Monday, November 30, 2015

Compassion Joys: November

I can't believe that another month has passed by! It's time once again for us to count our Compassion blessings for the month! :)

 Compassion Family


What a blessing to receive so many letters this month! We heard from Amelia, Barry, Eduardo, Estha, Julian, Kevenel, Marc, Michel, Mjay, Rachelle, Reine, Rubby, Ruth, Said, Tasya, Thanakan, and Yekersew! And the letters from Amelia, Rachelle, Rubby, and Ruth were all first letters! How nice to hear from these lovely ladies at last!


It's pretty crazy that 7 birthdays in one month is considered "moderate" for us now! This month, Jayid in India turned 10; Carlos in Peru turned 19; Vandana in India turned 15; Laura in the Dominican Republic turned 19; Kaue in Brazil turned 7; Mary in Kenya turned 20; and Said in Tanzania turned 17! My kiddos are getting so old! :)


We had several sponsor-versaries this month! We celebrated three years of writing to Victor in Kenya, three years since taking over Jayid's sponsorship, two years of sponsoring Bonifas, and one year of writing to Juan in Bolivia!! I love all these boys so much!!

New Kids!

Four new kids joined our family this month! The last two boy "replacement" kids showed up on our account. Francisco is in Bolivia, and Milder is in Peru! I am also taking over letter writing responsibilities for several of my mom's kids, and many of them are still in the process of being moved over. However, two have already been moved- beautiful Amitie in Haiti, and handsome Herlan in Bolivia! They are both really sweet and I am glad that I can do this for my mom! I think the kids will like writing to someone they already sort of know through my mom's letters, and she will still be able to keep in touch with them through me!

Photo Updates! 

Our Tamirat in Ethiopia had a photo update this month! He was just a little overdue for one. We just got Tamirat this year, but had his "current" (two year old) photo, and his previous one! He's so handsome and looks so grown up! 


This month, a very lovely lady from my church traveled to Uganda to help facilitate an adoption, and when I heard she was going back, I asked her if she'd be willing to take gifts for my Caleb and Amelia. She very graciously said yes, and the gifts were dropped off at the field office there last week! This is especially neat since it means Caleb and Amelia will probably receive the presents right around Christmas!!! What a tremendous blessing!!

Sweet Greetings from Haiti and Indonesia

Happy Mail Call Monday- the last in November! Wow!

Only two letters came this week- my mailman has been slacking a bit, but I also know not many have been processed for me in Colorado! 

On Saturday, we got a letter from Marc in Haiti! 

We hadn't heard from Marc in a few months, so it was really nice to hear from him! Marc opened his letter with "I greet you with great joy in my heart." He also liked my letter in which I explained "all the nice programs" (that might have been about summer reading at the library) and said that he is praying for my food allergies! He also said that it was very hot in Haiti and asked me if I liked hot or cold weather better. He closed by thanking me for my letters and pictures, and told me he is proud of me. :) 

The other letter we received was from Tasya in Indonesia! 

It had also been about three months since we heard from Tasya, so it was lovely to hear from her as well! She asked about our family's health and told me about celebrating Passover at the project. One neat thing about Tasya's village is that they have a "torch parade" around Easter, which she has told me about before. She wrote about it again this year, and said that they searched for Easter eggs and had a party in the street! She and her little sister Celia (who is now in 1st grade) participated because it was "so lively," says Tasya. She also said that she and her friends went to the beach on Valentine's Day! What fun! 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mother of Exiles

Recently, it's come to my attention that there seems to be a bit of hypocrisy floating around certain political circles. I think that just about all of us are aware that there is a major refugee crisis happening right now, and much of it is centered around Syrian refugees. I'm not here to argue whether or not we should admit Syrian refugees to the United States (refugees, I might add, that have been clearing out of their own war-torn country for about four years now; this isn't some recent trend.) If you have read the Constitution and the Bible, then you will know my position on this issue. Rather, I'm here to talk about the difference in the way we are talking about Syrians and the way we talk about other people who try to come into the United States.

