#PenToPaper

#PenToPaper

THE HEART OF LETTER WRITING

 Letter writing is a gift of hope and encouragement, and a reminder to someone that they are thought of, cared about, and prayed for. 

You are a letter from Christ … This “letter” is not written with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not carved on tables of stone, but on human hearts2 Corinthians 3:3 NLT

#PENTOPAPER IS A MINISTRY OF LETTER WRITING

 

“You are a letter from Christ … This “letter” is not written with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not carved on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.” (2 Corinthians 3:3 NLT)

#PenToPaper is a ministry of the heart, because we are the living letters of Jesus, inscribed not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. (The Voice Translation)

God’s love, poured out into us, infuses each word we write in love for the heart of another.

“…be a precious letter from Christ,” wrote Dr. Paul Marquardt, “and take the time to let [someone] know how loved and treasured they are by you, and by the Lord!”

What an encouraging reason to write!

 

“THOUGHT OF, CARED ABOUT, AND PRAYED FOR”

 

It’s not the length of what you write that matters, but the love you pour into your words. Be honest and authentic. Offer a kind word or an encouraging phrase. Share a favorite quote or Bible verse. Include a short prayer. In short, write the words you’d want to receive.

In 1895, Emily Dickinson wrote, “A Letter is a Joy of Earth,” and she’s right. Putting #PenToPaper is a vital and life-giving ministry of hope to both sender and receiver.

 

Studies have shown that letter writing:

  • increases brain development and cognition
  • makes physical wounds heal faster
  • keeps us focused on the present moment
  • improves sleep
  • elevates mood
  • decreases stress and depression
  • increases creativity and critical thinking
  • builds motor memory
  • improves overall well-being

 

In his book, Intimate Letters on Personal Problems, published in 1914, J. R. Miller wrote:

 

“… Go on, my dear friend, in your ministry of letter-writing, and let Christ use your pen in this way for his service. God has given you a big heart—a great fountain of love and sympathy and cheer. Let the streams pour out continually in all directions, to bless the world. Hundreds and thousands of people need encouragement and uplifting. You will scarcely meet one man or one woman … whom you cannot make a little stronger or braver—by saying the right word.”

 

Why not pick up your pen today and pour out a little love, reminding one precious person that they are not alone – that they are thought of, cared about, and prayed for? Your words just might make them a little stronger today or a little braver tonight.

 

PICK UP YOUR PEN AND BEGIN

 

Letters don’t need to be long or beautifully written to make a difference. Just a few words written in love can change the trajectory of someone’s day.

 

WHAT TO WRITE IN A LETTER:

  • A short prayer
  • A favorite Bible verse
  • What your typical day is like
  • An encouraging quote
  • A story of how God has comforted you
  • Your favorite hymn or worship song
  • What you’re reading or learning about right now
  • Your favorite holiday – describe your favorite sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or memory of that holiday
  • Your favorite part of the day or season of the year and why
  • What you enjoy most about your hometown
  • Your biggest challenge right now
  • Something you’d like to do or a hobby you’d like to take up
  • What made you laugh this week

 

WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY

 

And if you honestly don’t know what to say, if you haven’t walked a mile in someone’s shoes, it’s okay to write that too. This letter from Pastor John Piper to the parents of a baby born blind is a beautiful example: Words of Hope for a Baby Born Blind.

“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24 NLT

A PLACE TO BEGIN – IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED

 

There are many good places, but the best is in prayer. Ask God who you could encourage with a note or letter today. When He prompts, start writing.

Need a few ideas? Here are some of our favorites:

 

WRITE TO A LOVED ONE

 

Strengthen relationships with loved ones as you share family news and favorite memories, write about hopes and dreams, pray for one another, and share encouraging Scripture.

 

WRITE TO YOUR SPOUSE

 

Today might be the perfect day to write a love letter to your spouse.

A few quick tips:

  • Share how your spouse has touched your heart.
  • Share what you admire about your spouse.
  • Reaffirm your love and commitment. These are words we can never say enough.
  • Share a favorite memory about your spouse.
  • Write about how a favorite song, quote, movie or food reminds you of your spouse.
  • Write about a funny moment that has turned into a favorite memory.
  • Close with words that mean something to both of you. If you don’t have a phrase you use, maybe today, with this letter, is the day to begin.

