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Things are busy just now, as this is the week of the Pastor Training School. A few months ago Rachel and Iris took over the cooking and serving of the meals at the school. This is a rather large undertaking. We serve 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners to a group which can range in size rather significantly from month to month, but is generally around 40 – 50 people. The cooking is done at Russell and Iris’ house in town, so Rachel just stays there from Monday until Thursday during the week of the school. This month Bethany is there, too, as an apprentice cook/helper.

Kirstin is returning to the US this week after a very short 1 month visit with us. While here she helped Gus work on his writing skills and gave Rachel driving lessons. She took the kids swimming in the river and at the hot water springs. We enjoyed her visit immensely, and we’re not ready to let her go, but she seems to think her schooling and her job are important, so she’s adamant about heading back.

Now, as mentioned in the title, I’m going to take a moment to remind everyone that the Gifts for Gracias Christmas gift project is underway. (Info on the Gifts for Gracias Project is found here.) To get you into the gift-giving spirit, I thought I’d share some photos from previous gift distributions.

The town of Quelacasque is an extremely poor area, and for unknown reasons there is an especially high incidence of children born with mental retardation and other birth defects in and around the town. We are involved with a number of families in Quelacasque through our program for special needs families, and so we traveled there to deliver Christmas gifts and family gifts to those in the program. They came out to meet us, dressed up in their very best. These first pictures are from the distribution of gifts in Quelacasque (in 2008, I think).

The following photo shows a group of children living in one of the orphanages in the nearby city of Santa Rosa de Copan. The pictures on the Gifts for Gracias info page were also taken at this orphanage.

Here’s a photo of a typical family gift box. The family gifts are full of practical items, such as toiletries, office/school supplies, backpacks, sweaters, socks, bedding, towels, kitchen items, etc. Family gifts are given to pastors and their wives (shoebox gifts are given to their children), and also to the special needs families.

As a final note, I want to draw attention to the mailing deadline for the project – it is October 1st this year. We need family gifts, shoebox gifts, items which can be used to create those gifts here (like a bulk purchase of pencils, pens and crayons, a pile of ball caps, a bag full of new socks, etc), and we also want good used clothing, shoes and bedding. Warm bedding and warm clothing (especially sweaters and jackets) are among our most appreciated gifts. Lists of suggested items to donate or to include in gifts and mailing addresses are available on the Gifts for Gracias info page.

Thanks for taking part! Don’t forget, there will be a fun give-away announced soon! I’ll be drawing a name from a list of those who participate in the Gifts for Gracias project in some way – like writing about the project on your blog (with a link to the info posted here), getting your home church, Bible study group, homeschool co-op, or whatever other group you might be a part of involved, or simply letting me know that you’re making a donation personally. More on this to come in just a few days.