Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months, and before we know it, another year has passed by once again. We’ll be putting together a little look back on 2016 in next week’s prayer letter, but for now, here’s what’s happened during the last week leading up to our annual New Year’s celebration.
One fun event involved Eugene, his family, the Nursery Kids and our big John Deere tractor. It was billed as a picnic in the jungle, an event that sounds straight forward enough. But it ended up being an epic adventure complete with challenging obstacles to overcome.
First a trailer was hitched to the tractor and all the kids piled in. It’s a bumpy, rough, uncomfortable way to travel but the children love it. Off through the village the party went until they came to a shallow river.
Normally, Eugene would just drive easily through such low water, but this day, the ground was surprisingly soft and both the tractor and the trailer ended up buried deep in the muck. It took more than an hour of heavy lifting, chains, trial and error, and prayer to get free of the trap, but soon the picnic was back on track, heading deep into the jungle, looking for the perfect spot to prepare lunch.
In the end, the mud was forgotten, the picnic grounds were found and the cooking fires were lit. There were games, good food, rest and lots of fun. Plus another bumpy, uncomfortable ride home that had the nursery kids squealing with delight.
This past week was also a chance to work. The roof project up at our school is continuing with truss after truss going into place. But the workers need bricks to complete the job and many of our kids pitched in to help out.
Rick was overseeing the efforts and he enlisted the Small Girls to load a trailer full then hoist them by hand to the roof. After the Small Boys took the better part of the morning to complete the same task, the Small Girls clocked in at exactly one hour. And they did it with a measure of good humor and no fighting, which for Rick was a welcomed relief. Great job, girls!
This time of year is wonderful to see so many returning farm kids, most coming from Delhi where they work, all enjoying home for the holidays. For the older boys, the Christmas/New Years season is a never ending cricket match with occasional motorcycle rides mixed in. For the older girls, it’s a chance to catch up with old friends, relax from their busy lives, and spend time with each other, even if that means helping around the place.
The big effort this week was for the New Year’s celebration. Each year we host lots of visitors, peel mountains of potatoes, prep the dining hall with balloons and decorations, shine up the disco ball and get ready to welcome 2017 in with music, worship and laughter.
This year, we were glad to have Katie’s parents back with us, and Bob led the New Year’s service that saw another full house. The dinner that followed was a loud, joyous event that set the stage for the after-party that went late into the night ending somewhere around 2am. Here are just a few pictures from New Year’s Eve on the farm. We hope your celebration was as full of fun and family as ours was.
Once again, we are beyond grateful to God and to all of you for all of our blessings this past year. Each time we think we can not possibly surpass the abundance of projects and creativity and compassion and progress and fun and friendships, we are wonderfully surprised by the time we flip the calendar over on another year.
What will 2017 bring? If the past is any indicator, it will be full of new challenges, new relationships, and new opportunities. Like a ride in the trailer, the road may be bumpy and uncomfortable at times, but together, with God’s grace, we know it will be a ride worth taking.
Have a blessed and HAPPY NEW YEAR!