SO Thankful Replay…Day 18

Jose, Asher, & I flew into the Mole this past Saturday after spending time in the states re-packing crates & barrels for the boat. We brought back with us hundreds of strands of Christmas lights! Sunday night we started decorating the courtyard. We’ve been working on it little by little each night. It’s not quite ready for me to post pictures yet – but there are already crowds of people gathering by the gates looking at the bright lights.

Pierre, Momma Gigi, Nene, Jose, Erica, Susan, our kids, & the staff kids have each had a hand in wrapping lights around fences, buildings, & trees. It’s been a campus-wide effort! Pierre and I were talking tonight and he told me that we are providing a great service for this community. He said no one can provide this sort of beauty here. Even in Port-au-Prince  – no one can put up lights because the people steal them.

The last few nights the staff & the orphans have been staying outside a little longer – enjoying the ambiance we’ve created! While we were wrapping lights around the orphanage fences  – the kids were clapping & cheering! I love to make people smile! I love to create that twinkle in their eye!

Have you ever got so caught up in a movie that you forget where you are? I love to provide an environment where they can forget where they are – how tough life is – even if it’s just for a few moments.

We live right across from the cemetery. People are scared to walk past there at night.  The mayor thanked us last year for lighting up that corner and making it a safer & less scarier place to walk through.

Every year we do 10 nights of Christmas Movies leading up to Christmas day.  Since moving to the property we’ve been able decorate the courtyard. The town LOVES watching movies surrounded by lights. We offer popcorn each night and on Christmas Eve we feed them rice & beans. It’s something they look forward to every year.

This year we are able to decorate our brand new church with white icicle lights! Who would have thought that last year? We are jimmy-rigging a big angel on top of the church! My hope is that the people in Preskul can see our church & the angel each night when they go to sleep! How cool would that be?

We did lose a lot of our lights & decorations when the boat sank. BUT – we were also able pack more Christmas decorations that should arrive in Haiti by the first week of December. I can’t wait to add the new scenes & lights to WOW this community even more!

So today I’m thankful for beautiful lights! For the way they create smiles, memories, & push back the dark!

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SO Thankful…Day 18

Since I can remember Christmas time at our house has always been super special! I love all the traditions my parents created! All the kids would bake sugar cookies with momma. Daddy would give us each a little money and drive us to a special place to shop for each other! We even got to stay in a hotel! As we got older dad would create a little game. Around the 23rd of December he would give us each $15.00 and we drew names. We had to go buy a funny gift for whoever’s name we drew!

We spent the 24th at Candle Lit Church Services. When it was over -all of us kids would go to one room (even with our spouses as we were older) and we would wait for Santa to come! We would laugh until we cried – waiting for Santa! Around midnight we would hear daddy yell up – Santa Came! Santa Came! Santa Came! We would rush down the steps and find piles of presents! Each pile was wrapped in special paper so we knew which pile was ours!

Now I know that it’s not really “PC” to give in to the commercialization of Christmas – but I’m a Mac user! Ha! Ha!

One of my favorite things to do was decorate for Christmas. On the Friday after Thanksgiving most people were out shopping – – while we were out chopping! Dad would drive us out in the country and we would chop down 15-20 trees! (I’m pretty sure that the owners didn’t know). We would then plant the trees in our yard and create our own Winter Wonderland! We would start on Friday and spend the next 3 days decorating all the trees, the house, and the yard!

I remember when the school bus would pass by. The would shine on the dark street and I could see little faces staring out the bus windows smiling! The little neighbor boy up the street would come down every year with his mom and ask, “Are you going to put up the choo-choo train? That’s my favorite!”  We would see friends at church and they would ask if the lights were going to be on that night! They wanted to bring their children by!

My parents never had a lot of money. They have been in the ministry for over 30 years. But they managed to make the Holidays as special as possible! Not because of the things money can buy – but because of the things they can’t. Some of the best memories I have  – of the entire family together – go back to those days!

***

Jose and I have spent the last 3 days decorating my parent’s home. We wanted it done before we headed to NYC to spend Thanksgiving with Jose’s mom. While we were decorating last night several little kids came by. They were waiving and pointing!  Several cars slowed down. I could see the smiles of little ones through the window!

When Jose and I moved to Haiti we decided to decorate the mission compound just like we would in the states! We had lights strung everywhere. We had gingerbread figures throughout the entire courtyard! Then 10 days before Christmas we would open up the gates and invite children to come inside the courtyard to watch Christmas movies. You could see their eyes sparkle as they saw the pretty decorations! We would serve hot chocolate and popcorn as they laughed at the movie! On Christmas Eve we served them a hot meal of rice and beans! For just a brief moment – the children got to forget where they were. They forgot how hard their lives were. They forgot how poor they were. They forgot how hungry they were.  For a moment – they got to just be kids!

So today I’m thankful for Beautiful Lights!

For creating excitement and smiles on the faces of little children!

 

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