Several friends and acquaintances are upset at the moment because they feel that the United States government is showing favoritism to refugees of the Muslim faith over Christians. They point out the fact that Muslim Syrians being accepted as refugees in the US greatly outnumber Christians from the same country. They have apparently not stopped to think that this is mostly because the number of Muslim Syrians is much, much greater than the number of Christian Syrians. That's just math. It's like being mad that the US isn't welcoming enough white people from Africa. Sure, they're there, but they're definitely in the minority. So after they move past this article, they start talking about the Christian "refugees" who are facing deportation from the United States, as if President Obama personally selected them for deportation to make room for more Muslims. They are angry because the President is apparently not doing enough to protect these refugees. It must be because they are Christian, right? And he likes Muslims better? False. These Christians are facing deportation because they didn't follow the rules. The group that has been in the "news" (i.e. angry blogs) the most often recently is comprised of 27 Iraqi Christians who illegally entered the United States through our border with Mexico. They are, by definition, illegal immigrants. Perhaps they chose to enter the United States in this manner because the process for being legally declared a refugee and allowed into the US is long, tedious, and complicated; it takes about 18 months of proof and paperwork. It's tough. Ironically, many of the same people who are crying foul over this incident are part of the same group who are under the impression (the false impression, I might add) that it is a very easy task to become legally declared a refugee. They've been saying that the process is too easy for over a week now.

I was thinking about this today, and how it was interesting that many of the same friends and family who believe that these Iraqi immigrants should *not* be deported have expressed the exact opposite about immigrants from Central and South America this past year. Early in the year, there was another large influx of refugees, this time from Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua (among a few other places) and they were met with hostility and hatred. Hatred that was shrouded with legalese and rhetoric about following the rules. If they just followed the rules, they could stay! But that's obviously not the case, because we're willing to make exceptions for the Iraqis who sought the same path of dubious legality in order to enter the country. Could it be a religious issue? I know there are a lot of people who would prefer to have a religious test for immigrants (again, if you read the Constitution and the Bible, you will know my stance on this issue.) So perhaps these individuals would allow the Iraqis to stay because they are Christian? But statistically speaking, all of the immigrants from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and other neighboring countries should be Christian. Catholic or Protestant, these are Christian nations. You'd be extremely hard pressed to find an individual among them who has not been baptized into their faith.

So maybe we are thinking about the situations these people are facing in their home countries. Considering their backgrounds and circumstances when deciding if they should be allowed to stay. Iraqi Christians are threatened with persecution for their religious preferences. There is a threat of violence against them. But why are people coming over from Central and South American countries? Here are some recent headlines that might give you a clue:

A Woman Is Murdered Every Sixteen Hours In Honduras

Murder in Honduras (this one's about ethnic cleansing)

Behind the Fight to Stem Violence and Protect Women In Honduras 
("In 2009, a coup brought down the elected president of Honduras. For the past six years, instability, poverty, and gang-and drug-related crime have plagued this Central American nation of eight million people. In 2012, Honduras had the most murders per capita of any country in the world – 90 homicides for every 100 thousand people.")

Guatemala Vigil Honors Victims of Gender Violence and Femicide

Guatemalan Groups Condemn Deteriorization of Women's Rights
("Between January and October this year, 588 women were killed, according to the Grupo Guatemalteco de Mujeres.")

Guatemala's Dead Baby Shame
("Corpses exhumed and thrown away 'like rubbish' as dirt-poor parents can't afford the $24 rent.")

Murder Rate in El Salvador Increases Sharply

Maryknoll Sisters to Honor 4 Missionaries Killed in El Salvador

Death Squads in El Salvador Kill, Face No Investigation 

"Why Such Violent Treatment of These Women in El Salvador?"

In Mexico, Fear as Victims Vanish At Hands of Police

Mexico's Bloodbath That Won't Stop

And with that, I can't read anymore. I have to limit the amount of time I spend reading the news these days because it makes me upset. I don't want to close my eyes to what's going on in the world; I shouldn't- it's not right.

But I don't understand why some lives are worth more than others.

I don't understand why everyone posted the French flag when Paris was attacked, but only a handful of us posted the Kenyan flag back in April.

I don't understand why Christian Iraqis are given the benefit of the doubt and Christian Mexicans aren't.

I don't understand why I am the only person I know crying about Guatemalan babies being thrown in the trash. But maybe I'm the only one who knows. And I don't know why that is, either.

