An Unforgettable Christmas

Every Christmas, many people in our country celebrates Christmas with special gatherings. This year Joe was invited to speak at one of these Christmas gatherings, and what an adventure it was!

First, once the word got out that we were coming to the area, Joe was invited to speak at two gatherings, not just one. One was a more traditional gathering in a traditional building. The other was a gathering at a house, up a muddy and rutty road on the top of a small mountain. Both gatherings were in the same rural area, which is a 4-6 hour drive from our home.

We arrived Saturday night and spent the night on mattresses on the floor at the house of the leader of house gathering. This young leader is in his 20’s, married just a few years, with a new baby. His house is small and mostly unfurnished, but he did everything he could to make us comfortable and well fed (and we were!)

The next morning, Joe spoke to a crowd of about 85, the kids enjoyed attending youth gathering, and later in the afternoon we made our climb to the house gathering. We bounced through the mud, avoiding gravel trucks, pedestrians, and motorcycles until we made it.

The house gathering was modest, with unfinished brick walls and concrete floors. We sat on mattes on the floor, eating and then singing choruses until it was time for Joe to speak. The gathering was made up of mostly new believers. This young leader and his people work hard to serve in a difficult, high-pressure, and religiously intolerant area. This gathering is a product of a handful of believers committed to reach the lost, no matter what.

For most of these believers, the Christmas story is new. As Joe shared, the look of joy and astonishment on the faces of those new believers was a sight to behold.

Afterward, we made our way home. We bid goodbye and then made our way back down the still muddy and rutty mountain road. Another long drive.

We have thought a great deal about that special experience and how your partnership made it possible. Those young, new believers are living out their faith in difficult place. Yet, they are not alone. A young leader and our family are there to support them as they

grow. And, you are too. They are the fruit of your partnership, the fruit of your prayers and your giving.