|A big shout-out to our friends at Strathaven Evangelical Church,|
who sent out a stack of Christmas cards from the congregation;
they arrived this past week.
'Doing it for the kids' is very much the order of the day at Christmas time when you get to our stage in life. The turkey, the music and the all-round pageantry of the festive season retain some of their magic in adult life in large part thanks to the instilling of such traditions by our parents many Decembers ago. It was hard work – and now it’s our turn.
And while we await the exalted calling to parenthood, we are certainly getting in decent practice, with the best part of 100 little nippers to satisfy this year. Yes, the church’s Christmas celebration is almost upon us.
This afternoon, the various youth/children’s ministry leaders will be overseeing the final rehearsals for tomorrow’s special service. It will be the culmination of a busy week of preparation on our parts. When not seeing to audiology patients, Amanda’s spent large swathes of the week making cardboard donkey/sheep ears for the army of young participants.
Meanwhile, I’ve been overseeing band rehearsals, preparing my five small teaching slots which will be scattered amongst the set pieces, and making precautionary arrangements for the dreaded rain (the numbers are too great to have the service in the church itself). A huge 10x10m tarpaulin sheet has been laid on the grass outside the church. When the sun’s out, it gets cleared to help the grass dry. When the next storm comes (and there have been several this week), I do my best Wimbledon ball-boy impression and cover the area again sharpish. A temporary roof, in the form of a big tent we’ve hired, will be in place by tomorrow morning, but the weather is the overwhelming concern ahead of the service, so please remember this in your prayers. As stated previously, Christmas is always our biggest outreach opportunity of the year, so a rain-free afternoon is really important, particularly as Bolivians tend to run for cover at the merest spit.
No sooner will that be done-and-dusted than preparations for the next big event will kick into gear. I refer, of course, to us missionaries’ Christmas dinner on the 25th. Being far from home at this time of year can be a bitter pill to swallow, but the very British nature of our annual feast in the company of our Bolivian ‘family’ goes a long way to mitigate the pain. However, once again, such jollity comes at a price and Amanda in particular will be putting in a shift in the day or so beforehand. Healthy lashings of Christmas-themed music and films will be on hand to catalyse.
These preparations will, in turn, be interrupted by FT’s own Christmas celebration and lunch, at midday on Monday. The afternoon of Christmas Eve is a holiday here, allowing locals to get ready for their festivities (which take place at midnight on Christmas day – this is one custom we’re happy not to embrace) and so, we’ll mark the looming holiday with lunch and a short message from fellow missionary Kenny.
Alas, Boxing Day is just another work-day, but I’m sure we’ll cope, as by then, we’ll just have three working days to go till our Christmas present to ourselves for this year: next Friday evening we’re dumping Santa Claus for Santa Cruz, heading through there for a week. We hope to catch a few flicks, stock up on clothes, eat decent food, and just enjoy being out of the mission bubble over the seven days.
And when we return from Santa Cruz, another countdown will begin in earnest. Because January 2013’s arrival will mean that only twelve months remain until our first furlough year.
Owing to our Santa Cruz jaunt, the blog itself will be taking a well-earned break for Christmas. God-willing, we’ll be back on the 12th of January. Until then, check our Facebook page for updates on the Christmas festivities.
May we take this opportunity to wish all of our readers and supporters a happy, peaceful Christmas, and the Lord’s richest blessing in 2013. The blog has had a record-breaking 10,000+ visits this year and we are so thankful as we look back over the past twelve months and see the impact your prayers continue to make. Thank you all for your prayerful interest in the Lord’s work in Trinidad in 2012.
- For the church Christmas extravaganza tomorrow at 4pm (8pm in the UK, 3pm in Toronto). Please pray for Amanda as she oversees logistics and Craig as he shares on the theme ‘God will provide’ (the name of our church ‘El Jireh’ is the Spanish rendering of the Hebrew terminology).
- For energy and patience over the next few, tiring days.
- For safety in our travels and a restful time in Santa Cruz.
- For the Lord’s goodness to us as a couple, and his work through us, and in spite of us, in Trinidad in 2012.
¡Que Dios les bendiga!
Craig & Amanda