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Enjoying the Season

Sunday, December 17, 2023

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" Let's spread the joy with our friends who are struggling to feed their families this Christmas. Click on the picture to donate Christmas dinner for a family in Haiti.

The Christmas season can be so much fun. I enjoy driving around with my grandchildren when it's dark out, checking out all the Christmas lights. "Memèy, Memèy, LOOK! On my side! ... OHHHHH, so PRETTY! ..."

This season makes for extra opportunities to teach our little ones more about Christmas. We are celebrating Jesus' birthday.

One of my grandchildren talks about wanting a "Sonic birthday." Another had her "Ariel birthday" a few months ago. Apparently, this year, Jesus chose to have a "Santa birthday."

Why do we like Sonic? Well, he's fast!

Why do we like Ariel? She has a beautiful voice and beautiful hair.

Why do we like Santa? Santa (aka St. Nicholas) went about doing good and caring for people. He reminds us of Jesus.

It's also a season of wonder and reflection. As Mary said, "How can this be?" (Luke 1:34a) How could God love us so much that He would take on flesh and live in humble circumstances? To live as a man, to feel as a man, to hurt like a man, to be disrespected and slandered without reprisal ... to lay down His own life to redeem you and me? Who am I that God would do this for me? And yet, He did. "O come, let us adore Him, Christ the King!"

The Christmas season is often referred to as the season of giving. What an ideal time to be aware of the needs around us. Jesus is the answer to all those needs, and He is with us wherever we go. Take a moment from the hustle and bustle to pause, listen, and respond with love, humility, and prayer.

Living in Haiti for about a third of my life taught me many "little" things. Some of them were through Haitian Proverbs like this one: "Labouwi a cho. Manje a kote." (The porridge is hot. Eat it along the edge.) This has both a literal and figurative meaning.

This child's caretaker arranged his cornmeal so that it would cool quickly. The child already knows that he should eat around the edge, not in the middle. Let me tell you, hot cornmeal BURNS! It's usually better to learn from the proverbs than from personal experiences.

Figuratively speaking, this proverb comes in handy when raising teenagers (just an example). You want them to make good choices, but telling them point-blank what they "should" do (diving into the middle of the hot porridge) may push them further in the wrong direction. Instead, you feed them bite-sized suggestions and thought-provoking questions (eating along the edge so we don't get burned) over days/weeks/months.

Should someone actually get burned by their porridge (or something else), they can get help from our professional medical personnel in the clinic at MOHI in Thozin. The doctors, nurses, and dentists care so well for their patients!

Our primary students in Haïti have been studying and working hard to prepare for upcoming exams.

The high school is in the thick of their exam period. We are praying for them as this can be a stressful time for them.

Our preschoolers had a special day last week with Daphlande, hearing about Jesus' birth and celebrating His birthday together.

In the Dominican Republic, Aquilina's Business Academy training is moving forward. Lex and I will be in the DR next month and look forward to seeing firsthand how she is doing.

I often hear Pastor Lex tell people that there are two things (THINGS, not PEOPLE!) in this world that he doesn't want to be away from: the ocean and the garden. The drought is a thing of the past in Luperòn, and the garden is nice and green. Thank you, Jesus! Do you recognize any of the fruits and veggies growing in the garden?

I see squash, watermelon, corn, beans, yucca, and peppers. And that's just a little of what's out there. We're excited to see the harvest and share it with people in need - and perhaps the Hope Encounter participants joining us next month, too!

The rain is a blessing for growing food, but it has been problematic for Nurse Marlouse to make her way out to Cambiaso and Playa Cambiaso. She rides a motorcycle to get to these villages down a long, bumpy dirt road. It can be tricky trying to stay clean and dry.

Thankfully she made it there and was able to visit many people in the villages.

The day Nurse Marlouse arrived in La Grúa, many of the residents complained about a recent increase in biting mosquitos (post-tropical storm). She also noted that many people had fevers and flu-like symptoms. She took this opportunity to teach about mosquito-borne illnesses, how to minimize mosquito infestations around their homes, and how to minimize the risk of bites. Several patients were referred to the hospital. Providing education in the villages is a big part of Nurse Marlouse's responsibilities.

I will be taking a break next week, so this is my last post before Christmas. Pastor Lex and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We pray it is filled with joy and love.


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