A blessed Christmas and New Year’s…

“I have never felt more relaxed,” our friend Belkis said. She sat looking at a calm beach and her children playing. “Before I came here, I was so stressed. Now, my back doesn’t hurt any more; my feet don’t hurt any more. I’m so relaxed. Thank you.”

Belkis accompanied our team and nearly 40 others living in our building to the beach for our Christmas celebration. Many of our BC friends said this Christmas was the best they had ever experienced. I heard countless thank-you’s from smiling faces who just opened their presents, who just swam in the ocean or had just enjoyed a relaxing nap away from the problems at home.

We left the Monday after Christmas and spent the next two days in Amapala enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the beach. We couldn’t have asked for a better time.

We ate, we laughed, we played, we swam and we opened presents. We had everyone sit in a circle with one chair in the middle. We picked out a gift and called out who it was for, and then that person came to the middle to open their gift. Each time we would call a name, the rest of the circle would cheer for that child or adult.

Thirty-nine of our friends opened gifts for themselves with two mommies opening presents for their babies as well. We also gave small gifts to the family we paid to cook four meals for all 45 of us. All in all, forty-five people opened a total of 125 packages, leaving sheets of gift wrap covering an 8×8 portion of the beach.

Together we enjoyed the sun on a beautiful beach in the shadow of the mountains of El Salvador and Nicaragua. We expected all of this fun to be a part of the trip, but the results were much more than just those.

We created a family while at the beach, cemented friendships and built new ones. Families and teens, who rarely interacted with each other except when they had to, now laugh together, now speak to one another.When you’re talking about any group of people, that’s special. But when you’re talking about a group of once homeless people, that’s a miracle. God created bonds on that beach, and we pray it will lead to fewer arguments in 2012.

We are all beyond grateful to all of you for making this trip happen. You blessed lives in ways you will never know and in ways we never saw coming. You gave a vacation to parents who needed it, and you provided a family and a special Christmas to many kids who have never known either. Thank you for blessing our Christmas and kick-starting a better new year.

Many blessings to all of you in 2012! You also helped us take our friends to the Tegucigalpa Carnival on New Year’s Eve. We had money left over from Christmas, and we wanted to celebrate the new year together! So, you helped in more ways than just Christmas! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

To see the full album of photos, visit us on Facebook. We have over 400 pictures of our fun times at the beach.

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