From our family to yours, we wish you the best Christmas Day. As we have focused during the Advent season on our sinfulness, desperation, and need for a savior, this Christmas seems especially sweet. God is very good, and a great light and hope are revealed by the birth of his son Jesus Christ whom we celebrate today. So Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year to come!
We celebrated part of the Advent season with our hospital friends with a Christmas Carol brass band night. Everyone who likes to play a horn gathered on the front porch of our neighbors house and blew strongly and proudly the hymns of Christmas. Peter joined in the trumpet section sitting next to our British Santa Clause. Next year Annie is committed to being a player on the trombone! (She has moved on from flute to a horn as she has seen all the fun the jazz band has!) Sarah has had her eyes on saxophone, but became interested in the French horn with all of its curves! Go Christmastime in Kenya!
We had a great time! The day was spent it with Lyndal from Australia, John and Viola Lentink from the Netherlands and Germany, and the evening was passed with our now traditional Christmas viewing of The Sound of Music. Allison worked very hard all day, cooking, being happy, and giving us all a great Christmas meal. We ate Alpaca steaks with the traditional sides for a Christmas turkey (stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc). It all went surprisingly well together. The Alpaca was from one of the hospital Alpacas that are kept to trim the grass. The herd has grown, and it had to be thinned to maintain genetic stability. As you might guess, the kids like the Alpacas and they have even given names to them. So they were all hesitant to eat any of the meat, realizing that they were eating their “pets”. Dessert was Pavlova, an Australian tradition, as well as apple pie and cinnamon ice cream! I hope everyone had a great Christmas. We were sad to not be home, but glad to be here with so many new, good friends.
We had a wonderful church service today. We had a large attendance of both Peruvians and missionaries. It is amazing how the people will show up when breakfast is provided. Allison and her friend, Damaris Hassfeld, worked on gifts for all the kids. Thanks again to our friend Deb Pullen we had ball caps to give to all the older kids, and beach ball globes to give to the younger ones. We then filled christmas bags with candy, pencils, stickers, and other fun things. As often happens in these type of events, more kids showed up than expected, and our kids sat out the gift receiving time and watched as the other kids enjoyed their presents. They took it in stride, but as a parent you wonder how they feel when they are always the ones making the sacrifice of fun. I assured them we would make it up to them in four days. We shared a breakfast with all the members of the church, and since there is no school now, that meant that there was no homework waiting for us at the house. So we could relax and take our time with everyone without concerns of how many hours we would be at the kitchen table later. We are looking forward to our Christmas week. I hope everyone out there is having a Merry Christmas.
As someone who has found, way back in a closet, at least one prepared package for a missionary friend every time we have moved, I know that last step–mailing– can be a doozy. If the road to hell really is paved with good intentions, then this is yet another way I can shine as an example of Jesus’ grace.
We got five Christmas cards last week in the mail. It was so wonderful to see our friends’ lovely faces and to read their greetings. It is hard to describe how loudly it said to me, “You are loved and not forgotten!”
The next day, Will brought home a Christmas package from his aunt Marian, our first in-the-mail package in Peru (some have been delivered by hand by our visitors). The kids had so much fun opening it and playing with the new toys. It was an unexpected gift from a very generous person.
We heard that the package from our Kansas cousins had been delayed at the post office, so we went to the notary in town and authorized someone from the hospital to pick it up (the post office is 1.5 hours away). Today we got that package and also one from Will’s dad and a Christmas card with packages of seeds from Aunt Marian again. Woohoo! Will turned on Christmas music and we danced around the living room and kitchen. My sister-in-law Amy is a great cook and she loves good food. She sent us all sorts of amazing sweets from Trader Joe’s. I don’t know how many prailened pecans Will ate tonight. One kind of cool thing is that we had all wanted something peppermint for Christmas, especially since I used to put candy canes in our advent calendar. I looked all over the Lima grocery stores without finding anything remotely minty, much less candy canes. Amy sent us Andes candy cane mints, dark chocolate mint truffles, and chocolate covered candy cane bits. How could she have known that we had really missed that Christmas flavor?
They had asked the kids what candy they might like and after much debate, each one had sent in a request. They sent us HUGE portions of each chosen goody. We are ready for a sugar famine, folks. You can imagine the kids’ excitement. They tried some Jolly Ranchers and someone screamed out, “They’re so FLAVORFUL!” We are also ready for Rainbow Loom wars. Peter has started making his own designs. They love making those bracelets. I have five of them on my bedside table right now and one on my wrist that will join the others in just a few minutes. The Caires also sent us some magazines and Will was happy to see some new recipes that I can try. Will’s dad sent some fun treats too and we all enjoyed movie night with _Monsters University_ tonight, celebrating together. Will drank some new tea while preparing his Bible study. I feel like we’ve just been squeezed in a giant hug.
Thank you so very much for your generosity, mailing people. It made our week, our month– I know because I’m still thanking God for all the people who sent the things that Deb brought last month. We love you and praise God for your kindness towards us.