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Spreading Smiles: How Your Messages and Gifts Change Lives

By MOHI on Feb 16, 2024 6:42:10 AM

Hear from our staff how your messages and gifts bring joy and transform lives at MOHI.

Engaging with your sponsored child through messages and gifts is a beautiful way to illuminate their world with love, hope, and a sense of belonging. When you reach out, you're not just sending a letter or a package; you're bridging hearts across miles, creating a bond that nurtures confidence, joy, and motivation in a child's life.

Today, we're excited to offer you a special glimpse into the hearts and minds of our MOHI staff, some of whom were once sponsored children themselves. They've seen first-hand how exchanging messages and sending gifts can light up a child's face, encourage them to dream big, and improve their quality of life.

Before we share their stories, let’s take a quick look at some of the reasons sponsors like you choose to send messages and even gifts to these children.

Why send messages or gifts to your sponsored child?

Your sponsorship is doing so much to transform the life of your sponsored child. You’re helping to provide an excellent Christian education, nutritious food, medical care, and the opportunity to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. But, an exciting aspect of child sponsorship is that it also allows you to make an impact beyond your monthly financial support. Here’s what happens when you take the time to engage through messages or provide through a gift:

  • It brings you closer to them: Regular chats and thoughtful gifts don’t just cross oceans; they bridge hearts. The more you share, the faster you’ll feel that connection grow, turning sponsors and sponsored children into extended family members. Each message makes students feel that sponsors are closer and more reachable, making the miles disappear.
  • It spreads joy and excitement: Messages and gifts spark immense joy, making children feel special and deeply loved with every thoughtful gesture.
  • It boosts motivation: Personal messages inspire students to excel in school and pursue interests, boosting their motivation and educational engagement. Your encouragement is like a personal cheer squad for your sponsored child.
  • It builds self-worth and confidence: The care shown through sponsorship boosts children’s confidence, helping them realize their value and potential.
  • It’s an additional way to improve their quality of life: Gifts like food baskets and bedding help meet practical needs and improve children's living conditions, offering comfort and relief.
  • It helps our staff increase their connection with the student: Every question you ask and every story you share opens a window for our Child Sponsorship Officers into your sponsored child's world. This two-way street of communication lets our team get to know each child’s unique story, helping us to better serve and support the child.
  • It helps children understand the wider world: Exchanging stories and cultural insights gives students a better sense of the world beyond their neighborhood, helping them learn about new cultures and dream bigger. 

Stories of hope from MOHI staff

While we've shared the incredible benefits of sending messages and gifts to sponsored children, there's something uniquely powerful about hearing from those who experience the student reactions firsthand. Each day, MOHI’s Child Sponsorship Officers relay messages and deliver gifts to students and are able to witness the joy and transformation these acts of kindness bring. Additionally, some of our staff were once sponsored children in the MOHI program, and can speak to their own personal experience of interacting with their sponsors.

A Window to the World: Lynn's Story from Korogocho Nyayo

DSC03872 (1)For six years, Lynn Andeso has bridged worlds, delivering messages and gifts to students at Korogocho Nyayo from their distant sponsors. These messages do more than just brighten a child’s day; they open windows to different cultures and celebrations—like Thanksgiving, a holiday unfamiliar in Kenya but brought to life through sponsors' descriptions.

This connection fosters a deep sense of belonging and acceptance, showing children that someone far away cares deeply for them, eagerly awaits their news, and keeps them in their prayers. The anticipation of receiving a reply is a source of excitement and joy for the children, enhancing their sense of worth and encouraging their educational journey.

Lynn recalls the story of a student named Christopher, who was not consistently attending school due to issues at home. Christopher had a sponsor, but they had never reached out to him. When his sponsor finally connected with him, they asked about his life, family, hobbies, and even shared pictures of their own family.

Christopher was overjoyed, realizing that someone he had never met cared about him. He shared his passion for drawing with his sponsor, who loved his paintings and would encourage him to keep drawing. His sponsors also sent him a bedding set and a food basket. This gesture brought great happiness to Christopher and his family.

The personal attention and care from a sponsor not only filled Christopher with joy but also reignited his commitment to school, showcasing the profound impact of personal messages.

The Impact of Food Baskets: Rose's Experience at Bondeni Center

DSC03899 (1)At Bondeni Center, Rose Mumbua witnesses the daily joys and transformations sparked by sponsor communications. The simple act of receiving a message or a gift ignites excitement among the children, with pictures from sponsors offering them a vivid peek into life across the globe.

Living in a slum is challenging, with food scarcity being a constant concern. The joy that the food baskets bring to the students is immeasurable. “They express their gratitude by hugging me each time, understanding that the food provided ensures their family can eat.” says Rose.

