It started with breakfast at 6, eating bread baked in what used to be a drum of fuel but was hollowed out and set in cement to become an oven. Then there was time set to shower and get dressed and ready for the Christmas service. This involved singing and Houghton sharing a gospel message. Unfortunately, the distractions were at a maximum and heat was too so it was difficult to hear him and to focus, but he had a chance after church to share again, which was very well received. After the service was a community present-giving time. Parents who purchased things for their kids gave the presents in to a community spokesperson, who called out the name on each package. Each child came forward and received his/her gift(s) and everyone clapped for them. Afterwards was lunch all together. We were asked to cook 2 soups and some cakes, so these went into the food line along with pig meat, watermelon, various types of the national food of laplap (a dish made with local starchy vegetables), and a variety of baked vegetables. After lunch there was a time of presentations and Houghton was asked on the fly to share his thoughts about Christmas. Since he wasn't sure what was wanted, he just asked for questions. The questions asked by the village men didn't necessarily relate to Christmas, but they were excellent spiritual questions. Distractions were at a minimum this time around, and the village men seemed to participate with avid interest. Please pray for God to work through these opportunities to bring understanding of who Jesus is and what salvation is.
This time was followed by activities, led by some of the village men. Pictures follow.
Sack races for the little ones, complements of empty flour bags from the morning breakfast of bread.
Blindfolded walk to cut a sucker (lolly for you Aussies) off a string.
One other thing for prayer is that God would bring unity within the village. Only about 3/4 of the village participated in the activities, as the remainder choose to separate themselves out and not be a part of Christmas events, as well as others throughout the year. We'd love to see the village come together so pray with us that God would make this a possibility.
We enjoyed all the festivities of Christmas in the village, but decided to do our own present time just as a family.
Merry Christmas to you all! May you be blessed by Christ's humility in coming to earth for us and experiencing a human life on our behalf.