Have you thought about what makes a gift a great gift? With Christmas approaching, we all will be making those difficult choices and hopefully be buying our loved ones good gifts.

Some of our child sponsors also want to brighten the Christmas of their sponsored child, and on occasion will mail them a token of their affection to remind them that despite the distance, they are loved. Lately, I have been thinking about what a good gift would look like for a sponsored child.

Young Mercy, in Liberia, will get a notebook and a stuffed animal bought at the dollar store by her Canadian sponsor. Mercy lives with 22 other young girls in a house in the middle of the jungle in Liberia. This is a remote location, where there is no hydro or internet. If the children had remained in their own villages, at the very least, they would have been vulnerable to diseases and would remain illiterate. In order for these girls to continue their education, they live at the girl’s home.  Because these girls are living in extreme poverty, they are at higher risk of becoming pregnant at a young age too.

Mercy’s new notebook and stuffed animal are lovely gifts. The fact that her sponsor thought about her and wanted to bless her with a Christmas gift is truly wonderful. It would be an easy choice for any of us to make for our sponsored children.

Our sponsored children live in really basic living conditions. Although our children’s everyday needs are provided for, there are not a lot of frills for the majority of our ministries and the children that reside in these homes. Their surrounding communities are struggling to survive just as much as our children’s homes.

What if we changed the way that we thought about gift-giving for our sponsored children?  What if we took the $5 we spent on the notebook and bear, the $2 for the gift wrap, the $5-$10 for the postage and gave the same amount as a donation.  A contribution to the ministry for them to purchase enough presents for all the children at the home, something that raises their standard of living just a little bit. And in turn, the home supports the businesses in their area, so that the struggles of others are lessened by the financial support.

So, what if those who feel led to give Christmas gifts, gave towards a Christmas fund for the girl’s home? With all the contributions together, the House Manager, Selina would be able to plan a Christmas party for the girls. She would travel to town to purchase flour and other ingredients for the special event. She would purchase ALL the girls a new blanket, a luxury item in their current situation, that the ministry and the children would otherwise not be able to afford. Although this gift might not look like an exciting Christmas gift to us, it would be very useful and needed, and it would provide a boost to all of their spirits and bring them joy.

This potential alternative makes sure that no girl is left out and feeling sad because her sponsor didn’t send a Christmas gift. The small businesses in town are grateful for the influx to their businesses. Their increase in sales helps them to provide for their own families. Your gift could potentially change the lives of a number of people within a poverty-stricken area, just by giving a gift to your sponsored child.

Please know that I’ve been thinking about how to help my own sponsored child and I wanted to share what I’ve been realizing my own journey as a sponsor. I don’t want to discourage you from blessing your sponsored child with a Christmas gift.  I just wanted to provide a potential alternative that could not only improve your child’s conditions but that of their community too.

This Christmas I invite you to consider what giving a good gift would look like for those you want to bless with a reminder of your love and care for them. If you are considering blessing your sponsored child, please consider giving a gift that will be meaningful not only to your sponsored child but potentially to so many more people too. A gift that will bless other children at the home, empower local businesses, and continue to help us in building more sustainable communities around the Globe.

Your ongoing support for your child is very much appreciated! You are impacting their lives, in their present and their future, in ways you will never be able to fully realize.  

I pray that God blesses you and your family as we move closer to Christmas. Thank you for letting me talk to you about what could have been a very sensitive issue.  Many thanks for your taking the time to read this missive.


Yalexis Barr
Sponsorship Coordinator