Tuesday, April 26, 2011

With Love, From Ghana

Oh what a joyful blessing it was to receive a letter in our mailbox from Ghana today!

Our Ato Sam, who will be 11 in July, has written us a beautiful 6.5 page letter in addition to the Ghana response letter form Compassion has provided him.

Ato Sam's letter gives a wonderful glimpse into the Compassion child's world. I would like to share it with you in it's entirety.

Ato Sam (aka Sam Sam) is the one holding the bags of rice, surrounded by his family.


Ato Sam says he was very happy to receive your letter which you let him know what you and his family in Canada are doing. He says he does not know what to say because you always make him feel special among his peers in the project center and at school as well.

He says by the grace of Jesus, he and his family are very well.
He says he thanks you so much for the books that you sent and he says he was grateful for that. He says it sounds like you are his special mother, that you always care for his schooling and how he should behave.

He says he was happy to hear from you how God has blessed you and his family in Canada with good health, peace and happiness. He says it is his wishes that God will do greater things in the next days to come.
He says that he thanks you for the address that you gave him as "our wise, precious and beloved son". (I had addressed his letter in February as such, I always address it to remind him of how I see him -- beautiful, wise, precious, beloved, strong, wonderful, amazing, etc) He says he appreciated that very much.

He says he was wondering how you manage to know "Thank You!" in Fante as "Meda Ase" or "Meda wo Ase"?!
(Oh, if only he knew how hard I've been working on studying and learning everything I can about Ghana as well as his local culture/language!)

He says his siblings in Canada are back to school and he prays that God should guide and protect them and give them divine understanding in their studies.

He says that he thanks you for explaining to him the difference between the soccer and the football. He says he realized that the soccer is different from the football. He says in Ghana, the football is the same as the soccer ball that he saw in the picture. He also adds that he has not seen the football before like the one in the picture.

He says he also heard from your letter concerning the question he asked about your friends. He says he learned a lot on how some of them became your friend. He says he thought Tia was your only friend, but he has got to know about Jesus who is the best friend among all. He says he now knows of (lists friends by name) and not forgetting your husband Terry. He says he heard a riddle about himself and he was proud of that and he says thank you.
(I had made a riddle about having one more friend, someone like a son, from far away but close to my heart, someone wise and kind and a great leader, someone I love.... someone he might know, because that someone's name was Ato Sam! LOL He loved that, it seems!)

He says how is the relationship between Terry and Jesus, and is it good now? He says he and his family pray for your marriage, that any promise that God has made concerning your marriage should come to pass.

He says you also requested that he should pray for (J____) and (M______)
(friends of Jillian's) and he says he had learned that God will let his light shine in the life of (J_____) and (M______) and released them from any difficulty in life.

He says that he also prays for the adoption that you are fighting for. He says that God has already done, but in His good time God will establish what you are dreaming for.
(He had no way of knowing that our first potential match recently fell through, but he is right, God will establish what we're dreaming of!)

Ato says I should answer the question myself because I know more than him.
(I had asked him to ask his project director if he was the 3rd born in his family because his name includes the name Mensah, and in Fante culture, that usually signifies the third born male.) The name Mensah has now become a general name to the children who were born a third male in the family. We have real on written without the letter "h" as Mensa, and the pronunciation is different from Mensah but I am second born in my family and Mensah is my surname. All the same, you guessed right.

Sam Sam says in his Compassion project, there are four types of season letters that they write to their sponsors. He says that these are (1) Christmas Greeting Cards (2) Christmas Thank You (3) Holiday Letters (4) Response Letters. He says that according to the Project Workers, the children must try and write letters to their sponsor to keep the relationship close.
Ato says yes, he does tell the Project Coordinator what he wants to say and the coordinator also translates it into English. He says he speaks Fante while the coordinator translates. He says he has kept all the letters at a safe place and hopes that one day, he can read all and understand by himself.

