Merry Christmas from the Pettengill family. If you didn’t receive our 2017 Christmas card in your e-mail inbox HERE it is.
It is incredible to have Maddy with us. Last year was our first ever Christmas without her. It is nice to be back together for a few weeks.
In the past 12-years our family has spent Christmas in England, Panama, Honduras, Equatorial Guinea, and the U.S. It makes having traditions hard. But, with Christ at the center of our celebration together it provides the inspiration we need.
Our merry band of three wishes you and your family a very Christ-centered Christmas.
“Christmas can be celebrated in the school room with pine trees, tinsel and reindeers, but there must be no mention of the man whose birthday is being celebrated. One wonders how a teacher would answer if a student asked why it was called Christmas.” – Ronald Reagan
“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep holidays than Commandments.” – Benjamin Franklin
“God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Christmas is a time when people of all religions come together to worship Jesus Christ.” – Bart Simpson
“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded empires; but upon what do these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love; and to this very day millions would die for Him.” – Napoleon
“As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene….No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” – Albert Einstein
“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This week our teammates (intern Amy and the Cains) hosted a kids Christmas celebration in our newest church plant site, in the community of Las Delicias. The event was held inside the new kindergarten building that our summer short-term mission teams helped build. The kindergarten classes were being held in a 15′ x 20′ wooden shack with a dirt floor. The new facility looks great.
On Wednesday the 25 kids made baby Jesus in a manger out of popsicle sticks and clothes pins. They created their own costumes and masks out of craft materials and then the kids performed a nativity play narrated by our mission team. They also made rainbow bracelets. The hands on craft making was a rare and precious treat for these kids.
The true Christmas story is not well known among Honduran kids. Much of the biblical account of the birth of Christ was new to them and it as amazing to see much of the story told to many of the kids for the first time in its entirety.
On Thursday our team showed the video The Nativity Story in Spanish. Some adults also came out to is the movie of the birth of Christ.
This was an wonderful event for the kids of this super poor community.
“bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13
A late night TV show asked parents to trick their kids and video the response. The parents hid their children’s Halloween candy and “confessed” they had eaten it all. As expected most children responded with screaming, hitting, and flopping to the floor. But, one little girl smiled and responded, “Mommy that makes me really sad…maybe next year we can share my candy…you can make it up to me by spending some time with me.” Hundreds of children expressed what is in all of our hearts, and one little girl shared what is in Jesus’ heart.
God forgives us, even though we had no cause to sin against him. We must forgive others as God has forgiven us. Gossip and hurtful words stir up evil and grieve the Spirit of God. While we are still sinners God reconciled us to himself. He did not first make us sinless. We too are to understand that those with whom we are to reconcile are sinners, yet still beautiful to God.
A man renewed by the blood of Christ acts upon new principles. The believer is created new with a new heart. He is created in Jesus for the purpose of doing good works. We should strive towards the beauty of reconciliation towards the glory of God. Biblical reconciliation begins with one person talking directly to the person who offended him. Reconciliation glorifies God, while an angry, bitter heart robs him of his glory. God’s glory is always more important than our ease and comfort.
Jesus reconciled sinful man with perfect God. Without the blood of Christ we are eternally separated from the Father. No individual’s actions against you could ever be as heinous as your sins against God. If God lovingly forgives us we should glorify him by sharing forgiveness with others.
“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: ‘God with us.’” – John MacArthur
Each Christmas we create original ministry related gifts for our supporting churches and many of our individual supporters. We mail them out as a “thank you” for being such a big part of Team Honduras. In the past we have created and sent out calendars, cookbooks and more.
This year we mailed out a copy of the devotional called The Journey. This devotional includes 20 missions related devotions written by 20 different MTW missionaries serving around the world. It also contains high quality “transportation related” pictures missionaries have taken from around the globe.
Mike participated in the development of The Journey. One of the devotions was written by Mike and two of the photographs are from Team Honduras.
The Journey is visually beautiful and spiritually challenging. We mailed out 50 copies from Honduras to 50 supporters. If you would like to order copies of the devotional from MTW you can get yours HERE.