Ever felt your prayers went unanswered? Try sending a letter to God and chances are it will end up -- as many do each year -- at an Israeli post office in Jerusalem, where they are read and sent on to the holy Western Wall. \nThe letters come from all over the world in a host of languages. The elderly ask for good health. Others seek heavenly remedies for debts, relationship assistance, or help finding jobs. Children mainly ask God to spring them from homework assignments. The trickle of requests turns into a flood around Christmas and the Jewish holidays. \n"We have hundreds and thousands of letters sent to either God or Jesus Christ and for some unknown reason they all come to Jerusalem," said Yitzhak Rabihiya, a postal spokesman. \n"Dear Sir," begins one letter whose address reads "God of Israel" and whose request is for assistance landing a job as a bulldozer driver. \nOne Israeli man used to write twice a year in the same distinctive handwriting, addressing letters to "Angels above in Seventh Heaven." \nAs long as anyone at the post office can remember, the letters to God have turned up at the Postal Authority's center for undeliverable mail in an industrial zone in Jerusalem. \nIn the tiny warehouse, eight workers sort problem envelopes into pigeon holes labeled for junk mail, government bureaus, social security and health insurance offices and "Letters to God." \nTen such pleas for divine intervention have arrived in the last couple of days, some from the US, France, Nigeria, Australia and Ecuador. One came -- somehow -- with no stamps. \nPuzzled by what to do with the letters, one worker started taking them to the Western Wall, a remnant of the ancient Second Temple compound and Judaism's holiest site, where Jews traditionally stuff tiny notes of prayer in the cracks between its hulking stones. \n"From there, it's not in our hands," Rabihiya said. \nEventually, the notes and letters left at the Wall are buried on Jerusalem's outskirts along with damaged religious texts and other materials considered too holy for the garbage dump. \nThe notes offer a sometimes charming glimpse into people's private wishes. One man asks for forgiveness for stealing money from a grocery store as a child. \nAnother man from Saulsbury, Tennesee, wrote a tiny message and asked the postmaster to deliver it to the Western Wall, because he heard a rumor that would work. It reads: "Please help me to be happy. Please help me find a nice job in Tallahassee or Monroe or some nice place and find a good wife -- soon. Amen, Daryl." \nOne writer asked God to answer a friend's prayers, and in a postscript gives the friend's address, adding, "But you knew that." \nA chain letter in Arabic from "the Virgin Mary" called for peace in Bosnia and asked the recipient to send the letter to 20 other people. \nThe notes also speak of tragedy, relaying desperate prayers from people who are in trouble or lonely. \nThe postal workers recently suffered their own loss and grief. Yitzhak Moyal, 63, one of the workers who took the letters to the Western Wall, was killed in a suicide bombing on May 18. \nAvi Yaniv, head of the undeliverable mail department, said friends have told him he and his crew are like God's deputies because they shuttle people's prayers to the Wall. \nSome letters touch him, such as one from a Kenyan man asking God to save his marriage. "I believe in God, so I want to help these people," the 60-year-old Yaniv said. \nThe postal workers' favorite anecdote is about an Israeli man who, years ago, wrote a letter to God describing his crippling poverty and asking for 5,000 shekels (US$1,000). Postal workers were so moved they collected 4,300 shekels and mailed it back. \n"After a month the same person writes again to God," Rabihiya recalled, "but this time he writes, `Oh, thank you God for the contribution, but next time please don't send it through those postmen. They're thieves; they stole 700 shekels."'
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Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
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