Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Party

We had to do our Reindeer Antler game again this year!

We were able to have our Christmas outreaches Monday and Tuesday night this week.

After several weeks of planning, and passing out many invitations we were excited to have our neighbors and friends into our homes to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

We started off both parties with some games to help everyone get to know each other. It was so fun to see parents and children interacting and playing together.

Then James and David led devotionals focusing in on Christ as our Savior. We finished off with cookies and finger foods. Some of the kids acting out Luke 2 as David read.

Phil, Mary Ruth and Rachel were to hear to help us. It was wonderful to have extra people to help carry conversations, to help with the children's programs, and to direct people to thinking about their standing before God.

Each night we all went to bed exhausted, usually around midnight, but thrilled to see God working in peoples hearts.

The highlight for me was when one of my more reserved neighbors came over at 10:30 to apologize for not coming. She came into my house for some cookies and the book we gave to everyone. We have invited her over several other times and she always declines so this was a huge blessing. It seems like God is continually breaking down the walls that people are putting up.Three brothers that we are praying for.

One final blessing was the large number of men at both of our parties. Usually it is the women who are more likely to be interested in things of God but we had more men at both parties than women.

Keep praying with us that God will continue to convict them of their sin and their need for a Savior.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas at our House

How can you make Christmas special but not about PRESENTS and ME, ME, ME, ME?????

Here is our attempt at making Christmas about Christ.

Starting December 1st, we begin reading part of the Christmas story and putting up one character from that story on the wall. It is a type of Advent Calendar, but it really gets the true meaning of Christmas ingrained in their heads as each day you begin at the beginning and then add a new detail to the story. It is so fun to hear your kids tell the story along with you as they become more and more familiar with the story.This is our calendar. I just found clip art on line and cut them out and each day they take turns taping it on.
Below the calendar is our "advent wreath" I also use it as our center piece on the table.

I also have begun doing an advent wreath with the kids. Beginning 4 Sundays before Christmas, I light one candle. We read a passage and share different things about Christ's coming. We always talk about how Jesus is the Light of the world and how his coming pierced the sinful darkness that was covering the earth. We also share that the closer we get to his coming the brighter the light becomes. (Each week you light one additional candle.) We also talk about how we are waiting for Christ to come again. Sometimes I have shared different names of Christ or a special devotional thought about Christmas with them. I don't use special colored candles or read a long passage. I just try to make it a natural way to focus on how special Christ's coming really was.

This year David made us a manger that we put under our Christmas tree. I have a baby in the manger that the kids can play with to act out the Christmas story. I also have other blankets or towels for them to use to dress up like Mary and Joseph, shepherds, etc.

We have been making different cookies and then sharing them with others. Yesterday and today was sugar cookies.

I am not sure if we ate more frosting than we used to decorate or not but they sure had fun.

Since we used our finger to put the frosting on we didn't share any of these cookies with our neighbors. I am sure they were VERY germy since our finger were so yummy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hannah's "Passport" into 1st Grade

Hannah just finished up her Kindergarten year and was given her "Passport" into 1st grade.

They did a little program with the other preschool students . Isn't our little lamb cute??

Here is Hannah running down to pick up her passport.

Our main goals for Hannah this school year were to develop her Portuguese language skills as well as her social skills. We just recently evaluated those goals and are very pleased with how well she is speaking. She seems to always be singing a little song, or teaching her animals in Portuguese.

Pray for us as we are planning to begin homeschooling this next year.

Congratulations HANNAH!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ornery Kids

Do you have ornery kids?

Do you ever feel like pulling out your hair?

It all started with Jeremiah. He has found great joy in throwing his toys, clothes, books, and MANY other things out his window to "share" with the kids that live next door. The joy then spread to Hannah and yesterday, to Daniel. We have tried everything to stop the throwing of the toys, but to no avail.

Yesterday as I was closing up the shutters on the window for the night, my neighbor informed me there was a pile of toys in their yard. So, off I went AGAIN to collect our stuff.

Later as I was reflecting, I thought of the soverignty of God. It is interesting how I had opportunity to talk to 2 of my neighbor ladies yesterday and meet a new one, all while collecting stuff he had thrown.

One neighbor came to my house to return a cup he had thrown over the wall. We had a great talk and I was able to share a nugget of the Gospel with her.

On the other side of our house I got to go and visit with my neighbor as I collected a bag full of toys and books. I was also blessed to meet new lady who lives on the back of the property.

So, the Christmas Blessing for today is that even ornery kids can be a blessing, used by God to reach others.

Editors note: Just after I posted this blog it got really quiet. James went to check on the kids and found our big black dog covered in Mayonnaise. Hannah, trying to entertain some of her friends, cut open several mayonnaise packs and squeezed them on the dog "by accident."
I have not yet figured out how God will use that:)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A virtuous man is pleasing to God???

Last night our family was able to do another Bible study with our friends who are Spiritists/Catholics. We took all our kids and prayed that they would not be a big distraction. Praise the Lord they were very well behaved! This is especially amazing since the Bible study didn't start until 8:00 p.m and they usually go to bed at 8:30!

James did a wonderful job of teaching what Christ's death on the cross accomplished. He focused in on the aspect of Christ being our substitute; allowing us to have salvation and fellowship with the Father.

The Catholic wife seems interested and open. The Spiritist husband doesn't seem to see his own sinfulness. He fails to see that he is "already condemned." He lives by a 3-standard system of Love, Forgiveness and Charity. Since he is working at these 3 things, he feel secure in relation to God. One very interesting thing we learned last night was that he believes that he will constantly be reincarnated, possibly through 1,000 lives, until he reaches perfection in these 3 qualities. Once he "evolves" to perfection in these 3 areas, he will die and be placed into his corner of heaven.

It is an interesting twist on works-based salvation. When James asked him if he were to die today and stand in judgment before God, he really couldn't answer because he is counting on being reincarnated until he is good enough to get to God.

This is just one more way that man has devised so they don't need a Savior. They say they love Jesus and that he is a great man and a wonderful example but his death is merely meant to motivate them to earn their own forgiveness. Please continue to pray for this couple, that God would draw them to Him in salvation.

"The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul." (Acts 16:14)