter on any paper or card you like. Just make sure there is enough room for your letter and the translation.

Usually I print my letters on normal printer paper, and add an image template to the paper using my letter.

Today I decided to write using notecards to show my sponsored kids what rural England looks like.

Next check your stationary is the right size. The width dimension needs to be under 8.5 inches or you need to be able to fold it. If you are writing on card it can be difficult to fold. These notecards are easily small enough, so I don't need to worry about folding them smaller.

I used to handwrite all my letters. The problem was I could never remember what I'd written. I now type all my letters so I have a copy of what I've said on my laptop. It seems more impersonal, but with my handwriting it's probably easier for the translators.

If you do type your letter, remember to leave enough space for translation. You may be able to fit a lot in the box using a small font, but the translator has to fit the translation into the space you've left. If necessary I type in a smaller font to half fill my side and give the translator more room.

How to type your letters on a picture background like this will be in a later tutorial.

Next I had to cut out my writing page and my translation page and stick them in the notecard. Alternatively I could have hand written on one page and left the other page blank for translation.

Don't forget to date your letter.

You need to make sure that your letter is clearly labelled with your child's name, your child's reference number and your Compassion reference number. If you do not know any of these you can find them on letters from your child, the writing paper Compassion send you, off your MyCompassion page or by phoning or emailing Compassion.

Some people use stickers. I just wrote the information on the white space on the back on the notecard. If you want to get fancy you can make your own Compassion barcode. but it's really not necessary, Compassion will add one if needed.

Next prepare any gifts for mailing. They must be paper or card and smaller than 8.5 inches x 11 inches. UK people note, this is smaller than our standard paper size! Laminated items are fine. These bookmarks have a plastic coating on the front that allows a 3D moving effect. However the tassels are not acceptable. In order to send the bookmarks I had to remove the tassels. If you don't do this Compassion will cut them off if they spot them, otherwise your letter and all the other sponsors' letters in the same mailing will get held up at customs. Compassion mail items as paper documents only.

I made sure each bookmark, minus tassel, was labeled with the child's name, the child's number and my Compassion reference.

I'd found this paper airplane kit on Amazon to send to Roses.

I opened it up to look at the contents and decide how to send it. I discarded the box. I could have folded it flat to send, but I don't think it will be that useful to Roses and it would be very bulky even flat packed.

The instruction booklet and airplane paper can be sent.

There are staples in the airplane book. According to the US Compassion blog, staples are acceptable.

You need to check the thickness of what you are sending. There's a lot of paper there. Luckily it's thinner than the 0.25 inch thickness limit.

Also check the width of what you are sending. Luckily I think this kit was aimed at the US market. The paper inside is less than 8.5 inches x 11 inches and will not need to be folded. If it was larger and needed folding in half, it would be too thick to send all in one package.

I had to discard the black airplane shape as it was made out of plastic. Paper gifts only can be sent.

You cannot unfortunately send the front covers of any books. One reason is such items may disappear in corrupt countries. Another reason is Compassion mails items as documents, they can therefore have no value.

If you don't rip the cover off, then Compassion will do it. I know, I know, as a teacher I do not like to destroy books,  I shuddered too when doing it! However I want Roses to get it, so the destruction was necessary.

Compassion will not translate books. Make sure you pick one that needs no translation.

Label the sheets of paper. Personally I write the child's name, the child's number and my Compassion reference on every sheet. Others label one sheet and staple or paper clip the lot together. Some people put the items in an envelope or folder and label the front of that.

Collect all the items together with the letter. In this case I've got the letter, the bookmark, the instruction booklet, the stickers and the paper all collected together. At this point it's a good idea to check the thickness again and make sure it is under 0.25 inches. Although I did read somewhere the thickness guidelines was per item, I try to get the whole package under 0.25 inches thick.

Usually I put the items in a thin plastic wallet. This package was too big so I tried paper clipping instead. After they pinged off for about the tenth time, I found a thin plastic sandwich bag and put the whole lot in there.

Rose's package is now ready to go in the envelope.

