Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas in the Tropics

 A new experience for all of us…and away from everyone and everything familiar.  Christmas boxes from home helped ease the longing.  We attempted to make the house feel festive…a small Christmas tree, a string of lights, snowflakes, a nativity, stockings hung, and the gifts from family and friends around the tree.  Jeanie and I did some Christmas baking with the kids. It was a treat to enjoy some baked goods that are favorite recipes from home.  We opened Christmas gifts from the Veldstra family on Christmas Eve since that was our tradition at home.  Then on Christmas day we opened gifts from the Engebretsen family and our care team at home.  We certainly felt blessed and thought of!

The kids commented several times before Christmas that Christmas could pass and we wouldn’t even know it.  So strange since at home we spent an entire month or more anticipating Christmas…all that it would bring and represent.  The tribal people here do not celebrate Christmas although they are now more aware of the holiday than they once used to be.  Their children attend school that asks for their participation in a Christmas program, so many of them play the parts of Mary, Joseph, angels, etc…  But here in the village life seems to pass, each day not being much different than the day before.  No Christmas lights or decorations, music or anticipation in the air.  We felt sort of strange celebrating when outside our door no one else was doing the same, and sad too. 
Please continue to pray for the people here…to know, understand, and accept God’s gift to everyone.   

Ann Marie participates in leading the kids songs...all in local language!
The Sunday after Christmas Jeanie taught the kids at Sunday School.  She is teaching through the book of Acts.  All the kids are memorizing scripture...and saying those verses at home to their parents!  It is so fun to see the delight on their faces as they say the verses and to hear them memorizing God's Word.  Our kids have been learning Isaiah 53 and quoted part of it at the Kid's Sunday School.  Even though the village kids don't understand the English, they still like to hear our kids and what they have memorized!