Marry Christmas everyone! This month in my devotional "Voices of the Faithful" the focus is Christmas Around the World . On Monday I was reading about a woman who was having a hard time celebrating Christmas being so far from her friends and family. Her exact words were “Serving the Lord through international missions is fantastic. I would be miserable doing anything else. However, there is one time of year that seems difficult-Christmas. I am thousands of miles from my extended family and friends and from "normal" holiday activities." I couldn't believe what I was reading, I sure didn't remember Beth Moore coming to Peru to talk to me, but, there it was my own words and thoughts.
I love what I'm doing here, but I have defiantly been fighting homesickness more since Dec. 1st. Knowing that my family and friends were back home listening to Christmas music, baking cookies, putting up their Christmas trees, spending time with their families and trying to find just the "right" gift. While I'm here in Peru with NO Christmas music playing, NO kitchen to bake in, NO tree to put up, NONE of my familiar family or friends to spend time with and no money for just the "right" gift.
For the first time I realized how I had relied on MY own Christmas traditions in order for it to feel like Christmas. I wouldn't say that I had completely lost sight of the real meaning of Christmas, but I had certainly taking my eyes off of Him. Sometimes it takes loosing something or someone to realize what is or was most important in our lives. Please not forget the real meaning of Christmas! Oh and could you eat a cookie and Christmas candy for me ;). Thanks!
Okay, so after all that let me tell you a little about celebrating Christmas in Peru. First off, I have not heard one Christmas hymn sung in Church or on the radio. I found out the other day that the reason we have not heard any is because they only sing 3 Christmas hymns."Silent Night! Holy Night!” Hark! The Herald Angels sing", and "Joy to the World". Fruit cake is VERY big here, but it’s more like sweet bread with fruit candies. Also they love hot chocolate, the real stuff. They melt a chocolate bar with milk and sugar. Yummy!Melissa's Mom sent her a little Christmas tree for the girls dorm and Heather gave us her left over decorations, these little things remind us that it is Christmas in spite of what the weather might be telling us :). Also Laura's Mom sent her some homemade cookies and candies, sure am glad we all share around here :)! We decided to draw names for secret Santa, but the gift can't be more than 10 soles (about $ 3.50).
On Monday I went out with a few of the girls to try and find a gift and I think we walked around for an hour and a half and finally I gave up and looked again another day. It's so much harder to go shopping here.In Peru everyone stays up till midnight on Christmas Eve and then opens their gifts, they play games, drink hot chocolate, and eat fruit cake. One on my favorite things about the Christmas season is the Christmas Eve service at our church. When I signed up to do devos on the 24th I knew exact ally what I wanted to do, well my date got changed to the 23rd but I didn't care. I had people read and sing some in English and some in Spanish. It went very well, not as good as the real Christmas Eve service but a good one all the same!
Yes, things are different here, but that’s doesn't mean it's not just as wonderful! Thank you Father, for all that you've taught me this Christmas!!Hugs and Loves to all my family and friends!!!