Sunday, December 21, 2008
Christmas Sunday 2008
The past two weeks before Christmas Sunday had been very busy. We had planned to have a fellowship time after the evening service so I needed to make Christmas cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate breads and other goodies. In addition, I wanted to make cookies for the youth group party, the childrens' program party, the Ladies Bible study and English classes. I only make rolled out sugar cookies once a year. They are not my favorite! I like drop cookies. Mix. Drop. Bake. Eat. Easy. The rolled out ones are a big pain! Mix, chill the dough, roll, cut, roll again, cut, roll again, bake, cool, frost, eat. The 'eat' just comes way too late. Anyway, we made sugar cookies. MANY sugar cookies. Hundreds of sugar cookies. Some we feed to the dogs too! (Yep, I burnt them!) The days were so busy with homeschooling, visiting, cleaning, decorating and baking.
I also did a lot of praying. We have had some visitors come to church, but not many. I've been so burdened about some ladies who have not yet come to church. Their children have become growing Christians, but the parents have not yet found time for Christ.
The top of the roof of the Shkoze church blow off recently and the roof has been leaking terrible. I thought Christmas Sunday we are all going to have to sit with umbrellas inside the church! Thankfully, the rain let up some, but I did notice that Nathan and Geni looked rather damp after the service! There was 15 of our faithful member in church in Shkoze Sunday morning.
The evening service was a great surprise! The people started trickling in. First 3, then 2, then 15, then another 5. With each group there was a visitor or 2 or 3 or more! In the end we counted 47 people! We only have 33 chairs! We added some kitchen chairs, benches, and Nathan ended up on the ground! 7 visitors were mothers of our teens, others were aunts and cousins. 2 of the mothers are ladies I have really been burdened about! Norman made a presentation of 'Mary did you know?' in Albanian with pictures of the Birth and Crucifixion of Jesus. It was very powerful. There were tears in many eyes. Norm preached a wonderful Christmas message on Mary's praise to God (Luke 1).
As one mother kissed me good-bye in the traditional Albanian fashion cheek to cheek (6 times since it was Christmas I think!), she said, “I can come every week? You have this church every week?” I assured her she was welcome EVERY week! Another mother said, “These songs you sing are so encouraging! I wish we had music like that in our house.” Later, her son told us that he has convinced her to come every week. We will really be praying she will.
I am so thankful for Christian friendships! I have a precious friend in San Francisco, Sofia, who has helped me so much with our ladies new project of selling crochet and knitted items. We are working on finding some things that they can make well and that will sell! Presently the ladies are working on hats and small purses and, of course, many doilies! I am trying to help them with design and colors.
Another dear friend I have here in Albania, Teuta. She has been helping me find jobs for some of the ladies who need to work. This week she went out of her way to find jobs for 2 ladies! It is so special when others make my burden their burden! Gal 6:2