Thursday, November 13, 2008

Snail Mail

My sainted father rued the day "real" correspondence began to be replaced by email. The longer I live in East Africa with dial-up internet, the more I concur with his assessment. On the other hand, snail mail takes 2-3 weeks to get to Kenya, and our packages are intercepted at Customs, never to be seen again.

But instant gratification isn't everything, and I am thankful to have received two pieces of snail mail in the month since my arrival in Maseno: an absentee ballot (alas, too late to be counted) and a wonderful letter from The Rev. John T. Braughler in Pittsburgh, PA -- the person perhaps most responsible for my being here.

Fifty years ago, Pastor Braughler was minister, teacher and role model to about 25 of us who met as preteens for two full years of Catechism classes at Good Shepherd Church in Monroeville, PA. He made Saturday mornings come alive, and he somehow got us through those painful, but formative, junior high years.

My faith life began to develop when I was a little girl in Vacation Bible School, but it blossomed when I was a gawky adolescent in Good Shepherd's Catechism class. To my delight, a friend and retired Lutheran minister found John Braughler's address for me just a few years ago. (Thank you, Richard!)

I had longed to thank Pastor Braughler personally for all he had done, all those years ago. Now I can thank him publicly, as well, for sending me the first snail mail I've received as an Episcopal missionary in Kenya. How appropriate that it came from a man who fostered the faith that has sustained me for 50 years!

Asante sana, Pastor Braughler. God's eternal peace to you and your family, and my eternal thanks for all you gave us... Amen.

P.S. In case anyone else remembers the Palmer method and still owns a (not necessarily quill) pen, the address here is Maseno Hospital, PO Box 116, Maseno 40105, Kenya. My email address is It is a gift to hear from everyone, by every means, and I will make every effort to reply.

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