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Ever come face to face with a benchmark of your own self-involvement? I just did. I've been the sponsor of Elis Samuel, a fourth grader in the Dominican Republic, since May of 1999. In all that time, I haven't once written him a letter. Not once. I have a stack of the letters he's written to me; it's tall and full of love. Me, I just write the monthly check (and since automatic withdrawal, not even that). Every time I get a letter, I put "Write to Elis Samuel" on my to do list. And I never do it.

This time, I did it. Got a letter from him with a handmader paper Christmas ornament enclosed. His letter was very sweet as well, but this portion woke me up:
I want you to write me and send some pictures to know how you are and to meet you. Sometimes I feel sad because many of my friends from Compassion receive letters and pictures from their sponsors but not me. I hope in God you receive this letter and you write me back.
Nothing like breaking a kid's heart to drive a point home.

The letter is written and sealed, complete with pictures of me and my nephew (he-who-cannot-be-resisted). In addition to telling him about me and asking questions about his life, I apologized and asked him to forgive me. It's only right.

And the to-do list item, most recently from August, has at long last been crossed off. Thank you, Lord, for melting my selfish heart for a moment.


I don't write to my little Yhoe from Bolivia nearly enough either.

I was in the DR once and one of the girls with me had a child that her family sponsored through Compassion that lived in the Dominican Republic and one of their workers drove this kid about 70 miles across the country to meet his sponser. I think it's awesome how important that sponser/child relationship is to them.