• How do I send a letter?

There are two ways to send letters. The easiest way is to send a Hope Note. Use our secure portal and email a letter to your sponsored child. The letter will be reviewed by our U.S. team as well as our Zambian team and when approved it will be printed in Zambia and given to your sponsored child. You are also encouraged to send handwritten letters and a small package when on of our teams visit on a summer mission trip. Information about these letters and gifts is given prior to the trip.
• Can I send a package?
Yes, packages can be sent along with summer mission teams (see answer above). We do not ask sponsors to send packages apart from those described above for a variety of reasons: it is best if children receive similar items and in similar amounts to maintain the best family atmosphere as possible at Living Hope; Living Hope is obligated to know what each child receives for their protection and to protect the ministry of Living Hope; Living Hope is committed to being good stewards of the responsibility God has given us, so we will err on the side of caution. We love the generosity of our sponsors and will do our best to enable you to give in the best ways possible.
• What can I send to my sponsored child?
You can upload an additional page to accompany your Hope Note. This page could a photo, a collage of photos, a hand-written note from your child. Whatever you can put on page to scan and upload, you could send.

When packages are delivered by our mission teams, instructions are given with more detail regarding what to send.
• Why do letters take so long?
Using the Hope Note portal, your sponsored child should receive their letter within a week or two. The letter must be reviewed by both U.S. leadership and Zambian leadership to ensure it is appropriate and safe. Also, email is not used as immediately in Zambia as it is in the States so there may be a slight delay before the Zambian leaders are able to approve the letter and print it out. We are excited about the Hope Note and believe it will provide a safe, efficient method to communicate with your sponsored child.
• Will I receive confirmation my sponsored child gets my letter?
Currently, we are unable to give confirmation of your sponsored child receiving your letter. You can be confident the letter is delivered unless we respond with recommendations on changing it.

• Can I email my sponsored child?
You can send a message through email using the Hope Note portal. We ask that sponsors not contact their sponsored children outside of authorized Living Hope methods.
• What should I write about? Is there anything I shouldn’t write about?
Please visit Tips For Writing a Hope Note.
• What topics should I avoid?
Remember the purpose of your letter is to encourage, affirm and inspire your sponsored child in Jesus’ name. All correspondence, photos and materials must be age-appropriate, culturally-sensitive and ministry-appropriate.

Please keep the following in mind:
    o Avoid discussing the material aspects of your life. Mentioning the size of your home, the kind of car you drive,
        etc. only accentuates the economic difference between you and your sponsored child.
    o Don’t send photos of your possessions.
    o Don’t share your home address, email address or telephone number.
    o Avoid colloquialisms and slang.
    o Don’t suggest your sponsored child should come to U.S. or imply that is your desire.
    o Don’t include photos picturing or referring to potentially harmful products such as alcoholic beverages,
        tobacco products, unlawful drugs or guns.
    o Avoid references to sexuality, living in an unmarried cohabitation or same-sex relationship.
          - Living Hope is responsible to raise the children of Living Hope according to Biblical and cultural standards. It is
          not the role of the sponsor to discuss sexuality with their sponsored child.
• Can I ask my sponsored child about his/her faith in Christ?
Sponsors are welcome to encourage their sponsored child in their Christian faith. Living Hope children are part of a local church and are taught Biblical Christianity. You are encouraged to converse with your sponsored child about his/her faith.
• How do I convey personal issues like death or divorce to my sponsored child?
Speak honestly and openly in age-appropriate terms and avoid euphemisms that are not always clear to someone in another culture. Being open and honest can enable your sponsored child to be open with you as well, but don’t be surprised if your sponsored child does not comment on personal issues.
• How do I ask personal questions, like those related to health or family, without offending the child?
Discussing personal issues requires great sensitivity, particularly when communicating through letters and across cultures, and when the questions deal with health matters, which can often carry strong cultural stigmas.

Whether or not you should ask a question depends on your relationship with the child and the nature of the question. If you are uncertain, please consider delaying the question until you have built a stronger relationship with the child or have a better understanding of the culture.

Invite your child into a deeply personal relationship by modeling trust and honesty. Share with your child first. Allow him or her to see your courage and to take the first step.

