Once again, this week we got three letters! The first one was from Said in Tanzania.
Said's letter arrived almost exactly two months after it was written, and about two months after the last one. I love how some countries are getting to be really predictable and scheduled about their letters! Said shared well-wishes and said that he remembered I worked in a library, and he was praying for my work there. He said that he's hoping to enter class six next year, and that he mostly just likes netball and football. I knew he liked football, but it was fun to read that he likes netball as well! He asked which sports and what kind of food I like. He said thank you for always remembering him!
Next we heard from Victor in Kenya!
Victor shared that his country is having problems due to "insecurity." He seems really concerned about the things that are going on there, which, as I've said before, is a bit of a departure from his usually incredibly positive attitude. He also said that where he lives, they've had enough rain to keep the cattle alive and most everyone is finished harvesting their crops. Victor said that he will have his grades from last term soon, and that he knows that he did much better than last term! Victor is so smart, determined, and studious- I can't imagine that his grades were very low before! He is probably the kind of kid that gets an A- and works really hard to make an A the next time around! Victor also thanked us for our letters, because they help him learn about my country and can help him with his studies. He is so inquisitive and loves to learn! As usual, he signed his letter "your beloving son, Victor."
Lastly, we have a letter from Mary in Kenya!
I knew that since a letter from Victor arrived Friday, a letter from Mary was not far behind! Mary's letter was wonderful and encouraging, as always. She said she and her family are doing well, and that she and her friends plant trees and collect clothes for the needy. Mary spent a lot of time addressing my individual prayer requests. For example, she told me to have faith that my mom will not lose her sight (she has been having problems with her vision) and said she was very glad that my mother-in-law Denise is cancer-free: "God has heard our prayers!" She said she is praying for my mom, as she is taking on some new responsibilities at work: "I will also pray for your mum because we have been taught today in church that every success comes after hardship and that God likes the hardworking people and I know that the work of her hand will be blessed." My favorite part was when she mentioned Brandon's uncle Dennis. Dennis has had liver disease for the past few years, and it has caused him to be very, very sick. He's been in and out of the hospital lately, he had a very strict special diet, and other problems. He's been on the transplant list almost since his diagnosis. At one point, when Dennis was in the hospital, I mentioned him as a prayer request in my letters to the kids. Mary wrote, "I will pray for Brandon's uncle Dennis because God is sooo just to his people and always comes at the right time." And what perfect timing God has- on Friday afternoon, a liver became available and Dennis had his surgery on Saturday morning! He's doing really well!
Mary also said that her family has moved to a different home recently, and asked for prayer for them as her mom is looking for a new job. She also said that they will celebrate Kenyan independence day on December 12. In one of her recent letters, Mary included a picture of herself with her mom- they were holding a check for her school fees and supplies. I wrote and told Mary she looked very pretty in her purple jacket, and that purple was my favorite color. She wrote back and said in response that she liked the pink top I was wearing in a picture I sent her, because pink is her favorite! She said thanks for the letters and extras we've sent, and closed with "yours faithful, Mary."
Adding my own prayer requests to my letters is something that I've been trying out lately. I always tell my kids that I am praying for them every day, but over the last few months I've made a point to add my own prayer requests (something short and simple) and ask "do you have any prayer requests to share with me?" We learned in Tanzania that the kids really do want to know how to pray for their sponsors, and I thought that opening up to them a little might encourage them to do the same. I think that I'm starting to see results from that! It's possible that including this aspect in my letters will also provide hesitant writers with something to talk about- like, Sharifa and Reine, who didn't say much in their first letters, might feel comfortable talking about the prayer requests we've shared, and open up a bit more. I'm looking forward to seeing the other kids' responses!