Late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I have had a wonderful time here in the States for the past three weeks or so. I have been able to spend time with family, friends, and many of my supporters…which family, friends, and supporters are often the same people, but anyways it has been fantastic.
I know this is very late, but I wanted to update everyone on how our jumbo Christmas Party went down in Malaybalay. I keep telling myself I need to write this blog and then I tell myself tomorrow…so today is the tomorrow I have been speaking of since I have been in the States.
The Christmas Party was a huge success! We had 2,005 people come!! The day started out crazy like you would expect. We made the last minute decision to get candy to put in all of the present packs early that morning. So after buying that, I helped some people put a couple pieces of candy in all 2,500 packs (the extra 500 packs that were not used since less people came than we expected, were used the next day to hand out at church to those that could not come to the party). Since I was busy helping finish the present packs in another building, I had not been able to see all of the people arrive. When I walked up to our basketball court/building where all of the people were waiting and playing games, I could not control my emotions. It took everything for me to not just start bawling in front of everyone. I am not sure exactly what it was, but seeing all of these people there and knowing that later that day, they would all have heard the Gospel, have full bellies, and have Christmas presents just completely overtook me.
The party went smoothly…well as smoothly as a party for 2,000 people can go. We had games and prizes for the first couple hours while more people were arriving, we had some people come from the northern island to do a unicycle show, our kids that come to our weekly programs preformed Christmas songs, our leaders preformed a skit that shared the Gospel, leaders created small groups so that people could know more about the point of the skit and what it shared, and then we handed out the gift packs and lunches. Seeing all of the kids and parents open up their gift packs was such a joyful experience. The most amazing thing that happened that day was that 837 people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior!!!
Even though the Christmas Party was exhausting and I am pretty sure that I have never been that sleep deprived for that many days in a row, it was probably one of the most incredible days I have experienced. Thank you to all who helped make it possible by donating and praying for the party!