I'm glad that I'm now able to regularly share letters we are getting throughout the week! Sometimes,because the letters arrive in email form first, it feels like I'm still not getting very many- there isn't a stack of letters waiting to be answered on my kitchen table. But when I look at the google doc where I'm keeping track of my letters and saving their individual links, we are getting about the same number of letters each week now that we did back before the system change, and that's GREAT NEWS!
First this week, we got a letter from Jeferson in El Salvador!
Jeferson is doing great with his letter writing- to get his first letter, we had to do an inquiry, and when we did, we got some neat photos of him with all the letters he received from us. Now that he is writing, he fills up a whole page! Jeferson shared that Ruben and Bernardo are his friends, and Ruben is his best friend because they have many things in common "and they are that we are playful, we like to play with marbles and I met him at his house. We started to talk and we felt well and we became good friends." That is so cute. He also said he like sharing smiles and games with his friends, and that they have a children's day celebration, where they have a lot of fun! Jeferson then said he got the Christmas stuff we sent him, and that his family celebrates New Years by having a nice dinner and sharing their wishes for the year to come. Jeferson wants to know how many family members I have, as well as how many friends, and he shared that he was going on vacation in August! His family invited his friend along, and they were going on a hike. Then Jeferson drew this little dude.
The next day, we got a letter from Festus in Kenya!
Festus' letter was a bit confusing, and in figuring out, I learned a little more about Compassion's processes. We recently had to do an inquiry because we had not heard from Festus since the beginning of the year. When we heard from Festus this week, his letter was a bit short (still very friendly) but was more like something he would send to a new sponsor, telling a bit about himself. My name was also not on top of the letter, and he addressed it to "dear sponsor." There was one instance a while back where one of our correspondence kids was accidentally and very temporarily removed from our account, and immediately added back on, but that changed how her "sponsored since" date appeared in the computer. I emailed and asked if maybe something similar had happened with Festus. I was told that when the field office is notified that a child needs to write a letter, they basically tell the staff at that project, and it could be that they don't have any pre-printed stationery with the child's name and sponsor's name at the top. So Festus may have been given a fresh piece of stationery without this info, assumed that he had a new sponsor (which has happened to him several times before) and just written a letter like it was to a new sponsor! I am sure he will be very relieved to know that we did not leave him (he is sponsored by a corporation, so hopefully we will have him and our other Kenyan kids until they graduate.) I am sharing this to encourage other sponsors who may have received short or vague letters after waiting so long to get one in the mail- it could just be a situation like this, where they wanted to get the letter out as quickly as possible, and in the process there was a tiny bit of miscommunication!
Our next letter of the week came from Sukumar in India!
Sukumar is such a sweetheart, and I love getting his letters. We also hadn't heard from him since earlier this year, and it was encouraging to get a letter from one of our Indian kids- we hadn't heard from any of them all summer! Sukumar says that he is "quite fit by the grace of God" and he is studying hard to get good marks in every subject. Sukumar said he is growing in his spiritual life, and he is going to church every Sunday! And he really likes when his church has songs in English! He also shared that the project recently had a camp for teens, and he learned new songs and Bible verses. Then he asked how our climate is, and what season we are having. He then asked that we pray for his community, the Malto people, because "many people are suffering from diseases and also child marriage." Sukumar also said that for his birthday he got new jeans and a shirt! At the end of his letter he said "Thank you for your remembrance and prayer. I am from a poor family and by God's grace I got the wonderful opportunity to study (through) your Compassion sponsorship. Thank you for your supporting and loving to me." Sukumar is such a blessing to our family, and I'm so glad we get to write to him! Oh, and he also included this beautiful drawing!
The same day, we got a letter from Jayid in India!
Jayid's letter didn't have much to say. It was written by a project worker, and shared that he is doing well and is learning new action songs (as usual.) They asked us to pray for his grandfather, who has a fever.
Next was a letter from Pitchaya in Thailand!
