It has been so long since I got more than one letter in a week that I hardly know what to do with myself! The joy that accompanies getting a letter has really helped brighten what has been a rather dark week.
The first letter I got was from Joane. This was especially exciting since we usually only got one letter from Joane last year (maybe two, but I'm pretty sure it was just one.)
20 February 2013
I am so glad by getting the chance to write this to you in the name of the Almighty God. How are you, your family, your health and activities? My family and I are doing very well thanks to God. My schooling is going very well, thanks to God. I do live near a hospital. I will live far from my family. I celebrated Christmas with all my heart and all my soul. I have a favorite song, the #27 of the songbook. No, I do not help at church. Thank you for the letter, the card and the stickers. I am glad to get a lot of training. I am praying to God to bless you in everything you do. Please pray to God to give me more strength in everything I do. May God bless you!
Joane wants to be a nurse when she grows up, so I had asked her if she lived near a hospital. I also told her about how I help out in the nursery at church, and asked her if she helps at her church. And I think it's so cute that she told me her favorite song is "#27." Maybe some day I will find out what that song is! : )
The other letter I received this week was from my precious Tasya. Tasya usually writes to me fairly often. Since Compassion changed the letter writing policies, sometimes I get three letters from her, stapled together. I hadn't heard from her all year, until a few days ago! Tasya's letter was a full page, front and back, plus four extra small sheets of paper (two with her writing, two with the translation.) I absolutely love it!
20 February 2013
Dear Jessi Jones,
Greeting in the love of Christ. First I want to tell you that all of us are healthy and don't worry because we live far from the volcano. The distance between our place with the volcano takes one night trip by ship. So, our place is safe from the volcano. We only had a little earthquake some time ago. Our teacher said it was the impact of the mountain under the sea that is still active or the impact of the other mountains that are not active. There is a mountain under the sea that is still active in our place. I heard from my teacher about that mountain. Its name is Mahengetang and the teacher said that it was one of natural wealth of our place because there live various kinds of fish and other animals. Last December before Christmas, the fishermen found some corpses in the island that was located in the south of our place. They said that they were Filipinos that were stranded in that place because of Bophe storm. It was so sad because their faces couldn't be recognized again.
I feel sad to know that mama is very sick. I am scared to hear the word "operation." But I believe mama can get through from it just like the first operation and I believe God will give you courage and strength to have operation. I also pray that the Lord gives wisdom to the doctors and nurses, so that the operation will be going well. Because I believe what Paul said in Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth." That's why I hope mama doesn't be scared and doubt because Lord Jesus keeps faithful to the care of and to protect us all.
I will tell you about wedding ceremony in my place. A bride usually wears a white dress and headdress and small crown on her head, sometimes white flowers around their head just like a princess. A bridegroom will wear tuxedo and gloves. After wedding ceremony at church, they will return to their house that is decorated with kinds of flowers and at the edge of the tent is hung young coconut leaves or young palm leaves. In the place where the bride and bridegroom are sitting, we call it "puade" (just like the stage) It is decorated just like king and queen throne. Then in front of it there is custom cake named Tamo which is made of glutinous rice flour, brown sugar and coconut milk. It is shaped like a high mountain tat surrounded with various fruit, eggs, and shrimp. Only one person can cut the cake and he will with local language. And there is held "masamper" program at night. It is tradition program were people sing in groups and they take turn in singing.
There is also a yearly program in our place named "tuliede". It is our tradition to give thanks to the Lord for His blessing and guidance. It is held on 31 January.
Mama, my school is going well and I am glad that our school has been renovated. I am also happy to serve at church like to organize the offering of the congregation, and I often lead the worship in Sunday school. Right now we are preparing to celebrate Easter Day. I really look forward to celebrate it. We, the children, will compete to search Easter eggs that have been hidden by Sunday school teachers. What are the activities of the children, same age with me, to celebrate Easter Day in your place?
Mama, how are you doing now?
I will always love you and pray for you.
I couldn't even make it through the first part of Tasya's letter without crying. She is so sweet! I desperately hope that some day I am able to go visit her so I can give her the world's biggest hug. I also thought it was really cool how she told me about Indonesian weddings (her aunt got married recently.) She sounds so grown up in this letter! Tasya's letter also came with an envelope with some surprises inside. She made me two bookmarks and a card. Everything is laminated so I can keep them forever. She decorated the bookmarks with shiny stickers and gold ribbon. The card is heart-shaped. The front of it as a heart cut out from the middle, and a piece of white mesh is glued to it, so it makes a sort of picture window on the card. It's hard to see in the picture (I put these on my scanner for the best picture quality) but they are all just super cute! I love them so much!
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
"I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though dead, will live." John 11:25
Below that, she wrote "GOOD DAYS!"