This week we heard from both our Kenyan kids, Victor and Mary, and we got a bonus letter from Tasya!
The first letter we received was from Victor.
Victor said that his family is doing well, but unfortunately, his country is "not going well as usual." Victor always has great things to say about his country- even when Kenya is in the news due to something like a terrorist activity (such as the attack on the Nairobi shopping mall last year), he still has a very positive attitude about it and basically says they will catch the bad guys and everything will be ok. I sensed that he is a little more frustrated or anxious this time, as he shared the following: "Here in our country things have not been going well as usual due to some terrorist have entered into our country and they are causing some accidents like boom being placed in the bus station and this has caused life of innocent people being lost. Will you please pray for my country?" It's a subtle difference from his other letters, but it's a difference nonetheless. I hope that my response letter will be an encouragement to him. Victor also wrote regarding my friend Betty who passed away in March. When she died, I wrote to all the kids about her passing- most of them already knew about her, because Betty adored my sponsor kids and was always excited to read their letters. She even asked me to email her a file with their past letters so she could re-read them and pray for them! Victor says that he is praying for Betty's friends and family, that God will protect us so that "her good characters" will remain in our hearts. Victor also said that the gift we sent for his birthday in March was used to buy "revision books" for school, which help him prepare for his exams! Lastly, he said he is praying for me so I can "continue serving and helping people" (Victor has said in the past that he wants to be a sponsor when he is grown up!) and signed his note, as always, "your beloved son!"
As usual, a letter from Mary arrived not too long after Victor's letter! I love that my Kenyan kids write so frequently and they are on a regular writing schedule!
I love hearing from all of my kids, but Mary's letters are often extra-special. I don't know what it is about her- our closeness in age (she will be 19 this year, so not too far from my 26 years!) or the fact that she works just as hard to encourage me as I do for her, but she's just precious. I want to share her letter in its entirety here:
Dear Jessi Jones,
I hope that you and your family are fine. My family and I are doing great due to God's grace and mercy. I am glad to have received your letters and knowing there is someone who cares for me as my second sister. I am glad to have you as my sponsor because you are so caring and you are like an angel sent from heaven by God to give me comfort.
I would like to do catering and music because I love cooking and especially delicious meals and I love Gospel music i.e. "You don't have to worry" and "Don't be afraid."
Thank you very much for the stickers because they are as beautiful as you are because God made everything wonderfully and I am sorry for losing your friend Betty and may God rest her soul in peace. I will pray for her soul which I know is in heaven and I will also pray for you to regain your strength and know that there is only one great friend who never departs and that is Jesus. I will also pray for her friends for God also make them regain their strengths. Remember that all challenges you pass through are not temptations but are there to regain your faith and make it stronger.
My April holiday was fantastic. I was taught in the project how to walk in a firm foundation. This is by targeting your goals and having a mission and a vision to achieve them and I traveled to my aunt's place where I met new friends. I would like you to pray for my country, the Kenyan people, the sick, my family and also me. I always pray for your family.
Mary writes in very tiny print so she can send long letters- and honestly, this one was a little shorter than some of her other ones! I like the fact that she shared what she wants to do when she's grown- I had asked the kids a few months ago what they want to be when they grow up, and then wrote a bit about how they can become anything with hard work and God's help- whether they want to be a doctor, an astronaut, a teacher, or the president! I also think it's very sweet that Mary also sent condolences about Betty, and offered up some more words of wisdom. She is right- Jesus is my friend who will never leave, and that's something good to remember even if you haven't lost a friend to death- I have lost a lot of friends over the past year due to various random circumstances, and sometimes it does bum me out that I don't have quite as many people I can count on anymore. But Jesus is a better friend anyway- and so is Mary! I just wish I could talk to her on the phone when I need some encouragement! : ) She could be a motivational speaker when she's older!
Lastly, we got a surprise letter from Tasya in Indonesia today!
I say this letter was a surprise because we just heard from Tasya very recently, and due to her remote location and the way her country office now organizes letters, we hear from her every 3-4 months. However, her last letter was written in February, and it arrived around the same time as a letter from Prayer (also in Indonesia) and his was written in April. I'm thinking the last letter got a little sidetracked, and this letter is pretty much right on time- it was also written in April.
Tasya began her letter by sharing the verse in Luke about Jesus breathing his last. Then she jumps right into a cheery "Hello, Mama!" which made me laugh. It was quite a segue! Tasya says that her family is healthy and she had a great Easter- she participated in the Torch Relay (which she has mentioned in Christmases past) and an Easter egg hunt, and this year they added a Bible quiz! She said she was happy because she and her friends came in second place (and here, the translator drew a little smiley face!) She asked about our Easter to make sure we had a good holiday, too, and asked us to pray for her exams.
I'm so glad that I got three letters this week! We are still waiting on several first letters, but I did find out that we have one on the way from our Eduardo in Honduras. We have now had him for six months, and he also received a gift that another sponsor was able to deliver back in May. I asked about an inquiry and found out that he has a letter on the way, but it was just written this month and hasn't arrived in Colorado yet. It's so good to know that a letter is on the way! I have been worried about connecting with him, but I am thinking there might be something going on at home that may affect his ability to write frequently or even his attitude about having a sponsor. He is 15 and is listed as not going to school, but he "will attend next year." So there could have been things going on at home that led him to not write until now. After that, we're waiting on first letters from Sharifa, Anahi, Julian, Michel, Reine, Erick, and Kajal! : )