I always love reading Pitchaya's letters- he has such cool stuff to wear! Pitchaya first listed all the letters and pictures he has received since he last wrote, which I thought was cute. Pitchaya said that it is really hot where he lives, and when it's hot, he likes to go to the farm house. He said it's not very big, but the weather is cooler, "and there are trees to give me places to hide from the sun." Apparently his family meets there during holidays and they listen to music, eat together, play games, and other fun stuff. It sounds a lot like the Jones family farm, honestly! He said they raise ducks, chickens, and squirrels there, too! Pitchaya said that his college is about to start up again, and that makes him happy because he misses his friends and they didn't get to talk much during the summer holidays. He also shared about the Songkran festival coming up, which I first learned about from our first Thai correspondent, Tae. Pitchaya told me a little more about the activities, like bringing gifts of fruit to the elderly who may not have much food and live in a nursing home. Pitchaya also responded to a letter I sent about peace by saying "I share peace by making people around me laugh!" I love this guy! He made this super cool drawing, too!
Our next letter was from Eyo in Burkina Faso!
Eyo is such a sweetie, and I was really happy to see we had another letter from her so quickly! Eyo sent her greetings and said that her family is grateful for our relationship. She said they were preparing for the rainy season by "cleaning the farms." Eyo also said that she is praying for my mom and my pappaw, and she wants to know more about winter in our country, and what we do with all the snow. She also asked what problems I face so she can pray for me, and that was so sweet!
Then we got a letter from Marc in Haiti!
Marc is another one of our kids that we hadn't heard from in about five months, so it was really nice to hear from him. He said he was really glad to get our letters, and asked what our activities are and what people like to do in our country. He asked about my grandparents and said that he is always praying for me and my job, which is really sweet. He also thanked me for sharing about my friends, and for sending a photo of Hannah's new baby. "I love that baby so much!" How cute! I always love it when I get to share about my every day life- including my friends and family- and when the kids take an interest in that.
A few days later, we got a letter from sweet Thanakan in Thailand!
Thanakan sent a form letter about what she likes best. With her friends, she likes drawing and coloring. Her favorite game is skipping rope. Her favorite class at school is Thai, and she likes to visit waterfalls! Thanakan always writes quite a bit in her letters. She opened with "I am very glad to receive your 17 letters." :) She said she likes reading all the details in my letters, and she gains knowledge through them when I write about animals and other countries! She also said she liked the picture of the blanket I made for a friend, and that I have a good ability. I thought that was adorable. Thanakan said she is in the rainy season and wanted to know about our weather. She also said her family doesn't really like coffee, but they do like tea, and she likes when her mom makes her breakfast. She also said that her dad was in a bad scooter accident and he can't walk. He had an operation and now he's resting. I'm glad he was able to get the medical help he needed! Thanakan also asked if I can send a letter about rabbits so she can learn more about them. She included this pretty drawing- I like the cake!
Later that day, we got a new letter from Ruth in Honduras!
Chances are that this is the last letter I will get from Ruth before I go meet her in LESS THAN SIX WEEKS! Crazy! Ruth said she is happy to write to me and hopes we are all in good health. She said "I am glad we will communicate often- and that way I will be able to know you better." She also said she is happy to see me, even if it's just in a picture. By now, she probably knows I am coming to see her in person!! Ruth said she wanted to tell me about her school, and shared that she gets there in a taxi. Her school is by a forest. It is a 20 minute ride from her home. She wants to know how long it takes me to get to work. She asked to learn more about my family and what I do each day, and she hopes we can communicate again soon. She asked that we pray for her family, that they will not lack anything. She also sent a pretty drawing!
Lastly, we got a letter from our lovely Christine in Kenya!
Christine's latest letter took about six weeks to get to us! That's pretty quick! She asked how we are doing "over there" and she and her family are doing well and they are really happy. She said she loves learning more about our friends and family, and that she's doing well in school. She said her best subjects are science and Swahili, and she hopes to be promoted to the next grade. She then shared Romans 12:1 with us.