21 December 2012

Nochebuena - it begins!

It has begun! The preparations have been under way for Nochebuena for quite awhile, and now we are into the busy time of many activities related to and leading up to Nochebuena.
Basically what we do each year is a huge outreach on Christmas Eve in Zona 3, for families that live on the edge of the largest landfill dump in Central America.
It is a extremely poor, densely populated, gang infested, dangerous and spiritually dark area.
We offer an afternoon of hope and love, sharing Jesus with the people there.
We begin singing Christmas carols out in the street, then have an evangelical message also out in the street.
Then we enter Casita Benjamín for a devotional with the adults and games and the Christmas story for the kids. Then everyone gets dinner, all the kids get a wrapped gift, and each family receives a 'Canasta de Víveres'. This is a basket filled with basic goods.

Practicing Christmas carols
But, it is a LOT of work to prepare that begins in November! We form a servant team of youth we work with, and enlisted several members of the worship team from our church to help with music.
We have practices at our house for Christmas carols etc.
We also have a few outings to buy over 200 gifts for kids, more outings to buy all of the goods needed for the baskets etc. Our house gets rather full until Christmas!

Wrapping over 220+ gifts!
We then have an all day activity at our house to wrap all of the gifts, and make all of the baskets! We had 27 helpers and it took 12 pizzas to feed everyone this year! After the work we practiced singing some, then watched a movie together!

Where ever you can find space...using the whole house!
Our youth really do a great job, work hard and have lots of fun!

Some of the 70 'Canastas de Víveres' (baskets of basic goods) we made!

Willy & Nestor wrapping some canastas

A few of the finished canastas!
We also take an evening to visit Casa Kairos. This is a home near the largest public hospital for children with cancer and their families. Similar to a Ronald McDonald house on a budget.
These are poor families from far away that need to come here for treatment, some of whom stay for years.

Singing Carols at Casa Kairos
We visit and sing carols with them, pray with them, and just hang out and visit for awhile.

David playing with one of the kids
We still have more activities yet to come before Christmas Eve actually arrives.

A wonderful time of worship and prayer with the families at Kairos
The 22nd we will have another all day event at our house with all of the youth. We will make lots of decorations to put up in Casita Benjamin on the 24th. We will also make approximately 1,000 of Sandi's Christmas cookies!
Then on the 23rd I have a bus rented and we will take all who want to go from Las Aldeas Children's home to our church for a Christmas service and lunch! Our youth will lead some of the singing!

Relaxing after singing with a few of our youth!
Then on the 24th, our bus will return to our house to load all of the baskets, gifts, decorations, us etc and we will go pick up our youth helpers and then head for Zona 3! We will get there and decorate the place, set up a sound system outside and prepare for the people!
About 3:30 we will begin with singing in the street. Last year we had 250+ people enter for the dinner etc.
This year we have a quota of 200 for the dinner and have already filled our quota with families that have received tickets. But we expect many more to participate out in the street and hear a Gospel message.
Please keep all of these things lifted up in prayer.
That God is already preparing hearts for His message, that some will be touched and surrender to His love and hope.
Pray also for us, and our servant team, that we may be examples of His love and instruments to proclaim His message.

Check back here for more updates and photos after the events happen!


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