Dearest family and friends,
We hope that your Christmas was as wonderful as ours! It was bright and sunny for most of the day, and then in the evening it rained so we were super cozy by the fire. We spent the first part of the day as a family, and then had dinner with our friends the McMillans. We ate, played games, chatted, and ate some more! It was a perfect way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Our week leading up to Christmas was quite a busy one, as you saw from the pictures! On Wednesday, we made Christmas cookies with Keziah and Olive. They love decorating, especially with the sprinkles and the red icing!
On Thursday we went to Naomi's Village, the orphanage that our friends started in the nearby town of Maai Mahiu. Two years ago, we went to down to see it and it was just a foundation on a dusty plot of land. Last year, there was a beautiful empty building still surrounded by dust. This year, it is a home full of 25 children playing in the grass, on the playground, and climbing a tree! They are very sweet children and we had a great time playing jump rope and going for a walk, and then doing a candy cane craft with them. They made candy canes out of beads and pipe cleaner and then got to try a real candy cane! Yummy... and sticky! In the afternoon, we got to hold and feed the three babies! They are precious and knowing their stories makes them even more so. (If you want to read more about Naomi's Village, you can go to naomisvillage.com)
Friday was the Pediatric Christmas party! There were several missionary families involved and it was a fun time for everyone. We played soccer with them and did the same beading candy cane craft, which even the mommies enjoyed! Then, we sang some Christmas songs and our friend Grandma Jean Barnes shared a message with Mercy the chaplain translating. We passed out baby blankets, which they loved! They tried to ask for 2 or 3 each! A special thank you to the Heermans and the Andersons for helping us with the wonderful ministry! They older children got goodie bags and stuffed animals. We also had a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake and juice all around. It was a great celebration!
On Christmas Eve we went to the market for a party that Grandma Jean started having for the vegetable ladies and craftsmen many years ago. She played her accordion and we all sang several songs in English, Swahili, and Kikuyu! It was beautiful -- there was so much joy there! Anna and I danced for them, to Jingle Bells! They laughed and clapped along: too funny! We gave each person a cookie with their initial written on it in icing and had chai for everyone too.
Thank you all for your prayers and support throughout this time! Please continue to pray for Naomi's Village, for Kezi and Olive, for the vegetable ladies, and for every baby that received a blanket. We love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas!