Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Celebrations abound!!! Remember the Reason for the Season!!!

There are many exciting things happening here at Children of Zion Village!!! There is never a dull day and we learn several things each day. We are the full swing of Christmas and hope that you are too! To those of you that have sent or posted pictures of snow, we are enjoying them. It is odd to be so hot this time of year but at least we don’t need so many clothes and can still wear our shorts and short sleeved shirts.

From Christmas decorating, cookie baking, food preparation and parties to gathering fire wood, plowing gardens, a bon fire, a safari, a break in, mud in the road, several children leaving to go with relatives in their villages for the holiday, picking fresh corn from the garden for dinner, the water pump breaking, a pipe in the children’s home breaking, snakes on the property, and today the boat went out on the river for the first time in many months.

We had a great time with the children decorating the children’s home and putting up the tree and doing what they have known as tradition. We did the tree, beads, lights and “generic” ornaments. Then they said that we should take one evening to call each name of the child to come an put “their” ornament on the tree. This means the ornament that has their name on it. Also, this is the evening to put on the STAR. So, we did that the night before some of them started to leave for their villages for the holiday. It was a special time and we have learned the tradition of something they have enjoyed from the past.


We then also decorated our own little tree in our house. Since we did not receive our shipment (YET), we are doing without some of our special traditional decorations.
What is missed the most is a nativity scene that Lorna’s father made before he passed away. He was an exceptional wood worker and we have several memories of him and one is the manger scene that he crafted in wood. It will be extra special next year. We even have our first 2 Christmas cards from the states and they are standing next to our Christmas tree. Thank You!

There was a request to do a bon fire so we did that before many of the children left for holiday. Marshmallows were a big hit and several bags were consumed. We could just apologize to the night workers!

 


We took some time to help Mafuta (the feeding center where we take food each Monday) to gather fire wood so they could prepare the food over the traditional open fire.
Travis drove WAY back in the bush but we were blessed by these wonderful people that volunteer their time to help out children that otherwise may not have food for the day.


One day Lorna went with a few of our girls to help plow their garden to plant Maize (corn). Again, what a blessing working side by side with children and adults.

Torie, a 3 month volunteer had a desire to go on a Safari prior to leaving Africa. So, we took her and 4 children to Chobe National Park in Botswana on our first “official” safari. We saw lots of animals but thousands of elephants!! There were challenges at the border with the people thinking that we were taking the children to the States but, after a few calls, we were successful getting through.

 

 
 

Taking our children was rather difficult. We needed several trips to transport them successfully. Dropping them off with people we did not know and looking at their faces made us apprehensive. The older ones seemed fine and the younger ones were excited but then they just looked scared. We pray they are doing well, having fun with relatives and making good choices and staying safe. We pray they might be a witness to others in the village where they are.
 

We invited the children and staff from the Mafuta feeding center where we take food each Monday to come and celebrate in a Christmas party.  Without God providing you to support this effort, these children might not eat.  We did lots of cooking, baking and transporting.  The party was great except for the rain.  Everyone had good food and received a gift which they really appreciated.  They had fun playing games outside before the rains came.  What a blessing these children and staff were to us!
 
After the party with Mafuta we had a party for our staff.  So, we had chicken on the brai, sausages, potatoe salad, maccaroni salad, carrot salad and bean salad.  Then at our staff party we enjoyed the home made Christmas cookies!  It was not a traditional celebration to us but it was very nice and everyone had a great time.  We were exhaused but we know that God blessed us and the people that participated. 
 

 Next:  who knows.  What we do know:  We will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on December 25th.  One of the kids has requested pizza!  Stay tuned... 

Wishing you a blessed holiday season, a Merry Christmas to you and your families and a safe and Happy New Year.  Soon to come ---- MANY pictures on the photo gallery!!! 
Love and Blessings from our home in Africa to yours around the world!

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