When it comes to generous friends and family Jason and I really lucked out. Our wedding gifts filled our living room and it took us over an hour to open all of them. The cards were thoughtful and full of love. The gifts were beautiful and more than we ever expected. We are still getting cards in the mail.
A few days ago I got a card from a girl named Fayda. Fayda is from Brazil. Fayda's husband abandoned her and her two sons many years ago and she was left to eek out a living in Brazil. My parents met her and became parental figures to her. One day Fayda said to my dad, "President Platt I have to go to the United States. My boys need a better life."
Fayda met a man from the United States who promised her the world. He promised to love her and to take care of her, and to be a dad to her sons. My dad cautioned her but said he would support her decision. She married the man and moved to Missouri. She didn't speak English...her sons didn't speak English...but they were in the United States and she was hopeful.
Before too long she realized that her husband wasn't who he claimed to be, and after months of every form of abuse she called the police and asked for help. They moved her and her two boys into a women's shelter, where she spent months. My dad worked with her social worker and eventually they were able to move her here...close to my parents. My dad found a home near my parents that he was able to rent, and Fayda and her boys found peace and shelter with people who loved them.
We gave Fayda work at the nursery, and her boys became like cousins to my nieces and nephews. Fayda loved the feeling of earning money and being able to support her little family. Fayda remained in contact with her ex-husband's brother, who had always been good to her. He made the trip to visit her a couple of times and after his second visit he told her this:
"Fayda I'm sick. I have cancer. I need someone to take care of me, and you are the person I trust. I know you won't live with me without being married, so if you will marry me and help me through my illness, I promise to take care of you and your boys." My dad had a long talk with Les and told Fayda that he felt Les was honest and sincere. Fayda felt the same way and agreed to marry him.
My dad performed the marriage ceremony and Fayda and her boys moved back to Missouri.
Fayda calls my parents regularly. She still struggles with English and when she needs to feel a connection to home she calls and is able to speak in Portuguese. It hasn't been an easy marriage...Les is older than Fayda by at least 30 years, but she feels she made the right decision and her boys are doing well...much better than they have been.
Fayda's letter said this:
Congratulation for your wedding!
That's a very important decision!
And I know you will feel very happy, that's your first step for your eternal family!
You have a best parents, you have the best example in your life. Use that experience to make your marriage strong, with respect, honor, a lots communication and love.
Please, forgive - me send this card so late, but I learn I cannot wait for nobody help me; I need work with courage and to try to write in English, and, I wait to save a little change and you can buy what you want. (I apologize isn't to much.)
I love you so much!
See you soon I hope!
Fayda included $40 in $5s and $10s...I have no doubt that it was the most sacrificed $40 I will ever receive. I cried at her gift and will do something good with that money...something that will bless the life of someone else.