 

WRITE TO A MEMBER OF YOUR CHURCH

 

Ask your pastor if there is someone you could encourage with a note. Someone who is:

  • Homebound
  • Recovering from surgery
  • Hospitalized
  • Ill
  • Celebrating a birth or adoption
  • Grieving a loss
  • Lonely or depressed

We need each other. Without even one of us, the Body of Christ is incomplete.

 

WRITE TO A SOLDIER

 

You can write to deployed and active duty military members, new recruits, wounded warriors, caregivers, veterans, and families of the fallen through an organization like Operation We Are Here that:

  • offers practical insights about how to support and encourage those in the military community
  • provides free thank you cards to download, print, and share
  • offers tips on writing letters to deployed military
  • provides free downloads for kids (e.g., coloring pages) to send to deployed military

 

WRITE TO PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS

 

What about writing to a persecuted Christian around the world, reminding them that they are not alone or forgotten, that someone cares and is praying, through organizations like Open Doors USA?

 

WRITE TO ANOTHER WOMAN

 

To Love Ourselves was founded to invite women into a Christ-centered community that builds each other up and encourages collaboration. “We believe that we’re all in this big, beautiful world together and the best thing we can do is pour into one another.”

 

WRITE TO THOSE IN A NURSING HOME

 

Love for the Elderly – Many nursing home residents are lonely, having few local relatives who care for, look after, or love them. Your letter could change that. Founded by Jacob Cramer when he was just thirteen, Love for the Elderly is a five-year-old, non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors with kindness and joy.

Interested in connecting locally? Call a local nursing home and let them know you’re interested in sending a card or letter to someone who seems lonely or down. They’ll be able to get you started.

 

WRITE TO A MISSIONARY

 

Quick Tips

  • Share stories about God’s love and provision, especially in the small things and poignant moments.
  • Ask questions about what they’re learning. Share what you’re learning.
  • Share your story — and ask them about theirs.
  • Remind missionaries that they are loved and that the work they do is needed and appreciated. This helps especially when times are difficult.
  • Share fun news  and photos (ie: engagements, weddings, new babies, adoptions)
  • Include the hard news too (ie: losses, illnesses, deaths)

 

WRITE TO A FOSTER CHILD

 

Braid MissionMany foster children never receive holiday, birthday, or “just because” cards. Braid Mission makes sure they do. Founders Rebecca Edwards and Christopher Chase set out to create a new community built around mission to the foster system. Throughout the year, they send birthday cards to kids ages 6-16, as well as encouragement cards to staff and social workers.

 

WRITE TO A COLLEGE STUDENT

 

Do you know a current college student, niece or nephew, a friend’s, neighbor’s or co-worker’s child, someone from church? Writing to a college student can be such a blessing. Make it fun! Include local news, an update from the neighborhood, a joke, a memory from your own college days, and end with a few words of Scripture, and a prayer for them. These can be a stressful days for a college student. To know someone is thinking about and praying for them can make a big difference, especially for those who are far from home.

 

WRITE A THANK YOU

 

Thank someone who has made a difference in your life: a loved one, pastor, doctor, nurse, teacher, mail carrier, delivery person, neighbor, friend, local business owner, dog groomer, vet, hair stylist, a server at your favorite restaurant, a checker or bagger at your food store, etc. Your note will likely mean more to them than you know.

 

WRITE TO A STRANGER

 

Hannah Brencher founded The World Needs More Love Letters after leaving more than 400 handwritten notes around New York City for strangers to find. The envelopes simply said, “If you find this letter, it’s for you.” Since 2011, letters have been found in 50 states, 73 countries, and on 100 college campuses. More than 250,000 letters have been delivered to people in need across the world.

Letter writing? Does anyone still do that? Letter writing is so powerful because it’s so uncommon. Don’t like letter writing? Can’t do cursive? Send an email or a text. Connect to people with words—like [Apostle] Paul and [Martin] Luther did. Bob Kellemen, Faith Bible Seminary

#PenToPaper Ideas

#PenToPaper is a ministry of the heart: God’s love, poured into us, infuses each word we write to the heart of another. What an encouraging reason to pick up your pen and write!

HOW TO SPEAK HOPE WITH #PENTOPAPER

#PenToPaper is a powerful way to encourage one another, offer hope, and let a friend or loved one know they are prayed for, cared about, and loved.

  • Begin with prayer. Ask God who needs a note of encouragement today.
  • Download and print our free stationery or order one of our Notecard Collections.
  • Write a short prayer or choose one from our free printable, Short Prayers – Note Starters.
  • Include a favorite quote or Bible verse.
  • Tuck a free printable into your note, like Suffering & Joy, Story Matters, or You Are. Visit our Printables page. There are many to choose from!
  • What matters most is that you share your heart, for “You are a letter from Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 Your words carry His love.

