Christmas Eve this year in Congo (DRC) started with me almost losing my most cherished gift from Andrew, a mini Martin guitar (the Ed Shereen edition!) that was returned to me by a stranger who made no more than probably five dollars per day. It continued with walking and singing for a couple of miles with our family to baptize 14 new believers and setting up the Jesus film for families in our community while we all peeled potatoes and prepared food for our celebration the next day, then driving home on a motorcycle with my husband at 8:30 p.m. and just barely escaping an armed robbery by FARDC soldiers next to a dark, empty field while the rest of our friends spent the night in the church.
When Andrew and I came home, we held eachother and shared memories about what Christmas was like when we were young. We dreamt about what it will be like for our future family. We chose to make this country our home almost seven years ago, but it took just under seven years to finally feel like this was our home. That night, as I helped cook food for 300 people over coals with ladies from our community while talking about the birth story of Jesus, I couldn't help but conclude that though the world may be tilted toward the rich and powerful, God is tilted toward the underdog, a quote by Yancey.
Home is where the heart is and for awhile, my heart felt very displaced. Andrew used to say 'Home is where we are together, and it grows as we grow as a family,' I didn't understand it then. But now I do.
My three days of Christmas celebrations were some of the best ones yet. We woke up very early to a heartwarming Christmas service that was lead by children in the church. We gave simple gifts like crayons and coloring books to the more than 100 children in the service. It was the first time for some of them to get their own set of crayons and coloring book. We ate beans, potatoes, cabbage and beef for Christmas dinner. Nothing special. But yet so incredibly special.
The day after Christmas I felt like the luckiest lady in the world as I sat in between my husband, Andrew and my spiritual father, Pastor Euclide. They both hugged me and told me how much they loved me. Our familes opened presents together and laughed.
I didn't have a Christmas tree this year.
I didn't have Christmas lights.
In fact, I didn't even hear many Christmas songs.
But I had one of the best Christmas's I've ever had.