In December, we put on a Christmas outreach in the community of Back Door (up the “mountain” as they call it, from the children’s village). Iris Ministries has a Preschool and a Feeding Program there, and we prepared 400 bags of goodies for the children as well as some gift baskets for the mamas who cook for the feeding program each day. Teisa, one of our directors, gave a message about how Christmas is not just about receiving gifts, having parties, and eating good food, but about God giving us life through the birth of His Son Jesus. There was a puppet show, and our visitors presented a special song and skit for the children. It was such a delight to see all their faces lit up, intently listening to the songs and the puppets. Many of these kids come with old, tattered clothes and not much to eat at home, but they were happy to be in this place where the security and love of Jesus surrounds them.
After the program, the cooks served a meal to more than 400 people. We had a pretty good system of feeding the little ones (5 and younger) first, then the older kids, and then the adults. It began to pour down rain as we were lining the children up in lines of 20 or so at a time. We stood in the rain with them, trying to keep the order (and keep the older kids from sneaking in before the younger ones :). As it started to rain harder, our visitors decided that since they were completely soaked anyway, they might as well have a bit of fun 🙂 They started dancing in the rain as they controlled the line, and the children smiled and laughed, making the fact that they too were getting soaked not so bad. Water was dripping from all our eyebrows, into our eyes, and down our noses :).
We eventually got everyone fed and under a roof to eat. There was a team of 10-12 from Atlanta, GA, helping us keep the peace (praise God for their help!), but right before we were about to hand out the goodies to the kids, they had to leave as they were going to help out at a revival in another town. That was a bit nerve-racking because we had just lost half of our workers with 350 kids to serve. It was still raining, and it got a little crazy, but with the help of the Lord, we managed to send each child out with their gift in a somewhat orderly fashion. We came home drenched and happy that we were able to show the love of Jesus to so many people in one day! Praise Him!