26 December 2012


Well another Christmas has now passed and we can truly give thanks to our Lord for what He has done again this year! 
After over a month of preparing suddenly it was the 24th and SHOWTIME!
Time to put all the work and practice we had done to use.
We started in the morning getting all of the things we would be bringing together. Then the bus arrived at our house, our worship team also arrived at our house, and we loaded all of the baskets and decorations, and cookies, and sound equipment and more and us etc onto the bus!
Then we picked up our youth team and headed into Zona 3 and Casita Benjamín!

Putting decorations together
When we got to the Casita, we had a brief devotion on the bus to remind all why we were there and to prepare everyone to serve and love on others.

Hanging decorations...I'm just posing
Then everyone worked together to unload the bus and all began to decorate the Casita for the day!

Our worship team getting people started out in the street!
At about 3 PM the worship team began leading some worship songs outside in the street. And some people began to slowly fill the chairs we had set up in the street.

Our youth leading the Christmas carols
Then our youth team joined in up front to lead the people singing Christmas carols!

A beautiful day to be singing to the Lord out in the streets!
Because last year became a bit chaotic in the street when it came time to enter for the dinner, we had a plan this year to register people ahead of time and give them tickets to enter for the dinner.
This helped a BUNCH. It also controlled giving out the Christmas baskets one per family, and also helped make sure each child only received one gift.

Hermano Benjamín preaching the Word to the people
After the singing our friend Benjamin Melendez gave a clear evangelical message and led the people in a prayer.
Then formed a long line out in the street to enter the Casita for the rest of the program!
When we registered people ahead of time and gave out tickets, we set a quota of 200 people.
And our quota quickly filled up a couple of weeks ago.
However, and we don't know why, many did not show up. We did allow a couple of families that came without tickets to register at the door. But, I would estimate the total at about 160- 180 people this year.

Our Diana teaching the kids about THE Christmas story
Once everyone entered, we had the children outside on the patio, and the adults inside.
Diana, one of our youth for several years, led the kids in some games and also explained the TRUE Christmas story to them.
Meanwhile, inside hermano Benjamin gave a short devotional to the adults and then a good discussion began spontaneously! 

The kitchen crew preparing to serve
 While that was going on, our crew in the kitchen was beginning to prepare plates of food!
And filling cups with juice!
Then our youth began serving the kids first, then the adults their dinners.

Some of the kids with their dinner
 This year we had Estofado instead of traditional Tamales. It is a mixture of beef, chicken and pork. It was really good and the people all seemed to enjoy it. They also received rice, salad, tortillas and our cookies we worked so hard to make!

He was actually excited about his food!
 I think the kids even liked it all because we didn't seem to have much of a mess afterwords! 

Meanwhile, inside the adults were also getting dinner!
 I know the adults liked it because many said so!

For dessert everyone got the cookies we made!
 After the dinner was served to all, our youth served the cookies to everyone, and then began collecting the trash and cleaning off the tables!

Ricardo & Andres were hungry but not allowed in the kitchen
 After dessert we had some of our team began to deliver the Christmas baskets to the families.
We gave out 42 baskets to families at the Casita. We also gave baskets to the houses our youth live in, and to director and guards at the childrens home.

Hugo giving one of the baskets to a family!
 After the families received their baskets they collected their children and headed for the exit where the kids would receive their gifts!

Waiting patiently (kind of) for their presents!
 It of course became a highly congested area very quickly, but still I think went pretty smoothly!

As they filed out the kids all received a gift
 We had our youth lined up on both sides, giving out gifts sorted by age and boy/girl.

Many expressed gratitude and thanks to our team as they left
 Everyone seemed to leave very happy, and even though we had fewer people this year, the Lord really blessed each one with a special time.

Finally all was cleaned up and our team got dinner!
 When all of the guests were gone, our youth cleaned the entire Casita and then we all sat on the floor and got our turn to eat!

On the bus ride home we gave diplomas and gifts to our servant team!
 The bus ride home is a special time each year, for our team to let it all out after hustling all day.
We pass out diplomas in recognition for their service, and have a Christmas gift for each one of them.
This years team was a tad more subdued than other years, but I say I am soooooooo proud of them.
They are a great team and I would take them anywhere with me! 
They blessed me, and lots of others with their service, smiles and love.
I love everyone of them and know the Lord is pleased with their service and their hearts.
Many, many people were blessed again this year, and we want to give thanks to all who have prayed for this outreach, all who gave for this outreach, and all who have worked to help us with this outreach.

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