An Unforgettable Christmas
Friday, January 8, 2016 at 08:20AM
Love Help Teach

By Alicia Jones

I anticipated Christmas this year with great joy knowing that I would be spending it in Hungary and Romania. Two years ago, I spent Christmas here, but I knew this year would be different because now local friends had become family.Attendees at the first concert

The festive season began with concerts in three schools and one kindergarten. This was a dream of my ministry partner, who is a wonderful singer. She translated several songs from English that boldly proclaim the message of Christmas. I prepared a PowerPoint with pictures and words pointing the audience to Christ. For two of the school performances I was able to prepare a dance with five students from the school here in Nagyhalász with satin cloth for special effect. Students, teachers and even parents attended the four concerts. It was a joy to share the true message of Christmas in picture and in song. At the end of most of these concerts each child received a shoebox gift and carried it home with joy anticipating Christmas Eve. Amidst the concerts, the most unforgettable moment was traveling in the car with the students who performed with us. As we went to share the dance with a school other than their own, they were so excited they could hardly stand it. In many ways, I think this special opportunity was their Christmas present.

Performers with the first grade class holding their shoeboxes!On Christmas Eve morning we woke up early so we could accomplish all we had planned. First we went to visit my ministry partner’s family and enjoy some fish for lunch! We helped put up the Christmas tree; traditionally in Hungary, Christmas trees go up on Christmas Eve. Then we continued on to Romania. There we quickly purchased goods for 170 food packages for the church and surrounding communities. Then we enjoyed watching the Christmas Eve service prepared by the children of the church. They did a fabulous job reenacting the first Christmas and celebrating it with song and poem! See pictures at the end of this post or in an album here. At the end of the service we had the joy of handing every child a shoebox and every family a food package. It went so well and every face smiled as they received their small Christmas present.

We continued our Christmas Eve celebration as we delivered small gifts we had prepared for families we visit regularly and a crowd of young boys we love. There was so much delight in watching them receive a Christmas gift, but at the same time it was humbling to know that there are so many like them, who don’t normally receive anything on Christmas.

The next day we went to four villages to hold services. With the things I had in my home donated from American teams, we put together little goodie bags for the kids. In the first three villages, we gave the small gifts to eager children. In the last village we watched as the very last food package went to the very last family present. The children here received shoeboxes with joy. We headed home late Christmas night, but our hearts were so blessed.

The most memorable moment from the day was when I saw a little girl playing on the street alone. She often plays alone because no one really can tolerate her incessant chatter. I stopped the car and gave her one of the goodie bags we had prepared wishing her a Merry Christmas. She looked up and her face said it all! She was overjoyed to receive a gift this Christmas day. She nearly jumped through the window to hug my neck and said a big thank you and wished us a Merry Christmas in return.

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