This was my first Caribbean Christmas & it was one for the record books. I will never forget it, the laughter, the joy, the memories made. I took so many photos, & it’s just too difficult to narrow them all down…so, here is a glimpse at my 4 day Haiti Christmas Celebration!
Am I the only one who has heard December 23rd referred to as “Christmas Adam”? You know, like Christmas Eve…but Adam. Someone please affirm that I’m not ridiculous for calling it this. Anyway, I arrived back in Haiti on Dec. 23! (I had a wonderful time in the States for a short break, but that’s for another post.) I got to the mission & the Annual Guesthouse Staff Party was in full swing. Games, prizes, food, & gifts – it was a huge success & I’m thankful I got to celebrate with Elizabeth & the Guesthouse Staff! When I walked into my apartment, I saw THIS:
Now, you may not know this about me, but I LOVE Christmas. I love the lights, the decor, the gold, Advent – ALL.OF.IT. My precious friend Amanda does know this about me, & before her & Matt left for the States for vacation, they bought this beautiful white tree on the side of the road in Port Au Prince (which, side note: I’ve wanted one of these for over a year), hung Christmas lights & ornaments up, & set my advent countdown to the right day so that when I got back in Haiti, I would walk into this. I cried, y’all. In fact, this was my Instagram post: “After traveling back to Haiti all day, to walk into my Haiti home & see THIS? Cue the tears. The most perfectly decorated Christmas tree, & the advent calendar hung up to day 23. I’m beyond thankful to have friends that know me, & know how much I have loved these white trees for sale all along the roads of Port Au Prince. What a gift to be loved well! SO excited to celebrate Christmas in Haiti this year with dear friends.” It was the perfect start to a Caribbean Christmas!
Christmas Eve started with a talent show where many of our awesome kids from the Village of Hope (orphanage) performed. They sang, danced, rapped, recited Christmas stories; it was incredibly fun! These kids have got talent. We talked about all of the fun that we were going to have celebrating Christmas over the next few days. Katie focused on the reason we celebrate is because the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus changed everything – flipped cultures upside down – and He is everything. Sure, we love Christmas lights, movies, stories, & songs…but without Jesus, it’s all empty. So, we spent some time reminding the kids (& ourselves) of the beauty of the season.
After the talent show, it was dinner time! We ate a delicious meal at the guesthouse, which was beautifully decorated by the kids. Christmas trees & lights in Haiti?! It was pretty magical. After the meal, we went up on the guesthouse roof & watched Home Alone & The Grinch while eating Christmas cookies & popcorn & drinking hot chocolate. Snuggling babies on a breezy rooftop in Haiti on Christmas Eve while Christmas movies play on a projector & a plastic screen? YES PLEASE.
Christmas morning we went down to the guesthouse & set up each table with the kid’s personalized & Individualized gifts. Katie spent so much time preparing each & every kid’s bag, & each gift had something they needed, something they wanted, & Christmas candy! So many people made this Christmas morning possible – from incredible sponsors at Gateway Church who blessed these sweet kids with gifts, to behind the scenes planning & preparing from Katie & the rest of the Village of Hope staff! It was truly the most joyful Christmas morning I’ve experienced!
After the morning with the kids, we hung out as a staff family & ate brunch, watched movies, & opened some presents some really incredible Secret Santa’s gifted to us. I opened a beautiful new camera lens that I’d had my eye on for quite some time. I cannot say it enough, but THANK YOU. That evening, we all had a family meal with all of the North American staff & families here on campus. It was a day of dancing in the kitchen to “All I want for Christmas is You”, laughter & movie quoting, & time with really sweet friends. While I most certainly missed the nostalgia of Christmas at “home” in Texas with family, this 2014 Caribbean Christmas was incredibly special! I’m humbled & grateful to call this “life.”
The day after Christmas, we had a Haiti Staff Wide Christmas party that afternoon with all of the MOH Staff! One of my favorite parts was circling up in small groups – praying for each other’s families, our work/departments, reflecting on 2014 & thanking God for all that happened, & dedicating 2015 to Him. It’s a blessing to work with these people.