"When visitors come to our center and ask what they can do for a family, I encourage them to give a food basket. The food basket can sustain a family for a while, and it goes a long way." 

Not only do the food baskets make a significant impact, but so do the essential packs containing underwear, socks, vests, and tights to wear under their uniforms. These items boost their confidence, allowing them to look and feel good. 

The hygiene packs, which include towels, are also impactful. Not all children have the luxury of owning their own towel, so having one that belongs to them personally means a great deal. Receiving these items makes the children feel cared for and loved.

Moments of Joy: Dennis's Reflections from Pangani Center

DSC03647"Messages connect our students to their sponsor," says Dennis, a MOHI alumnus now serving as a social worker at our Pangani school. During his student days, communications with his sponsors went through snail mail, which took a long time to arrive, and sometimes gifts would get lost in transit.

However, he has witnessed a transformation, as current students can now communicate back and forth with their sponsors faster than before through digital platforms like MOHI’s mobile app. "They can share what's going on in their lives and express their feelings. They also love the pictures that sponsors send, providing them a glimpse into life in America."

Many times, these messages from sponsors serve as a significant source of encouragement for our students, reinforcing the knowledge that someone out there cares deeply for them. It's so impactful that you'll find printouts of these messages posted on the walls throughout their homes.

Dennis recalls a particular student who received a pack of Superman stickers. The excitement was palpable, as the student adorned everything (from books to friends) with these stickers.

Food baskets also generate immense enthusiasm, with one of the items being wheat flour used to make Chapatis — a Kenyan flatbread made from wheat. Dennis highlights the students' love for Chapatis, sharing how they would eagerly tell all their friends in the community when they were making Chapatis for dinner.

The Power of a Connection: Henry's Insights as a Child Sponsorship Officer

DSC04007Henry Muturi, another MOHI alumnus and current Child Sponsorship Officer, also sees the direct impact of communications through the MOHI app. This platform has allowed students to foster closer relationships with their sponsors, sharing updates and milestones in their lives. Communications between the students and their sponsors provide a unique opportunity for our students to genuinely connect with those who support them.

Henry sometimes feels a bit envious of the current students. While he had to wait long periods of time to hear back from his sponsor, the current students can build a relationship faster than ever before.

He has observed the students' eagerness to learn about their sponsors' lives, such as when they have a new baby, get married, or experience holiday celebrations like Christmas. The students appreciate the encouragement and prayers sent by their sponsors. It provides comfort, knowing that someone is praying for them and cares about their challenges. This mutual care builds a strong connection; our students care for their sponsors just as much as their sponsors care for them.

Gifts also play an important role. When visiting centers in remote areas, Henry recalls the excitement of the students lingering around the gifts, hopeful that their sponsors have sent them something. The joy on their faces when they receive food baskets or bedding packs is heartwarming, and many times, the children are surprised that the gifts are just for them.

Celebrating Milestones: Johnson's Memories of Special Deliveries

DSC03920Johnson Okwako remembers delivering a birthday cake to a seventh-grade student, who was overjoyed as it marked the first time in her life celebrating her birthday. This shows the profound personal impact of sponsors' gestures: the student felt valued and loved, and it was made clear that she was worth celebrating.

These seemingly small gestures have a profound impact. As messages and gifts are delivered, our students feel a genuine sense of love and value. Johnson remembers a student saying "My sponsor loves me so much; they send me gifts and messages. I'd like to say thank you."

These interactions establish strong bonds between the students and their sponsors. They share aspects of their relationships with Jesus, serving as a source of spiritual development and encouragement for our students.

In many cases, the gifts provided to the students are tailored to their individual needs, which can significantly boost their confidence. They can wear brand new uniforms for instance, coming to school looking “smart.” This attention to their needs goes a long way in supporting their overall well-being.

Johnson has seen how these personal touches, whether through messages, gifts, or gestures like birthday cakes, foster a deep sense of connection and gratitude between students and their sponsors. 

You’re bringing smiles with every message and gift

DSC03937Our staff witness daily the transformative impact of children’s connections with sponsors like you. They see firsthand how quick digital exchanges and thoughtful gifts can light up a child's face, encourage them to dream big, and improve their quality of life.

This is something sponsors like you are doing every day through the love of Christ. Your involvement brings not just immediate joy but fosters lasting relationships that empower children to pursue their dreams with confidence. Let's keep making a difference together, one message, one gift at a time. 

Interested in sending a message or a gift?

If you’re interested in sending your sponsored child a message or a gift, but aren’t sure what options you have, please visit our webpage on sending messages and gifts where we explain the different ways to send messages and gifts.

If you’re not sure what to say, or what to send, we have you covered there too! Please check out our resources on what can I say in my message or letter to my sponsored child? as well as what small items can I mail to my sponsored child?