We hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and a great start to 2018!
We certainly had an eventful one. It is funny to look back at 2017 and see all the things we have been through and all the changes. It is amazing to see how so many of the things that seemed difficult, like moving house, have turned out to be a huge blessing. We have been praying for friends for Alicia. Well, shortly after sending out our last newsletter, a new family moved in to our street. They have two daughters, one aged 6 and one 2 weeks older than Alicia! It has been wonderful to see them getting to know each other and playing at each others houses. Alicia loves it and it is cool to see the two 2 year olds blabbering together, making games, rules and interacting. While the 6 year old umpires the whole thing and makes sense of it all. Their parents are very friendly and we have asked them lots of questions about the area, because they are both from our town, which has proved to be so helpful.
We had 3 Christmas celebrations in the end, which is unusual, even for us. Our first one was with some of the young people we work with, helping them to understand and consider establishing their own ‘family’ traditions, we hope will bless them for years to come and allow them to feel a part of a family whilst not having relatives from their own families to visit. Alicia was very excited about the opening of presents, little did she know how many more times she would get to do this in her life.
We then had the typical Paraguayan celebrations on the 24th and took the opportunity to get to know our neighbours a bit better by eating the fruit salad called ‘clereco’, whilst we shared panettone, which is another Paraguayan Christmas treat, one of John’s favourites. It turns out none of our neighbours are very intrigued that we would move to Paraguay because of our faith. Please pray for us as we continue to build relationships.
Then it was time for the fireworks, which if you have been following our newsletters for a few years now, you will remember it sounds like world war three is starting. Alicia enjoyed the start of our little display, but then found the noise rather overwhelming. We may need to get her ear muffs for next year. John however loved having a larger garden in which he can let off all kinds of wizz-popping fountains & rockets.
Sadly John had a few health issues in December, including a kidney stone and on Christmas eve managed to add to the mix an abscessed tooth. After soldering through opening presents and cooking Christmas dinner, we had to go out in the afternoon to a 24hr pharmacy to get help and book him in for an emergency appointment on the 26th. Praise God for how quickly he has recovered, but he had to miss out on most of the festivities after that. So after New Years we had a ‘fake-Christmas’ celebration, including getting to open some more cards and presents which had arrived in the post. Thank you all so much for sending us so many wonderful gifts, treats and remembering us at this time of year. It makes home feel so much closer, plus Alicia loves getting the chance to open anything, as we discovered this week as she ‘helped’ us open our own post, which was very amusing.
We are continually blown away by God’s timely provision and the many blessings that we receive through the hands of so many of you. We wanted to start thisNew Year by saying a huge heartfelt thank you to you and we pray you will all know more of God’s amazing love and presence this year.
Please pray for our work in the community and the young people as things develop and grow in these areas. Pray for wisdom and understanding for us and for good health and fair weather. Please also continue to pray for a tenant for our house in the UK, especially as we will have to start paying council tax this April if no one is in by then. So please, a tenant soon would be amazing!
Thank you all so much once again for all your love, support, gifts & prayers!
With much love, God bless,
The 3 McDs x x x