An International Email Crisis

In the last several weeks, I have received many troubling emails about an international crisis affecting us all. There seems to be an epidemic of wealthy, dying African widows with no one to turn to in their final days and no one is talking about it!

The stories of these women are heart-wrenching. The women are childless and without family or friends they can turn to or trust. They’ve lost their spouses to sudden – really sudden – illness. And, now, trying to do good with the enormous sums of money left to them, THEY have been struck down with illness and are facing certain death.

What could be causing this? Why don’t we read about this in the headlines?

Why haven’t Oprah, Madonna or Angelina stepped in?

The situations I’ve read about are dire. At first I felt helpless, but then I thought, maybe – just maybe – if I shared even one story, I could start raising awareness in the hopes this tragic situation would become front page news and we could encourage those in power to help out. Here is one such letter I’ve received; I’ve added my thoughts, too.

From Mrs …[I want to protect her identity, as this is very personal in nature]


Beloved In Christ,


I am the above name person from Sierra-Leone. I am married to Dr Theophilus Kone who worked with Sierra Leonian Embassy in South Africa for nine years before he died in the year 2001. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days [four days, oh, my!]. Before his death we were both born again Christians and we lived happilly. [I guess the happiness goes without saying, seeing they were Born Again – at least that’s what I hear.] Since his death, I decided not to re-marry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is really against. [Oh, poor thing. She must have been desperate enough to think of picking up a baby at the market! So tragic.]

When my late husband was alive he secured $15Million (Fifteen Million U.S.Dollars) with financial institution here in Cote D’Ivoire. Presently, this money is still with the financial institution. [This must be an important financial institution, seeing she didn’t want to divulge the name of it. Probably doesn’t want to create a stir for the tellers or loan officers there.] Recently, my Doctor told me that from all the [one?] test conducted on my health, I am not going to last long, expecially, due to my cancer and stroke. But what disturbs me most now is stroke. [What fortitude this woman has, writing this letter, what with her late stage cancer and stroke and all. My God, the spirit!]

Having known my condition, I decided to donate this fund to churches or Christian individual [one?] that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct. I want a church or individual that will use this money to fund churches, Orphanages and Widows. [I applaud her open-mindedness and embracing of all churches by not capitalizing the word “churches.” And to share it with Orphanages and Widows like herself is admirable.] Also, the propagation of the work of God, building and maintaining the house of God through this money, is very important.

The Bible made us to understand that Blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians. [Hmm…well, maybe she’s not as open-minded as I first thought.] I don?t want my husband’s hard earned money to be misused by unbelievers, for their own selfish interest and in an ungodly manner. [Now, that’s just uncalled for, but I suppose that is just the illness and fear of death talking.] I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going. [Oh. I guess she’s not afraid.] I know that I am going to be in the bossom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the lord will fight my case [like in Law & Order?] and I shall hold my peace.

I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health, [I’m almost certain she must have esophageal cancer; what a trooper to reach out by writing instead – even after having a stroke!] and because of the presence of my husband’s relatives around me sometimes. I don’t want them to know about this development, but I know that With God all things are possible. [Um, I think they might have noticed that she is dying of cancer and had a stroke. But I shouldn’t judge. She knows her relatives best.]

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Financial institution in Ivory coast. I will also give you all information regarding the deposit of this money. I will also issue you a letter of authority that will empower you as the original- beneficiary of this fund. I want you and your church [I’m kind of without a specific church right now…] to always pray for me because God work in misterious ways. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. [That’s obvious.] Who ever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life. […I do pray that I’ll lose the 12 pounds I’ve gained over the last few years, if that counts.]

Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for a church or christian individual for this same purpose. [I wonder if she’s tried CraigsList.] Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein. Hoping to hear from you soon.

Yours in Christ, …

[Do you think Christ gave her a letter of authority to send this? Sorry, that was rhetorical. Of course He did.]





8 thoughts on “An International Email Crisis

  1. Jesus Christ. For a second there, I thought you had jumped on some “tears for Africa” bandwagon and lost your mind with some enlightening buzz kill.

    I should have known better than to think I caught you in a moment of weakness.

    Some things you need to count on, like Susan’s cynicism. Now the world is once again right with itself.

  2. Jessica, thank you for realizing I’m not enlightened in any way. But I, too, am glad I’ve finally found my place in this world — as the recipient of every dying millionaire’s (or his widow’s) offer to manage gobs of money if I would only reply with my bank account number and wire transfer instructions. If one of the senders would use spell check, I might consider it.

  3. BTW, I’ve noticed that email spam + cynicism = Susan’s use of lots of “oh, my” statements and exclamation points. It was the devil writing, not me.

    PS. Is it normal to want to edit spam? I mean, forgetting about my excessive use of exclamations, I read this for about the fifth time and I want to just re-write it so that’s it to the point and with proper punctuation:

    Dear Valued Recipient,

    I am a scam artist. Please send your money to me. Thank you for your assistance.


  4. That is hysterical! I was trying to think of a long-winded response to the poor, sick widow but all that I could come up with is:

    Dear Beloved Widow in Christ,

    Suck eggs.

    Many regards,

    Your spam editing skills are awesome. Maybe you should start a whole new blog on the matter…

  5. Lulu – I like the spam editing idea. I’ve been collecting others, too, and there seems to be new waves of them every few weeks! See, Jessica, I CAN make something of myself! I’d be like Mary Tyler Moore throwing my hat into the air of spam-land…

  6. Sophie says:

    Brilliant! You deserve some sort of award or something! Maybe a Stick It In the Eyes of Spammers award.

    I get lots of spam from people that obviously think I need deals on software, enlargement of my manhood, and help paying my bills. Well, 1 out of 3 as they say…

    I wish I could find the link, but I read an article in The New Yorker about a well-educated, well-heeled psychologist falling prey to one of these sorts of spammers. It was a great article. Here it is:

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