I know that I'm not going to change anyone's mind on immigration policy or current events. But can I make a plea for your sense of humanity? If we can take a moment to think about what Christians in Iraq are going through and why they might want to come here, can we take a moment and think about why Mexicans or Guatemalans might want to come here? And can we stop calling people "illegals?" Because yes, they broke a law, but maybe they had a reason for doing so. Jean Valjean stole bread because he was starving, but it's not right to just think of him as a thief; he was so much more than that. He was a caring, loving human being, redeemed and forgiven, seeking a second chance at life. He was fair and just and a loving father. Maybe some of the people crossing over the border into the United States can identify with those labels, too, and not just the one that calls out the bad thing their circumstances led them to decide to do. Every human life has value and worth, is sacred and precious to God. He sees so much more than the one thing (or lots of things) that we've done wrong. Can't we take a moment to try to do that for others, too?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Waiting Kids: Honduran Girls edition

It's been a while since I've done a post of kids waiting for sponsors! As I sit in bed this morning, procrastinating, I decided to take a look at the waiting kids and see if anyone stood out. There are so many cuties waiting for a sponsor right now!! So here are a selection of lovely ladies who need a sponsor. What a wonderful early Christmas gift it would be to learn that they have been sponsored!!

Marisol is 3 years old! She lives in Honduras. She likes singing, art, and playing dolls! If you sponsor Maribel through this blog, I would be happy to take a small gift to her when I travel to Honduras next year!!!

Melissa has such a cute smile! She lives in Honduras and she is 5 years old. Melissa likes playing house and playing with dolls! If you sponsor Melissa through this blog, I would be happy to take her a small gift on my trip next year!!! 

Anyi's hair is so pretty! What a precious girl. She lives in Honduras with her mom and four siblings! She likes singing and playing dolls, and she is 5 years old. If you sponsor Anyi through this blog, I would be happy to take a small gift to her on my trip next year!!! 

Francis is so adorable!! She lives in Honduras with her grandparents. She is 5 years old and she likes bicycling and playing ball games! If you sponsor Francis through this blog, I would be happy to take a small gift to her on my trip next year! 

Viviana is just precious! She lives in Honduras with her dad and stepmom. She is 6 years old and her performance in school is above average! She likes playing with dolls and bicycling! If you sponsor Viviana through this blog, I would be happy to take a small gift for her on my trip next year!!!

Sweet Greetings from Honduras, Ghana, and Burkina Faso

Happy Mail Call Monday!

First, we got a letter from Eduardo in Honduras!

Eduardo's letter was short, but it is always nice to hear from him! He said that his family is doing well and reminded me that he likes his brother Victor. :) He asked about my siblings and my work at the library!

We also got our first letter from Rubby in Ghana!

Rubby's letter was very sweet! She expressed gratitude to be receiving letters (Rubby's financial sponsor never wrote to her, for years and years) and shared that she is now able to watch her little sister while her mom is busy. She asked what I like to do in my leisure time, When prompted to share her prayer for me, she said she is praying to God that I will always be there for her. I take this to mean that she really appreciates the letters that she has been receiving from us, and I am so glad that we were matched together! Rubby also shared a Bible verse with me that was very meaningful, about not arguing with people who are not really where they claim to be in their relationship with God. She has no idea, but that verse arrived at such a pertinent time! Social media has been a minefield lately with aggravating posts about current events, and it has been a real struggle for me, knowing when I should open my mouth and when I should just let things go. I shared a very abstract explanation of that with Rubby and thanked her for sharing such timely wisdom from the Bible!

At the end of the week, we got a letter from Barry in Burkina Faso!

Barry's letter was written by a project worker on big kid stationery- he usually sends us form letters. Barry's family and neighborhood was apparently affected by the recent political upheaval in Burkina Faso, and he said that school was delayed but peace has returned to the area. He shared that his father is not a Christian and would like us to pray that he comes to know Jesus. He did tell me that he and his mom go to church together every Sunday! He asked that we pray for his studies so he can move up to the next grade, and shared that he would like to be head of the class all year long!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sweet Greetings from Uganda, Ethiopia, Togo, Colombia, Haiti, the Philippines and Tanzania!

Happy Mail Call Monday from this sickie! :)

I'm very happy to say that we got our first letter from Ruth, our very special new sponsored child!

