It's February. I know. But I just received our mail from the US and it had our HUGE STACK of Christmas cards in it. Yes, it takes a while, but I was sooooooooo excited, I felt like it was Christmas all over again. Perfect time for me to get updated on the days after we arrived home from Easter Island: December 24th and 25th!
(And just throwing this out there-- I really feel sorry for Santa's helpers who have to dress up in the full Santa get-up when it's the middle of summer. I think everyone would understand perfectly if they were sitting in their big red chairs in Bermuda shorts and suspenders!!!)
Anyway...we arrived home late late late on Monday night, December 23rd. When we awoke Christmas Eve morning, we went to work. There was plenty to do! We were having families over to celebrate Christmas Eve with us and Nana's famous homemade Lasagna, and we also had adopted 2 families for Christmas this year, and were bringing them Christmas dinners and gifts.
Last year we did this for one family. And as the kids, Joe and I sat there, outside of their humble, humble home, with chickens running around and stray dogs that they had taken in, we watched their faces and listened to their stories and it touched all of us. Wouldn't it be great to bring that joy to 2 families this year?!!!
The gifts we had carefully shopped for were all wrapped up. The food was ready to go. It was time to deliver. We pulled up to the first home and found the 2 older boys outside, kicking a soccer ball back and forth to each other on the cement. They looked up, and when the 12 year old registered who we were, the mask came off and an excited, happy, boy, whose eyes lit up for the first time since I've known him, waved and came toward us. I'll never forget the look on his face. It's ingrained inside of me.
After all of the goodies were brought into their "storage unit" home, that we couldn't even stand up straight in, the mom just cried and thanked us again and again. She had no money for any type of Christmas meal for her family, let alone, gifts. We found out that she and the 2 baby girls sleep in the single bed they own inside of the storage closet and the 15 and 12 year old boys sleep in the bed of a truck out on the street. We talked and shed a few tears together. Our kids sat on the floor and showed her kids how toys worked that had been hand picked just for them. They played together. Once again, our hearts were touched. Best Christmas gift ever to be able to leave someone's life a little brighter.
And Christmas Eve was just beginning! We were off to a great start ;)
If we can walk away from our experience in South America, having our kids realize how blessed they truly are, then it has all been worth it. I hope we are providing enough of these opportunities to serve others as a family, so that knowledge can sink in.