We have been sponsors through Compassion Canada for over two years now. Sponsorship is something I feel strongly about. It's a great opportunity to share with someone who needs a little help. To be in the position to help someone is a blessing.
There are many ways we could help combat poverty and I won't say one way is better than another. I will say that I know Compassion International, Compassion Canada, and all the related Compassion branches have an excellent track record for responsible money management and an open book policy.
Compassion encourages us to write to the children we sponsor. This is one of the best things about being a sponsor. Words of encouragement can mean a great deal. I've really enjoyed assembling packages to send to our sponsored children. The letters we receive back are read and re-read and treasured.
Correspondence is one of the best parts about being a sponsor, but even after two years I still forget the time it takes for a letter to arrive on the other side of the world. Since the package must go through Compassion and the receiving center, it takes a little more time than just a regular letter.
Currently I'm scrambling to get my Christmas letter (and goodies) out on time so it arrives before Christmas (if all things go well). They should be sent out this week for most sponsored children. Compassion recommends counting on a three month time period from when it is mailed to when it reaches the child so we need to be thinking ahead for special days.
Easier said than done.
It's hard to think "Christmas" in September or "Easter" in January.
Recently I made up a simple "Compassion Calendar" to use as a reminder for special days and deadlines so related letters and packages arrive on time. You're welcome to download the following page for your own use.
Compassion Calendar File
This file is being shared through Dropbox. This is the first time I've used it like this.
Let me know if you encounter any problems.
How to use the Compassion Calendar
The Calendar has four categories
The months are listed down the left side. Refer to the current month.
Beside each month is a list of special days in that month. These are days you may want to mention in your letters or use as a theme for special extras.
Next are reminders for preparing your letters and for mailing. There is a four month warning before any month/special day. This will give you an entire month to get something ready for the mail.
The four month prep warning is followed by a reminder for mailing packages and letters. The reminder to mail gives the letter three months to make it to your child.
Looking at the page, January lists New Year's Day, the Twelfth Night and the Epiphany for special days in the month of January.
There is a reminder for May and Mother's Day. You will need to send related items/letters for these days next month if they are to arrive on time. There is one month to prepare them.
The mailing reminder is for April and special days in April. If Easter falls in April, you need to have it mailed off in January to arrive on time.
For this calendar to be most effective I suggest the following:
Good Friday and Easter can fall in either March or April so I didn't include them. At the beginning of the year, check your personal calendar or search online for the dates of those holidays. Do the same for Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) if you want that reminder. Fill them in on the Compassion Calendar in all three sections.
Next, add the birthday of your sponsored child. This is a great occasion to include a special prayer for your child.
Finally, use this site. Find the country of your sponsored child and check for special days unique to their country. Fill in the occasions you want to remember to mention to your sponsored child.
There are a few ways to use this information.
Print off a copy to post by your personal calendar and consult it each month when you change the page.
Transfer the information to your online calendar or phone. Set up reminders on your devices.
Print off a few copies and leave them in areas that will best remind you. This might be your desk, by the phone, in a home management binder, in a folder with other compassion papers, etc.
So there you have it. My version of a Compassion Calendar.
Do you have a method to remember special days and writing deadlines?
Share them in the comments.
I'd love to see what you have to share!