December News 2013

Happy New Year, dear friends! May our dear Jesus keep you under the shadow of His wings and shower you with His care and blessings throughout the year, filling your hearts with joy and peace, and a sense of fulfillment as you continue to give Him your heart.

So much happened in December, that we won’t be able to cover it all this time, but first of all, we’d like to honor a special man who had a profound worldwide effect on many lives, and whose sample we pray we can follow. He never preached a sermon, but by his actions he lived what Jesus preached: love and forgiveness, particularly love towards his enemies and those who caused him so much harm, thereby establishing peace instead of what could have turned into a civil war. Nelson Mandela, enjoy your heavenly reward, and thank you for the legacy you have left us.

“No person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place”.—Nelson Mandela

Solar Maternity kit: Before we get into Christmas, we wanted to thank We Care Solar organization for donating a beautiful solar suitcase for our maternity set up in Kikimi that had been operating without electricity up till now. Bringing it all the way from California to Kikimi was no small ordeal, but we are so thankful it finally made it safely all the way here. Theo and Florence are thrilled with it.

“It always seems impossible until it's done”.—Nelson Mandela

Clotilde offering Maternity kit to Florence

Clotilde offering Maternity kit to Florence

Florence thrilled with solar maternity kit

Florence thrilled with solar maternity kit

Gino showing Theo Solar Maternity suitcase

Gino showing Theo Solar Maternity suitcase

Activated Magazines: Another thank you goes to “Activated”, who have been so graciously mailing us free copies of the English Activated mags. More of more of our Congolese friends and Bible students are learning English, and just love reading them!

“I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity”.—Nelson Mandela

english club

Cedric and Theo enjoying the Activated magazines in English

Christmas in Kikimi: Every year, we are used to celebrating Christmas in Kikimi with our orphaned kids, about 100 of them. But this year, the whole school got invited: all the kids, parents and caretakers. For the first time, it’s the teachers who planned the Nativity Play without our help, and the kids acted it out in French, which was a major accomplishment for them. It was so fun to watch, and they came up with lots of good ideas, like having Joseph do some carpentry work and even adding a 4th wise man, ha! They had built a stable with palm leaves and a manger of “straw and wood”. It reminded us of St Francis’ live nativity scenes.

“Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas”.—Dale Evans Rogers

Palm leaves stable

Palm leaves stable

Joseph the carpenter

Joseph the carpenter

Nativity Cast

Nativity Cast

Shepherds keeping watch over their flock

Shepherds keeping watch over their flock

Villagers watching Nativity Play performed by children

Villagers watching Nativity Play performed by children

Theo actually combined our Christmas celebration with praise and worship, and the presentation of a new baby to the little open air church the Lord has given him among the villagers, right there in Kikimi. Jacques played the tam-tam and we all sang and praised the Lord together.

Mother and child

Mother and child

Jacques playing tam-tam

Jacques playing tam-tam

“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself”.—Charles Dickens

A lady friend we hadn’t heard from in years suddenly contacted us and made a donation for Christmas. With it, we were able to purchase drinks for the kids, 2 sets of badminton rackets with birdies, and photocopy Christmas Coloring pages. The kids just loved it all.

Offering donated badminton kits

Offering donated badminton kits

Coloring Christmas Activity pages

Coloring Christmas Activity pages

Young artist

Young artist

“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”—Bob Hope

The Lord also raised up a dear Labanese man who donated 10 cartons of meat/fish for Christmas. Other friends donated rice, foufou (cassava), biscuits and drinks, and we made pondu (cassava leaves) from our own crop. God bless Florence and some of the other mamas and older orphaned girls who prepared food for 200 people. (In the picture, I’m just pretending to cook, but in reality, I only helped serve the food, which felt like “feeding the multitudes”, praying the Lord would multiply the food so there would be enough for all).

Preparing Christmas meal in Kikimi

Preparing Christmas meal in Kikimi

The whole Christmas celebration happened outside, so all the school benches had been set up under the trees to accommodate everyone, but lo and behold, just when it came time to serve the food, rain started pouring! So everyone ran for shelter inside the empty classrooms (since all the desks were outside!) and the kids ended up having a picnic on the bare floor.

Christmas picnic

Christmas picnic

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow”.—Albert Einstein

Old Year gratitude and New Year prayer:  Our heartfelt thanks go to you, dear ones, who have supported us with your prayers, your encouragement, as well as your gifts throughout this past year. It is thanks to you and your sacrifices that the Gospel is being preached in this land, that these precious people’s lives are getting brighter and their hearts are filled with hope for a better future.

At the close of this year, our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the Lord has done for us, for the mission, through little people, through unexpected miracles, through your prayers. We know it’s only Him, and we pray He can continue to use us in this New Year as He best sees fit, to encourage the down-trodden, to bring His love and Salvation to those He will place on our path, and to anchor in the faith those who desire to follow and serve Him.

We pray He will shower His blessings upon you throughout this New Year, and continue to make you a blessing to those around you. We love you! Happy New Year!

Gino and Clotilde

New Year's Wishes

What shall I wish you? Treasures of earth?

Songs in the springtime? Pleasures and mirth?

Flowers on your pathway, Skies ever clear?

Would this ensure you A happy new year?

What shall I wish you? What can be found

Bringing you sunshine All the year round?

Where is the treasure, Lasting and dear,

That shall ensure you A happy new year?

Faith that increases, Walking in light;

Hope that's abounding, Happy and bright;

Love that is perfect, Casting out fear;

These shall ensure you A happy new year.

Peace in the Savior, Rest at His feet,

Smile of His countenance Radiant and sweet.

Joy in His presence! Christ ever near!

This will ensure you A happy new year!

 

—Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-79), adapted

 

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