Christmas time at Tenwek is packed full of traditions built by missionary families who have lived here over the years. We have really enjoyed being a part of all the fun so far and still have more to look forward to! Overall the Christmas season here is refreshingly simple not to mention living down the road from a hospital gives multiple opportunities to spread the love of Christ and spirit of giving at Christmas with patients. Here’s just a few things we have been up to:
Making and putting up decorations in the children’s ward of the hospital
The annual gingerbread house competition between all the missionary families (everyone home-makes all their own gingerbread and cuts all the pieces!!)
*Christmas parties at the orphanage: There are groups traveling to the 4 orphanages closest to Tenwek to throw Christmas parties for the kids- our family helped with one on Saturday. We were in charge of organizing outdoor games and relays…perfect for our family of boys! We also had crafts, cupcakes, and a time to share the Christmas story with the kids. There is a group of volunteers here from Charlotte, NC that have raised money and brought supplies to put on all these parties. They raised enough money to buy each orphanage a cow, each child a new pair of shoes and a new school uniform. They are a huge blessing. As our group gave each child their new pair of shoes they first washed their feet and told the story of Jesus watching the disciples feet (see pic below of Drew and Cooper washing feet). It was truly a beautiful and humbling experience. This Charlotte group is associated with Friends of Tenwek which is a non-profit that supports the hospital and its needs in huge ways! To find out more about it or to be involved check out this website http://friendsoftenwek.org
Still to come:
*Christmas Caroling at the hospital
*Christmas Eve Service at Africa Gospel Church
*Help pack and hand out goody bags in the children’s ward on Christmas day
We also have had the privilege of hosting one of Hannah’s old young life girls this week that is currently a nursing major at Clemson. She has been able to shadow Drew at the hospital, visit the children’s ward, help the nurses feed babies in the NICU, and attend the weekly staff wide devotional. She will also participate in the Christmas activities with us. It has truly been a sweet time of seeing worlds collide…providing an opportunity to share some of Africa with her and especially to expose her to the work that is happening at a mission hospital as she starts her journey training for a career in the medical field.
Although the Christmas season feels much slower paced here in Kenya, our hearts and minds have been moving at breakneck speed as we begin to say our goodbyes, pack, prepare for Christmas and do the best we can to end our time here well. We ask for your prayers as even just after 4 short months we will have some hard goodbyes. We definitely feel the weight of leaving the huge medical needs (especially in OBGYN!) along with leaving so many long term missionaries here who have opened their hearts and homes to us. It will be bittersweet in so many ways. Last, please pray for travel mercies as we start to make the trek back this coming Tuesday!
Finally, I’ll leave you with this quote I have been thinking about this Christmas from an advent devotional by Paul David Tripp “There is only one word that captures the one amazing, history altering event: glory. The angels sang a glory song not only because the events about which they sang were glorious, but also because the One who came was, is and ever will be the sum and definition of glory. The angels sang of glory because Glory has come to earth to rescue us from the inglory of sin and to unleash the forgiving and transforming glory of his grace on all who would believe.”
May we all take advantage of moments to stop and realize how truly glorious the miracle of Christmas is. We look forward to seeing many of you soon!