Saturday, December 29, 2012

December Gilmore Gazette: Contemplating Christmas between cultures

Dear Family & Friends,

December has been full for our family. At times, it felt like an overstuffed suitcase - zippers straining and fabric stretching. Ericlee's focus at the start of the month was putting on the 3rd Annual Haiti Decathlon at the Crossfit Combat Fitness gym on December 1. The event doubled in size with 85 competitors raising $2,500 for Haiti's schools. Ericlee loves the way God used a fitness/CrossFit event to get a new group of people interested in the work He is doing in Haiti. Ericlee and Dorina joined the other competitors as they raced to perform exercises like pullups, dips, jump rope, flipping tractor tires and more.

Dorina was busy this month juggling mommy duties, Haitian Bead Project jewelry events and Christmas parties. Both November and December were very fruitful months for the Haitian Bead Project. Dorina and a host of volunteers sold jewelry at boutiques, tea parties, M.O.P.S. groups, Christmas open houses, and dinners. We were so blessed by volunteers also willing to share the jewelry in other states like Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Arkansas and even other parts of California. One highlight for Dorina was speaking about the project to the Mothers in Christ group at Trinity Community Presbyterian Church in Fresno. Dorina also shared 12 stories of the Haitian artisans on the new web site, celebrating what God is doing to transform lives in Haiti through this project. If you're interested in reading more details, check out the series here. The project is certainly growing and we are praying for discernment on how to keep it sustained in new markets.

Would you be interested in hosting a jewelry OPEN HOUSE or having the jewelry at your work place or special event in 2013?

Giada sings with the Preschool crew at The Bridge Church to celebrate Christmas.
Our month was also full of family time and Christmas traditions as we had the gift of spending the holidays in Fresno. Some highlights included: going to see the Nutcracker Ballet with Meilani, Giada and Nana; walking Christmas Tree Lane as a family; hosting a 12 Days of Christmas potluck party for the mamas and kids who are a part of our Go Mama Workout group on Wednesdays; making homemade gifts at Craftopia Craft Studio, performing our Christmas story play with both sides of the family on Christmas Day and sledding at Shaver Lake. Dorina's sister Caron and niece Sophie have been with us for the past week. We will head down to the L.A. area to visit Dorina's brother and his family for New Year's Eve and Day.

Dorina and Nana Maria took Giada and Meilani for a Girls' Date to see The Nutcracker Ballet in Fresno. They were dancing pirouettes through the aisles and even got to meet some of the dancers.

Although we do treasure all the time with family and our California community, we do feel our hearts sometimes wandering to thoughts of Haiti. We know our friends there celebrate with a different focus. The whole week preceding Christmas our Haitian friends gathered at church for musical programs. Our dear friend, Walquis, the music director there has been busy rehearsing all month with the many choirs. The event is not the gifts like it is in many American households, but the time to worship together. Our girls' hearts have been longing for Haiti too. We hear it in 3-year-old Giada's prayers for her Haitian friends and 6-year-old Meilani's stash of well-loved toys she's set aside to share with the kids in the orphanage. We understand that this constant longing - whether we are in Haiti or the U.S. - is part of the role God is calling us to as a "bridge family" living across cultures.

One-year-old Zayla bites into a Christmas ornament. It doesn't take much to delight this little girl.

We are planning our next trip to Haiti at the end of January. We will be taking all three of our girls this time along with a team of friends from Trinity Community Church. That team will be led by Richard and Gina Wathen. The team will be helping build bunk beds and other furniture for the new orphanage building in St. Raphael. Gina will be helping Dorina work with the women of The Haitian Bead Project. We covet your prayers as we prepare new friends and our family for this trip.

As 2012 comes to a close, will you consider supporting us monthly or giving an extra gift toward our Haiti travel fund? Our family of five will be traveling to Haiti in January and July, and travel is always expensive. We need to raise $6,000 for the January trip. Maybe you can't make a trip to Haiti yourself but you would consider helping us continue the work serving God in Haiti? You can donate online here. Just add our name "GILMORES" in the Memo line when you checkout through Paypal or feel free to mail a check to CFM, P.O. Box 27584, Fresno, CA 93729. You will receive a tax-deductible receipt either way!

The kids in The Bridge Christian Children's Home orphanage pose outside the Mission House in Pignon, Haiti. The Gilmores will visit them in January.

We have enjoyed seeing all your faces on Christmas cards and Facebook. We wish you a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! We are so grateful to have you in our community support. Not a month goes by that we are not surprised by God's provision through the generosity of each of you!

Because Christ's Love Compels Us,
Ericlee, Dorina, Meilani, Giada and Zayla

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