Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wrapping Up Another Year


It's been a busy month in a laid back island sort of way, not like a U.S. busy month. We were very blessed to have a week long visit from Rachel and Jason who arrived with suitcases full of gifts for the island kids.

We had our annual Christmas party for our group of sponsored kids. We do something different every year (just to keep them guessing!), and this year we took them all to Guava Grove for lunch, swimming, and gifting. The kids are always excited to see Rachel. We missed having our co-sponsor coordinators, Larry and Susan Campbell with us.



                                                          Of course we snorkeled!

                                                                      And fished.


                      And enjoyed a sunset cruise and fresh sashimi (tuna caught by Jason).

                  We served lunch to the hardworking people who live and work in the dump.


One of the visiting team members delivered the gospel message and Oscar translated. So very proud of this young man! This is part of the value of a bilingual education.


We had plenty of gifts for the children. This sweet girl is clutching a stuffed unicorn (sent down by one of Rachel's co-workers) in one hand and her cup of chicken rice soup in the other.


                                                    So excited over her fairy princess doll!

                                  Lunch on the beach? Tables set in the water on Pigeon Cay.


                                    Jason and Rachel awaiting their steak and lobster lunch.

                                        Always comes too quickly. Time to say goodbye.


The next day began the series of island Christmas parties which took the place of the food and toy drives. We headed east to Punta Gorda for the first party. This little cutie had no idea what was going on.

                                                      Perfectly color-coordinated.


                         Santa makes his grand entrance to the cheers of happy children.


The next Christmas party for us was held in Pensacola (no, not Florida - community nestled in between Flowers Bay and Gravel Bay.) Right on the beach with fabulous breezes. Both clowns showed up this day. This is the balloon clown.

                                    They were very happy with their balloon  creations.


                       The face painting clown. Why so serious? We're having fun here!

We had so many toys this year including these tables full of stuffed animals brought to us by the Carnival ship crew. We also had toys and new shoes from a number of cruise ship passengers. This is the first time that we did not run out of toys before every child had been given one. Nidia had a lot of leftovers with she sent to the children on Helene.

A wild and crazy game of musical chairs. Extremely competitive, these kids would dive for a chair, sometimes 3 of them on one chair. We had 2 minor injuries and one broken chair.

         Fellow elf Debbie-Leigh Crofutt and I taking a very short break in the madness.


Christmas Eve in the lobby of Infinity Bay Resort. R-church meets here on the top floor. We had a beautiful candlelight service. This is Oscar who I was bragging about earlier.

After a delightful and delicious Christmas dinner at the Cowen's, I mentioned that our family always played charades. Everyone thought that was a great idea. Debi is taking her turn. There were about 12 of us which made for a good game.

Another Christmas is over, another year gone by. Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year.