We got several letters this week, which was very exciting! I'm going to post them here in the reverse order that we received them, since that's how I have them listed in my "keeping track" document." :) So first, at the end of the week, we heard from Vandana in India!
Before sharing the letter, I would like to ask you to pleas pray for our kids in India, for a variety of reasons. One is that unfortunately, we are going to be losing several of our kids at the end of this month due to the fact that the family member who pays for their sponsorship cannot keep making payments. This includes most if not all of the girls in India. Please pray that the transition will be easier on everyone and that all the kids that get dropped find new, loving sponsors very soon. And that I find the right words to say in our final letters. Also, please pray that we quickly resolve a situation in which some paperwork was filed incorrectly- I found out this weekend that the staff member I spoke to about doing inquiries for the girls after Shelley took gifts for them did not actually do so, and sent another kind of inquiry instead. Therefore, the field office staff and project staff have been spending the last month and a half collecting the wrong information, basically, and it will be even longer before we actually find out if the girls got their gifts (Shelley definitely mailed them to the field office, but sometimes things get stolen in transit.) Losing these kids is really going to hurt and I would really like to have the special letters/photos about the mini care packages we sent to them. It would help me feel a little better when they are gone to know that they got them and maybe see some extra, special photos of them. So please pray that this situation is fixed quickly. The amazing Sarah from the social media team has already fixed the inquiries themselves, but now we have to wait to hear back about all of them.
Anyway, it was really nice to get a letter from Vandana, even if it was sort of received by mistake (they sent an inquiry saying she hadn't been writing, when in fact it wasn't time for that yet!) Though we have had Vandana for about a year, we have only received one or two letters from her that weren't generic introductory letters, so it was really nice to get to know her a little better. She said she was always happy to get our letters, and that she was shocked to learn that "sister Amisha" from her project is sponsored by my mom! Well, so was I, when I figured that out after coming home with her completed sponsorship packet! :) She said Amisha is a "nice girl and an active girl" and that they are friends. She also said she had recently finished her first written test of her final exams, and asked that we pray for her results and her education. She also asked that we pray for her sisters Divya and Kajal, saying that Kajal is sick. And she said she is thankful the Lord provides for her family, and talked about Psalm 23!
Next was a letter from Motempa in Kenya!
Motempa said that in June, her project had a "games day" which sounded a little like the Olympics! She said she was the best volleyball player AND football player and she won a prize! She also asked about the weather and said that she hoped we are praying for her.
The same day, we got a letter from Merlyn in the Philippines!
Merlyn said she was excited to get all our letters, and she did receive the sparkly purple folder we sent before the letter guidelines changed- and she keeps all her letters in there! Merlyn also mentioned that she enjoyed the letters she received about sheep, and Hannah's letter about "God in the trees" as she had never seen those trees before! She asked how Brandon is and what he is doing, and asked that we tell all our friends and family that she said hi. And she said that she got a new school uniform and school supplies from the project! That's awesome!
Earlier in the week, we got a nice letter from Abdias in Haiti!
It's nice to finally be hearing from our Haitian guys again! They are all older and we haven't heard from any of them in several months. Hopefully we'll hear from the other guys soon! Abdias said that he finished the school year well and next year he will start the 10th grade. He's really enjoying spending summer vacation playing soccer and running around, and he goes to the project on weekends. He said that he started taking music lessons, and that when his church had a revival, he played with the worship band! There was also a concert near his home with several artists performing, and he really enjoyed that. He said "I've never stopped saying thanks to God for giving me all the talents to praise him." He shared that he got some new clothes with his birthday gift, and he shared Matthew 3:2 with us!
Finally, we got three letters from Festus in Kenya!
We went about eight months without hearing from Festus, and then got a letter from him last week, so it was a surprise to get three from him in one day! They each only had a paragraph, though. :) He said that his family plants groundnuts and beans, and he wants to know if we like eating those, and if we practice agriculture. He also said that they got some new teachers and social workers at the project, and they also got new musical instruments! He told us that he has three sisters and four brothers that all live at home, and he asked that we pray for his "challenges" and said that he needs some new school books. I hope to be able to send a small gift at the end of the month so he can hopefully get some of those!