Ruth's letter was written before we sponsored her, but I was so very happy to see it nonetheless! Seeing her handwriting and her little drawing made me feel so good when I have been feeling so nasty the last week! Ruth wrote that she lives with her mom, dad, and three siblings (her profile says there are five children in the home, so maybe they have a new baby or an older sibling moved out recently?) She likes soccer, eating chicken, and Spanish class, and she said what she most likes about herself is her eyes! She drew a big rainbow flower on the front, too. Oh, I just love her so much! 

We also got a first letter from lovely Amelia in Uganda!

Amelia says she's so happy to write to us and she's thankful for our love and support! She said they've started a new school term and she'd like us to pray for her to perform well so she can be promoted to grade four. Amelia shared that her school break at the project was "so interesting", and they learned how to bake cakes called doddies! She said that people sell them and earn lots of extra income, and she'd like to start making them to help her family! She also says that they have been learning about personal hygiene and sexual purity at the project, which is really great. Amelia also asked if we have hills in our country like they have in Uganda. :) 

The same day, we got a letter from little Yekersew in Ethiopia! 

Yekersew's letter was a form letter about his hobbies! He says he likes to play soccer with his sisters, and he also wants to play with his teachers someday! He said he has a cat as a pet, and it doesn't have a name. Yekersew asked us to pray for his dad, who is sick, and in the "news for my sponsor" section, he said that the new road is full of vehicles. How cute! :) 

We also heard from Estha in Togo!

Estha wrote a form letter about her favorites! She likes jumping rope with her friends, and she enjoys "speed running!" Estha shared that her favorite part about attending the project is the prayer, and that her favorite teacher is Mr Adjitowou because he is a good teacher! Estha said her prayer for us is that our dreams will be realized at the end of this year, and she asked about my favorite Bible story! Estha said she was glad to receive our photos, and said she will send me a family photo! I hope she's able to do that someday soon! 

That same day, we got our first letter from Rachelle (formerly known as Mawoussi) in Togo!

Rachelle wrote a "big kid" letter and her first line was "I am very happy about you and I want to write you through this letter!" What a sweetie! She asked about the weather, my work, and my family. Rachelle said her family is doing well, and that it's monsoon season so they are having cool, rainy weather, and a break from school. She shared a passage from Numbers and asked that we pray for her studies. She drew a mango tree, a bike, and a backpack! 

There was also a bonus letter from Julian in Colombia!

Julian's letter was about his future! He wants to learn about the police, and he would like to visit Medellin. He says he wants to help old people and learn English someday! Julian asked how we are doing and thanked me for my letters and "pretty words!" How sweet! Julian said that he likes playing soccer and he and his family recently moved to a different house, which is beautiful! :) I'm glad that he likes his new home! 

And then a letter from Michel in Colombia showed up, too!

Michel wrote that in the future, she would like to learn about children and how they are educated! I guess she wants to be a teacher! She also wants to visit the United States and help her parents, and she'd like to learn English! Michel said her letter was sent with lots of affection, and she enjoyed Independence Day in Colombia with fireworks! She also said that fireworks are one of her favorite things, and that's her favorite way to celebrate Christmas! She asked that we pray for her grandmother to know Jesus, and drew a little pink house with purple clouds! 

We also heard from Kevenel in Haiti!

I'm so glad that even though Kevenel is young, he has a lot to say to me- so his helpers at the center take dictation on big kid stationery for him!! Kevenel says that his family is very well and he is excited about Jess's baby Lilly, and that she is "a nice gift from God to your friend." He is praying for Lilly to grow under God's grace and in good health! Kevenel answered an old letter I wrote about new babies, asking about how they are welcomed in his culture and how he could help someone who has a new baby. He said that where he lives, there are "people that make pregnant women deliver" (sounds bossy!) and that he would help his parents with a new baby by washing dishes, fetching water, "and so on." He would also watch the baby while his parents did their chores! Kevenel asked that we pray for the close of his school year, and he drew a house with two sets of stairs inside- on purple, and one green and yellow! 

We were also happy to hear from Mjay in the Philippines!

