Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Manna 4 Lempira Correspondence (in the Age of Covid)


Feeding hungry people isn’t the only aspect of Manna 4 Lempira’s mission that was complicated by COVID-19 restrictions. Child sponsors love to get letters from their sponsored children. Sponsored children love to get letters from their sponsors. But that is intensely complicated at the moment because the kids aren’t meeting in a central location. When they are not working in the fields they are in their homes. There is no way to get the word out that it’s time to write letters. There is no fast way to deliver letters from sponsors. In short, it’s kind of a logistical nightmare now, but that doesn’t mean that progress isn’t being made. Things are definitely more “Pony Express” than “Post Office,” but it’s still progress. 

In the Manna 4 Lempira locations (Mercedes, Tablon, Betania, and Quelacasque), pastors and Sunday school teachers have been putting the word out and delivering writing paper to have the children write letters. Since the pandemic began, Manna 4 Lempira has succeeded in getting letters from most of the children, but there simply isn’t a way to track down 1400 kids. When Kim finally began receiving back folders filled with letters from children, she expected to see one form letter per child. But many of the kids have written two or three letters throughout quarantine. They have not forgotten their sponsors! 

In their letters, most of the children are commenting on the emergency food they have received, stating that they were worried about food, but then the pastor came and delivered food and visited with them, and it really helped. Every child has commented about how much they miss attending church, Sunday school, or school. (Read to the end to find some excerpts from three letters from sponsored children!)

There are also letters coming in from the sponsors. Since no one is flying into the country (and the normally unreliable postal service is currently shut down), there is no way to deliver physical letters from sponsors. Because of that, Manna 4 Lempira sponsors have been asked to email their bi-monthly letters. This isn’t ideal, but let’s all take a moment to contemplate the marvel we call the world wide web. Even if you can’t send gifts and photos, sponsors are still able to tell their children that they love them and they’re praying for them. 

Each emailed letter from sponsors and each physical letter from children must be translated. This is more time consuming than you might imagine. The day before we spoke, Kim spent eight hours just getting the sponsors’ names on the letters from the children. When the teachers aren’t there to remind the children to put their sponsor’s name and their sponsorship number on the letter, it usually doesn’t get done. 

As promised, here are a few of the letters that have been received from children. These are typical of letters from any of our sponsorship centers, and it puts all of our inconveniences in perspective!

Letter 1:

I hope that you are doing well and you are healthy alongside of your family. Many thanks for the backpack that you sent to me. It is very beautiful. The things that you sent me are very beautiful. I wish you many blessings in the name of Jesus. I feel very thankful for all that you’ve sent me. I like to play with the dolls, jump rope, and I like the color of clothes that you sent me.

I wish that you have a very happy Easter. I hope you eat a lot of fish and cake.

Many thanks for all the things that you sent me. They are very beautiful. I really like the books and the letters you sent me. I love you very much.

Letter 2:

A letter of thanks for the backpack. I am thankful for the backpack that you gave me. I feel very happy with what you sent me. All the things in my backpack are very beautiful. Many thanks for all that you give me. 

Here is how I am spending the quarantine. Here it is difficult because the school is closed and we cannot receive classes. I feel sad because I can’t go to school.

Here are some of the difficult things about the quarantine. It is difficult to buy. Everything is expensive. We worry in the kitchen for food that there will be nothing to eat.

Here are some blessings from God during the quarantine. We are always receiving blessings. We are always receiving bags of food. They (meaning the pastor, the Halls, and Sowers4pastors) are giving us food to eat.

We pray for you so that God will protect you wherever you go. We pray for you.

Letter 3:

I feel so happy for the letters that you sent me. They are very beautiful for the words that you write to me. Every day I miss you so much. I love you. I tell you that I’m not going to school but I am doing the assignments that my teacher sends me. I feel very happy for all that you’ve given me. They are many blessings. I feel so proud to have a sponsor who is so beautiful like you are and who is so kind to me. May God bless you my beautiful sponsor. I love you so much. God is love.

 - posted by Christi

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