So far nearly 1000 children in Swaziland have experienced a Christmas Celebration at their neighborhood CarePoint. We still have over 5000 more children to bring a celebration to. Each CarePoint is taking on its own flavor, and they are all OH so sweet.
Walk with me through a Christmas Celebration.
I got there at 9am, I wanted to be early and I did not want to stay at my house. I don’t like being at my house. There was a group of people all wearing the same shirts. They had music playing. They were dancing and were so happy. They ran between the multiple colored giant jumping castles, across the lot and passed the tents to hug me and walk me up to the tarps spread across the ground. There are two tents in the yard this year, and a big waterslide with soapy suds. The interns, teachers and missionaries invited me to sit down and put a colored yarn on my wrist. This yarn was the same as all of my other friends. We are all 9 years old.
They put on a really neat skit about the shepherds and what they saw when Jesus was born, and how they felt happy to know that God was with them. Then it was like a real movie-the PUPPETS came out and performed for us! We broke up into our groups and started with the fish pond. I got a homemade lollipop when I fished. They told me I had become a fisher of men! Right beside me my friends were getting their faces painted so I asked Karen to make me a lion because Daniel and the Lion are my favorite story.
A bell rang and we rushed to the next station. DANCING! Xolile taught us how to dance together and we all did the same moves. My little sister stayed in the preschool area and played the whole time. I saw her when I walked through the classroom to the craft area. Zama had such a big smile, she was there and gave me markers to color a small circle with a picture of Jesus, and his mom and dad. It said “GOD IS WITH ME”. I used red, green, yellow and blue and walked over to Charlotte. She took my drawing and put it in some machine. I was SO surprised, out came a button with my drawing in it! She pinned it on my shirt. I have never made a button before. I am so excited to take it home.
On my way to the jumping castle, I looked across the field and saw my cousin. He is 14 and was with his friends under another tent. They were playing games and learning about God being with them. The missionary said they were playing “Minute to win it” games-whatever that means. I know he is excited; they gave him a bible. It is his first bible; I know his family will be happy.
My friends and I got in the castle and jumped so high. Philani told us to think about Jesus and his trip up to heaven. I closed my eyes and imagined going there. As I finished and put my shoes on, I smelt something cooking. Zinty and Alice were by the cooking structure with the bomake(women). They had lunch ready for me. They gave me 3 big pieces of fish and a small loaf of bread. I remember hearing about how Jesus fed a lot of people with fish and bread. I don’t get fish very often, it was so good!
My tummy was full, so I ran over to the water slide. We were all so excited, I have never had so much fun. Sandra told me that Jesus walked on water and that He was there when Peter started to walk on water too.
Then Nelly gathered all of us together. Danny said there were over 400 of us at my CarePoint. We sat down and Mduduzi and Stephen shot off fireworks! I have never seen fireworks before. They scared me at first, but they were so pretty. I looked to the other side of the tent and auntie Grace was carrying out a HUGE birthday cake and we all sang happy birthday to Jesus. It didn’t have candles it had these bright sticks that Njabulo said were called sparklers. They made me happy. We all ate cake together and it had frosting too. It was so good and sweet.
I thought the day was over, but then Sizwe lined us up. Teacher Zanele and the missionaries handed me and my friends a balloon that said “God is with ME”, and then they gave me a gift too. I got a facecloth, a bar of soap and a pretty necklace.
I know that after today, no matter what happens to me, no matter what my uncle does to me, no matter what happens to my grandma, no matter what, that GOD is with me. He loves me and I love him.
“She” is Phindile, “She” is Bulelo, “She” is lindiwe, “She” is every child in Africa. “She” knows that there is a God that loves her and is always with her. “She” knows this because someone gave her the gift of a Christmas at her CarePoint. “She” experienced hope in the midst of her hurt. “She” was surrounded by people that loved her for who she is. “She” experienced the joy that only God can bring. “She” represents the hope that is found when a message is planted deep into a heart of a child. “She” will one day be a world changer because YOU gave. The catalyst for change…was “YOU”. Your help, your prayers, your support, your gift equips us to give her hope.
We still have thousands of children to bring Christmas to here in Africa. Will you help us show one more girl that she is valued and “God is with her”, show one more boy that he has a purpose and “God is with Him” Will you be the one that helps us write the next story?