Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Keeping Track of our Compassion Children

With 6 Compassion International children in as many different countries, I’ve developed a way to keep track of their information, letters we’ve sent and letters we’ve received.

For letters we send, I have a Word document that I update everytime I mail something out.  There is a page for each of our children that has a header that contains: Child’s Name, Child’s Number, Country, and birthdate. Each time I write a letter, I type in:the date, a sentence or two that details what topics I wrote about or Bible verse I covered, details about the items I have included. A typical entry would look like this:

6/1/10   letter about hiking & Spring sights, Romans 8:1, soccer stickers, Noah coloring sheet

My goal is to write to each child twice a month, though there have been a couple of months where I only got one round of letters out.  I keep track of every letter we send for a few reasons.  One, it helps me keep tabs on what I’ve talked about and items I’ve sent.  Two, it helps me to get a feel for about how long a letter takes to travel from here to the child. When I get a reply that refers to a specific item, I can check the date it was written and get a round about idea of travel time.

For letters we receive, we have a binder.  For now, letters from all of our children are in one binder.  In a few months I may move letters from Precious, who writes the most often, into her own binder.  The binder is divided into sections for each child. The first page in each section is a piece of paper where I keep track of info such as: Name, birthdate, specific location within their country, average monthly income, family member’s names and ages, favorites (colors, foods, whatever they’ve shared), type of home, prayer requests, financial gifts we’ve sent and what was bought, etc.

When we get a letter from one of our children, I write the date received on the top right hand side and punch holes in it. I keep it next to the computer until I’ve emailed a reply to any questions the child asked. Then, I put the letter into the binder in the right section. 

I am not an organized person by nature, so I really have to make an effort to do things like this, but it helps me so much!

On to another subject, we’ve gotten quite a few great books from the library.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Africa and my girls have really enjoyed these treasures this week.

I just love the beautiful illustrations in this book!  This sweet tale gives you a glimpse into the life of the Kenyan people as a young boy is told to take Grandfather’s cows out to pasture.  He becomes distracted and visits several people before he realizes the cows are missing.


In this story, a brother and sister from Ghana are having a tough time sleeping during their first night in America. They find comfort in retelling tales from their homeland about Anansi the trickster.


In this last book, we finally found out about the one symbol we’ve noticed on many letters and items from Ghana.

  Gye Nyame means, “Except God, I fear none.”


Heather said...

Great books! I have them on my list now.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for the organization tips. I actually have a very similar process for keeping track of the the letters I receive, but I always sit down to write and question if I've told them that before or given that verse before....So I will def. take some of your advice about keeping track of what I send. Thanks!

dianaevelyn23 said...

Thank you for this post! It has inspired me to become more committed to writing to our Compassion children and how to keep it organized.

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

I am glad I could help!! :)

kathy55439 said...

Thank you gives me ideas I am afriad I am writing the same stuff...

Kristi Follett said...

I truly had no idea how important it was to write to our Compassion child. Thank you for all of your tips. We got a letter today and it prompted me to write and when I did, I found a comment you'd made on the Compassion website. I cannot wait to organize the letters we have from our child from the past 5 years. I cannot wait to begin sending treasures to our boy in Ethiopia. I thank God that you are so dilligent. You have no idea how you are making a difference in lives.

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Kristi, thanks for the comment! You made my day!

Sharon said...

Hi Michelle, I'm wondering now, has the way you organize your children's letters changed now that there are 12 of them? Are you still able to keep them all in one binder? I have 6 kids now and am looking for ways to store all those lovely letters in a way that's efficient and won't take up too much space.

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