Remember you have a role as a mentor. Show your sponsored child you care by being patient, open, inviting and, most important, involved.
• How do I write to my sponsored child?
The best way to write to your child is by sending a Hope Note.
• Can I write directly to my child?
Sponsors are asked to use only approved methods of communication.
     o This ensures the safety of the children of Living Hope
     o It also protects the ministry of Living Hope
• Can I connect with my child through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, or other social media?
Living Hope wants you to have the best relationship possible with your sponsored child. We seek to foster this relationship by encouraging letters and providing opportunity to visit. We understand that our modern world provides many other opportunities to communicate with your sponsored child.

As technology rapidly develops and influences how we communicate, we regularly consider how to best use modern methods of communication and their effects.

If you are contacted by your sponsored child outside of Living Hope’s approved communication methods (e.g. by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), please don’t respond, and please let us know about the contact at info@livinghopeinternational.org

Living Hope is responsible for protecting your sponsored child and all the children of Living Hope. To avoid the possibilities of extortion or deception by those who seek to manipulate a child’s sponsor or Living Hope for personal gain, Living Hope is vigilant regarding communication between our children and their sponsors.

We cannot protect your privacy or your sponsored child if we are not involved in the correspondence. Being involved in the correspondence process also allows us to help you navigate cross-cultural sensitivities and avoid inadvertently writing something inappropriate or offensive to the child.

While it may seem easier to speak with your child directly through Facebook, and we know letter writing can seem difficult, we appreciate your willingness to respect our communication policies in the best interest of your sponsored child. Thank you.
• How often should I write?
You may write as often as you like to your sponsored child. A monthly letter is probably a good goal. Don’t be discouraged, if your sponsored child does not write as often as you.
• Can I send photographs to my child?
We recommend you send a picture to your sponsored child. When you send a Hope Note, you can upload an additional page. This additional page could include a photo or several photos (as long as you fit them on one page).

Remember to avoid sending photos that accentuate the economic differences between you and your sponsored child (home, cars, boats, vacations, etc.). Be aware of what is in the photo’s background, as well.

If you happen to send a photo that is considered inappropriate, you will be notified with and explanation of why the photo was not delivered.
• Do you have any suggestions for increasing the chance that my questions get answered?
To make questions clear you may:
    o Number the questions (1,2,3…).
    o Highlight the questions.
    o Keep the questions short and simple.
• Why can’t I include my address, email address or phone number in my letter?
Living Hope takes information security very serious. Sharing your personal contact information can put your and your sponsored child at risk.

Protecting personal information is necessary to keep our children as safe as possible. This is why we facilitate and monitor and the correspondence process.
• What should I expect from the letters I receive?
Please do not expect a pen-pal relationship. You play a special role in the life of your sponsored child and your letters will communicate your care for him/her. Your sponsored child is blessed by the ministry of Living Hope, but their life is still very different than life in the U.S.

Sometimes the letters you receive will be because your sponsored child wrote as part of a Living Hope exercise. Don’t be upset if a letter seems impersonal or formal. Cultural differences may also cause your sponsored child’s letters to seem overly pious or grateful.
• Are my letters really that important?
Yes, your letters are very important. The children of Living Hope have experienced hunger, illness, death and loss. These experiences can lead your sponsored child to believe they don’t matter. Your letter is another way to express the love of God to your sponsored child and to show them how much they do matter.
• Why is my child’s name spelled in different ways?
Your sponsored child lives in a culture that is very oral and is often lacking in written documentation. The spelling of your sponsored child’s name is not as important to the child as it is to you. There are even occasions when not only the spelling changes, but the name changes. Living Hope may be told a child’s name only to discover they prefer a different name.
• Why was my letter not delivered?
It is vitally important that all correspondence be child-appropriate, culturally-sensitive and ministry-appropriate supporting the Christian faith of Living Hope.

Living Hope reserves the right to decline to deliver any letters, photos or materials we decide are incompatible with our ministry, including but not limited to the following:
    o Items opposing a Christian worldview
    o Anything that could threaten the safety of the child in any way
    o Depictions or descriptions of the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, unlawful
       drugs or materials or activities that we regard as dangerous
    o Photos or images of persons dressed immodestly
    o References to sexuality, unmarried cohabitation or same-sex partnership

Living Hope does not believe it is the sponsor’s role to discuss issues of sexuality with their sponsored child. That is the role and responsibility of the U.S. leadership of Living Hope in conjunction with the Zambian leadership of Living Hope.