We had a very special Christmas service with the Simbari believers this week.
After beginning the service with some Simbari worship songs our son, Jason, sang “Away In a Manger” in the trade language while Shari accompanied him on the guitar. Then Lori, Rachel, and Shari sang a couple of other Christmas carols in the trade language. After that was a drama about the birth and life of Christ that the Simbari believers themselves organized and presented. This is the first time they have ever done anything like that and it was done very well. There was a larger crowd than usual at church because a lot of visitors are here now for a big holiday sports tournament. The believers acted out not only the birth of Christ but highlights from His life including one of His miracles, His betrayal, trial, death and resurrection. After that they portrayed a man staggering along carrying a heavy burden of sin and crying out from the weight of it on his shoulders. Then another man playing the part of Jesus came along and lifted the burden of sin and put his arms around him. The two men who were performing the drama were so overcome with the reality of Christ’s sacrifice for them that they had a hard time getting through the drama without crying. While they were acting out the drama, four other believers were in the background humming in four-part harmony the song “At the Cross.” It was the most beautiful song we have heard them sing and several of us were in tears as we listened. After the burden of sin was lifted from the man, both men joined the group who had been humming, and together they began singing the verses of the song. It was such a blessing to celebrate the birth of Christ in such a special way and to be a part of the joy that His birth has brought to this small corner of the world.
We have really enjoyed having Simon and Rachel with us for Christmas break and it will be hard to see them go back to school next week, but they have a lot of activities to look forward to and are always anxious to get back. So that makes it not so hard to say goodbye. We really missed Esther as this was our first Christmas apart, but we have received some great e-mails from her telling about all the things she has been able to do with her aunts, uncles and grandparents during the Christmas season, so it is comforting to us that she can be with them. We have enjoyed having another missionary couple join our team for Christmas and they will be staying a couple of extra weeks at our guest house so they can catch up on some much needed rest.
We just wanted to say thanks for praying for the Simbari mother and baby who fell down the cliff awhile back and were seriously injured. We just heard recently that they are back home and doing well now. The Lord is so good!
We hope you have a Happy New Year and we appreciate your love and prayers for us and the Simbari believers.
Love in Christ,
The Ogg Family