Well it was an exciting day at Verdad Y Vida!  The children were very eager and some showed up an hour early just to be sure they didn’t miss out on the fun! lol

Prior to that though, Saturday afternoon was spent decorating about 150 Christmas cookies,  filling treat bags, organizing gifts, and prepping for food and games.  A special thank you to one of the moms Yenifer for being such a trooper and helping out with so much!

On Sunday, the festivities included a couple of games (Dave and I even got nominated to be part of the fun).   One game was a race blowing ping pong balls across cups of water.

We also had a game similar to a musical chairs game.

Last, there was cup stacking race. IMG_0424 Participants and spectators alike had a blast!  And chocolate coin awards were earned!IMG_0458

Snacks were dispersed throughout the morning starting with a decorated Christmas cookie.  I’ve learned that this is not something typically done in Ecuador, so I guess the kids experienced a bit of a North American taste in treats today!

They also enjoyed a cup of jello with a dollop of condensed milk and sprinkles.  (my first time with this type of treat….quite good!)

They also had hot dogs cooked in a savory sauce/and onions and then topped with a ranch type sauce and crushed potato chips (another first for me!)

And trust me when I say that ensuring everyone has received all their treats is no easy task and takes a lot of counting and re- counting and checking again.  making sure everyone has one

There are several young girls around 10-12 years old who bring their younger siblings or cousins (some young toddlers) and do a fantastic job protecting and ensuring that they too get fed.  It’s precious to see how much they care for their family members.  And have such fun doing it!

The children each received a goodie bag with a variety of things such as a small amount of treats, a comb, toothbrush, necklace, pencil and a few other odds and ends.  Then each child received a gift.  The little boys received a ball with a smiley face.  The older boys (maybe 6 and up) received a soccer ball!  The younger girls received hula hoops and the older pre-teen/teen girls received perfume.  Even the moms who regularly attend the ladies class on Sunday, received a special gift of perfume.

Everyone was happy and excited and the smiles on their faces, when their names were called to come get their gifts, was priceless.

Word spread fast because we had a few stragglers at the end who wanted in on the festivities.  It was so cute because these boys came at the end and picked up a broom and dustpan and started helping clean up.  Their hopes were that they too might receive a gift (which they did).  They may have been a bit worried at first.

While the day was wonderful, it also takes a lot of planning, work and clean up!  Cristian and Lissette plan to take a couple of weeks vacation now to rest until children’s church resumes after the new year.


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