27 December 2013


We did it!
We completed another Nochebuena at Casita Benjamín!
I want to give glory to God and share that it was a great success!
Although I must admit that leading up to the event I had some uncertainties.

Sharol & Sonia on the bus with a few baskets overhead
 This year, more than any before, I had more things 'unconfirmed' and uncertain all the way up until the 24th.
Maybe I am becoming more and more "Guatemalan" in how I do things, waiting until the last moment, just saying "Primero Dios", which means "Lord willing".
It is very common here when asking someone for a commitment, to have them say "Primero Dios". This covers everyone's behind if you just don't show up.

The band warming up!
 This year we were having a new preacher, new band (although a couple of them helped last year) and a new person directing a children's program.
My communication with all of them beforehand was, well, let's just say....lacking.
Partly on my end, partly on theirs.

A few of the neighbors trying to stay warm
 But, the Lord brought it all together as we just continued forward, our youth team was amazing! you can see in the previous posts how hard they worked to help prepare everything.
Then the morning of the 24th, I began with a couple of our youth at Las Aldeas Children's Home passing out baskets of goods to each of the houses there!
Then we went to our house and they helped us load everything on our bus to head to Casita Benjamin!

Best worship band in Guatemala!
 We went to Las Aldeas to pick up the rest of our youth team, then stopped at our church to pick up some sound equipment and some instruments!
We arrived at Casita Benjamin a little before 2 in the afternoon and the kids all unloaded the bus and began decorating the Casita.

The crowd continued growing
I was a bit worried that we would have a small crowd, as the day was cloudy, breezy and chilly.
Many people don't want to take their kids out in weather like that.
 The band began setting up outside on the sidewalk and everything started coming together.
In between a thousand questions I went a few blocks away, right by a side entrance to the dump, to pick up 225 Tamales from the woman who makes them for us each year. She cooks over wood fire which makes them even better!

Pastor Carlos speaking in the street
 A small crowd began to form out in the street as the band played and by 4 or so we had a pretty good crowd considering the weather.
After the band played our Pastor Carlos gave a short message out in the street.
It was fantastic, he had everyones attention, the kids and the adults were just captivated by his message!

Pastor Carlos preaching inside
 Then we welcomed the families that had tickets to enter and brought them all inside, where the adults went inside the main building and the kids were out in the patio. 
Pastor Carlos then had another message to share with the adults and we had a program for the kids including a puppet show!
We had a new gal directing the kids program this year, Jassiel Cholima, and she was awesome!
The kids were spellbound.

Part of the kids program
 The kids were so entertained that it allowed us to serve dinner to the adults first after Pastor Carlos finished his message.
Then we were able to serve the kids their tamale dinner!

 After dinner it was starting to get dark so we wanted to finish up.
We raffled off the 9 snowmen Erika had made for table centerpieces, and then we gave out the baskets of goods to each family!

Passing out gifts to the kids
 Then as all the families exited, our youth were in the hallway to pass out gifts to all the kids on the way out!
After everyone was gone, our youth team cleaned up the entire Casita, put away tables and chairs and THEN, they all got a tamale dinner!
Like every year I can't say enough about how proud I am of our youth.
They are the bestest there are. I LOVE these kids.
We loaded the rest of the supplies back on the bus for what is always a FUN ride home.
I thank them for their work, and then we pass out diplomas and a gift to each one of them!
Always accompanied by much whooping and cheering!

Passing out gifts on the bus to our team
I want to report it was a huge success!
In spite of the weather we reached 90% capacity, with 180 people or so out of a maximum of 200 guests.
The Pastor reported 10 people raised their hands during a prayer to receive Christ!
We received many comments of gratitude from the people, and we give thanks and glory to God for a precious evening serving the people He loves so much!

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