Merry Christmas to you - I hope you are all filled with peace, joy and love. If I could give each of you a hug, I would. *Virtual hug* And then I'd feed you a bacon cookie (which turned out pretty tasty, but super, super greasy).
|Sak used his precious Slap-Chop to mince the bacon.|
Sak and I have been busy. Last weekend, Sak was baptised, and we were officially made members of our church, after attending membership classes, writing a faith statement, interviewing, and finally sharing our testimony to the congregation! (A harrowing experience for the shy, to be sure.)
I nearly cried during Sak's testimony. Which is saying a lot since I wasn't even near tears during our wedding - supposedly the most emotional time of one's life. I had been worried about him, since he had refused to prepare for his "speech", and had distracted himself the week prior to keep from worrying over it. (As you can guess - I was the one who spent the week fretting, for both our sakes.) I was especially worried since he doesn't like talking about personal matters to people other than me and maybe our Bible study. Not even to his parents, and especially not to a crowd. And one's spiritual self is a very personal thing, especially when belief in Jesus meant giving up other beliefs held since childhood.
But he was very clear with his story of how he came to realize that not all Christians were quick to tell him about his pending trip to Hell. Of how he found God's love through people that really, honestly cared about him. Of how he felt that the church we had picked out together really did feel like family to him.
I guess there's just something about a man declaring his love for the Lord with simple honesty and without reserve that really just makes me weak in the knees, because I was about to lose it. By far the best Christmas present I could witness.
The other thing we've been up to is with our Bible study group. We partnered with City Team again, who told us about Bhutanese refugees that have been steadily coming to Oakland. Due to internal conflict, they had to leave their little country, which borders India, to live in camps in Nepal. 60,000 of them have been offered a new home in the US, and about 400 of them are new residents of Oakland.
Our mission was simple - help provide the families with things they need - and to explain to them what the whole Christmas thing is about. As it is their first Christmas here, I'm sure the crazy decorations and retail madness can be quite confusing. Our family, in particular, has been here only about a year, and from that family Sak and I picked the 24 year old son. Instead of wanting videogames like a typical American boy of his age - his request was simply for a jacket or a pair of shoes. We opted for the jacket since shoes are a little more personal a fit. Sak picked it out, but I included the return receipt should he not like the style.
Anyway, we always do these sorts of "adopt-a-family" things, but I think it's especially neat when you get to know a little about the family you adopt. Makes it more personal? There was a party held in Oakland, and several members of our group went to meet the refugees in person! Unfortunately it was a workday, so we couldn't make it. But I hear they were all very nice, and could speak English even. Which always makes me embarrassed. Why is it that people (who may never come to our country at all) always know English, yet so very few of us know anything BUT English. Or at least I don't. Bahhh.
So in any case, that's what we've been up to this season - and now we shall chill with my family for a bit! Yay! Well-stocked pantry of delicious food!
Happy holidays to you! Hope you are doing something lovely and even borderline magical!