Our First Christmas In Africa

This was an odd Christmas for us, for many reasons. It wasn’t bad, just different. It was our first Christmas in Africa. It was our first Christmas without our daughter, Maddy. It was our first Christmas without a tree in 12 years.

Most of the evangelical churches and individual Christians in EG don’t celebrate Christmas. Depending on who you ask, the reasons are: Christmas is too pagan, too Catholic, it is not in the Bible, it is not Jesus’ real birthday, etc. The secular culture in EG celebrates with lights, trees and presents. Because of drunk drivers the government has made it illegal to drive on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.

So, what did we do? We had a Christmas Eve dinner with a few of our non-EG friends. We finished reading from Mike’s advent devotional. We talked to our daughter a little via the internet, and we stayed home, on our hot little patio and read Scripture and watched movies.

Erin’s cooking, decorations, and Christmas music (playing since October) have made it a little more festive for us. On Christmas day it was 93 degrees, and 63% humidity, for a feels like temperature of 104.

So, it was odd, a little sad, but we had each other and we had the Risen King. And, we were happy our daughter spent the Christmas break with Mike’s family in California.

About Mike

Mike, 49, grew up in California and spent 38 years of his life there. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike worked in the California State Senate for 12 years. He became a Christian at the age of 20. Mike was a Ruling Elder at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church(PCA) for seven years. While at Soaring Oaks, Mike served as the Director of the High School Youth Group, Sunday school teacher, and instructor of evangelism. His cross-cultural missions experience includes five short term trips to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru (Lima and Cusco) through Mission to the World (MTW). He has volunteered with World Relief by teaching and counseling international refugees. Mike has also attended cross-cultural church planting conferences in New York and Orlando and completed the Perspectives course on the World Christian Movement. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for two years. He is a certified instructor through Evangelism Explosion and is a certified trainer of the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. He completed MTW‘s Disaster Response Training. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. Mike received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike was a Ruling Elder, Youth Group Leader, adult Sunday school teacher and evangelism instructor at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church in Elk Grove, CA. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. From 2007 to 2017 Mike served as a fulltime missionary for MTW. Mike served as Team Leader, Church Planter, and Seminary Professor. Mike and his wife Erin served in Honduras in Central America and Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. Mike currently serves as the Director of the MTW West Coast Hub where he trains and mentors new missionaries from CA, AZ, & NV. Mike is also busy writing his next book.
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