Happy New Year! We trust that you all had a wonderful Christmas season, and we pray that the Lord would bless each of you as we enter into 2015.
Thank you so much for your constant prayers and support for our ministry and for the children in each of our homes. Below is an account from Hector, our Sacred Valley house director, explaining how he and his family spent Christmas together with the boys at the home. We are so proud of the staff at each of the homes who spent their Christmas with these children who are in so much need. They are a wonderful living testimony of Christ’s love.
– Billy & Kate
Merry Christmas from our home to yours!
Christmas is always a special time with family, and we enjoy sharing this time with our Girasoles boys and staff.
During the first week in December we started to decorate our house for Christmas. Our dining room has many large windows, and the boys helped by painting them with Christmas scenes. This activity required a lot of patience and took almost two weeks to complete. The house looked more beautiful that it ever had before.
A few days before Christmas we gathered moss, plants and the pieces necessary to build our own nativity at the home. It was quite an adventure as we gathered the moss and plants from the nearby mountains. It rained while we were out, so we returned to the house soaking wet!
To do something different, this year we divided the house into three teams. Each team (comprised of young boys, teenagers and staff) was given a couple weeks to learn a Christmas carol that they would perform during our Christmas Eve celebration. On the morning of the celebration the boys busily rushed around the house looking for similar shirts, pants and scarves so they could all dress alike in their respective groups and have the best presentation.
We celebrated Christmas Eve at our church. Since there wasn’t an evening service on Christmas Eve, I asked if we could use the space for our celebration. Marisela, the boys’ tutor, was the master of ceremonies and my wife, Maritza, led us in prayer. Their words were followed by each group singing their respective carol and then a skit performed by the staff. The presentations were great! I concluded the time with a short message about the meaning of Christmas and two more songs before we revealed the winning group.
We returned to the home for our traditional Christmas dinner. The staff had prepared a delicious buffet with many dishes like ají de gallina, papa a la huancaína, different cakes, apple pie, jello puddings, etc. After we blessed the bountiful buffet, each boy received a plate and served himself what he wanted – true buffet style.
It truly felt like Christmas with the house decorated, delicious food and the family around to share in fellowship.
After we had eaten all that we possibly could, we put mattresses on the floor, grabbed blankets and pillows and watched a movie projected on the wall. At midnight, we greeted each other with a hug and “Merry Christmas!” as we went outside to watch the fireworks being set off in town.
On Christmas morning while everybody was still sleeping, Maritza and I rushed to put the presents out around the nativity. As we were doing this, the youngest boys (whose energy never seems to fail) found some of the left over firecrackers and set them off in the yard out front of the house. It didn’t take long before everybody was awake and we had a traditional hot chocolate and panetón cake breakfast.
The youngest boys, who had already scouted out the names on each present, assisted in distributing the gifts to each of their brothers. I am sure you can imagine the joy and surprise the came with opening presents.
In the afternoon we had another delicious Christmas dinner of chancho a la parrilla (grilled pork) and enjoyed the rest of the day as a family.
I want to thank God first for everything He has given us. I thank him for my life, this ministry, for my family and all of the Girasoles boys at our home.
We want to wish all of our friends, prayer warriors, volunteers and faithful supporters a blessed year shared with family and full of peace and joy through the unconditional love that God so freely gives us. May you have a wonderful 2015. Thank you for being a part of our family here in the Sacred Valley.
Hector and Maritza
Directors – Girasoles Sacred Valley