He says that the letters are received at the Project Office and they will be informed to come with their parents and reply to the letter. He says that some of the parents are illiterate and the Project Workers guide them to read the letter and reply the letters too. He says anytime that the letters will be in, he and his family come around
[to the Compassion Center] to listen to the letter while in the evening too, his father reads to the family again and prayed when there are any prayer requests. He says the other children receive some letters once in a month/while, others do not receive letters at all.

He says his favorite thing about receiving your letters is that he loves to hear from you and also learn more concerning what God is doing in your life. He says especially on Saturdays when papers are being given to the children to inform their caregivers when their letters are in and he loves to listen if you have written him a new letter.
(Even though I write at least once a month, this makes me want to write even more often... I love that he looks forward to receiving letters!)

He says that every week, the caregivers come to the Project Office to write the children letter and sometimes some of these children are too young to write or speak (express their letters orally). He says the parents assist the children to write in replying the letters and also hold the children's hands to draw (if they need help).

Ato says he was happy to hear that someday he would meet you and have face to face chat and he says when will that be?
(He has a way of asking that goes straight to my heart and makes me laugh! Nice try, Ato Sam, I can't tell you, but it's about 194 more days!)

He says concerning his English studies, he has been learning a lot from you through the books that you have been sending. he says "Nyame nhyira wo
(?)", which means may God bless you. He says his father is planning to send him to another school so that he can improve upon his studies. He says this can happen after this year's maize harvest while some will be sold for his school fees.

Ato says yes, there are some months that food finds it hard to grow, especially of November, December and January to April. He says some of the farmers including his parents do not grow crops but rather feed on previous food. He says his parents have some extra but not in all the months. He says his parents try to keep money which was [obtained] out of the selling the produce and also gather firewood for selling so that they may use it for other food items.
(His parents are subsistence farmers and Ato Sam once explained that they sometimes sell the extras to obtain fish and other foods.) He says fish are not common food in his community.

Ato says concerning Jillian's question if he should have a pet, he would [get a] dog and he says he loved to have a dog as his pet.
(His dog was stolen a few years ago, he really misses his dog.)

Ato says he prayed that God should let you come so that he may see you face to face in Ghana.
(194 more days, son!!)

He says he would reply your questions in the other letters since the time is gone.
(*chuckles!*) He says he would in the next day to continue the letter writing with his father. He says he loves you much and prayed that God should give you strength and good health to do His work. He says may God also give you all the resources that you will need to do His work and cause more workers to come in (there is only one explanation this precious child knows just how to pray... God told his heart about the Ghana project!).

He says your fish drawing was very admirable.
(I drew him a beta fish on a recent letter, LOL!)

Ato Sam Kwakwa
End Of Message

He included these Q&A's as well at the beginning of his letter:

Questions from child to sponsor:
He says, "How are you and the whole family?"

New personal information about child (Interests, family, spiritual growth, etc):
He says he will be going to witness a football (soccer) match between his school JSS team and another school at a different town this week and it is his wish for his school to win.

I would like to know more about:
How you were able to know about our Fante language "Meda Ase" as well as our local names. *gotta love Google!*

Child's prayer for sponsor:
He says he is praying for your prosperity in life and that of the whole family. (He does not yet know that my husband just lost his job... again, he knows just how to pray!)

Child's prayer request:
He says pray for his school team to win this particular match and come home with the trophy.

Memory Verse:
Psalm 37:5 "Commit they way unto the Lord; Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."

I have a child available from Ato Sam's Compassion Center in Ghana. Six and a half year old Nicholas is currently unsponsored, and as such, he does not receive any letters or the love of a sponsor. It is Ato Sam's prayer that anyone reading his letters would feel led to also make a difference in the life of his Compassion brothers and sisters through sponsorship. If you would like to sponsor Nicholas, please let me know, and I will give you the appropriate info to contact Compassion with.

(Nicholas, born on October 9th 2004, lives with both his parents (sometimes employed as subsistence farmers) and 3 siblings. He loves to play soccer. His performance in kindergarten is average and he attends church and Bible study regularly.)

A sponsor has just been found for Nicholas!! Thank you so much for your prayers!


Shebecomes said...

JD! First of all, he sure knows and understands the workings of the Compassion project, maybe a future Compassion staff?

