Smiles and genuine care have greeted us at every corner in this second country of our trip. Whether helping us get off the crowded bus at the right stop, serving us lunch, guiding us through local markets and sights, or wanting to just speak English and be our friends, the beautiful people of this country have been a blessing to us since our arrival on December 16.
I was thrilled that we got to witness a historical event for this country on our first day here! It was especially impacting since I know the history of thousands of prayers over many years that have been dedicated to the variety of situations and struggles here. Wow, God is so good! People who have lived here for many years told us how surprised they are at the extreme amount of change in the last few months alone. Pray that the leadership and influential groups of this country make decisions with wisdom and patience, and that God is glorified throughout the whole land.
This past week we made many new friends of different religions and ethnic backgrounds through an English center, a church, a medical NGO and in a village near to the city we are living in. Most of our team members have already had a chance to share testimonies, teachings, stories songs, skits, or games. I love that we got to share some of our western-Canadian culture by teaching our new friends a country line dance!
In one of our team times this week we reflected on Acts 2 and the power of the Holy Spirit to effect massive change starting with small group of God-fearing and obedient people. My earnest prayer and desire is for the followers of Christ in this country to see the same thing happen! –to have the obedience and courage to see God’s love for this country spread with unstoppable power! And I pray that our team will be faithful to make whatever contribution we can in our short time here as well.
We had a fun time on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning bringing our various family traditions together. We had dinner at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the food, hot-climate Christmas decor, and opening stockings together. For breakfast we feasted on cookies, nuts, chocolate, coffee, and the mandarin oranges which are cheap and abundant here. Christmas afternoon we will be celebrating with the church. I always consider it a unique blessing to celebrate Christ on this special day with my brothers and sisters from around the world.
I am looking forward to making more friends here and seeing what God has for the rest of this outreach. Please pray for our team to continue to grow closer together and for health (a few of us have had colds and/or upset stomachs). Mostly, pray that we will have courage to love like Jesus and represent him truthfully in every situation. We are so blessed by each of you who read this and support us with your love and prayers. A very Merry Christmas to you all!!