Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finished Nativity sets & kids' Christmas

One of the Nativity sets the boys finished.
Here is the finished product of the four boys' Nativity project.  They had to wait a week to finish with the baby Jesus, but they had fun making them and playing with them afterwards.

Ichwa playing with Joseph & Mary

Lopeto saying, "Look at mine!"

Idi having fun.

Ekusi playing it cool
The girls were also able to finish their Nativity project after a two day wait for the glue to dry.  We had some rain, so that kept the glue from drying faster.  I had some problems with the girls' Nativity sets, so that is when I switched to the wood ones for the boys.  Anyway, here is the finished product for the girls.

Baby Jesus

simple Nativity from things in Turkana

When the kids came to collect these, I had a little Christmas party for them.  I made american style pancakes with syrup for them.  They enjoyed eating them as it was their first time to have syrup.  Then I passed out some goodies that I bought for them and that a visitor left for them.  I also had them tell me the Christmas story to make sure they understood what these Nativity sets represented.  I think they had a good time and I know I did.  

Christmas with the kids!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garlands of Hosannas!

God's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.  Psalms 32:7

We held the fifth graduation for our Turkana Bible Training Institute students on December 3.  It was a day full of ceremony, fun and praise!  These students studied for two years and finished eighteen intensive classes on the Bible, church leadership and Spiritual formation.  We had a festive day as you can see in the picture above.  It was taken after the ceremony.  Do you see the grass?  That is the result of recent rains.  We even got rain during the main speaker's talk.  It was fitting that he was talking to the students about rain.  It is very good, but it can cause some short term hardships - like having to stop the speaker because he can't be heard over the sound of the rain.  :) He said studying can be the same.  He encouraged them to use what they had learned so the good results could be seen by those who helped them and sacrificed so they could attend.

1 of 5 choirs that sang and danced during the ceremony

Singing praises during the rain intermission

The Students, their friends and family were very proud of their accomplishments.  They gave them gifts and showered them with garlands of praise.  It is our hope and prayer that these students will take the things they have learned and use them to heap garlands of Hosannas upon our great God!

I have enjoyed getting to know these students over the past two years as I have taught some of their classes.  It was fun getting to hand out their certificates and encouraging to see the support they had from friends.  Please keep them in your prayers as they go out to spread the Good News.  Pray that they will be able to endure the hardships of life here and be good witnesses of that wonderful news!

Handing out the laminated certificate to Joyce - our top student!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tree trimming with the boys!

Boys proud of their work!
Since I made cookies with the girls last week, I figured I needed to do something with the boys.  I invited them to come to my house the day after the girls and help me put up my tree and decorate it.  On the left are Ekusi Lobwel and Idi Ekidor.  On the right are Lopeto Lobwel and Ichwa Ekidor.  These boys have seem my Christmas tree in the past, so they had an idea of what it was supposed to look like.  They had never helped to put it up and decorate it though.  So, this was a new experience for them.
spreading the branches

putting on the garland
 We didn't put any lights on the tree.  I thought it would be easier to just do the garland and ornaments.  I have multi-colored icicle lights above my windows that I turned on while they were decorating.  We also listened to some christmas music.  They thought I was pretty funny singing along and dancing to the music.  :)  Ichwa did dance with me though and they all laughed at that too!

After we finished with the tree, I decided to try again with a simple nativity set for them to make.  The card stock/ clothes pin one didn't work very well, so I tried something different.  This time I bought a broom handle (stick).  I had a friend cut it into 4 inch and 3 inch lengths.  I spent an hour or so in town trying to find some yarn.  No one knew what the english word "yarn" meant.  I finally saw someone with a sweater on (in the desert) and pointed to it and said it is string that is used to make those.  Then they figured out what I wanted and told me where to find it.  Brown yarn was needed for hair.  I had some colorful push pins that I used as well.  This is what we ended up with.

I am still working on the baby Jesus.  The kids will all come back this Thursday for a little Christmas party.  My friend, John Kibet, helped me to cut the broom handle on a table saw.  This insured that they would sit straight.  My thumb is still sore four days later from pushing the pins in!  That wood is hard!  The boys didn't have the strength to get them in, so I had to do all eight.

John is going to help me come up with an idea for the Jesus too.  We hope to have something they can easily make and that will keep fairly well.  I will try to get a picture of one full set once it is made and post it for you to see.  I got the idea from another blog and adapted it to work with what I could find here.  If you want to do something similar and don't live in a remote place like me, I think you can find everything you need to do them the way they suggest on this blog.  So, check it out if you want to.  Scroll down past the two flags until you see the little nativity set.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the boys and what they accomplished.  I think we all had fun and it gave them something to do during their month long break.  I hope you are finding time to enjoy the season and are not feeling too rushed!

cookie making with Kids

the finished product
I know many of you get to make Christmas cookies with your children.  This year I had some visitors in October and they found out that one of "my" kids likes to cook.  These are kids that are sponsored by my friends in America so they can go to school.  I decided then that if I could, I would have the girls over to make cookies one day during their school break.  So, I hunted up a sugar cookie recipe and went looking for food coloring.  I actually did find some, but it wasn't in liquid form.  Here is what I used.
  I wasn't sure if this would work, but the powder actually made the colors and it didn't thin the icing.  I was very happy with the results.

The girls had never made cookies before.  I had four girls ranging in age from 10 to 19.  They didn't get the idea of using different colors on a cookie, but they had fun just the same.

Once we mixed up the dough, it had to cool in the refrigerator for a time.  So, that is when I brought out some crafty items for making the simple Nativity I blogged about on 11/27.  We had to let the glue dry on the faces, so they had to come back the next day to get the completed project.  When we first put them together the card stock paper didn't do as well as I would have liked.  Mary and Joseph were slanted.  I had to work with them and re-staple a few times to get them to sit straight.  But overall, I think it worked.   The first picture you see is them slanted.  The second is the completed project.

 Here are a couple more pictures of the cookie making process.  The girls all had a great time and so did I!
icing the cookies takes concentration

taste testing the product.  They had to have some flour on them to show they really made these cookies.

The finished product.  They took them home with them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A stump, a shoot

"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him...."  Isaiah 11:1-2

We have gotten a lot of rain recently here in Turkana.  This is a wonderful thing!  My yard is greening up.  The rain means grass for the animals and they will then produce offspring and milk.  The people will have meat and milk.  It is a great blessing.  It is hope for life here.

For over three years, we have not gotten good rains.  Many of the trees in my yard died.  I had to cut them down because I was afraid that they would fall down.  This is not the time for rain.  It should be entering the hottest and driest time of the year here.  Instead, I have cold feet because we have had rain almost every day for a couple of weeks and not much sun.  Good rain that comes slow and soaks into the ground.  This tree stump was left to its own devices for almost a year.  With the recent rains, a shoot has appeared out of what seemed lifeless.

Advent has begun.  It is a time of waiting...yearning.  Waiting for what?  For Christ to come.  To come to us... in us as we seek him.  A time when we anticipate his coming again and realize what it means that he came in the first place.  It brings hope for life to all of us if we take the time to consider it.

Out of that stump of that fallen tree will come life.  The stump is watered by God and encouraged to grow through the centuries.  One tender branch will come from it by His grace.  That twig will become the ruling rod, the scepter that defeats sin for you and for me.  That twig makes it possible for us to once again be in right relationship with God.  That shoot is Jesus.  He brings us hope for life!

May you find time in this busy season to wait and yearn for the Lord.  May you anticipate His coming and coming again with great joy!