Welcome to the final day of The Hope Chronicles.
The Hope Chronicles is
a blog hop and journal between 5 historical romance authors. Our desire is to
bring you lasting hope through these letters, grounded in the hope of our Lord
that does not disappoint, and written from the fictional viewpoints of each
book’s heroine. We’re so glad to have you join the event. Each day this week, a
new Hope Chronicles post will go
live, complete with a journal entry and a new giveaway for that blog post.
To read more about the
project and enter to win the
one-of-a-kind, hand-inscribed Hope
Chronicles journal, which bounced from state to state until all five of
us had spent some time with it, click here.
To find your way to the other
four blog posts and enter each of the five Hope Chronicles prize bundle
giveaways, read on! We have a list for you at the bottom of this post.
Today's entry comes from Lt. Mellie Blake, US Army Nurse Corps, written on February 22, 1943 from Oran, Algeria, where she has just landed in order to serve as a flight nurse for wounded Allied soldiers in North Africa. Mellie is the heroine of my most recent novel, With Every Letter (Revell, September 2012), Book 1 in the Wings of the Nightingale series.
Here is a copy of Mellie's entry in the Hope Chronicles journal and the nightingale drawn in the journal by my talented daughter, Anna...
|Anna at work|
The Greater Hope: Mellie's Letter
My heart sings with the joy of hope fulfilled,
muted by the tension of hope deferred. Today I received a letter from the Red
Cross stating you are alive but in a Japanese prison camp for civilians at Santo
Tomas in the Philippines.
At last I can write you! However, the Japanese
allow only a paltry twenty-four words in the body of the letter, so I’ll
express the rest of my thoughts on these pages instead.
Over a year has passed since the Japanese invaded
the Philippines, and even longer since you persuaded me to return stateside. If
only I’d convinced you to join me, but I know my botanist father would never leave
when his favorite flowers are in bloom.
We’ve always been a pair, and I hate the thought
of you alone. I wish I could relieve your worries. I am doing well. As we
discussed, I joined the Army Nurse Corps. Recently I became a flight nurse, an
exciting new profession that combines my call to nursing with my love of
adventure. When you named me Philomela, meaning “nightingale,” did you know one
day I’d truly bring mercy on wing?
|Flight nurses in training at the School of Air Evacuation|
Bowman Field, Kentucky
While I wish they could have sent my squadron west
to the Pacific, closer to you, we sailed east to the Mediterranean. The
Americans and British landed in Morocco and Algeria in November and are now
fighting the Germans in Tunisia. Yesterday we landed in Oran, Algeria. You
would love the hibiscus and bougainvillea.
For the past year I’ve lived in dread for you,
scarcely overcome by hope. With no word about your safety, I faced the
possibility of a life alone. But God provided others to comfort and encourage
Two of the nurses in my squadron, Georgie and
Rose, have become such dear friends. I also correspond anonymously with an Army
engineer I’ve nicknamed Ernest. He and I have much in common, things we can
share in the freedom of anonymity. He’s a good man, Papa, and you needn’t worry
about broken hearts. Anonymity is too precious for each of us.
I don’t know what conditions you face in Santo
Tomas, whether you’re getting enough food or how you’re treated. But I pray for
I pray the Americans will invade the Philippines
soon, and you’ll come home safe and healthy and whole. This hope may or may not
While the possibility of not seeing you again on
this earth grieves me, I cling to the greater hope.
No matter what the Japanese do, no matter what
disease and deprivation do, no matter what shells and bombs do, nothing can
strip away this hope.
No matter what, you and I will be united in heaven
forever with our beloved Savior! The joy I experienced today is nothing
compared to the joy of that glorious day!
Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man that
trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Oh, Papa, this is so true. Despite
our hardship and separation, we are blessed when we trust in Him.
These are evil days, ruled by evil men, but “Thou
art my hope in the day of evil” (Jeremiah 17:17).
The Lord is present in our separation, comfort in
your suffering, and strength in my weakness. He is Father to me and the truest
friend in loneliness. That is the hope no enemy can kill.
My dear Papa, while I rejoice in the news that you
live, I rejoice more deeply knowing you share this strength-giving hope.
As I finish this letter—never to be mailed—but one
day, I pray, to be shared in your presence—I sing one of your favorite hymns,
“The Solid Rock.” [Public Domain]
You cannot hear my voice, but the Lord will carry
the message to your heart…
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way.
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand—
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
your little nightingale,
Mellie's prize bundle:
- A signed copy of With Every Letter
- Handmade "Mellie's First Aid Kit" stocked with Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, and - for true emergencies - Starbucks Via coffee
- Stash Moroccan Mint Green Tea, to commemorate Mellie's time in North Africa
- Blank note cards decorated with exotic flowers and a pen to write your own letters
- "Bon Voyage" sticky notes for Mellie's adventure-loving, globe-trotting nature
- Anne Taintor Vintage Dark Chocolate with the logo: "Whoever said laughter is the best medicine had clearly never tasted chocolate."
To enter to win Mellie's prize bundle, please leave a comment below, including your email address in the following format: sarah[at]sarahsundin[dot]com. Since Mellie gleaned hope from her new friends and from music, if you'd like, share about a song or about a friend or family member who has brought hope to you. To place extra entries please share links on Facebook and/or Tweet with the hashtag #hopechronicles…then comment again to tell us about it. No Purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. or Canada to enter. By entering, entrant agrees to these terms and releases giveaway sponsor from any and all liability.
To enter to win the Hope Chronicles journal, please visit the Hope Chronicles page.
Winners for the journal and for each of the individual prize bundles will be drawn at 12 noon Pacific time, November 12, 2012.
Winner will be notified via e-mail shortly thereafter and announced on this blog.
To go back and read the other Hope Chronicles entries and register to win those
prize packs, check out the links below.
Monday, November 5th: Regina Jennings (Heroine: Rosa Garner, Sixty Acres and a Bride)
Tuesday, November 6th: Joanne Bischof (Heroine: Lonnie Sawyer, Be Still My Soul)
Wednesday, November 7th: Amanda Dykes (Heroine: Georgianna Wentworth, Upon the Waters)
Thursday, November 8th: Karen Barnett (Heroine: Abby Fischer, Shaken)
Friday, November 9th: Sarah Sundin (Heroine: Mellie Blake, With Every Letter)
Labels: Amanda Dykes, giveaway, Joanne Bischof, Karen Barnett, Regina Jennings, The Hope Chronicles, With Every Letter