A Star in our Hearts

Since coming home from conference at the end of November, the focus has been Christmas.  Yes, I know you could have predicted that easily enough.  We’re finally through our Christmas gatherings with our Sunday house church group and our missionary team, and also through the annual tradition of purchasing and distributing food and household staples for the handful of folks we know who are in need.

We delivered a box of diapers and a couple of large cans of baby formula this afternoon to one of our church families who are trying to live off one salary while the wife stays home with their 3 little ones.  When the salary is about $100 a week, it’s not an easy thing to do.  The husband (Lupe) was told last week that they might shut down the factory for 3 weeks within a few days.  The economy is slow and orders are lagging.  3 weeks without pay.  That’s pretty rough for people who can’t really save money and don’t make enough to survive a week without pay, let alone 3 weeks.

The wife (Rocío) was home and the baby asleep and the two brothers were playing in the small, concrete, common area of the apartments.  She said they were almost out of formula and since it is expensive, they really didn’t know what they were going to do.    She hugged Beth’s neck and cried and cried.  It was a sweet moment to show them that being family in Christ means more than just studying the Bible and “trying to be good.”

They were about out of gas for cooking last week and Rocío was going to make the tamales for our Sunday Christmas service.   She couldn’t cook without LP gas and their tank that they had moved here with was a tall one.  They can’t afford to fill it, and it’s too big to take on a taxi or bus (they aren’t allowed to take these large tanks in a taxi or bus).  Since we had a medium tank that we use for our little grill, we arranged to trade our medium one for their large one…and of course, I made sure to fill it and told them to be sure to finish off the gas in the big one.  I noticed today that the big one was off in a corner so it really was close to empty.

When they came on Sunday with a large pot full of tamales, they mentioned how cold it was at night.  Yes, it is cold at night and the houses can get below 50 degrees.  They said the baby cried all night…he was so cold.  They couldn’t keep him warm enough.  As we had our service in our dining room that was warm from all the bodies and the stove heating up ponche (Christmas cider), the baby slept soundly.  We found a really warm blanket that we never use and sent that home for them along with another smaller one for the baby.

I think Lupe and Rocío are a little overwhelmed by the help we’ve given them.  We know it’s not a good idea to do too much, but we certainly couldn’t let the baby go hungry and for them to be cold in their beds.

Thinking a little about that…didn’t Jesus come to help us who couldn’t help ourselves?  That star that led the wise men to Bethlehem…wasn’t that a provision for them too?  How else would have they have found Jesus?  Isn’t Jesus the star that rises up in the hearts of His children so we can light the way for others?  Helping those in need and sharing not just in teaching them the Bible but showing them how to live it as selflessly as we can.  That’s the “star of Christmas.”  We’re not worthy to have this “Star” in our hearts, but we’re so glad He came and gave us His light to illumine our hearts and to spill that light out into the darkness around us.

I couldn’t help but notice the moon tonight and decided I should get the camera out.  When I went out to take a picture of our street with that milky, bright moon, I was surprised to see a star of Christmas show up right in the middle of the picture!

IMG_2961(btw, it’s just a street lamp, but it LOOKS like the “Christmas star,” doesn’t it?!)

Well, we’re up around 3 a.m. tomorrow for a 4 a.m. departure to the border with our teammates.  We hope to cross the border by early afternoon (600 miles…about 10 hour drive).  We hope their isn’t a long line to cross the bridge.  Nothing like sitting in bumper to bumper traffic for 1 to 3 hours at the end of a long drive.  We have errands to run in Dallas on Friday and we’ll be on the road on Saturday and Sunday to make it to Chesterton, IN where we’ll be with Beth’s sister, Kris and her husband Mike and their kids for Christmas week.  If you don’t know why we’re heading up for Christmas, I’ll have to write about that later.  Gotta get to bed real soon.  3 a.m. comes quickly.

We’d sure appreciate your prayers for our travel to the border tomorrow, to Dallas from Laredo on Thursday and from Dallas to Chicagoland on Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a lot of ground to cover and to be honest, I don’t feel too well.  We’ll see how it goes, but once we go, there’s really no turning back!  Maybe we’ll have some pics to post in the coming weeks from our travels and family adventures.

If I don’t make it back here before the 25th…Merry Christmas everyone!

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