Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas traditons...

This month has certainly flown by! Here in this area of Guatemala, there are not a lot of preparations or advertisements for Christmas. No one has money to buy gifts, the story of the birth of Jesus is not really talked about much - even in the churches, and thankfully, no one knows who Santa Claus is! So we have tried to carve out our own traditions. For me, Christmas is a time to remember and to celebrate the fact that God loved us so much that He was willing to send His son - in the form of a baby, born to poor, humble parents. The fact that most of the people that we work with are poor and humble makes the story easy to relate to. Yesterday, we attempted to share that story with the people in Chiminisijuan. Even though we really didn't advertise, about 175 people came. The Bontrager family shared a little music and then Armando told the story of Jesus' birth in the manger. We did a coloring picture for them to take home - which we hope will help them remember the story. I love doing that sort of thing - what would normally be a children's activity is fun for everyone. I showed one older woman how to hold a marker for first time. She smiled with delight as we put glitter (gold!) around her work. We sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, passed out cupcakes, apples and grapes (traditional Christmas food here), and everyone went home happy. Check out the Allison's blog for pictures - Caleb took lots!

Our Hannah came in on the 9th and joined us for 4 very busy days of clinic, including a day out to San Pedro where we saw about 250 people. She is a tremendous help in all of the clinics. Shortly after that the Bontrager family of 11 came in. They will stay for the months of January and February. They have come for several years and worked with Rosco (the other missionary here in Canilla who died a year ago). They have a real heart for the people here and have come to serve...very neat family. Yesterday they moved into a little adobe house that they will rent for their time here - along with the bus that they drove down from Michigan in! And today, Ryan, Katie and our grandson Jacob will arrive. Traditional Christmas celebrations here in Canilla take place at midnight with fireworks starting at dusk and lasting well into the night.

No matter how or where you celebrate this Christmas, may it be a day filled with peace and joy and may your New Year bring health, prosperity and a closer walk with our Savior!