Carter Christmas

Our long awaited first Christmas in the Philippines has come! It proved to be a very busy Christmas season. It all started off with decorating our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving afternoon. Hudson discovered, with this being his first Christmas, just how much fun Christmas trees can be. We later discovered that he had been sampling the ornaments when we noticed one had a few bites missing! Wesley and Addie greatly enjoyed decorating and redecorating the tree, too.
On December 3 we participated in the APTS candlelight Christmas service. Welsey and Adelaide did a great job singing Happy Birthday to Jesus with the rest of the Bible Club kids. We enjoyed the various musical performances and scripture readings. We ended the service with only one scary candle moment (which is pretty good for a family with 3 little kids!).
The next Christmas event was my two day Christmas cookie baking blitz. I decided to give all of the staff, faculty and missionaries on campus a plate of Christmas cookies. I ended up making somewhere around 500 Christmas cookies! Addie was a big helper with the baking. She and Wesley both enjoyed frosting and decorating the cookies. We’ve all enjoyed eating the left overs!
Next on the calendar was our faculty Christmas party. We met at the Lewis’ house and enjoyed a sit down dinner comprised of everyone’s favorite Christmas food. We brought a green bean casserole, one of our Christmas favorites. We had a great time with the other faculty and missionaries who live here on campus. We are all like a big extended family.
I then attended the Baguio Missionary Ladies Christmas brunch. This group is made up of different Evangelical missionaries who live here in Baguio. They come from many different organizations and countries. We meet monthly for prayer, support, and the sharing of ideas (like where to find cranberry sauce, orphanages where you can minister or sharing funny cultural clashes). At this particular meeting we were preparing for our annual outreach to the local hospital.
On Christmas Eve afternoon, Wesely and I met up with other missionary ladies and their families for the Baguio Missionary Ladies Annual Outreach. We went to the Baguio General Hospital and delivered stuffed animals, coloring booklets and crayons to the sick children and newborn babies. We also caroled for them and prayed with them. We were sure to leave a gift of candy for the nurses and family care givers as well. It was a meaningful experience for us all. I was glad for the opportunity for Wesley to be involved in ministry and to be reminded that Christmas is about God giving his son to everyone, even sick kids in the hospital.
Later that night, we had over a missionary couple friend, Ray and Deborah Miller. They live in Manila while they are attending language school, but came up to visit us for Christmas and enjoy the cooler mountain air that we have up here. We also invited over a fellow Alaskan, Abagail, who is teaching here at the Christian Academy of Baguio. We had my family traditional Christmas Eve dinner consisting of French dip sandwiches, chips, salad and pumpkin pie. After dinner we opened up Christmas gifts. The kids were very excited over every gift. Wesley was even excited about new pants, which is a nice surprise for a 5 year old boy. They also took interest in what others got as well. I am thankful that my kids all enjoyed themselves and no one complained about what they did or didn’t get, even though most of the gifts were small and inexpensive. I hope as they get older that this continues.
On Christmas morning we got up to watch the kids open their stockings. We don’t do a lot of gifts from Santa. We just “play Santa” by putting a few small gifts in their stockings and the kids all know that Santa is just a game we play. We also had stockings for all of the adults we had over, too. I couldn’t find any nice stockings here, so I ended up buying some felt and hand stitching them myself. It took a little time, but I think they turned out pretty well. At 10 am we had a Christmas brunch with the Millers and two single teachers ( I wanted to make sure that they had a family to celebrate Christmas with). Then we tried out the new Scrabble game we got as a gift from the Millers. Scrabble, by the way, is a very popular game in the Philippines.
We finished off our Christmas with a big pot luck. All of the missionaries and students who where on campus over Christmas came and brought their favorite Christmas dishes. Deborah Miller and I came early to decorate the tables. Then all the students and missionaries came. It was an interesting Christmas dinner, with Nepali and African curries, lasagna, Korean soup, egg rolls, and of course, pumpkin pie!
It was a memorable Christmas. While we did miss our families back home, we were grateful for the wonderful family in Christ that we have here at APTS. We hope that all of you had an equally wonderful Christmas.