First up, we heard from Elifagason in Tanzania!
Elifagason's letter was very short and didn't say much, but it was still good that he checked in with us. He just said that he and his family are well, he asked that we pray for his studies, and said that he believes that God is with us and that he loves us!
Next was a letter from Elisha in Tanzania!
It was neat that Elisha's letter arrived almost two years to the day since we spent time together in Tanzania. I had fun writing about that in my response letter, but at the same time it made me a little sad, because I miss my boys! Elisha is also doing fine, according to his letter, and he sent thanks for the gift we sent him (I am not sure if he was talking about Christmas presents or the items we sent for his birthday!) He also said "when I read your letter I smiled and became very happy." How sweet! Elisha said school is going well and that God is helping him with everything- "I start with him and finish with him." He said right now his favorite subjects are geography, math, science, and English, and he is doing well in some of those studies. :) Way to go, buddy!
Next, we received our first letter from Jaki in Togo.
Jaki was one of the kids I took over for my mom. It was nice to learn a little about her family from this letter. I learned that she lives in southern Togo, in a village, and she has two brothers and a sister. She likes rice and the color green, and her dream is still to be a midwife- this was the answer she gave when my mom first sponsored her over a year ago! Since little kids change their minds about their aspirations pretty frequently, it was neat to see that this has stayed the same. Jaki goes to the project on Saturdays, and she goes on foot. She asked about my favorite food and asked us to pray that God will protect her, and she rew a little house and a yam. :)
We also heard from Jayid in India this week!
Jayid's letter was written by a project worker again. He said he's been enjoying playing cricket and football at the center, and now they have a "children's park." I read in his project director's letter that this year, the center was able to build a playground for the kids, most of whom had never seen one before. It's so fun to read that Jayid is enjoying this new addition to his project! He also said that he has been learning how to use a computer! Jayid asked that we pray for his brother who has had a fever and a cold, and that his community's special food (for holidays and special occasions) is biryani. That's a little too hot for me, but it does make me want to stop and get some Indian food before work today. :)
Next we had our first letter from lovely Jessika in Ecuador!
Jessika was also one of the kids we took over for my mom. Hers was also an introductory form letter. We learned that she likes rice with chicken, the color pink, listening to music, and soccer. Her favorite subject in school is natural science, and she lives in the Andean highlands in Oyacoto! She also mentioned that her family has farm animals, which I don't think I knew. She asked that we pray for her life and her adolescence. So far, as we have received these first letters from my mom's kids, they have all been written before the kids knew who I was- that is, they hadn't yet received my introductory letter explaining that I was Mrs Karen's daughter Jessi, and that my mom wanted to make sure that they received lots and lots of letters, so I would be writing to them most of the time now. I can't wait to get their letters after they realize who I am! :)
We also heard from little Julian in Colombia this week!
Many of us who have kids at Julian's center (and Michel's) hadn't heard from our kiddos since before Christmas, so it was very nice to get letters from them! Julian shared that the name of his community is "La Reliquia", and the most common jobs there are masonry and peddling. They have warm weather and his family celebrated Christmas by sharing a special dinner. Juian said that he got a toy for Christmas! He also shared that he has finished school and was prommoted to the second grade, and he asked that we pray for his grandfather, who is sick. He drew a little church and a heart with a smiley face on it.
We also heard from Michel in Colombia, on the same day!
Michel said her comunity is called "La Nohora" and a lot of people there sell pineapple and work in construction! She said it's very warm, and she celebrated Christmas by eating pudding and fritters, and she got a doll for Christmas! Wow! Michel asked me to send her a picture of my entire family (I wonder how inclusive she wants that to be??) and said that she has been promoted to the third grade! She drew some little pink and purple houses, with orange trees and blue rain! :)
Next up was a letter from our dear Reine in Burkina Faso!
Reine said she was very happy to write to us, and she was so happy to get our letters and pictures. She also said she was glad to know the first names of my grandparents, as I had written a letter about them, and reading about my friend Hannah and her kids made her happy, too! In the area where she wrote questions for us, she asked if my grandparents live in my house, and if they are still going to church (it is sweet of her to take such an interest in them) and she asked us to pray for her country, and for her daddy and mommy to do well and be in good health.
Finally, we got another letter from Sithum in Sri Lanka!
After almost a year of writing to Sithum and only hearing from him once (eight months after getting him as a correspondent), it is neat to see his letters picking up a bit. We have heard from him twice in two months now! And he writes a lot in his letters! He started his letter with "My dear Jessi and all of the family members." He said he had received seven letters, a coloring book and 2 cards since he last wrote- it was nice to know that he got the coloring book we sent! Sithum said that no one in his home has been baptized, and recently he went to an exhibition at church. He brought a flower made of palm leaves. He also said this, which made me laugh: "Why are you doing two jobs? Your pain in the back may be due to that you are overtired." Oh, sweetie, if only that was the case- but my back has hurt since I was his age! Sithum also shared that his country's independence day was coming up, and they were celebrating 68 years of independence with a festival, and everyone would raise the flag in their homes. They also received a flag, a book of national symbols, a package of cookies and some special nutritious cereal! How fun!