|Maria and I at the Advocates Retreat|
Without further ado, please welcome Maria! :)
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Maria Momojara Diamond. I was born in Peru in a very dangerous and poor community but at the age of 7, I became a Compassion sponsored child. God blessed me through this ministry not only nurturing my physical body but also my mind and spirit. I was able to strengthen my relationship with God, my family and my friends. The relationship with my sponsors (three different ones) helped me to understand God's love for me. Their letters meant a lot to me and were a source of encouragement and love. I know God used them to bless my life and I am forever thankful to them. Through Compassion, I was able to study at a Language Institute and learn English as a second language. I was 18 years old when I graduated from the Compassion center, and I asked God in prayer to help me find a job so I could sponsor a child one day. I wanted to give what I received; God's love and hope. After few years, I saw God's provision when I was able to get a job at Compassion-Peru as a translator. I loved my work and then, I was able to sponsor my first child. Now, I am married to a wonderful godly man who is also a Compassion sponsor and advocate. We sponsor a total of 9 children and correspond with other 3. We both are committed to share our story and help other children like me to be free from poverty in Jesus' name.
What was your experience with letters as a sponsored child?
During my 3 first years of sponsorship, I did not get letters from my sponsor. I only knew his name and his nationality. It was sad because I still had to write letters because they were mandatory, and I could see the joy every time my friends got a letter from their sponsors. I wanted that so much.
When I was 10, I got a new sponsor, Harriett. Even when she only sponsored me for a year, she wrote me letters and they became so special to me. I remember asking her to pray for my dad's salvation and work opportunities. She wrote me back and said she would do it. That meant the world to me to know that she will join me in prayer to interceed for my dad.
My last sponsors, Amy and Brian sponsored me since I was 11 until the day of my graduation. They wrote me many letters and they made me feel part of their family. They would tell me that they loved me, that they were proud of me, that they were praying for my family and me.
What was your favorite thing to read about in your sponsors' letters?
About my sponsors' lives and country, and their favorite Bible verses.
What was your favorite thing to get with letters?
Pictures and stickers.
Did you have a preference between typed or handwritten letters?
Not really. My last letters were typed but I still liked them, I guess because what I really wanted was to hear from my sponsors.
What advice would you give a sponsor about letter writing?
Write to your kids and share with them what God is teaching you. Kids growing in poverty always face difficulties and temptations and the only thing that will help them is God's Word and presence in their lives. Tell them how much you and God love them. Teach them how important it is to pray to our Heavenly Father and to read and study His Word. Also think about how you were at the age of your sponsored child and give them an advice. Advice about their studies, honoring and respecting their parents, growing in their relationship with God, developing godly friendships, remaining sexually pure, and dreaming for their future. Your words are so powerful.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My participation in the Compassion center blessed me so much. All my friends and I received the same benefits: meals, medical checkups, education, and Christian values; but each one of us had a personal experience with our sponsors. The relationship with my sponsors helped me to dream big in God and be free from poverty.So there you have it- letter writing tips from a formerly sponsored child! You can write your child from your online account HERE.
Maria is on Facebook, and you should totally friend her because she's awesome and probably shares lots of cool stuff (though I am not on FB, so I don't know, but that is how Maria is!). You can find her HERE.