Tuesday December 25, 2018

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

I am beyond amazed that I am celebrating the birth of Christ with my husband and children in a rural village in northern India with the Himalayan foothills hovering over us. Being here on the mission during this Christmas season has been a wonderful gift. This little sanctuary, just off the main road leading into Banbasa is a testament to the love and grace of our Lord and I can’t imagine being anywhere else to celebrate Christmas during this journey.

The morning began very slowly, as every was tired. But once awake the thrill of pleasant opening quickly gave our kids a burst of energy. It was wonderful to watch our kids open their few gifts and have all three of them comment that they are all very happy to be here. While we are missing family back home, we have since been adopted into this large and loving family here in Banbasa, India. I don’t think my kids even missed breakfast this morning.

Christmas morning with our kids!
Anjali opening her “stocking” (or a pair of pants) hung outside for Santa.
Lucia loved her new Barbie clothes
David just couldn’t believe he got Pokémon cards!

We headed over to the Strong House around 9:00 for some Chai, but Pricilla surprised us with some coffee, real French Press espresso, and it was the best Christmas gift! I have been really missing some good coffee and I was able to have 2 really good cups of coffee. As we were all gathered around the nice warm fire, we were able to give Uncle Rick, Clifton and Pricilla, and Lachlan some small gifts we found, as well as track down Raymond to give him a new soccer ball (we are Raymond’s new sponsors) and it was so nice to be able to give him a small gift as we start a new relationship with him. We took a few pictures to capture the moment and other kids wanted to get in on the photo opportunity with Uncle Jeff!

Our family just grew by one!

Raymond with his new soccer ball. He was thrilled and it was wonderful to be able to bring him
some extra joy today!

As I glance around this room I am awed at God’s loving spirit and how he is able to transform every person to encompass a different aspect of Himself. We are all beautiful children of God and today is a reminder of how much God loves each one of us. He gave His son, Jesus Christ, who lived a sinless life, as a sacrifice for my sins and for the sins of all. He sent our Savior here to live a life filled with hardship and tragedy to show me how to live me life. He was sent here to teach me all the ways I am able to have a relationship with God. The birth of Jesus Christ opened the door for every person on earth to experience the love of God and we have the opportunity to see God in each one of our brothers and sisters. This is absolutely the case here. I look around at the faces of the beautiful children and see a life of hardship and loss, but they are surrounded by a loving family who encourages them to see God every step of the way. These children have taught me so much and I am so grateful for every way God works through them.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal with a lot of the same people that were here for the Christmas Eve worship, as well as a gift and treat bag for everyone. The excited faces of the children were unforgettable.

Jeff and I with Raymond

Once those that do not all the mission “home” went their own ways to spend the day with their families, everything here just calmed. Kids were playing on the playground or just around the common areas with their new toys and gifts. We learned that almost everyone was heading into the jungle for a couple hours or picking berries and playing by the river. After a 15 minute walk and a quick crossing of the ankle deep river, we ended up on a small island walking through the jungle and finally arriving at a sandy beach. It was beautiful. The boys had brought along a speaker, so we had music playing in the background while we enjoyed snacks, skipping rocks, and just relaxing and spending time as a family.

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends. We hope that your day was filled with as much joy as ours.

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