Dec 19, 2005

Feliz Navidad

The children at Christmastime
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death
Light has dawned.

Matthew 4:16

Friday, December 16, we celebrated Christmas with the children of the preschool. It was the last day of school for this year in Venezuela. All schools and preschools are now closed until after New Year's day. We sang Venezuelan Christmas carols, there was a puppet show using bird puppets left by Paco the Clown, and finally a swimming party!

With contributions from everyone on the preschool staff, Luz Maria and I bought an inflatable children's pool from Makro, which is almost exactly like Sam's Club in the United States. Most of the children here have never been to a public or private swimming pool. They usually go swimming in the river, but lately the river has been too contaminated to allow this.

We had to borrow a bicycle pump to inflate the pool and it took a long time to fill because while we had running water that day, water pressure was at about half strength. But the smiles on the children's faces made it worth the effort.

Our new water system is nearly complete and will be finished this week. It will have the capacity to provide not only a reliable source of water for the preschool, but also for the larger schoolhouse that we hope to build eventually.

Forty children attended Sunday school this past weekend. We were expecting quite so many because of the holiday, nevertheless there they were. We are planning a three-day vacation Bible school starting Wednesday with the theme, "Jesus, the best Christmas gift." Luz Maria expects 100 children for this event.

It is hard to fully describe the impact that the construction of the preschool has had on the surrounding community. This neighborhood was widely known for drunken partying and fighting in the streets. Remarkably, this activity has almost completely stopped.

Every day we thank God for the support that has made it possible for us to proclaim and demonstrate God's love in this corner of the world. We wish all of you who have prayed for us and contributed toward our project Feliz Navidad.

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