Thursday, December 10, 2009

This from Lena:

Merry Christmas, friends! We have been very busy these last few weeks, bringing Christmas presents to the kids of our Piedad schools. It is our pleasure to purchase a gift for each child in our project schools, regardless of if they are enrolled in our program or have a sponsor. Birthday gifts only arrive for a few, but Christmas brings a little for all! The shot above was taken today in one of our Lima schools. As you can see, they were pretty happy to greet us!

All the children receive the gifts with great joy, but on experience in particular impressed me deeply, on our visit to a partner school in Trujillo. Our school in Trujillo was founded years ago by missionaries who wanted to reach the poorest of that coastal city. A large percentage of these children's parents cannot read. I am always impressed, because the teachers in this school have them writing quite fluently for this age. What a great way to take ground!

Anyway, as we were handing out the gifts, and they were all going back to their classrooms with their gifts, I noticed that many of the children had not opened their gifts yet. I encouraged them to open them, but they showed none of the zealous tearing and ripping that we see in the States. I was curious as I watched one little girl carefully pick the paper apart, looking as if she didn't even want to mess the paper.

I asked one of the teachers to interpret what I was seeing. She said that they don't want to ruin it--that the paper was special, too, and they wanted to keep it nice. Many of these children live in houseing that is something rather makeshift (some of woven leaves, something like a tent), and probably won't recieve anything for Christmas. This was it! Later I watched as a teacher kindly helped one of the girls tease her new bead set back into the paper.

As we needed the kids to know what they were getting so that they could write a note to their sponsor, we settled on a system. One gift would be carefully unwrapped, all the children could see it, and then write their thank-you note.

I am so thankful to be a part of this. I remember growing up, sometimes in hard times,and worrying about how I would feel if I didn't get anything for Christmas. That never happened--we always were blessed with generous family. But I remember that worry, and I really remember the people who made sure I got something! Still do!

For those of you who gave to help make this happen, thank you so much. You made an impression on some kids who could really use a little gift now and then! And thanks for making us part of what you do for the Lord. This is a great way to spend a life!

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