Ladies Christmas Gathering
We have a wonderful community of fellow missionaries in our area. Haiti can be challenging relationship wise, especially when you get into the more rural areas. It’s not that relationships aren’t possible, quite the opposite. It’s that they’re just very different than what many of us are accustomed to in our home cultures. As a woman, for example, much of ones day here is spent working on a lot of household labor – getting water, spending hours preparing a meal for your family because you have to cook it over charcoal, doing laundry by hand… I could go on. It can be hard connect on deeper, more familiar levels for both sides. Because of that, we very much value our missionary community for encouragement, fellowship and support.
We’re really blessed in our area with quite a few long term people. For a long time Chris and I were the youngest in the group, but a few years ago some new people moved into the area, including singles, young marrieds and young families. People with kids our kids ages. We have a diverse group of people of all ages and places in life. There’s so much richness in that!
Last year a few of us ladies started talking about the need for female fellowship. Yes, we had our bi-weekly fellowship meetings where we all got to gather and do some bible study and catch up, but we didn’t ever have anything specifically for just the women in the group, and a lot of us were missing that from our home churches and social networks. So, we did something about it. I hosted a Christmas Ladies Gathering the Saturday after American Thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit. We had some games, snacks and crafts and a lot of fun. A few months ago people were already asking if we’d be doing it again. This time around we were able to open it up to more local ladies besides just the ones from our missionary gatherings (not everyone in the area comes, though all are invited).
This past Saturday was the day!
We had a ton of fun visiting, playing some games and crafting. Everyone brought snacks, and it was all amazing. Seriously, if you want good food go to a potluck style event where people don’t get many chances to do these kinds of things. Everyone gets so excited that they pull out all the stops and we all roll home afterwards.
Crafting and visiting is intense work…
Because not everyone stays for Christmas and people start leaving the first or second week of December, I try to set the tone by having our Christmas decorations up so we can enjoy the festiveness together, even if it’s just for one day. It was fun to hear how special that was for everyone. Those that were here last year talked about how much they were looking forward to the party because it sort of kicked off everything Christmas for them. In a place where this isn’t much noticeable change between seasons it can be hard to remember that the holidays are even coming, let alone feeling it.
I love that we have the space to do this and that it can bring a bit of the familiar to people who are serving and living here long term. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference for people over the long term.
It was a great day!