With the healthy birth of Peter and James being the best of gifts, we already know this Christmas is one that is particularly blessed and memorable. We also know that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is very evident by our continued presence here. Without His grace, we would have left about one month ago!
David and I continue to experience small but significant victories in our struggle with Dili. In this “war of attrition” as one fellow warrior described it, we keep a daily tally of our steps forward or backward, and reckon that we are “slowly… slowly…” (one of Sr. Angela’s favorite expressions) gaining ground.
The English masses that we have been to have been a true blessing for us, as the simplicity and depth of faith of the people here is most humbling. And the Philippino priest is always full of joy and love and insights. The English bible study ended for the year with my first venture into baking. My Australian friend let me use her oven and I baked peanut butter cookies (my options are VERY limited), for our final meeting. They were a big hit!
Now, I have been inspired to bake for the sisters’ Christmas feast and have been lent a stovetop oven to try in my very own kitchen. The oven was brought, Timorese style, on the back of the Princess across the entire city, a 45 minute adventure. That trip represented another BIG victory, facing the city’s chaos of traffic, noise, and dust on the bike. It is truly not for the faint of heart but does give much pleasure to the locals. I often give a royal wave from the saddle of the Princess – it seems to be the fitting thing to do. Next time, however, I wear a dust mask.
Meanwhile, David is signing up as I write this, for Internet service that we can access from our home. With the babies’ arrival, the ability to skype has become more than essential. We pray it works! He was less than encouraged yesterday when the company supplying the service asked him to come back later because they couldn’t access their computers. Sigh. (Late breaking news: it works!)
We will be celebrating Christmas with two different Canossian communities, followed by a tour of the city’s Christmas lights. There are numerous crèche displays around the city, which certainly does set it apart from Indonesia. And, to top it all off, the day after Christmas we are to attend the birthday party of the country’s president Jose Ramos-Horta. No kidding! Sr. Guilhermina is invited and has asked us to go with her. Now how often have you been to a president’s birthday party? I guess we had to come to the end of the world for that experience. Personally, I am looking forward to the air conditioning.
At this moment, Claire and her boyfriend, John, are visiting Mark and Naomi and their new sons in Jerusalem. Are we jealous or what? Really, we are thrilled they can be together and able to enjoy Peter and James. And at such a wonderful time to be in the Holy Land, at the celebration of our Savior’s birth. Let us rejoice together at His coming! A most holy Christmas to you all! Love, Rory (and David)