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Dear God

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By John Foster

Cameron Rice considers it a once-in-a-lifetime thing. But really, in how many lifetimes does a letter addressed to God come floating down out of the sky?He was riding in his father’s truck April 20 when he saw a cluster of balloons floating around the Village Green Kroger shopping center. He thought someone had lost their balloons. His father, Brad, stopped the truck and Cameron, 7, jumped out in the middle of traffic to grab them.He saw on the outside it was labeled, “To: God, please help us save our home.”Not knowing what it was, his father ripped it open.They found a letter that traveled more than 200 miles due south from Ft. Wayne, Ind., saying:

“Dear God,My name is Mechaela Jane Schwartz. I am ten years old. We got a letter in the mail saying that we are going to lose our house on the 24th June in 2008.We need twenty to twenty five thousand dollars. My mom and I really want to save our home really badly. My dad is very hard to save our home too. So God can you please help us. We need you God. Thank you for helping us.Thank you.Mechaela Jane Schwartz”

Cameron’s mother, Melanie, said her mind immediately jumped from wondering if the letter was real to wondering why her family found it.She has now settled on the thought that there’s no way someone would write a letter to God if it was a scam.Now, Rices are trying to decide on a best mode of action to help this family.Melanie said they believe it was God’s will for her family to find this letter.“I think God picked us as a family for a reason,” she said.They are compassionate, positive go-getters, she said. They are currently in the process of making sure they aren’t being scammed, although they are confident the intentions of the letter are pure.The Journal Gazette newspaper in Fort Wayne, Ind., researched the family and found they indeed are on the verge of losing their home.Mechaela’s mother, Jane, spoke to the newspaper.In 1996, she said, she got appendicitis, and her appendix ruptured, the Journal Gazette reported. But she didn’t have insurance, so her family faced huge debts. Slowly they tried to dig out of a financial hole, but then in 2000 their home flooded, and once again they didn’t have insurance. The struggle to get ahead started again.Then, the family business went south. Jane’s husband has been a brick mason since he was 16. He started his own company but his business folded, leaving him owing thousands of dollars in back taxes.The family reached an agreement with tax officials. They would pay $300 a month and chip away at the debt.The final blow came last year. The mortgage on the home the Schwartzes lived in for 18 years was sold — a commonplace and usually insignificant change. The payments just go to a different bank, the Journal-Gazette reported.But in their case, Jane Schwartz said, everything went wrong. The new mortgage company never sent them a payment book. They had no idea where to send their mortgage payments. Schwartz said she tried repeatedly to contact the mortgage company but never heard a response.The newspaper reported that the mortgage of the home is in default and has a tax lien that totals $12,788.The Schwartzes’ daughter, Mechaela, is home-schooled, so as part of a writing lesson, she wrote the letter. On April 18, the family bought helium-filled balloons, attached the letter and went to a large open field at where they let them go and watched them disappear into the sky.When the balloons finally faded from sight, Jane said, she told Mechaela they reached the gates of heaven, and maybe God would see the letter, the Journal-Gazette reported.“We did it just to ease her heart,” Jane said.Melanie Rice said she and the family are planning a trip to Ft. Wayne to meet with the family and figure out more specifically how they can help.Cameron said he is excited to meet this girl who, through a set of balloons dropping out of the sky, has suddenly become part of his life.Melanie said she is confident they can raise the money needed.“It’s called faith,” she said.She said if every person at her church, Northeast Christian, and its sister church, Southeast Christian, gave one dollar, they would have more than enough money to pay for the Schwartz’s debts.She is aware of the possibility of a scam, but she doesn’t want to teach her children to live in fear.“I want to teach them to move ahead in faith,” she said.

E-mail us about this story at:

jfoster@oldhamera.com