We started our Christmas celebration on the 22nd with a day at the beach just south of Lima. Frank, who used to live at the Girasoles Kusi home joined us for a day of sun, sand and salty water since he was unsure if he was going to have to work when we did our Christmas celebration. It’s still hard to get used to Christmas in the summer but we had a great day!
Unlike in the States, Christmas is celebrated here on the evening of the 24th and the celebration continues into the night and the 25th is a day of rest. Like last year, we invited a few of the boys who are in Lima on the government scholarship to come over on the 24th for the traditional Peruvian Christmas celebrations. Billy and I spent the day cleaning the house, making a bunch of sides and Christmas cookies and getting things ready for their arrival.
Jesús, Frank, Huberth, Landeo and our friend Carmen arrived between 7 and 9pm and we all sat down to have Christmas dinner with a mix of American and Peruvian foods about 10:30pm.
After dinner, we all headed out to the street at midnight to watch all of our neighbors light up the sky with hundreds and hundreds of fireworks. It really is quite impressive and one of my favorite Peruvian traditions.
We returned inside and like everybody else in Lima sat down to open a few presents. For the first time, we did a Secret Santa gift exchange where everybody brought a 20 soles gift (about $8) to exchange. We weren’t sure how this would go since none of the 4 guys had participated in one before but it ended up being great! It was fun to see their creativity in what they brought.
We were also able to give the four guys a couple other presents thanks to a donation made by the parents at Ward Church’s summer day camp this year. It is super common to receive a canasta (Christmas basket) from friends or employers. Typically the basket is filled with typical Peruvian food staples like rice, vegetable oil, noodles, evaporated milk, lentils et cetera. Knowing that most of the guys just rent a room here in Lima and do not have a way to cook their own meals, we took the traditional canasta and turned it into something like a care package you would send a college kid.
We spent the rest of our time together talking about Christmas traditions and reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 before everybody got quite tired and decided to head home.
For the first time we did not have a volunteer group between Christmas and New Year so we were able to take advantage of the office being closed to visit with some friends, work on various projects and take an impromptu getaway from the city.
We returned to Lima to ring in 2017 with our friend Carmen. We spent the evening catching up before yet another fireworks show at midnight!
As we look towards 2017, we are excited for what will be this year. We will celebrate our 4th anniversary and 8th and 6th years here in Peru. We will also welcome our first child this year and all of the excitement and new that comes with a new child. 2017 will be a big year for us.
Would you join us in praying for the following things?
– Grateful for a wonderful Christmas celebration with some of the older boys here in Lima.
– Grateful for some slow time together between the holidays.
– For Kate’s health in these last few weeks of her pregnancy and a safe and healthy delivery for both her and the baby.
– For the 2017 year and what God does through us in our ministry here in Peru.
– Kate & Billy