Christmas is such a special time at the House of Hope. The house is all decorated and the kids are all excited. Those who have been here for previous Christmas times tell their most grandiose stories to the newcomers who in turn get equally excited.
This year was no different as the decorations went up, the songs started to be sung and taught to the new arrivals. Throughout the house impromptu singing sessions would break out into Christmas songs always within earshot of Linda. She would respond with her usual response, "I know, I know, you are just singing for your gifts", at which point the kids would run away laughing the kind of laughing that comes from deep within the gut and explodes all over the place. The little game never seems to get tiring -- for the kids at least.
So, as can be expected all eyes were on the boat bringing in the gifts this year. We had assurances from the shipping company that they would arrive in time for Christmas, but started to doubt as Christmas morning arrived and the gifts were nowhere to be found.
No problem, this is Haiti -- we are flexible. With great gusto Linda and the kids threw themselves into preparing a lovely meal to be shared by the HOH kids, staff, friends and some neighbors. We don't often get to eat all together as a whole family, so this is always a special meal and everyone helped to put it together...
It takes a lot of work to get a special meal prepared for as big a family as we have. Then, in the middle of all the meal preparation came a call -- the gifts were ready to be picked up! You can sure believe some of the boys dropped everything they were doing, grabbed the vehicle and went to pick up the gifts...
Even though they waited until the next couple of days to go through everything and organize the gifts, it was well worth the wait and allowed Christmas to be stretched out for even more days.
The gifts once again came from a supporting church in York, PA with some staff gifts and big Christmas cloth gift bags came from our church in Simcoe, Ontario Canada. Some friends in Texas helped us with some extra funds to use for the Christmas meal, and others in Colorado sent some new Christmas decorations for this year. Our friends in Miami made sure everything got to us, as well as purchased and sent in food and other items we needed. We are so blessed to have a such a wide and varied support team that allows us to have such a special time for our kids. Thank you to each one of you who played a part.
The best part of our Christmas Season is being able to share the true meaning of the season with our kids. The hope that Jesus brought to us all when he came so long ago means a lot to our kids who come from extremely hopeless situations. We received 2 new arrivals over the holiday season and everyone at the HOH now has a chance to share this message with them.
They've asked me to ask you to pray for them as they share God's love with Dorothy and Saskie. Saskie is a little 2 year old girl suffering from extreme malnutrition; she is at the HOH with her mother. Dorothy is 14 and is having a particularly difficult time being at the HOH. She is in such terrible physical condition Linda is not comfortable even taking a picture to show us. She has been suffering from TB for quite some time and has just now come for medical care. She needs daily medication but refuses to take it. Our staff, and the other kids are doing all they can to care for her. Many of them remember how hard the first few weeks at the HOH can be, especially when you are feeling so very sick. Please pray for patience for all those giving her care and that they would be able to show her the love and hope that come from life with Jesus.
We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas season and we look forward to another year sharing life with all of you, our friends and partners. A Happy New Year to you all!