We're over halfway through the month and this is the first opportunity I've had to write a mail post in September! I was so thankful to receive a letter from Said on Saturday. And let me tell you, it was an important one. Even though I just sent a packet of letters last Wednesday, I had to sit down and write him back right away.
Let me preface the letter by sharing something with you: I have been confused lately. I am so excited about my trip to Tanzania. Ecstatic. If I'm feeling sad or sick or anything negative, I just think about my trip or look up pictures of past sponsor trips to Tanzania, and I feel better. But I have been confused about why I'm not going to Indonesia, because I was so certain that that's where God wanted me to go for my first trip. When I found out that the east Indonesia trip wasn't happening, my friend Blaire told me that all this just meant that one of my other kids needed to see me more. And that made sense- Tasya lives with two loving parents, has close family bonds and her family seems really stable. Her dad is a pastor and her mom is a teacher sometimes. She is just really grounded. Said, on the other hand, struggles in school, doesn't know who or where his dad is, and has to travel twice a year to do hard work in the fields, helping his grandmother plant and harvests her crops. The letter I got from Said this weekend is just a giant flag that says "yes, Blaire was right." March can't get here fast enough.
Praise the Lord Jesus indeed. I thank you for the letter you sent me. I have liked them. They are so nice. I and my family are fine and they all greet you indeed. We wish to see you face to face so we wish you to come visit us one day to Tanzania. I like school and I enjoy it so much. I thank God he has helped me to pass to advance to form one. In June I was 25th person among 165 students. I was so sad but I work hard so that in December I will score good number. I really like soccer. What do you like? In my family we are me, my younger sister called Imshi, another sister is called Huba and she died on 10 July 2012. I am so sad about it. So now we remain two. I and my younger sibling. I love you so much. May you have a good party. I wish you the best and I love you all with your family. I hope you are all fine. I pray for you every day.
May God be with you
Wow. Let's talk about the sad stuff first. I had no idea about Said's sister passing away. He didn't talk about his siblings very often- I learned their names in the first letter I ever received from him. I know both sisters are younger than he is. And that's about it. Really, the most I've ever heard about them is "I and my sisters are doing well", basically. I wrote to all my kids earlier in the summer asking about their siblings, because I wanted to know more about their families. And this is what I found out. I opened this letter when I was on the phone with my mom, and scanned it briefly. I had to interrupt her to tell her: "um, I got a letter from Said. His sister died." I cried several times this weekend just thinking about it. My heart is broken for Said and his family. "So now we remain two" is possibly one of the saddest sentences I have ever read. I have added a prayer request to my list for my Tanzania trip: I would really like to meet Said's mom and sister. We are spending several days in a region closer to his home. It would be amazing if it worked out that one of the homes we visit is his. But even if we can't do that, I am going to bring special gifts for his family as well as him. I'm putting my mom in charge of packing a bag (maybe a pink mini-backpack!) for Imshi, and I had already planned on making a small bag for Said's mom (or Mama Said, as she would be called in her country.)
But the happy stuff really needs to be recognized, too! I am so proud of Said for the progress he has made in school. When we first started writing to him, his performance in school was below average. He is listed as "average" now, but I got a progress report from his school last year, and his grades were pretty low by American standards. I always make it a special point to encourage Said in his schoolwork, and I am proud of the work he does. I know that under-equipped schools and crowded classrooms make learning difficult for these kids! But to hear that he is ranked 25 in his class- WOW! I am SO proud of him! I am a little sad that he felt that wasn't good enough, but I admire his tenacity and determination. When I wrote a response letter on Saturday, I made sure to tell him many times how proud I am of him. And the fact that I have been bragging on him to my friends and family. : ) Said also drew a picture on the letter, of the Lamb of God carrying a flag with a cross on it. It was a really good picture, but it's a little faint and hard to see on the scanner!
I am so thankful that I received this letter from my boy this weekend!