Apparently Mjay has had a visit from someone who knows his financial sponsor in the past, because he said after his greetings that he always remembers the time that John visited. I'm so glad that he's had a visit from someone who cares about him! Mjay asked if it is cold in our town now, and said that there have been heavy rains where he lives recently. He asked that we pray for his family, that they will stay healthy, and he said that he was very excited about the upcoming Christmas party at the center! This letter was written September 26, so he must be a planner like me. :)

Lastly, there were two letters from my dear Said in Tanzania!

Said's letters were a surprise since we had heard from him pretty recently! He didn't have much to say, other than he is continuing on with his studies, and that when he grows up he is going to work in "industry." He did share something very adorable about my friend's baby, Lilly. He said "I love Lilly. I consider her as my young sister and I wish her to grow well and I pray to God so that she will continue to grow mentally and physically." I was very happy to take a picture of that text and send it to my friend Jess! 

I'm very excited to see what letters we get this week- I know that we have a few first letters on the way! :) 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Sweet Greetings from Burkina Faso, Colombia, and Thailand

Happy Mail Call Monday!!

We got a few more letters this week- what a blessing!

Our first letter of the week was from Reine in Burkina Faso!

Reine wrote a short letter about what's going on where she lives. She says she's doing well and her country has been getting a lot of rain, so the crops are doing really well! She also says that Burkina Faso celebrates their independence day on December 11. Reine responded to my letter about libraries by saying that there is a library in a nearby Cultural French Center, which I think might be in a college. And she also said that there are hippos in her country! She asked how much rain we get, and asked us to pray for her family.

Next we got a letter from Michel in Colombia!

Michel's letter arrived a week or two later than Julian's, which was a bit unusual. I'm glad we heard from her! She wrote a form letter about her last doctor's visit, but she said she doesn't remember when it was. Michel said that at the center, she likes jumping rope, running, playing potato sack races and freeze tag! She has also learned to brush her teeth thoroughly and take a shower every day. :) Michel said she was happy to write to us and asked "has your hamster ever felt ill?" Which is funny because I don't have any hamsters! She asked that we pray for her father, who had an accident recently and was injured. I will be asking her what happened in my next letter!

Lastly, we heard from Thanakan in Thailand!

Thanakan's letter was about her friends. Her best friend is a girl named Nanchatapa, and they are best friends because they go to school together! Her friend also goes to the same project! She said she likes to play "bungee string" with her because it's fun! One of the volunteers from Thanakan's project helped her write the letter, and said that she loves getting my letters and she thanks God for letting her join the project! Thanakan drew a gorgeous picture of multicolored trees- they look like they're from a Dr Seuss book. The project volunteer said Thanakan wanted to know if I liked her drawing! She asked that we pray for her studies and said she is praying for Brandon's grandmother.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Outgoing Mail: Red Pandas

I'm going to try to share a little more about the letters I send to my kids! Most of the time, I send online letters- it's easier on my hands and a lot faster since I have so many correspondents! Last week I put together a letter about red pandas. I have written to my kids about my favorite animal in the past, but I want to try to send more informational letters- and I like the fact that Hannah's letters about similar topics get such fun responses! The nice thing about sending an informational letter is that you can put one together without a whole lot of prep. I know that some sponsors stress about sending letters because they aren't sure what to write, and spend a lot of time just staring at the paper (or screen) trying to come up with something they think is interesting! But if you're putting together an informational article, you can do a lot of copy/pasting and add a little bit to it. ;)

For this letter, I decided to write about red pandas. I've been putting together a list of animals I like or find interesting, for future letters! I will also add to this list as my kids (hopefully) write to me and tell me which animals they'd like to learn about. I just love red pandas- they're so cute! I used my library's research database for children (grolier online) to look up encyclopedia articles on red pandas, and chose one that was written for level 2 or 3 readers (they have more information than level 1, but aren't as involved and wordy as level 4.) I basically copy/pasted the entire article, then read through it and edited it a bit. I changed the wording on maybe two different sentences, and added in my own thoughts on the animal. Then I used google to find a few cute pictures! At the end I added my standard paragraph about praying for my kids (and included a prayer request) and voila! A letter was ready to send!

