Unto Us a Son is Given
Progressing with the Gathering Place
There are still 11 days remaining before the start of our annual Christian Leadership Academy. Our construction crew has been working night and day on the Gathering Place, in hope that we can have it ready in time.
You, Friends, have already donated $12, 330. Now it's time to get the roof on! Will you help us to raise the final $7,670 to complete it? Help us to reach our goal and have the Gathering Place ready to receive our guests come January 4th. Please don't delay with those end of year gifts. Click the link to the right to donate right now. Thank you!
Here you can see some more of the progress...
Christmas in Haiti
Our students, staff, and missionaries are enjoying their Christmas vacations. Christmas truly arrived for missionaries Holger and Sigrun, when the trailer arrived at the Thozin campus a couple of days ago. They helped to unload two brand new stoves (thank you, Mission USA!), and the gas grill that Holger sent. As you can see in these pictures, Holger is just beaming!
Sigrun shared the following with us: "....we stayed of course after coming back from PaP and helping unload the trailer..Holger is happy happy just seeing the barbecue grill and the new ovens...
"We just also saw the joy when the guy was so happy to got the level. Just to consider that all of this is only possible because some where in the world some people invested a lot of time, money and efforts to bring all of this together. What a blessing."
We are all so grateful to everyone who had a part in shipping the supplies to us. Thank you very, very much!!!
I'd like to introduce you to our new friend, Nathan McCarthy, owner of Solar on Earth. Nathan travels extensively across the US and in the Caribbean. His hands on experience, added to his education as an electrical engineer, and his live wire attitude have built a full service company. Visit their website. We all know solar is better for the environment. You may want to make an appointment to learn if solar is better for you, too. We hope to be seeing Nathan in Haiti in 2018!
Reflecting on Christmas
As many of you already know, I'm a bit nontraditional. Why would my "Christmas" ways be any different? Right?
I was adopted as a child and raised in a Jewish home. My adoptive parents sent me to Hebrew school and religious school on Sundays. I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah when I turned thirteen. After that I attended services for the high holy days until I left home at 17. Throughout this time, I truly believed in the existence of God and somehow trusted that he was very aware of me, as well.
At the age of 18 I attended a "church" service at an elementary school in East Hartford, CT that radically changed my life. Up to this point I knew very little about Jesus. I knew He was a historical figure, important to people who weren't Jewish, and that it wasn't nice to use His name in anger or to be mean. But that day, in East Hartford, I was introduced to Him.
I began to attend church, read the Bible, and to talk to Jesus in prayer. I found out that the God I'd always believed existed was not just some far off diety, but that He was my Father and I was created for HIS pleasure. I discovered that because of the work that Jesus did on the cross, that I could now approach Him in confidence. The things I'd learned in my childhood from the Torah were coming alive to me.
I don't have a lot of Christmas traditions. Hot cocoa reminds me of ice skating, not Christmas. Christmas cookies don't remind me of making cookies with my mom. There's nothing appealing about the scent of pine. I didn't grow up with a Christmas tree in my house and it never occurred to me that pine trees had a unique scent. Do maple trees?
All of those special childhood Christmas memories are just that - memories of pleasant times. There's nothing wrong with them, for sure. I definitely wouldn't mind having some of them, myself. Here's my point though - that's NOT what Christmas is about.
Christmas is about this: The Messiah of the whole world became a child, who grew into a man without ever sinning. He never once failed to keep the Ten Commandments, as given to Moses by God Almighty. And yet He was put to death as a criminal. Why? To pay the debt for the sins that we would commit that would keep us from knowing God as our loving Father. This innocent, God in the flesh, GAVE Himself over to death, so that we could forever live with Him. Christmas is the beginning of the earthly part of the story and Easter (or Resurrection Sunday, as I prefer to call it) is the completion of it.
An innocent babe, born in a manger conjures such cute images in my mind. An innocent man, beaten bloody, nailed to a cross, scorned, shamed, mocked, unrecognizable in death coming back to life after laying dead for three days? That's power! That's the One who brought me to life with HIM. He's the One I choose to follow.
Perhaps my lack of Christmas traditions keeps me from being able to focus on the Babe in the manger. I'm so grateful He was born in humility and also resurrected in power. To me, Christmas and Easter are one in the same - the story of Eternity for you, me, and all those who will choose to accept the atoning work the Messiah did for us.
A truly "Merry Christmas" comes from knowing Christ personally. Merry Christmas to you, Friend!