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Letter from Hanna Schonhood, Soujbulak, Persia, July 20, 1921.

 My dear Mrs. Sletten:-

 Thank you so much for the letter you wrote me.  It was written January 27th, so you see it has taken a long time in reaching me.  I have the picture of your church on the wall of my bedroom.  Although it makes me homesick I like to keep it there. 

Then you sent me another picture of your church, which reached Tabriz before I did.   That you probably sent the Christmas before. 

Oh, for a good talk with you this morning, instead of writing, although I was just thinking yesterday, what a blessing the invention of writing is when one has to be so far away from one's folks and for so long a time.  How terrible it would be to be separated from them if I couldn't get word from them.  The Lord knows how hard it is anyway.

 Sometimes when I think if the time ever comes to be with you all again it seems like a little taste of heaven. 

The heat is getting quite intense, now, and with it plenty of flies, fleas and sand flies.  Although we have some of our windows covered with cheesecloth or netting, not having screen doors, the flies come in by the hundreds.

 Our floors are of mud except the kitchen, office and one room upstairs, which are of brick.  The straw mats make a pretty good covering for the floor when water is sprinkled on to keep the dust from getting too thick in them.  As soon as I got to Tabriz I found some one to give me Kurdish lessons.   He is a Syrian but has lived in Soujbulak from a child.  But since coming here where one would expect to get a teacher, I have been disappointed.   There is one who had worked with Fossum who reads the Gospel well, and said he would be so glad if I would take him for a teacher. 


He came twice, but complained that the gatekeeper does not like it that he comes and will hardly let him in.  Then we heard that the Mullahs had made him sign some papers against coming to us, what truth there is in it is hard to tell.   He did seem interested in the gospels.

 The rumor came to us a while ago that some of the Mullahs had asked the government to have us expelled or they would have us killed.  The military general had replied that if they killed us he would burn the city.  That is the way rumors float around!  Never can vouch for the truth of them.

 Yesterday an army came marching to town from Tabriz, which they say is preparing to go out to fight Simko, the great Kurdish general.  They had a machine gun carried by mules, and they even had a band. 

It wouldn't surprise me to find that we are facing some political upheaval again. Alma and I were awakened last night by the screams of a man in the direction of the governor's home near here.  We could hear the continual lashing as he was being beaten.  I heard the same kind of terrible sounds from there once when sitting on the roof, so I suppose it is one of their ways of cruel punishments.

 It just made me sick, it sounds so awful. 

Day before yesterday, right before breakfast, it was told me that two orphan girls were at the gate, one about 13 and the other maybe 8 or 9, (even the grown-ups seldom know their age).  

Well, I said I would take them.  I had a bolt of muslin on hand so I went to work making underwear for them.  Mrs. Bachimont helped me and donated a dress for the bigger one.  Their heads were alive with bugs, and as I had a sore thumb, I had the gatekeeper cut their hair. 

They took off their rags, had a bath and put on the clothes we had fixed for them.  The smallest one wore a gingham dress of mine, which was too long, so I went to the bazaar for material and started a dress for her.  But yesterday, lo and behold, a woman appeared and claimed the younger one as her child.   So we had her put on her own clothes again and let her go. She seemed pretty disappointed, which was not to be wondered at as the servant declares that the child is a real orphan, but that this woman has had her as a servant.   We were told while in Tabriz how difficult it would be to get orphans among the Kurds, as they are liable to have some one who takes them for the work they do. 

There seems to be so many street children who say they have no parents, some Ajama and some Kurds, but it is so hard to know how much right we have to take them.  The Kargozar (head of foreign affairs) says we must get a permit from headquarters in Teheran before beginning our work here.  So we have been waiting for a reply from there.

 Miss Gudhart says they needed no permit when they were here before, and thinks it would be all right to go right on, although she says too, some one is apt to come and claim any we may take in. 

Just now Miss Fossum called to me to come see a little Ajam girl who had been coming to her for treatment for her burned limb.  I said I would take her, so now we will see what the outcome will be.  Now I will have to finish the dress I started for the other one. 

Now I was called down stairs again as we were going to cut the little girl's hair, but she refused and walked off, so that may be the last we will see of her.  When I think of the responsibility connected with taking charge of children it worries me.  But I must leave all in God's hands to use me as He sees fit. 

It looks discouraging when a bunch of women come to call, to find that all you can do is to join their shallow conversation.  Not to be able to lift them to a higher level, that they may know of the one thing needful in life.  With the men it is a little different.  Many of them know how to read and often ask questions that will lead to religious conversation.  Rev. Bachimont has already had some interesting talks with some of them.

 The women are interested in knowing if you are married - if you are, how many children you have - if you are not, why are you not, etc.  They are fond of pretty clothes and load themselves down with jewelry, bracelets - as many as eight or nine on one wrist.

 Love to all and remember me in your prayers,