We wanted to try something new this year for our Christmas outreach in Santa Rita, something that would give our people a chance to reach out to their neighbors.
We went caroling! It is actually a popular thing here. The Catholic churches usually do it to raise money around Christmas time. We checked and no one was planning on doing it inside Santa Rita, so we thought this would be fun! We wouldn't be collecting money though, instead we put together a little gift to hand out to each family in Santa Rita.
In October we started learning Christmas carols in Spanish. They didn't know them yet, but by December they started hearing those same songs on the radio and were excited when they recognized them and could sing along. We even learned Feliz Navidad together. Since there is English in it, that turned out to be their favorite.
A week ago we all got together and made these angel ornaments out of coffee filters. It had Luke 2:10-11 attached to it.
We ordered 1,000 cookies from the bakery in our town and wrapped up 10 for each family in cellophane.
Most of the guys were in charge of wrapping the cookies. They had never seen how you can curl ribbon with a pair of scissors. They said it was "magical"!
Along with an angel ornament, each package of cookies had an invitation to the Bible study attached to it. The group decorated the invitations too and cut them out with pretty scissors.
Jimmy had made some hot punch that is a Christmas time tradition here that we all enjoyed while we worked together.
In the end there were 85 packages of cookies, one for each house in Santa Rita. We really had a blast with this project!
On the 23rd we all got together again to go door to door caroling and pass out our little gifts.
We were concerned because so many of the families that attend our Bible study were going out of town for Christmas. Also, when you identify yourself with the Bible study (are seen with us) you suffer repercussions. There is no way you can walk around the entire village with us singing about God without everyone knowing you attend the Bible studies.
We ended up having a very good turnout. We were excited to see all the people who were not ashamed to be identified with Christ.
We walked around the entire village together carrying candles and our songbooks. I played the guitar and my dad even accompanied us with his clarinet!
Bertina was bashful for the photo, Maria thinks I'm silly to take so many picures and Erginia always smiles!
We stopped in front of each house to sing and give them their gift.
Everyone was very friendly and seemed pleasantly surprised with their little gift!
Here are José and Elmer carrying all the cookies.
It was pretty cold that night. Jonah and Silas were so sweet, like perfect little missionary boys. They didn't fuss at all, even when it was past their bedtime. They loved being around everyone and I even heard them singing a couple times!
We did disturb the sheep a little!
All in all I think it was a successful outreach, both for the fellowship that our people enjoyed and it was a great way for them to reach out to the rest of the village.