I want to tell you about one of my favorite animals. It is called the red panda. Many people have heard of the bear called the giant panda- it is black and white. But red pandas do not look much like giant pandas! It looks more like a fox. It has a beautiful red coat, a long fluffy tail, and a pointed snout. The Chinese call it "hyn-ho", which means "fox of fire." Red pandas confused European explorers when they first found them. But American explorers thought they were a kind of raccoon (an American animal with a striped tail.) Because of this, the giant panda, which is really a bear, was also once considered as a strange raccoon. Today it is known that the two "pandas" are not closely related.The red panda eats mostly plants, especially bamboo shoots. It is usually active at night or early in the morning. Days are for sleeping. Red pandas sleep in trees! They are good climbers and can jump more than 5 feet (1.5 meters) between branches. But they are clumsy on the ground and move slowly and walk a bit like a duck! Red pandas make small, sharp whistling sounds like those of birds. If they are attacked, they stand up, growl, and spit, like an angry cat. They are very peaceful and rather playful. But their very sharp claws and pointy teeth prevent them from being good pets. Red pandas live among bamboo forests near the Himalayan mountains in Asia. When female red pandas have babies, the babies stay with the mothers for about a year before going to live on their own. Red pandas live about 13 years, and they are an endangered species. This means that there are not many red pandas left in the wild. The main reason they are endangered is because the forests where they live are being cut down. 
I really like red pandas- I think they are so cute! We do not have red pandas at the zoo in my city, but I have visited another zoo that had red pandas. They are one of my very favorite animals, because they are so adorable. I have also seen videos of them on the computer. They enjoy playing in the snow, and they look very cute hopping around! I am sending you some pictures of red pandas so you can see what they look like. What are some animals you would like to learn about? I would be happy to send you a letter telling you about them! And I might learn something new, too! 
I am praying for you every day. Do you have any prayer requests for me? I would like to ask you to pray for my brother in law  Jonathan. This week he celebrated his 16th birthday! We are so thankful for his life. 
I hope to hear from you soon!
Love and hugs, 

If you like red pandas, you are welcome to copy the text of my letter and tweak it to suit your needs! :) 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Sweet Greetings from Bolivia, Kenya, Rwanda, the Philippines, Ecuador, Ghana, Tanzania, India, and Honduras!

Happy Mail Call Monday- the first of November! Wow!

What a tremendous blessing to receive so many letters this week!!!

Steph and I got our first letter from Maribel in Bolivia!

She said she was so happy that we sponsored her, and that she likes to talk! :) She listed her best friends, said that she likes to eat watermelon and pique macho, which is like, ground beef, beans, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and all this random stuff. Bolivians must like it because Juan has written about it, too! She also drew a really pretty picture of a house in the hills.

We got a letter from little Purity in Kenya!

Purity's letter was a form letter about her favorites. Her favorite food is pilau, her favorite sport is skipping, she likes playing, her favorite color is orange, Ann is her best friend, and she likes dogs. And she says her favorite toy is a doll, and her favorite hero is her mum! She filled in all these blanks herself! On the back her project helper wrote that she said “jambo, rafiki” which means hello, friend! She and her family are doing well and she is always praying for us!

We also got a letter from Emmanuel in Kenya!

Emmanuel sent the same letter, since he goes to the same project. He likes chips, football, dancing, white, cats, dolls, and his best friend is Joyce. And he said his mummy is his favorite hero, too! Emmanuel is praying that God always blesses us!

We also heard from Fatuma in Kenya!

Fatuma opened her letter with “hello, my dear dear friend!” She said her family is doing well and she would like to thank me warmly for her letters, and that they really make her feel good! She says “Jessi Jones, I really think of you every day and I do pray for you too.” She asked how my stomach is doing and said she is doing well in school and at the project, and her mom recently had a baby named Abdalla! She also said she enjoyed reading the story of Fanny Crosby and especially liked the song lyrics that were included. :)

Next was a letter from Celestine in Kenya!

She said that her family is fine and she hopes mine is, too. She is learning new skills in the project like bead making and tailoring! She wants to know if I know how to do these things, too. She also is very excited that they started their games. She likes football and volleyball, and wants to know which games I like. She also told me to ask my friends Brandon and Stephanie which games they enjoy, as well. :) Celestine shared a little about Independence Day in her country, and she asked that we pray for her grandma, who has high blood pressure.

Then there’s a letter from Motempa in Kenya.

