Happy New Year!  We had a most wonderful Christmas and New Year season here in Nepal – we were blessed to have our daughter Rachel, son Luke, and daughter-in-love Laura with us for almost 3 weeks.  It was a great time of introducing Laura to many things that Luke and Rachel remembered and loved about Nepal – and just a great time of being together as a family!  (We missed Hannah, but she seemed to enjoy her time in Florida with friends.)

Let me tell you about Christmas here in Tansen.  It was so fun on Christmas eve to sit together and to sing Christmas hymns (in 4 part harmony!) and to read the story of Jesus’s birth together.  We also had some fun singing some more “light hearted” Christmas tunes – like the “Moldy Cheese Madrigal” and the Veggie Tales version of “While by my Sheep”.  Baaa Baaa….

Christmas morning we enjoyed breakfast together and opened some gifts.  We had invited Ganesh and his family to come to church with us, so they came by about 10:30 to walk with us to the service.  Ganesh and Laxmi have been prayed for by many, and have heard the gospel, but haven’t taken the step of outwardly committing to becoming believers.  Please continue to pray for them – we love them dearly.

Ganesh and family


Ganesh and Family

At church, we crowded into the meeting room, which had been emptied of the usual chairs, so we were to sit on the floor (like we always used to do).  However, I had worn a sari that day, so I claimed my rights of being a “mature” missionary lady and got a chair!  Laura and Rachel (being younger and more flexible) sat on the floor and were squeezed into tight spaces for several hours.  Les and Luke did better as the men’s side is always less crowded.

We enjoyed singing together, and watching lots of dances and skits performed by Sunday school children, youth, and some of the ladies’ groups.

Sunday School class song


Sunday School Class song

The service was to have started at 11, but actually began after 11:30.  Les had been asked to give the sermon, but we knew it would be a rather difficult audience – with lots of village folk in for the service, and all the children in, as well.  So – we tried something different. (Special thanks to our friend, Mark Zimmerman, for the idea!) When the prayers were being spoken for the sermon, Les slipped out, and I went up to the front of the church.  I apologized that Les was not going to be able to give the message as he had been suddenly called to the hospital.  I said that I didn’t think I could give the sermon, but that I had met an interesting person on the path that morning – and I had asked him who he was.  He was wearing strange clothing, and he said he was a shepherd with good news to share.  At that point, Les came in the back of the church, dressed as a shepherd.

Debbie trying to explain why Les couldn't give the sermon...

The Shepherd sharing the good news!

He came up to the front, and spoke to everyone as if he were a shepherd who had been there on the night that Jesus was born.  He talked about the wonder of the angels and meeting the baby in the manger.  He then talked about hearing Jesus speak later during his ministry, and also being present at the crucifixion.  He basically shared the gospel message and left everyone with the words that Jesus had come as a wonderful gift to us from the Father – and that now we could choose to accept Him or not!

People seemed to really listen and so we pray some seeds were planted – especially in the unbelievers who came to the service that day.  And for those of us who aren’t used to 3 hour services yet, we were happy he was able to share it all in about 10 minutes!

After the sermon, lunch was served.  There were many people, so we waited about 40 minutes for our food – but it was very tasty.  We had been to a meeting at church the night before and saw the cutting of the meat and veggies – we never cease to be amazed at the cooking for crowds that is done here over open wood fires!

Veggies cut up on Christmas eve


Veggies cut up on Christmas Eve

Cutting meat on Christmas eve



Cutting Meat on Christmas Eve

Enjoying lunch.


Enjoying the meal

We left after the meal – even though there were more dances and songs happening at the church.  We were happy to come back to the house and relax and enjoy some games together – especially since we received the extension game for Settlers of Catan so all five of us could play!

We hope your holidays were joyful – and we pray that the gift of Jesus was received anew by each of you this year.



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8 responses to “Christmas

  1. Chrisitne

    Beautiful memories for you all to cherish!!

  2. Romeo L del Rosari

    Thanks so much for your lovely sharing about your very happy Christmas! Blessings always. Romy

    Sent from my iPad

  3. Peter A Block

    Dear Les and Debbie,

    Thanks so much for your wonderful Christmas letter. It reminded us of some of the wonderful things that we did as a UMN family to celebrate Christmas when we were in Tansen.

    We had a wonderful time with our family at Christmas. Bot Barb and Karen were home on sabbaticals so we all met at David’s home in Terrace BC for nearly two weeks.

    Bye now and God bless.

    Peter and Arlene

  4. Dear Les and Debbie,

    Once again, THANKS!, for your faithful communications and, with Peter and Arlene, again enjoying the sights and sounds and smells even though we are here and you all there! Great you had 5 out of 6 of the family there.

    Our Christmas was quieter than usual as it was an ‘in law’ year and only our daughter Raya and her family, i.e. daughter Erin and partner Jarrad and grandson Mason, were here. From 2-10 January we were in Queensland for the Annual CMS Summer School with solid expositions of Revelation. After that visits to some family of Martje’s, catching up also with friends from our past in Papua New Guinea and Samoa, we arrived home again yesterday afternoon to be present at Erin’s birthday and Raya’s birthday yesterday and today respectively.
    Back into the groove with very hot summer temperatures, over 40 C in some capital cities!

    Lots LOVE, in Him, Risto and Martje

  5. Alison Morgan

    Hi Debbie (and hello to Peter, Arlene, Risto and Martje),
    Thanks for the news Debbie and the very evocative Christmas description – made me feel I was there. Sounds like a fantastic time with family. And excellent to have the first person narration of the Christmas events.
    We are in the midst of four days of 42 degree heat here – a little challenging to sleep when the overnight minimum is 30 degrees (and yes, that’s celsius 🙂 ), so feeling a little wrung out – coming to work and the office airconditioning very appealing….
    Trying to work out a good time to come and visit, lots of love to you – and so glad that you have the extension pack for Settlers now…

  6. Great read! Merry Christmas and God Bless

  7. Thanks again Debbie, Risto had already replied, but I have just read your letter, and it brought tears to my eyes. I guess I felt as though I had been there too? We so much appreciate your keeping us informed in this way. It is such a long time since I saw the meat cut up in this manner, just loved the photo! The innovative way of delivering the message was great! I loved seeing the photo of Luke and Laura, and Rachel too! May God bless you both in all your connections there and abroad! Love from Martje

  8. Frank and Jan Gabbert

    Thanks Debbie! We just received the letter as your dad sent it to us after we
    enjoyed a Skype chat with them. Certainly most interesting and the service on Christmas sounds most enjoyable. So nice some of your family could
    share this year’s Christmas celebration with you. Best Wishes for 2014!
    Jan and Frank

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