It rained very hard last night. We were concerned about how we would get into the orphanage on the muddy roads. They live on the side of a creek which swells with the rain and floods their home and school. When we arrived, we were bewildered to see that their “home” was full of filthy water and their yard was full of water that was even filthier, as it was partial rain water and partial septic water. Our hearts were full of love for these special children of God. We watched them bucket the water from their home. They finally gave up and spent about an hour cleaning out the school, where we held our Christmas party.
The oldest boy, 17 year old Israel, is completely blind. However, he was chosen to welcome the missionaries and told us all how excited they were to have Christmas. They were amazed at the dinner that we thought was very simple. Israel said that they had never had anything like this in their lives, and they were thrilled.
After we ate we brought out the gifts. We started with the clothes. We had worked hard to find the right sizes for the right sexes. We did a great job of it, and the kids were thrilled with their new clothes.
The twelve year old girls each got a pair of pants and four cute shirts. The little boys each got three outfits and flip flops. The three little six year old girls got the most. Each little girl got two dresses, a pair of long pants, a pair of shorts, and about five shirts. The final fun thing was that I found three little outfits with net Tutus… and everyone screamed and cheered at how cute they were.
Next we got out the Toys! We started with 5 little pairs of sunglasses. Jimae this one is for you!
We gave the boys their special gift (more details in Dad's blog) and then we gave the girls their pieces of fabric plus a $10 bill to pay to have the dresses made. (At this point we ran out of space on our camera disk for photos. I will try to get some from the other couples. For now… let me just say… it was “magic” and wonderful. We wept many tears. Philomene cried and cried with gratitude.)
Then we started with the real toys… the coloring books, the crayons, the little cars and then the quads. The three nine year old boys were so excited that they literally wept when they opened up the toy quads.
The 5 girls opened up their dolls. I was concerned that the 12 year olds might think they were too big for dolls, but they ran up and hugged all of us and kept saying “Merci, Merci, Merci.” We found out they had never had dolls. Actually, they have never had toys. We ended with a good sized box being opened by the 6 boys… ages 3 to 14. When they saw it was filled with soccer balls they went crazy. (The balls they have used for years are made with paper, tape and sometimes wire. ) We gave them each a gallon size bag with a sleeve of cookies, a bag of cheese puffs, 3 little candy bars, 2 suckers and of course… an orange.
Elder and Sister Sneddon presented the school with some school supplies and some benches and desks for one of the classrooms. (They have previously just sat on the ground all day, every day.) President and Sister Cook presented Hygeine kits and School kits from Salt Lake to each of the children. Everyone was happily exhausted when we cleaned up and said goodbye.
Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas
This has been a Christmas we will remember the rest of our lives. Thank you Ashley for being our inspiration. I honestly don’t think we ever would have thought to do it, if it hadn’t been for you and the story about the oranges.
We miss all of you, and we wish you could be here with us and see what we are seeing. Thank you for your encouragement to serve. You are amazing kids.
Merry Christmas… Darlings. From Mom and Dad