Next I moved onto Ladan's package. It's his birthday in three months, so it was time to send out his birthday card.

I got this personalised at Moonpig.

As with all letters, I had to leave plenty of room for translation.

I wrote Ladan's name, his number and my Compassion reference on the back of the card.

Ladan likes football. I found this trading cards lying around in my teaching supplies box from a previous topic I taught on the World Cup. I wrote my Compassion reference, Ladan's name and his number on the back of each card and collected them together in a small thin plastic sandwich bag.

I had found this make your own football stadium book for Ladan on Amazon.

I took out the staples and discarded the pages explaining the history of football. Compassion wouldn't translate them all and they aren't important in making the stadium.

I had to keep the cover this time though as the inside cover is a major part of the stadium and it wouldn't work without it. It's precut and thicker carboard, so I couldn't just photocopy a replacement page. I've folded it separately, showing the stadium side and not the cover side. Luckily the cover is smaller than 11 inches x 8.5 inches.

Inside I kept the colouring pages to make the movable characters and scenary for the stadium.

These sheets are smaller than 8.5inches x 11 inches and so could be sent like this. However I don't know if Ladan has easy access to a pair of scissors, so I cut them all out for him.

I folded the tabs on the line to make it easier for him. I've also labelled all the tabs with his name, his number and my Compassion reference

I collected all the pieces together and put them into the envelope that came with his birthday card.

I wrote his name, his number and my Compassion reference on the front of the envelope.

There was another cardboard page in the book. This page did not need cutting out as the pieces push out. However the flaps on these pieces need gluing. As I do not know if Ladan has easy access to glue, I covered these flaps in double sided sticky tape.

I collected together all the stadium pieces, the football trading cards, his birthday card, his bookmark and the letter.

After checking it was less than 0.25 inches thick I slipped everything into a thin plastic wallet to keep it all together.

Ladan's package is now ready to go in the envelope.

I had found this sticker book for Beatriz. It shows an old fashioned house and has furniture and object stickers you can arrange on the room pages. It reminded me of the stately home I went and looked round.

Unfortunately the pages are too big and need to be folded to make the size limits. Anything over 8.5 inches x 11 inches must be folded down.

I had to cut the pages in half, due to the way the rooms were laid out in the book.

I then folded half the pages in half. When folded I can send half the book with this letter and half the book with the next letter I send. Each document needs to be under 0.25 inches thick.

I labelled each of the pages with her name, her number and my compassion reference.

On the main room planner I labelled each room with the date I was sending them. Half the rooms are marked 07/04/2012 and half are marked 21/04/2012.

I collected all the items, the letter, the bookmark and the sticker book. I put the items all together and slipped them inside a plastic wallet.

Beatriz's parcel is now ready to send

I labelled the rest of the pages and folded them ready to go inside the next package.

I had found this fairy sticker book for Sunita. It has 48 pages of backgrounds and 1000- stickers to arrange on the background pages.

First step was to remove the binding of the book so I could remove the pages.

Luckily this book has small pages that easily fall within the 11 inches x 8.5 inches size restrictions.

I found the book was probably best split into three chunks for mailing.

Chunk one has half the background pages and the stickers that go with them.

Chunk two has the other half of the background pages and the stickers that go with them.

Chunk three is extra sticker pages, without matching background pictures.

I then labelled the back of every sticker page with Sunita's name, number and my Compassion reference.

The background pages were easier to label as they were glued securely together. I only had to label the front page of this section.

I collected together the fairy sticker book pages, the bookmark and the letter and slipped them inside a plastic wallet to keep them together

Here are all four letter packages. I mail all my letters in the same envelope. CompassionUK use a freepost mailing address (they pay the postage), so I think it is cheaper for them to receive everything all in one envelope.

Here is the envelope ready to send. If you are not sure of the Compassion address in your country then look on the writing paper Compassion send you, phone Compassion or ask on OurCompassion.

CompassionUK sponsors can just drop their parcel in a post box, you don't even need to vist a post office.