Christmas time has always been my favorite time of the year. The snow, the cold, the lights, hot chocolate on 5th Ave, the smell of pine in our living room, all my siblings together with our parents, gifts, food (always the food), carols, mince pies, Christmas shopping, ALL of it just makes my soul sing.
This year is different though. As I look and see everyone’s IG and FB pictures of their beautiful decorations and their first snow falls, I find myself fighting to feel the spirit of Christmas. Sounds terribly negative doesn’t it?! I can see my Mum nodding her head in agreement 🙂
Life this year has consisted of super highs and terrible lows, I have found myself longing for “normal” and for the majority of the year our life has been anything but.
It’s hard for me to truly express this year without giving the devil too much attention, so lets just say that your love and prayers have been crucial to our survival these past 11 1/2 months.
And then amongst the stress and pain have been moments of true joy. For example, we were brought into the most amazing church plant, with the most amazing people, at exactly the right time. We lost friends but have gain a whole tribe. This past Sunday we celebrated Christmas with our lovely congregation. We sat together and ate the most wonderful Christmas dinner that had been donated by one of the grocery stores. Roast chickens, salads, bread rolls and LOTS AND LOTS of cake. Everyone left with their own giant cake and lots of left overs.
Ministry has grown in leaps and bounds. Feeding up to 200 people on a Wednesday has been a highlight.
Building relationships with the homeless and street workers, seeing joy and being able to provide clothing and much needed hygiene products for the street girls. I was even given the honor of holding space for a young lady who was in a government hospital, alone giving birth. I was able to be with her as she birthed her perfect baby boy into the world. She didn’t have to be alone and scared and I had the opportunity to love her and pray over her and her new son, Michael.
My heart is very much with the girls who are having to “work” the streets for survival. I know that this a passion that Father has given me and every week I fall more in love with these girls of ours. These girls have our hearts in such a profound way. Hearing them talk about their days, their nights, their “job”, our hearts shatter. Our frustration grows. Our maternal hearts beat wildly with an anger that is indescribable.
Their young hearts and bodies, old beyond their years, broken from the abuse of man. Their spirits crushed by the crime of survival.
Their tattered “best” outfits, their badly applied makeup cause my heat to physically ache. I want to give them a hot bubble bath, let them soak away the aches and pains. I want to clothe them in the prettiest of outfits and give them shoes that fit. I want to wash their hair and teach them how to apply their make up.
Just a few days ago I was messaged by a friend who told me that her school (she is principle) has decided to take our boys for no fee!! NO FEE!!! FOR FREE!!!! Guys this is HUGE for us. It’s a beautiful little private school where our boys will be taught and loved so very well. I can not put into words how thankful we are for this amazing gift. God is such a good Father.
We are also trying to move home before Christmas! Yes I know we are cutting it fine!! 🙂 We have been approved but are just waiting for a couple of final details before we know what day we can move in. I think that this time of unknowing has been my main cause of lack of Christmas spirit. I don’t want to put up a tree to then have to take it down a couple of days later. Also our financial situation has been very stressful and we haven’t even thought about shopping for the kids yet this year. Living by faith means that we have to prioritize and right now our priority is moving to a new home. So please pray for that for us. It would be the best Christmas gift ever if we could move next week.
We have a number of needs when we move house. We do not have a fridge or a washing machine and would need those asap. Also yesterday when I was packing up our bed linen i discovered that all of our sheets and all items of bedding are covered in damp and mold and I have had to throw it all away. All that we have is the linen that is currently on our beds, quite frustrating as you can imagine. The mold in this current house is one of the main reasons why we need to get out of there, it is causing havoc with Joe’s asthma and its very distressing for all of us. Martin has been working daily on trying to bring this move about, visiting the internet cafe and trying his hardest to keep communications open between the necessary departments, not always an easy task in SA 🙂
As most of you know we are now living 100% by faith so these above mentioned items are not within our current budget. Please pray that we gain more monthly support so that we can live better than we currently are and so that some our our stress is relieved. There will a link at the end of this post to visit our just giving account where you can give if you feel called to. If you would live to give on a regular basis there is also a button on the home page for monthly giving. Thank you
There’s 4 days till Christmas, and although we are not in any way ready for Christmas day, we are better off than so many of the the people who we love and care for. And although we do not have a tree or gifts at the moment my children are on this ministry journey with us and they are learning that the Christmas season is not about them, but in fact about a baby who was born in a stable, to refugees. And even if there are no gifts, trees or decorations, Jesus is still our reason. He is still more important. And they realize that there are children in our congregation who do not even have a stable to live in this Christmas.
I am so thankful for our life, for our calling and for our sweet little family. And my sweet little family is thankful for each of you this year. Thank you for supporting us and loving us, thank you for the prayers and kind words of encouragement.
Our prayer for you and yours is that of LOVE, JOY and PEACE this Christmas.
The Downs Family.
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