We are wrapping up the holiday season of 2017 more fulfilled and blessed than ever. We kicked the season off by celebrating Thanksgiving at home just the four of us, calm and quiet. Then Maddy headed off to church camp with the youth from Bethel followed immediately by the entire family heading to the coast for our Sunday School class weekend retreat. We came back to Xela to get ready for Maddy's Quince (15th birthday party) which turned out perfectly! She has been so blessed with amazing friends! It was great for our family to participate in this traditional aspect of our culture. The following week found us pulling together last minute details for our annual Christmas at the Shelter party.
Each year we add a little more to the program and this year was no different. We started with an interactive reading of Mary's story and Sarah talked about Mary's decision to place her life in the hands of God's plan for her. We focused on how that obedience brought us the most wonderful gift of Christmas - the miracle of Immanuel 'God with Us'. Gerald then read the Christmas Story from Luke 2 and had a special prayer over the ladies and children. While we all watched Home Alone II filling the house with laughter, Gerald hand-cranked over 50 granizados (snow cones). We ended the evening with gifts for everyone. It is always so much fun to see all the faces light up as everyone opens their gifts. We still can't believe we are the ones who get to be the hands and feet to carry these blessings of love. We returned to the shelter to take them Christmas dinner and several of the ladies were walking around wearing the purses we gave them. It was precious!
We rounded off the next week with two different Christmas Convivios (parties) with our church family...and funny enough, a few birthday parties for friends. We spent Christmas Eve Eve and Christmas Eve with our church family and traditional midnight fireworks with our missionary family.
We certainly hope and pray that your Christmas season was as filled with love and blessings as ours was.
We are eternally grateful for the privilege to live and serve in this precious country and to those of you who make our lives and ministry possible. Woodlawn Baptist Church who are so faithful to give each year so we can buy gifts and food for the shelter, each financial partner for your faithful giving which allows us to live and thrive in Guatemala and to each person who lovingly prays for us. We could not do this without each one of you reading this newsletter who give, love and pray for us. Your sacrifice is eternal. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Gerald and Sarah Lastrapes
Along with their two children are missionaries in Guatemala. They will be sharing stories of discipleship through prison and shelter ministries.