Note Starters

Sometimes all we need to get us started are a few words. Include these short prayers in a notecard or email, or send them in a message or text to a friend or loved one.

You Get Mail!

Sign-up to receive inspiring, encouraging (Fun! Free!) #PenToPaper snail mail. And don’t forget to include your birthday so we can celebrate you!

You Get Mail!

ADULTS

We would love to bless you with inspiring images, encouraging words, and the opportunity to share a little #PenToPaper love of your own with others. Our beautifully-designed packets are filled with encouragement and are always entirely free. Sign up today!

You Get Mail! Young Adults

YOUNG ADULTS

Young adults, you're invited to sign up for free #PenToPaper snail mail designed just for you. Thoughtful, unique, and  inspiring packets will arrive in your mailbox throughout the year, inviting you to share the love with others. Sign up today. (Safe and secure.)

You Get Mail - Keep Being Brave - Teen & YA

TEENS

Teens, you're invited to sign up for free #PenToPaper mailings designed especially for you. Engaging, edgy, and transformational snail mail will wing its way to your mailbox throughout the year. Sign up today and invite a friend!  (Safe and secure.)

Q

Kids Get Mail!

CHILDREN & TWEENS

CJ Star and the Sonshine Squad want children to know how much they are loved by Jesus. Engaging characters bring laughter, delight, and sunshine to even difficult days. Parents, SIGN UP your child (and their siblings) for free. (Sign-ups are safe, secure and never shared.) 

Q


{Tonight, after a very long day, I finally got around to the mail and in an unexpected envelope [#PenToPaper packet] was the most extraordinary gift and blessing. When you talk about using your trials to minister, serve, inspire, encourage, love … I do not deserve this gift, but I needed it desperately today and God knew I would and He used you … yet again, to encourage and bless me. You have brought me to tears but they were the kind of tears that encouraged me and blessed me and inspired me … to share life and discover hope. Thanks are not enough … but thank you.
Vicki F.
Johnson Creek, WI
{Where do I find the beautiful little business card size encouragement cards? I got two in the wonderful intro package, but I want more. I would love to be able to carry these around to encourage others that I meet.
Brenda S.
Anderson, IN
{Thank for the cards and info you sent me to Finland. I received them yesterday just before we had visitors. I shared stories from Chronic Joy®, especially about Bettie G. I felt the lady needed some encouragement, so I have a card and the info you sent. They were returning home to Sweden. Their summer cottage is in Finland. Thank you for all you do for all of us!
Lisa E.
Kaskinen, Finland
{I just received your thoughtful gift cards [#PenToPaper - Make Your Life a Prayer mailing] at a time we needed them most! Also, I am journalling in a 'book' prayers we prayed, at different times, "Vineyard of Prayer", and for me this was a sign from the Lord to go ahead! Thank you so very much for being His ambassadors of love.
Rayla N.
India
{I have already started sending #PenToPaper notes as the Lord lays people on my heart. My goal is to send one every morning Monday through Friday. Thank you for ALL of the work you put in…
Barbara Coleman
Bowie, MD
{Mine [#PenToPaper packet] has been duly received this week and greatly appreciated! Thank you so much, Chronic Joy, for sending out these small packages of encouragement, inspiration and hope. They are lovely soul food. A treat to receive and pass on to others as well!
Joy Lenton
Norwich, Norfolk U.K.
{Thank you so much for the “snail mail”. What fun to get the collection of cards in my mailbox the other day. Truly an encouragement. Author of Searching for Sea Glass: Journeying with God Through Chronic Illness 30 Devotions.
Kara Plett
Alberta, Canada
{“Our mail was full of gorgeous flat cards and precious prayer thoughts! Thank you for sharing the heart of Jesus with us all!!”
Bettie G.
Twin Lakes, WI
{I personally don’t know of another organization that will just send me a packet to encourage me several times throughout the year. The [#PenToPaper] packets (as well as so much more) make Chronic Joy unique.
Elyse O.
Ames, IA
{Thanks for the notecards and fun print materials! I am working on sending #PenToPaper packets out all the time. It’s an honor and pleasure to work with Chronic Joy® to do this. Thank you for including me in this great endeavor!
Dana Stenholtz
Oconomowoc, WI

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