Christmas in Peru

In Peru Christmas starts at midnight on Christmas Eve. Last night we celebrated our Christmas all together... our Pucallpa and Iquitos family. It started at church with a Christmas Eve service. We sang lots of songs, and had a short sermon. The 11 North Americans were asked to sing a Christmas song in English. We sang "The First Noel". I'm not sure what it is about being a missionary where people ask you to sing ALL the time. It's fairly funny to me. Then a little after 10pm we headed over to the Simpson's, our cluster support family, for some games and gift exchanges. We did sort of a white elephant gift exchange with little presents the Simpson's had bought. At midnight we ate hot chocolate and Paneton. Then we went outside and lit some fireworks. It was crazy noisy. Everyone in Iquitos was also setting off fireworks! Then we had a Secret Santa gift exchange. After that most of us left and went to the Plaza de Armas where it seemed all of the rest of the people in Iquitos had come as well! We watched a lit up fountain and more fireworks and just laughed and chatted together. It was an amazing night!
Today I got to chat with my family on Skype and "be there" as they opened presents. That was awesome and bitter sweet at the same time. For lunch today we have a HUGE mixture of Peruvian and American Christmas food. I'm looking forward to that!
Feliz Navidad!

Isaiah 9: 1-9
"1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

Wow. What an amazing God we serve. God bless you all on this Christmas. Amen.

Me and my partner Juliana.

Nativity set in the Plaza