Since our last post we enjoyed a lovely few days away in Fortaleza and celebrated Christmas with the family and church here.
It was great to get away and we have been inspired to find ways to collect more multiplus points so that we can fly again for free, or maybe one of us anyway! My personal holiday highlights were another pair of eyes to watch Antonio and help entertain him and a hot shower, the first in sixth months! This has also inspired me to get an electric shower for the house. I don’t think they’re too dear so must get on it.
A few folks have been asking what’s different about Christmas here. In many ways it’s similar, lots of food and family and special events. One big difference is that the main meal is celebrated overnight from the 24th-25th. We hosted the family and everyone brought a dish. There was even a team who came to decorate in advance. I bought a couple of rolls of tinsel and thought that’d be fine, not so! There were games and a secret Santa, though called “invisible friend” here. Christians do not take part in the Santa thing here. You may be aware that Christians do all they can to stand out from the “world” here. Santa is seen as a lie that takes the focus away from Jesus. Here’s a few pics to give you a flavour.
Antonio was chuffed with his new bicycle and trainers he got from Christmas money from family in Scotland. We were thrilled to get lots of parcels with exciting things from back home. Antonio now loves whenever something arrives in the post, poor wee soul when it’s just my contact lenses! Thank you to everyone in Scotland who sent us cards and mindings over the festive season. If I haven’t contacted you already, you’ll be on my list!
The church puts on a huge Christmas show every year and take it round anywhere that will let them put it on. We enjoyed the performance at the church on Christmas Day. The kids’ nativity the week prior was also excellent. People often come to faith through the powerful performances so it’s well worth the effort for the organisers.
Meanwhile, the work in the ministry carries on (the 26th isn’t a holiday here so it was straight back into it) and some good progress has been made in the past week or so with several guys from the church coming to help. The men have been welding and painting the columns with a rust protection coat and then white. This has been an answer to prayer to have a few more hands and we are really grateful. There isn’t often smooth sailing, though, and Daniel was most disappointed when one of the welding machines he brought from Scotland decided to pack in. It may be fixable but we need to order a part from the south of Brazil. Apparently it’s too high-tech for Sao Luis. There was also a compressor which was broken so that’s a pain but we’ll sort it.
We haven’t any major plans for New Year so maybe I’ll be tuning into BBC to watch Jackie Bird and trying to block out the expected noise of the fireworks. Is that “bah humbug”? Must be getting old. Lots of people go to the beach for Hogmanay here or to holiday houses outside of town. Some churches do events but I don’t believe ours has anything formal. I may not manage to stay awake anyway!
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and we wish you every blessing for 2017 when it comes around.