Thursday, December 20, 2007

Party Time in San Diego

It has been a great week here in San Diego. With reports of -39 Celsius coming to us from Winnipeg, we have appreciated even more the beautiful warm, sunny days here. Yet we do miss the snow, the sliding, getting a Christmas Tree in the bush with our GMC friends, and many of our regular Christmas traditions. And no matter how beautiful it is here with the flowers and the palm trees, it just isn't natural to see Christmas trees for sale on bare parking lots and Santa decorations on green grass! (Also strange is the custom of attaching Christmas wreaths to the front grills of cars and trucks.)

Last week on December 13th, Stephen celebrated his 5th birthday. He had been looking forward to it for weeks, and for his present (since he loves animals) we all went to The San Diego Zoo! We had a great time checking out the hippos, giant pandas, lots of monkeys, the different big cats, a sea lion show, and lots of beautiful birds. We walked pretty much the whole day, but for our four kids with lots of energy it wasn't a problem.

While at the Zoo, we happened upon a Korean lady who did Alphabet Art. It was amazing to watch her work, and the kids were excited about us possibly getting a painting. Since Lois had bought a Redwood bear as a souvenier, I thought it was my turn to get a memory of our "Adventure with God" trip. So here is the art piece we bought (see if you can figure out what it says!).

We also celebrated in the evening with our new friends and neighbors who are missionaries with World Impact. We are staying in the WI guest house, which gives us more space than we have had in months - 2 bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, plus a whole downstairs room with another bathroom as well as a back yard complete with play structure and basketball court! Our new friends have a son named Josiah who is Caleb's age and is lots of fun for our kids to play with. And their daughter babysat for us today so that we could go on our first date in months! We thank God for his graciousness in providing us with this place, as well as our new friends.

One other big party we were a part of this Sunday was a Feliz Navidad outreach event put on by WI in a low rental apartment complex. It was a great chance to celebrate the birth of Christ with a mostly Hispanic crowd. The food was Mexican (tamales, enchiladas, frijoles, pollo), and the testimonies and sermon were in Spanish. There was a great mime group which ministered through Spanish and English songs. I was asked to share the Gospel using an EvangeCube, and had the privilidge to use it twice, sharing once in English with a group of teens around a table, and once to a lady through her daughter, who translated the message into Spanish.

Our kids enjoyed watching the mime, and playing with other children. They really enjoyed the Pinatas that were part of the fun. (Personally, I think the concept of kids swinging a huge stick while surrounded by other kids, then scrambling madly for candy on hard concrete is a very dangerous activity!) Lois and I commented how it was great to help and serve at a large ministry event without having to know everything that was going on.

Overall, our time here has been a lot more relaxed that LA, which we are thankful for. It is good to rest, to see the sights, to remember how gracious and faithful God has been to us over the past 99 days, and to rejoice that we can celebrate the promise of the Messiah.

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