I was really surprised that Merlyn wrote her letter in English! It's her handwriting though, so I don't think someone else wrote it for her. She must feel more confident in her communication skills now. That's really neat! I will be sure to ask her about being bilingual in my next letter. Merlyn said she was "amazed" at my stories, and said that even though she hasn't been there, she can tell that Cincinnati is a beautiful place! I'm so glad that she enjoyed my letter about our day trip there back in August! She also described a local festival, but I'm having a bit of trouble making out the name. There was a parade, drums, competitions, and colorful activities! She also asked if Brandon likes festivals! Merlyn also said something really sweet- "I am telling Jesus that you may be healed from back injury. I know Jesus loves you and he will hear our prayer." It's always really neat to receive encouragement from the kids, when really we are the ones meant to be encouraging them! Merlyn added as a side note that she wants me to know her favorite colors, which are yellow, pink, and blue, and she asked that we pray she and her mom stay safe from typhoons.
Carlos really liked the zoo letters I sent this summer, too! Not only did I send a letter about the Cincinnati trip, which included five hours at the zoo, but I also made a "walk-through" letter about our own zoo here in Louisville. I included lots of photos and a map, and wrote out what they would experience if they ever got to visit! Carlos was really intrigued by the gorillas, since he's never seen them before and they don't live in Peru. :) He shared that there aren't many animals in Peru, but they do have a lake with monkeys in the middle! There is also a cave there, and it was a bit scary when he visited it! He also said that he visited a zoo when he was a little kid, and he hopes to go again someday. He asked that we pray for his mom, who celebrated her 44th birthday this summer!
We got to learn about some of Anggi's favorite things in this letter! She enjoys fried rice (me too), badminton, mathematics, the colors blue and green, and her best friends are named Diara and Tata! The narrative portion of Anggi's letter was all about chickens! They are her favorite animal (though she does like all animals) and at home, she has two chickens, a rooster and a hen. The rooster crows each morning, and the hen laid lots of eggs once! They allowed them to hatch, and now they have cute baby chicks! She said "and that's all my story about chickens." :) She made a cute drawing for us!
We got our first letter from lovely Yesenia in Peru this week! Unfortunately we recently learned that Yesenia's graduation date was moved from February 2019 to February 2017, so we probably won't hear from her much longer. She said that she was praying for my back pain, and she also enjoyed my zoo letter- and her favorite part was the gorillas, too! I guess there's something about them that's universally appealing. :) She said she didn't have any prayer requests for herself but she really did hope that I was feeling better soon - "leave it in the hands of God and everything will be all right."
This letter was actually written a bit before Bonifas' last letter! He said he liked the gorilla stories, because he hasn't seen them before but he's heard about them. He also enjoyed a letter I wrote about peace! I also gathered that his new house is finished, as he has moved from the Meru community to another which has a very long name, and it's a bit hard to read. I plan on doing more research. :) He told me that it's a Maasai community, but different people are moving in there now, and it's 2 km from his old home! And he shared Psalm 100: 1-5.
Our letter from Elisha was just two sentences long, but I was impressed that it was written just 15 days before it arrived! Elisha lives about nine hours from the field office, so that's pretty impressive! He said he was doing well, his studies are improving, and he enjoyed the letters. He asked that we pray that God protects his family.
We learned that Kaue's community is called Condado, and common jobs are cleaning and farming. It's usually sunny, and most people get around by using cars! Kaue's tutor said that he treasures our letters and sends a big hug and a kiss! He made a drawing for us, too!
This was my first letter from any of my Honduran kids since my visit- and when I opened the letter, I saw that Anahi wrote this the DAY BEFORE she found out that I was coming to see her! Oh, man! I can't wait to hear from the kids again and find out their perspectives on our visit together!! :) Anahi actually sent two letters. One was a form letter about her community, which is the New Providence neighborhood in Tegucigalpa. People use cars and buses to get around, and a common job is cleaning. The other was about her plans for the future. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. And she wants to visit France and Italy (but not New York!) She also wrote over and over again how much she loves me and that she was sending me lots of hugs and kisses! A frequent prayer request of Anahi's over the past few years is that her dad will come to church with them. I learned on my trip that he has started doing that (it must have been the weekend after the letter was written!) and now we are working on her grandparents. :) She drew some really cute pictures, too!
It was good to hear from Angelina again! We haven't heard from her much this year. She said she is thankful for our stories and that she reads them every day. Her community recently elected some new assemblymen, so we will be praying for them and their duties. Angelina apparently wants to learn more about animals, including elephants, monkeys, and mosquitoes. The mosquito one surprised me because most of the time, the kids say they want to learn about animals they like! I will have to get started on that soon. She asked that we pray God will bless her family, and she is praying that God will protect us. The verse Angelina shared is a sad one: "Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in trouble. My eyes are tired from so much crying and I am worn out." I will definitely be praying for Angelina in case something is going on in her life that she isn't sharing about.
It was great to get another letter from Enal this week- the Indonesia offices seem to be making their way through the backlog of letters! Enal said his family is fine. He shared that it's always sunny where he lives, but it's cold when he wakes up and starts his day, so he uses a coat and a thick blanket! He also said his family loves to drink coffee, especially his dad, and that the best coffee is found in Indonesia! He specifically recommends the coffee from Taraja. :) Enal shared that his dad is older and his having some health problems, including problems with his memory. How sad. We will definitely be praying for them!
It was fun to hear from Isac this week because I'm preparing a gift for him that will be delivered in January! :) I'm excited about it. Isac's letter was information about himself. He said his name means "prophet," he's the only child in his family, He enjoys singing praise songs, and one thing he does well is running errands! He wants to be a doctor when he grows up. He is excited to color the pictures we sent with letters, and he asked that we pray for his dad, who went to Mexico City for work. And here is his drawing!