Thursday, December 26, 2013

November-December Gilmore Gazette: Merry Day after Christ-mas & Happy New Year!

Dear Friends & Family,

We waited until today to send out our newsletter because we wanted to give you time. We wanted to give ourselves a little margin this month. November and December are always full, full, full as we struggle to balance our own family traditions and celebrations with the biggest season for selling The Haitian Bead Project jewelry and also for connecting with partners for Christian Friendship Ministries.

In November, we took a short trip to Haiti with three friends: Nancy Willey, her granddaughter, Zoe Casperite, and Regina Gleaves. Our focus for this trip was to work on some new products with the artisans in The Haitian Bead Project and to spend time with the children in the orphanages. The trip was truly brimming with blessings. Some of the highlights included: listening to the women lift their voices to heaven during our devotional times with them, a Movie/Game Night we had with the orphanage kids even when the power went out, when our friend Dartiquenov would come to the house to tell stories about Grandma and Grandpa Bell, Ericlee train the new coaches for the athletic gym we’re building in Pignon and Regina meeting the little girl her family is hoping to adopt.

After our trip, we flew home and a swirl of activity began for the holidays. Dorina and the Bead Project were a part of 10 holiday events in the last two months. Ericlee hosted the 4th Annual Haiti Decathlon with 75 competitors, raising more than $5,000 at CrossFit Combat Fitness gym. Our Zayla turned two on November 19, and we slipped a little birthday party in there with a monkey theme.

One fun addition this December was a little project we did with our girls. Each year we have allowed them to choose a gift from the World Vision catalog to give to a family or child in need somewhere in the world. This year the girls wanted to get involved with raising the money. They put their heads together with Nana Maria and did a cookies fundraiser. We hoped to raise $60 and sell about 12 dozen cookies. In the end, they filled orders for 56 dozen Italian pizzelle cookies and were able to buy a goat and chickens through World Vision. Admittedly, it was hard work but such an amazing lesson for Meilani and Giada to see how God does immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine especially when we choose to BE the gift to someone else!

This Christmas we had the special gift of celebrating in Fresno with Dorina’s whole family (parents, sister and kids from Seattle, brother and family from Los Angeles) and Ericlee’s parents. It’s been chaotic, loud and fun to stay (and eat!) all together. We have loved making memories and upholding traditions like attending Meilani’s winter program at school, walking Christmas Tree Lane, caroling and delivering treats with our life group, performing our own version of the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, making homemade ravioli with the family for Christmas Day, blowing out candles and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and much more to come.

Next week we are headed to San Diego for some much-needed respite with our kids. We skipped presents this year and instead found a great deal to take them to Legoland/Sea Life Aquarium. Some dear friends are allowing us to “house sit” for them so our lodging is free! Please pray for us to have some true rest and quality family time next week before we launch into a new year of ministry.

We leave you with this reflection: It’s the Day after Christmas that we all really have to choose to open The gift. When scraps of wrapping paper litter the floor, the branches of the tree droop a little, the thrill of the kids first opening their gifts has worn off;  when you wake up scratchy-throat tired and you find yourself digging through the refrigerator for leftovers and staring down the bills, that’s when you really have to decide. That’s the moment of truth when you have to choose to believe in the Greatest Gift of Christmas. Otherwise, it all just passes quickly into a new year. The excitement of Christmas fades. There is no fulfillment after the pomp and circumstance unless you choose to call Christ your King.

We wish each one of you a meaningful Christmas and a blessed New Year! We are grateful for your continued prayers and support as we serve in Haiti and in Fresno.

Wrapped in His Grace,

Ericlee, Dorina, Meilani, Giada and Zayla

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