And second, I cried reading this. Yes, I admit, I am a bit emotionally unstable right now with all the health stuff/meds, but I was just thinking of the day you will meet, and what a wonderful celebration it will be. You have such a wonderful relationship with him :)

Bev Sykes said...

Wow. What a great letter! No wonder you're excited. Has he sent other long letters like this?

TanyaLea said...

Wow JD!! I cannot even begin to fathom receiving such letters from our Compassion child... it is NOTHING like your relationship with this precious boy. The letters we receive are never all that personal, and do not answer our specific questions. Sadly, I do not write nearly as often as I should because of it. Maybe it is a cultural thing, as our sponsor daughter is from Brazil. I often wonder if she has ever really received any photos we have sent her, since she asks for them in her letters from her teacher, but does say anything about those we have sent. It's hard to know for sure.

But reading this letter is SO inspiring. What a wonderful relationship you share with Ato Sam and I cannot wait to see those first photos of you meeting him in person. What a wonderful and special celebration that will be. GOD-BREATHED from the start!!!

Thank you for sharing this with us. Your family remains in my thoughts and prayers as you continue down your adoption path towards the child God has already chosen for you, and as you prepare for your exciting upcoming trip!

Love you,

Heather said...

In February, I had the opportunity to sponsor a child through Compassion. I had the card in my hand and put it back on the table. That decision has haunted me ever since. I am going to pray this week that God will show me a way to afford the small cost.

Megan @ Faith Like Mustard said...

I never tire of reading Compassion kid letters! He really gave great insight into his local project.

halys said...

I love hearing about this special boy!

I have two sponsored children in Ghana and love to hear from them too!~
God Bless you JD, thank you for sharing!

halys said...

I love hearing about this special child. I have two sponsored children in Ghana, and also love hearing from them. God Bless you JD, and thank you for sharing his letter with all os us.

JD said...

Rebecca, how are you doing, love? (((((((((((((( hugs ))))))))))))))))))

I cried too... Every time I get those Compassion envelopes, I know which one contains a letter from him before I even open it, and I'm always faced with the choice to tear it open immediately, or find a quiet spot first, since I have come to know that every letter from him should be slowly treasured, letting the wisdom and the love pour out in such a way that none is missed.

JD said...

Bev, all his letters are like this, much to our delight. I received another one from him today (has it even been a week?), and it's 4 pages handwritten, plus the two sided form. I don't know how much of this is Ghana and their well established writing practices, Ato Sam himself and his heart... but one thing is for sure, it's ALL GOD and ALL BLESSING!

JD said...

Tanya, typically, south America culture isn't strong on letter writing, since it's not something they're accustomed to. What I found that helps with our children in Bolivia and Ecuador is to lead by example, write often and consistently, be the change you want to see, and in time, it will change. I can assure you that every letter and every photo sent is *beyond treasured*, more than they may be capable of expressing or putting into words, I have seen it time and time again, and have never heard otherwise. Your sponsorship is making an eternal difference, even if the letters received from your child leave you wishing for more... God will use it.

Thank you SO much for your prayers -- they mean more than words can say... treasured, beyond measure.

JD said...

Heather, praying alongside of you for His provisions -- do not be discouraged -- He has a child chosen for you, He has a plan and provisions, in His time, it will all fall into place... don't give up!

JD said...

Megan, me neither!! I love seeing other people's blog posts sharing their Compassion child's letters, it gives such insight into their life and the Compassion programs around the world. I especially appreciated all the info about the way his project handles letters, translations, the way they include the families, etc. It was such a blessing to have such details and insight!

JD said...

Halys -- where are your Ghanian children from? How old are they? Boys, girls, one of each? I'd love for you to share!

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Gosh, I know I meant to reply to this earlier! What an amazing young man you have there. I am hoping that you bring lots of batteries and memory cards for your camera so that we get TONS of pictures when you go to Ghana!!

JD said...

There will be a ton of photos -- a lifetime's worth!! I also hope to get photos of his Compassion center and area to post on the new OurCompassion Project Groups! :o)

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