A Kenyan Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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It has been another 4 weeks since I’ve posted. Yikes! I guess I’ve been a little busy. Here’s an update showing some of the things that have kept me from my computer.

We kept busy with school from December 11 through 17. Then, on the 18th (on my first nephew’s 9th birthday! Happy Birthday Alex!!) we built gingerbread houses. This is a big event here at Tenwek, but I forgot my camera. We gather in groups on several porches to cover gingerbread houses with as much icing and candy as possible. The boys each decorated a mini house this year.

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Part of our Advent calendar was to write notes to Hannah. Each of the boys drew a picture and wrote a short note. Then, we put them in her stocking. (I made each of us new stockings this year. I used Masai blankets to make them fit with the rest of our decor.)

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On December 21, we left Tenwek and made the long trek to Nairobi. We took the boys to a movie and ate a Subway. Then, on the 22nd, we had an appointment with the U.S. Embassy. With our four boys and an armload of paperwork, we waited to submit all the necessary forms to get Joshua a social security number, a passport and a document that will serve as an American birth certificate. (He has a Kenyan one already.) This is the photo we used for his passport. Isn’t he cute?

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Then, after that stressful process was over, we headed to the mall to shop for 3 cartloads of groceries. Aaron and I both were suffering from head colds, the boys hate shopping (especially when it takes hours), and Joshua needs to nurse every 3 hours. The next day we had another two-hour appointment. This time it was eye appointments for Aaron and me. Afterward, we sat in traffic for an hour, shopped for our cold groceries, and drove 4 hours in the rain to get home. The next day was Christmas Eve, so I medicated with Tylenol just so I could get everything put away from the shopping trip and the last minute things done for our Christmas day celebrations.

On Christmas Eve, we attended our church’s candle light service. Levi couldn’t contain his excitement about ‘holding fire!’ He just beamed from ear to ear the entire time.

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When we came home, the boys opened their Christmas Eve gifts from Grammy and Pappy Snyder: new footie pajamas! (Joshua got some too. He was sleeping for the picture though.)

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Of course, the biggest event of the last 4 weeks has been Christmas! We always start Christmas morning with Aaron reading the Christmas story from the Bible to the kids. Then, we open presents and have Jesus’ birthday cake for breakfast. Here is my humble attempt at this year’s cake.

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The bottom layer is chocolate. The brown represents our sin. The red layer is Jesus’ blood that paid for our sins. The green layer symbolizes our new life in Christ when we receive salvation. The white icing represents our purity, and the yellow reminds us of heaven. We discuss each part of the cake, sing to Jesus, and enjoy the sugar rush!

We were super blessed with many presents from supporters and family members this year. And if the postal system ever catches up with the influx of December mail, we’ll probably receive more!

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Our church sent each of us a clothing item, a fun toy, and a favorite food. Noah got canned crab (which he’s never eaten, but fresh crab doesn’t travel well), a Hex shark, and a long-sleeved t-shirt. We made warm crab dip Christmas afternoon, and it was so, so yummy! Jacob received Lucky Charms, binoculars, and shorts (that he’s worn many, many times since Christmas). Levi’s gifts were a hooded sweatshirt (shown in the snow picture), Playdoh toys, and Blowpops. Joshua got some sleepers, baby cereal and snacks, and stacking blocks. Aaron’s gifts were super exciting: socks and tuna! I received flip flops (lots of them!) and Martin’s pretzels (we ate an entire bag on Christmas day!).

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Christmas afternoon was super fun! One of our neighbors received ‘chemical snow’ for Christmas, so all the kids enjoyed a little bit of a white Christmas! They slid down this hill for a long time, even after the snow was gone. Then, I washed really, really dirty clothes!!

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We finished Christmas day with a feast! Turkey with all the fixings filled our tummies and brought our very blessed day to a close.

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I was super busy running the house without Joyce. I gave her two weeks off to spend with her family. That left me to wash clothes, clean the house, cook, and wash dishes without her helping hands. It was crazy. The boys were put to work. We survived. Just don’t look at my bathtub!

The boys have been passing around the stomach bug, so we stayed home from church today. Our home church involved watching a movie about William Tyndale, reading Bible stories, and laughing at Tim Hawkins.

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Levi loves his brother SO much!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

1. Praise God for His grace. After weeks of waking up with headaches and sore throats, I’m feeling exhausted, but His grace is sufficient. He continues to prove that to me over and over.

2. Praise God for providing a teacher for Tenwek’s MK school. She arrived yesterday. Please pray for her and all of us involved in the co-op as we begin the second semester of the school year.

3. Praise God for His protection. This stomach bug is the third virus we’ve had in our house since Joshua’s birth. Please pray that Joshua remains healthy.

I Peter 5:8-11 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

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4 responses »

  1. Oh, my, what fortitude you have! I will be 90 this month, and so just reading of your accomplishments with a large family makes me tired (smile). Really, I so admire you and Aaron for what all you get done, both for the Lord and for your dear family, all of whom are so precious. I pray that your health will improve and that your family will be healthy and blessed in in 2015.

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!! I still plan on sending some funds your way…keep forgetting but have it on my list!!! Love the Cake!!!

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