Hello from M. and K. L. – all seven of us! Aren’t the holidays such a mix of joy and stress? We know that this tension is always present during our holiday seasons! We are so thankful that despite our humanness and tendencies to complicate things, God works. He effectively completes all he desires to do, in and through us. For our family, Christmas is not just a joyful time to celebrate Jesus, but it is a day we look forward to filling our house full of our friends and neighbors and sharing the joy of the season.
This year, as we were preparing and readying our house, we learned that one of the larger local Hindu festivals happened to be on the same day! This hasn’t happened before, and we weren’t sure how this would affect who all would come to our party. We began to get discouraged because we knew that most of the people who usually came would be busy tending to the details that accompanied their festival. So, battling discouragement yet filled with hope, knowing that God wasn’t stressed and would bring all that were supposed to come, we finished the last bit of preparations before the knocking on the door started. (Although, honestly, the knocking started before we were fully prepared!)
We opened the doors and began the party at 3:00 (some of our kids were still napping) with about seven kids on our porch. As we welcomed them in and let the party begin, our prayer was that God would use this day and our family to be a light even on a day that was set apart for the worship of their gods. And it was just that! Our home filled up with kids, about 20 total and about eight adults. We played games with the kids, passed out candy for prizes, and told the story of Jesus’ birth (using our mouths and multimedia!). It was the first time some of them had ever heard the story before.
Then, food, lots of food. And after everyone had their fill of American sweets and savories, at about 7:30, parents were calling to collect their kids to have them present for their festival. And as they all left, we gave them each a gift bag to share a bit more joy with them. There were goodies in the bags to enjoy, but we also enclosed John 3:16-17 in both Hindi and English. We trust God to use our lives and his written Word to continue to soften their hearts. And we are thankful that even when the joyful events can be stressful to us, they are not to God. He already knows what is going to happen and has gone before us, beside us, and behind us! He is so good. Thank you for continuing to join us in praying that they will accept Jesus soon!
- The Lord blessed our Christmas party, and we were able to share the Christmas story with many children.
- Our kids continue to thrive and enjoy their lives and family in India.
- We are so thankful for the friends we have and that we continue to have meaningful conversations and deep relationships.
- Our village is in the midst of a spiritually dark period while they allow their village god to meditate. No one is allowed to listen to music, watch TV, make loud noises, or work the ground. At the end of this 45 day period (which is towards the end of February), the priests will prophesy about upcoming events over the next year.
- That we could really communicate well with those around us, especially spiritual matters that tend to have a much harder and more specific vocabulary.
- That we would find favor with the government in the last steps of our business process.