Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday. I love everything about it: the Christmas tree, the beautiful music, driving through decorated neighborhoods, and fellowship with family and friends, all playing a part in us celebrating the birth of Christ. This holiday is always a special one for my family and I. This year, Christmas 2008, is the first one I've celebrated away from home and I've been sad about that thought all year. I knew, however, that this would also probably be a special one for me since I would be spending it in Africa.
Christmas Day has now come and gone, and I am happy to say that it did turn out to be a special one for me. I spent time with the two families who are also here at the mission right now, the Witts and the Lackeys, along with Monty and Semakaleng, who are also staying here. We gathered for lasagna and fellowship at the Witts on Christmas Eve, and took some time out to sing (and sign) Christmas carols. I spent the latter part of the night talking to my family and friend, Stacy, on the phone. I opened my presents while on the phone with my mom, along with a curious kitty beside me, looking on. :)
Christmas morning began with a yummy brunch at Ms. Pat's house, followed by us loading up in a couple of vehicles and taking Samaritan's Purse Christmas boxes to the hospital. We began in the pediatric ward, singing a couple of carols and sharing the Christmas story with the children and their moms. We then handed out boxes to the eleven children who were there. We moved on to the maternity ward and also gave gifts to new and expectant moms. It was especially neat to see two brand new sets of twins! The moms were especially grateful for the boxes full of goodies for their newborns.
As I spent the remainder of the day reading and reflecting, I realized what a truly special gift this day was. I may never again have the opportunity to spend Christmas in Botswana, so I really tried to enjoy the day. I'm so thankful that God has allowed me to be here, serving Him among the people of this land and celebrating His birth alongside them.
Here are some pictures from Christmas day:
Monty loading up the presents on the cart...aka hospital bed
Kevin and Mmapula taking them into the hospital
A mother and daughter, spending Christmas in the hospital :(
Ms. Pat and Mason sharing the Christmas story
Sweet little boy with his new gift
We couldn't leave without giving gifts to the nurses
Monty and Semakaleng after a productive afternoon!