That awesome time of celebration…. children’s eyes sparkling with anticipation… whispers of secrets to be revealed on that special day… play practices late into the night… the final rush to get all the gifts wrapped… (that in it’s self is a chore with a family our size…) that rolls around once each year has come and gone again! But the memories are still very clear and we want to share them with you!
The Home of Hope Christmas this year was a major logistics challenge, made more difficult by an old Grandpa (Ye Ye – Nathan) who would not agree to have Christmas on a day different than the one specified down through the years.
Somehow, we managed to have our large Christmas meal, our Christmas Program and Christmas gift opening, all on Friday…. after the children got out of school… Since Christmas is not recognized in China, we felt very fortunate to find most of the children’s school teachers were kind enough and willing to let them out early to accommodate the foreigner’s Christmas.
The activities included a large Christmas banquet which has become a tradition at the Home of Hope. Christmas is so popular with the children that even the alumni… including the first children who came to the Home of Hope back in 2000, now grown with their own families, make it a point to join us!
In the picture (left) Ye Ye visits with Sam Zhang SuiQiang now in business for himself… who came to us in our first group of kids.
After the meal, we all hurried back to the Home of Hope for our Christmas social and gift opening.
Because of generous financial help from friends of the Home of Hope, we were able to give the children warm shoes, gloves, scarves, coats and Long Jons…. this year based on the individual need rather than just give all the children the same thing…. i.e. warm shoes for all or coats for all as we have done in the past.
The following day (see the pictures below) we had Christmas at the Bell house for all the older children.
We have a special term for the older children who are now out on their own, living productive lives in Chinese society. We refer to them as “alumni” and they all relish that title.
Unlike the Chinese meal on Christmas for everyone at the Home of Hope, the meal at the “Bell House” was very Western.
We had Turkey and dressing, salad (both regular salad and fruit salad) and the other amenities that go with a large turkey dinner. Surprisingly enough, the kids hardly touched the Pecan, Apple and Pumpkin pies but other than that, there were very few left overs.
Un-labeled Snapshots from Christmas 2015
We hope you have enjoyed our short report on Christmas in GongYi, China. To each of you who made special sacrifices to enhance Christmas for the Home of Hope children, we once again shout out a heart felt, “Thank You”!!!!! Only heaven knows just how much impact is being made on the lives of these children!
We pray your holidays were as blessed as ours was.