Christmas Celebrations in East Africa!

A Christmas post in March? That’s right! At Christmas time, we often talk about keeping Christmas alive in our hearts all year, so let’s do just that by celebrating with the kids in the Lahash Sponsorship Program.

At each of the Lahash ministry partnerships, the staff work hard to create a fun-filled day of celebration. There are games and snacks, and of the children will give presentations of songs, dances, or Scripture recitations. There is time for worship, prayer, and music, and of course the day would not be complete without a delicious meal! The gift distribution is the culmination of this exciting day, but all the celebrations are pointing to Jesus – rejoicing over the gift he is, and enjoying his blessings together.

Complete with soda to drink, the special meal is a highlight of the event in Dodma, Tanzania.

In Rwanda, the Lahash Servant Team helps with the celebrations!

The kids at Albino Peacemakers near Arusha, Tanzania work hard on their thank you cards after receiving their gifts.

The gifts the kids received from their sponsors and many generous donors were not only fun surprises, they were life-changing! See for yourself in these precious testimonies…

Deodath, Grace & Healing Ministry in Tanzania

Deodath’s mother supports her six children as best she can through odd temporary jobs like fetching water, washing clothes, or working at a farm. They are surviving, but beds and mattresses are unimaginable luxuries. When he received a bed and mattress for Christmas, he ran to his mother with the news. “Mama, my sponsor sent to me a bed and mattress! From now on I will sleep on the bed with good mattress!” His mother could hardly believe it, and when the program staff verified that yes, it was true, she exclaimed, “Oh my Father God, bless my son’s sponsors, and thanks to you, Father, who allowed my son’s sponsors to be born! I glorify your name!”

The Kids at Nipe Tumaini in Kenya

At Nipe Tumaini Children’s Home in Kenya, the sponsored kids all received new shoes, school uniforms, and clothes. During this fun day of celebration, games, and special meals a few of the kids shared about their excitement:

Jane, the oldest child said, “When I was given my Christmas gift, I realized that was my new school uniform! I had a new dress, shoes, socks, pullover, shirt. The next day, I put them on. I looked very smart compared to my old uniform. It was too small on me because I have really grown. I can now stand before other children with confidence and read for them storybooks. I also promise to work very hard! I am very grateful to my sponsor. May God bless you always. I love you very much!”

Joseph said, “I am really happy because I have new school uniform that I was bought as a Christmas gift. Every morning I put on new polished shoes that sparkles. I also have new pullover, shirt, and short. Everyone tells me that I look really good in my new school uniform. My new short and shirt is not tight like my old one! I am very comfortable in my new uniform. I am so grateful. I am praying for my sponsors everyday. I promise to work really hard in school!”

Adam, Path Of Hope in Tanzania

Adam got the gift of text books. He was so much excited when he was receiving his gift and said, “I’m so happy because I have been lacking textbooks to do my homework! From now on I’ll finish my homework on time! But also textbooks will keep me busy through studying at home to get better grades, and to perform on different school and national exams which will help me to reach my dream job. Thank you so much, my sponsor, and may my God bless you!”

Paul, Path Of Hope in Tanzania

Paul received a bicycle, and after trying it out for a while, he was very proud to give the following report. “I live far away from school. I used to walk about 1 hour to reach school and I normally missed the first period of class hours. I’m so much thankful because through this bicycle I’m using 20 minutes or below to reach school and I don’t miss any period! I’m hoping my dream will come true through attending classes on time by using this bicycle. I’m so happy! May God bless you, my sponsor, for the great gift you gave to me!”

Mary, Path Of Hope in Tanzania

Mary surprised everyone by actually cheering when she saw the mattress sent by her sponsor. “I was using a piece of cloth as a mattress, and when I wake up at morning I feel so much pain at my back, and sometimes I didn’t go to school due to back pain,” she explained. But now, “Back pain is over and no more missing classes! I’m so excited! May God bless my sponsor more and more, I can’t explain how happy I am.”

Daniel, Grace & Healing Ministry in Tanzania

Daniel truly got two gifts in one, because three days after receiving a goat at the Christmas celebration, the goat gave birth! Daniel had been dreaming of caring for a domestic animal on his own, and said that receiving this gift was “a good memory for his life.” He couldn’t explain his happiness in words, but had much to say about the sponsors who gave him hope by thinking of him and caring for him after the death of his parents. “God bless my sponsor and hear their prayers always! And grant them a hundred years because they are there for me. I love my sponsor, but I have nothing to repay them. But God will pay them instead of me.”

These are just a few of the hundreds of gifts given to kids because of the generosity of our global Lahash community. We are thankful for the sponsors who were able to bless their sponsored kids with such unique and needed gifts. We are also thankful for the many donors who gave through the Christmas Giving Guide, which helped us make sure that ALL the kids received a gift, even those who are still waiting to be matched with a sponsor!

You can also get a unique perspective on the celebration in Rwanda through the eyes of a Lahash Servant Team member! Valeria and the rest of the team are currently serving with Rebuilding Rwanda, and they played a huge role in helping make their Christmas celebration a fun-filled success. Read Valeria’s blog post here.

On behalf of hundreds of vulnerable children and families, we sincerely thank all of you who shared Jesus’ love at Christmas time in such tangible, practical, life-changing ways!

Jen Johnson