Thursday, December 25, 2014

100 Christmas Dollies 2014 Delivered

The breeze failed to pass through Grace Abundance Church, which was covered with heat producing iron sheets. Those of us who were unaccustomed to such heat (me) were drenched within minutes. Thankful for young boys to send after cold water from the local shop, I replenished myself. As I waited, though, I wondered if it was hot the night Mary laid down in that stable to deliver her baby. Did the straw and dirt stick to her too? Did she have some cool water to drink after bringing the Son of God into the world?

Telling the story of the nativity brings no surprises at a Christmas morning service, but our reading was to be tailored for the children. We moved the chairs to the rear of the church and laid out a giant blue cloth for the children. About 30 made their way to the front and kicked off their shoes, if they had any, before finding a space on that blue-now-dirt-colored cloth. But before settling in, we instructed the children to go out and find the children who are not in church and to welcome them back here. Our little evangelists.

Almost 100 children returned and squished themselves into the front of the church where I sat and told them about Jesus' birth through the eyes of Joseph, the shepherds, and the wise men. Keep in mind that about 70 of those children listening didn't usually attend church or were of the Muslim faith. All 100 children heard the story of Jesus' birth read from Scripture and narrated for their age and understanding. All of them.

We finished with the part of the story where the wise men give gifts to the baby Jesus. I asked if the children would like to give a gift to the baby Jesus too. Some responded that they would, but when asked how they were unsure. Jesus isn't a baby anymore and we aren't in Bethlehem. I told the children that they could give Jesus the gift of believing in him as their Savior and we invited them all to do that. After praying with them, I moved on to tell them that I wanted to give them a gift to remind them that God loves them so much he came to earth as a baby. When they see this baby doll, they should remember that love.

A few notes about the photos. 1) East African's don't smile for photos...usually. 2) 100 kids requires a LOT of organization and control, and well... 3) A few dollies snuck off without photos. 4) Blogger seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to managing this many photos.

The shirt in the next picture is what this boy received.
I mistakenly cropped the photo without saving.
But...when you see his eyes, you'll see why.

Pr Owino and Martha are finally pregnant.
Pr selected a boy dolly for his child.

After receiving their dolls, I explained to these kids about the maker of these dollies and about you as sponsors of these gifts. I told them there are people in America who will receive the pictures we took together and who will pray for them throughout the year. Will you do that please? Will you pray for these children as you remember this very special Christmas gift that you made possible for these very special children? Pray that they would be protected, that they would know the love of Jesus, and that they would grow to be spiritual giants. Thank you. Thank you for your generosity and favor, compassion and grace. We love you!

Of course she immediately fell asleep.

Pilau (goat and rice).
What did you have for Christmas meal?

Pr Owino, Me, Ida, Janet, Simone, and Pr Ephantus

Pr Owino and wife Martha