On Dec 23rd we had the big christmas sweater passing out. This originally started because my family noticed that the poor kids who came for after school tutoring or to church didn't always wear sweaters despite the cold or did one day and not another. Upon learning that they had no sweaters or only one, that if being washed couldn't be worn, they decided to provide sweaters. It started off small. I think we gave out about 200-300, the next year it was around 600, the year after it was over 900 and we were turning people away because our front yard couldn't handle all the kids. So the next year we moved to a community center for the distribution. Every year the sweaters get better and better and now they are quite nice :)
So this year we found out my sister couldn't make it. She usually runs the show that day, but my Mom would have to do it with all of us helping. Every year we have the kids perform. THey are all from the slums and it's their big day to shine in front of all the people who come. Usually we max out at around 700 because of space. But for these kids they have never had so many people watching a performance they are in! They love it and we have to put strict rules on who can be part of it so that the cast doesn't keep growing. :) In the early years we could always add one more, but now I have 6-7 shepherds, 7-10 angels, 3 innkeepers and we actually had to buy more cloth for the costumes. That said, we are such softies :) The plays went great. All 60 kids knew their parts well. Raahil my nephew did the beggar role that none of the kids wanted to do and got a loud handclap. He got made fun of a lot but he loved it. Arshana got to be the narrator for my play. So the kids were actively involved in everything. This year someone donated extra money so we had a snack for each of them as well :) So tickets were collected, sweater size called out, food given, candy given, sweater put on and child let out. All the things you learn over time. No ticket, no sweater (or else kids re-enter and take more than 1), put the sweater on them or else older kids steal their sweaters. Learn to call the size or else people complain later that got one that was too big or small. But we are still learning. Next year, meeting before hand with agenda or when the adults should come back stage to help and their pre-assigned roles :) That said, everything went smoothly. Everyone understands the rules and so everything goes on with joy :)
My cousin's kid accidentally showed up with his wife that day instead of Christmas for the feeding of the poor :) what a great mistake. I hadn't met his wife, so it was wonderful to get to meet her and spend time with her. After that the boys from the delhi church hung out and my older sister got to impart her wisdom to them :) she loved it and they loved it.
Two days later the big christmas feeding. the day before we heard the guy going around on the rickshaw announcing the feeding of the poor at our house for the next day. I have always heard that it is done but never seen it so was happy to get a chance to see it live. My family started feeding the poor in our city long long ago. I grew up doing it from a young age. You have your big bucket and you give it out. You learn not to touch the scoop to the plate so as not to contaminate the food. You burn your hands as you hand out hot pooris to the people. You learn 4 for the adults and 2 for the kids. Every year i love being out there and helping, but last time I realized there are so many helpers now that people are fighting to help. So this year I decided to supervise and take pictures and let those who haven't done it get a chance. Arshana my niece was there from the beginning to end. One of the girls from church instead of eating, just helped and then ate with us inside later :) We were actually thinking about stopping. The local gurdwara and mandir have started feeding the poor as well and last year only a few hundred showed up to eat, so we were thinking if the turnout is small again, maybe it's time to concentrate on other things. But there were 1000 who showed up. We actually had to make extra food because we ran out! So praise God! That was an obvious answer as to what to do :)
The next few days were busy with my friends visiting from out of town. I was supposed to get married this winter in india, but delayed things and so we had a venue, friends, a pastor all set and in india. My older sister had her 20th wedding anniversary while there so we just turned everything into a big renewal of their vows. I think it made her year :) she was so happy. Last minute even clothes and everything worked out. Her daughter hates shopping for indian clothes. She is very particular. But we even got an outfit for her the day before the event. Everyone looked beautiful.
After new years we went to Delhi and handed out sweaters in a slum. My friends had missed the big one so I was really glad they got to be part of the small one. I think one of them started to believe in God that day cause she prayed and she said, God if my son's stomach ache is healed, I will believe in you and after prayer it was! :) We have been praying for her to believe for over 3-4 years!! So yay!
speaking of which. One of the boys here who considers me a big sister had me talk to his friend. She had all these questions about God and so I just said, ask God to show you the truth of if he is real. He did and she started to believe! Is that cool or what? hehe! So simple :) and so God!
Everything in cambodia is going great too! The students have been doing the deworming/hygeine/safety training in the schools and have reached over 1000 kids while I have been gone!
Lots of little things. just yesterday I was thinking I should have bought a black indian outfit,. So we go shopping for some just indian shirts but I found a really pretty black indian outfit. Also, I have been eyeing a blue and white one for a while, but its never felt like it's just like I want it. Well guess what! found one today exactly like I want and for the price!! And the 3rd thing I wanted in the color and for the price I wanted, i got too! :) Ask and you will receive and don't settle for anything but what is the best and truly in your heart :) I think too many times we settle too early and think we won't get anything better, but waiting for just what you want and not saying this is good enough brings you such joy. :)
been reading the bible and praying more. amazing what a difference that makes in your life. trying to get through it in a year! And to top it all off, i have been exercising! hehe! the eating healthy part will just have to come later :)
Hope your new year is going as good as mine!!! God Bless!