Motempa said “first of all, receive much greeting from your child.” She says she is doing well in school and she hopes that we are praying for her, and her family members are very happy. She asked about the weather and said they were experiencing a drought. She said she was thankful for our letters and support and she wants me to read Jeremiah 29:11.

We also heard from Nkoyio, who attends the same center.

Nkoyio also talked about the drought and asked how we are doing. She said “thank you so much for your continuous support that you have been sending to me. I lack words to express my happiness to you. I thank God for giving me a wonderful friend like you. Have a good stay up there- we shall meet soon!” How sweet!

And then there was a letter from Gloria, also at the same center!

Gloria’s letter was written by a helper at the project, and she also talked about the drought. She asks that we pray for her to do well in school and that we pray her parents have a peaceful time when she is at school.

We also got our second letter from Jeannette in Rwanda in three weeks!

She says her whole family sends greetings and they are thankful that we care about them! She wished us the peace of Christ and said the story of Malala touched their hearts and they are praying for her!

And then there was a letter from Merlyn in the Philippines!

She addressed her letter to “sister Jessi”, which I love. She and her mom are doing well, and she asked if I like planting flowers. She said “There are lots of things you are busy with. That’s why you get sick. It’s good for you to be in farm to get your body and mind relaxed.” How cute! Merlyn asked about my favorite flower and asked what games I played with my cousins when I was growing up. Merlyn asked that we pray that her mom stays healthy so she can do her work, and she is praying to Jesus to make my tummy better so I can eat my favorite foods. :) She is so cute! She also said that she bought a blouse and groceries with her birthday gift!

We also had a letter from little Erick in Ecuador.

He wrote a form letter about his project, and said that he gets there in 2 minutes by walking. He goes there on Mondays and Sundays! He said his favorite parts of going to the project are singing and playing soccer.

There was also a letter from Angelina in Ghana.

She said that she is learning how to pray at the project, and she is happy about that! She wrote that she would like to learn more about my country, and she drew a very detailed picture of a flower with all the parts labeled- like the stamen and pistil and everything! It looks like something straight out of a biology textbook! I was very impressed!

Later in the week, we got a letter from Said in Tanzania!

Said said that he and his family are doing well, and that his auntie was expecting a baby! The baby would have been born in August. She was going to name it after Said's dad, who passed away 10 years ago. This is the most Said has ever said about his father in his letters- even when I met with him in Tanzania, he just said that he was deceased. Said said that every year,  they have a memorial in honor of his father. He also said that he is praying for me every day, when he goes to sleep and when he wakes up!

We also heard from Kajal in India!

Kajal sent a form letter about her dental checkup! She went to the dentist six months ago, and both her parents were able to go with her! She learned that she should brush her teeth twice a day, and she has 30 teeth- meaning she is missing two! How cute! Kajal's helper at the project said that Kajal is doing really well. Her auntie got married recently and she went to the wedding and had fun dancing there. She also talked about her dolly named Munny! She said that it has been raining so there are lots of green plants and saplings growing, and she and her family were happy about my wedding anniversary! She also asked that we pray for her dad, who has tuberculosis. This recurring illness keeps him from working sometimes. 

We also had a much-awaited letter from Anahi!

Anahi's letter was a form letter about her house. She lives in a brick home with cement floors, and sleeps in a bed. They use a well to get their water and they wash their clothes in a basin. I am glad that she has a sturdy house, but I am praying that they get running water soon! Anahi's mom wrote that they were so glad to get the gifts I was able to send this summer! I was so thankful to hear that they arrived safely. I like imagining Anahi's face, opening the baggie with the dress, candies, and toys! And I hope her mama liked the necklace we picked out for her, too. Anahi's mom said "We also want to thank you for the beautiful dress, the chains and the toys, they are spectacular. May God almighty continue to spill blessings over you Jessi, blessing after blessing. God is wonderful and we ask God to keep you and send angels around your life, your house and all of your family. Anahi says she would like to give you many hugs." How very, very sweet! I just can't wait to meet Anahi next year!!

Our last letter of the week came from Elisha in Tanzania!

Elisha wrote a form letter about his friends! His best friends are Ezekia and John, and he knows them from the project! They read and play together, and go to the same school. Elisha said his closest friend is Ezekia, and when asked what makes him special, he said "I love him!" How sweet!