Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Meeting 2008

Our Christmas meeting took place on Sunday December 21st ( as Christmas on the 25th is not celebrated here and many people were working on that day )

This photo was taken about 20 minutes before we started and around another 50 or so had come by the time the meeting began.

Usually we know exactly how many adults attended by how many cups were used for tea afterwards but this year someone forgot to boil the water and we had no tea and biscuits at the end but there were at least 250 non Christian adults + 200 kids at what was a really joyful occassion.

In this shot of part of the meeting there are only 3 members of our church so it gives you some idea of how many people came under the cound of the gospel this Christmas.

All the visitors get a visit in the next couple of weeks and receive a calendar and John's gospel + a few other goodies.

This is our Sunday school's youngest group - up to 6 years old.
They looked like and sang like angels .......

but we parents know better.

Little darlings!!!!

This is our Gotesti middle group ( any suggestions for a more fun sounding name for this Sunday school class?)

The elegant peach in the middle is Cornelia whose mother came to the meeting after me getting a chance to speak to her at the coffee shop a few days earlier ( see previous blog or news letter)

This is our "big group" ( 11-14) - I'd offer a prize for the best suggestions for a more fun name but all our Christmas gifts are gone.

Many of you are praying for Roma and his generation and the 200 or so kids of his age and younger we have in 6 different groups in the 3 villages we are working in so it is always good to feature him as still coming to the meetings in answer to your prayers.

In the afternoon we did a meeting in the kindergarten in Constantinovca where we always do a Christmas meeting.

This year almost every parent in the village was there ( there are about 100 houses in the village )

Undoubtedly part of the reason was that we were able to give every child a shoe box gift courtesy of Mustard Seed from the UK

But this year there was a different atmosphere - it was like family gathering together
Again part of the reason will have been that Mission Direct helped with much renovations for the kindergarten and Bayfarm are just in the process of buying the bedding for all 30 kids beds but I think it is more than just the help, I think these people know that somehow it is God who is reaching out to them with all this love.
As I preached the message I felt a strong sense in my heart of, I believe, how Jesus felt as He entered Jerusalem and said "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ....... how often I wanted to gather your children together as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings but you were not willing"
As I said the gist of this to them in paraphrase every face in the room was fixed intently upon me ( a rare thing as any preacher will tell you ) and I felt as I looked at the expressions on their faces that they knew I was speaking sincerely when I said I wanted to gather them up and usher them into His kingdom.
My prayer is that they understand that Jesus not I is wanting to gather them up into His family
It's my prayer for you also for this coming year
Pastor Mark

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