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Christmas celebrations!

The Christmas season is always a great opportunity for outreach in the mission field. We love getting reports back from our missionaries and hearing about their activities. Here are just a few!

Emily and Jesse (Southeast Asia)

On Christmas Eve, our team got together for a special Christmas gathering. We each invited friends to join us for this event. About twenty people gathered in our apartment. We sang Christmas hymns and read the Christmas story from Luke 2. There were Buddhists, Atheists, Catholics, and Christians that all got to hear the true story of the Word made flesh. To some, it was just a way to see our “traditions.” To others, it stirred up quite a few questions that have led to meaningful conversations, and hopefully will open the door for more. This was one of our favorite nights in the whole time we've been here!

Jake (Novaliches, Philippines)

The Christmas tradition in the Philippines is called Simbang Gabi, dating back to the Spanish colonization. They gather for worship every day, starting on Dec 16 and going until Christmas Eve. Then at midnight on Christmas Eve they celebrate Noche Buena, where they share a big meal and celebration at their home. It’s a very busy season for us. On one of the nights of Simbang Gabi we went caroling around our community.

Another neat opportunity this Christmas was sharing the Christmas story at the school of one of our Bible study members, Simon. His mom, Ate Carmi, helped organize the event and invited us to speak to the 1st and 6th grade students. We also got to spend time with Simon’s class at their Christmas party later that day. 

Annalisa (Mito, Japan)

Pastor Haga planned two church services for Christmas this year (both on Christmas Eve since Christmas is not a holiday so many people had to work). We invited all our English students and families to both. The morning service was more traditional, and the church was full with members and regular attendees. The afternoon service was planned to be more appropriate for people who are new to Christianity. It was a much more relaxed environment. We all sat around a table, served coffee, and even started off with an icebreaker activity. Two adult English students attended, along with one of my students and his mom, plus a few others! We read through Luke 2 in sections and then people could share thoughts or ask questions. It was so cool to be a part of this! Everyone really enjoyed it, and we’re hoping to try it again.

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