Merry Christmas to you all! I’m writing this on Thursday but probably won’t be able to send it for several days, so you may not get it until Christmas or after. Our next few days will be full– tomorrow is a church members’ Christmas party at the Smiths’ which will probably be an all-day affair because they’re killing their big pig and we’re having a mumu; Friday we missionaries will be getting together in the evening at the Smiths’ to sing Christmas carols around the piano, then all coming here to the hausmeri (lit. “house woman”– i.e. Karen’s and my house) for Christmas dinner on Saturday. Next week the Sunday School kids’ Christmas party is on Tuesday (I’m helping with games, which should be most fun); Tuesday evening fellowship and Wednesday afternoon prayer meeting like usual; then on Friday a big Christmas mumu at church.

I’ve had a hard time lately thinking of interesting things to tell you about, mainly because I’ve been doing a lot of pretty mundane things like entering grades and cleaning and doing laundry and yard work. However, last night I did have a first that may interest you. I’ve told you about our evangelistic fellowships in a different hauslain every Tuesday night. Yesterday was KVK. (I don’t know what that stands for and I’m not sure anyone does… it’s just the name of the group of houses near our church building.) The fellowship was held in a new house, and there were lots of people there– a real blessing because lots of the fellowships recently have only had 2-3 non-church folks. Please pray that the unsaved folks who attended will remember what they heard (about why we should rejoice/celebrate at Christmas) and that they will come to Christ. After the singing and preaching was over, Pol (the song leader) said for everybody to stay because our hosts had prepared food for us. One of the guys from church, Aira, went outside and came back with a bunch of leaves to use for plates. Then out came some big pots with kaukau (kind of like sweet potatoes– I think it’s really good!) and kumu (greens) and karuka, which was the main item of interest because I’d never had it but everybody here just loves it, and it’s evidently just now coming into season. Karen and I have been discussing the best way to describe it, and today at lunch over our leftover homemade pizza and breadsticks we decided that it looks like Marinara sauce (the stuff you dip breadsticks in), only brighter red (according to Karen; last night I couldn’t see it too well because it was dark) and chock-full of seeds that look like small almond slivers. The main difference, however, is that it doesn’t taste at all like Marinara sauce or anything else I’ve ever tasted, except maybe Paloni in Zambia, which is another story in itself… I won’t share what Karen said it tastes like :-)… it’s a strong, bitter/sour/acidy taste. I’m convinced that the folks here like it kind of like some people like coffee… they have some at first for reasons other than what it tastes like and then eventually grow to like it, even though it’s awful! To eat Karuka you put a bunch in your mouth… sorry, no silverware– you probably don’t want to use that fork stuck in the pitpit wall anyway!… suck out the juice and spit out the seeds. I have to admit that I felt like a little kid, because though I did eat at least half of my portion I spread the rest out on the leaf so it looked like I was done! I felt like I had it all over my face, and when I asked Mrs. Smith (who was sitting next to me and by some unknown-to-me art gracefully ate hers without getting a bit on hands or face!) she said it just looked like I had overdone it on the lipstick. Great– just what I was going for! (NOT!) I guess that’s one good reason to be glad it was dark! 🙂

Maybe I’ll add to this if I get a chance before sending it off… Hope you have a great day!

(Saturday) Merriest Christmas greetings to you all! It’s Christmas morning and I’m about to send this off. I don’t have time to write about all the above-mentioned events of the last few days in detail, but they all went well. We’re looking forward to a good team Christmas dinner today. Just got out of Saturday morning prayer meeting at church. Hope you have a blessed Christmas day!


“O use me, Lord, use even me, Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where….” -Frances Ridley Havergal

To check email in Kiari, I carry my computer about a mile down the mountain to church and stand holding it on the edge of a windy overlook where a fitful cell phone signal connects me to the outside world. ☺ Due to this limited connection (literally watching emails come in a kilobyte at a time!), I have to limit the file size of incoming messages. Plain text—even a long letter—will come through just fine, but pictures or attachments really up the message size and generally won’t make it through the filter unless I’ve specifically asked for them. So, in other words, leave off all the “extras”—but do still write! ☺