Christmas news update
This morning when we got up, the temperature was right around freezing – and although we are blessed with heating in our home, I found myself instinctively hugging my arms to my body and planning activities that would help me stay warm indoors. Memories of long, cold winters when I was growing up in England came to mind. Then I reached to plug in the lights on the Christmas tree and as they came on, twinkling merrily, I felt my spirits lifting. Such a little thing and yet it helped me realize the incredible HOPE that the shepherds, wise men, and others felt when the light of Jesus came into this dark and hopeless world! As Christians we know that Jesus is with us EVERY day, and really each day is just as important as any other – yet there is so much that is heartwarming and encouraging about celebrating the special Christmas season.
Here in the USA we hear countless stories of how people are giving food and gifts to bless others (and not just their family and friends!); we learn of numerous ways we can help those in need or share the Christmas Story; and in spite of the commercialism, the sparkling lights and beloved songs can lift our hearts and bring us such joy. It is hard to realize that in so many places around the world where Christians are in a minority, Christmas Day truly is “just another day” of hard work! No cheerful music and special decorations greet customers in stores; even the act of giving is rarely experienced in cultures where everyone fights to meet their own needs and the Christian message has not permeated. It may even be a rarity for Christians to be able to actually attend a Christmas service!
Maybe we can do little to change that right now, but we CAN lift up in prayer our many brothers and sisters around the world who are unable to enjoy Christmas celebrations that so many of us take for granted – or maybe even complain about! Let’s pray that the hope and joy that came at Christ’s birth will rise up once again in the hearts of all who have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord and shine out to those around them!
Merry Christmas from Gerald and Shirley!
Pastor Honoré and Clarisse in C.A.R. are proud to announce the birth of their new baby son Bryan Blessing Eraste. He was born finally on December 7th, weighing about 7lbs 11oz. Mother and baby are both doing well, and Honoré is already busy again doing Christmas events in schools and at the church services, where he is also trying to raise funds for the construction of the building on the CEERCA ministry site.
Mike in Kenya is seen here with Irene and their girls (Trevor must be taking the photo). Irene recently visited her family in Uganda for the funeral of her grandmother. Mike is very busy throughout December with the annual Assembly of God youth and children’s camps, as well as taking local teenagers to a big youth conference in Nakuru. We look forward to his reports of all these as well as the Christmas events at his local church, when he has time to write later this month.
Pastor Sika in Togo tells us that the situation there is still very unstable and dangerous, but he is determined to not miss the opportunity to hold special Christmas events in Lomé. He plans to celebrate Christmas at the Joseph Project Orphanage on Saturday 16th, using special funds sent in by several of our faithful supporters. He will also take part in a special village meeting to decide about the village chief who continues to damage the village with his mismanagement. Pastor Sika has been asked to take over as village chief, but he feels this is not his calling, and that he can better help by working from Lomé where he has many contacts that might help the village. We pray the meeting will accomplish exactly what God desires for the village and surrounding area.