Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Feliz Natal!

We would like to wish you and your family a
Feliz Natal!
(Which means Merry Christmas in Portuguese.) 

May you be blessed this Christmas with joy, peace, hope, and immense love as you draw near to God and celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ.

With Love,
Laura, Felipe, Sophia & Jessie

p.s.  If you did not get a chance to see the cute Christmas story I shared yesterday here on the blog, we invite you to read it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Eve Presents

Today I have a very special guest writer on our blog - my mom!  
I wanted to share a cute Christmas story she wrote and enclosed with her Christmas cards this year. 
We hope you enjoy!

This year four year old Sophia is visiting us from Brazil with her two year old sister, Jessie, and her parents, Laura and Felipe, who serve as missionaries there. This is Sophia’s first experience of the American way of celebrating Christmas, with all its extravagance and commercialism. She has been excited and fascinated by the lights and trees and decorations and presents. We have all been making a conscious effort to focus on the real reason for celebrating, and have provided opportunities for her to show love to others through sharing. She shopped for items for Operation Christmas Child boxes and participated in packing the boxes at church. On the last Sunday in November she helped select food items from my pantry to donate to people who need food. She has been happily creating cards and presents for family members and helping wrap presents. She was thrilled when she went with Grandpa to cut down a cedar tree, especially for her, from the field at the farm. She now has her very own six foot live Christmas tree, named Merry. We also took her Christmas caroling to visit home-bound church members.

Last week Laura’s friends, Casey and Jeff, sent Sophia a special Christmas card. It arrived addressed to Sophia, in a bright green envelope, lined with shiny paper. Inside, Sophia found an adorable stand up reindeer and ten dollars. She loved everything about this special surprise. She kept looking at the envelope with her name on the front.  She had never before received a personally addressed item in the mail. (Mailing anything to Brazil is a lengthy and expensive, not to mention sometimes fruitless, process.) She looked at the shiny envelope lining over and over again. She carried the reindeer around the house with her, setting him on tables and shelves to use as a decoration. She counted her money, a five dollar bill and five one dollar bills.  Without a doubt, this simple gift sent with love brought Sophia much joy.

            We asked her what she planned to do with the money, and her immediate response was, “Buy Christmas Eve Presents.”  Laura and I both asked her what she meant by Christmas Eve Presents. She replied emphatically, “You know! Christmas Eve Presents!!”  But neither of us knew what she wanted to buy. 

            “Grandpa knows,” she continued. “He’s a good knower!! Ask Grandpa!” So we did ask Grandpa and he did know. He quickly explained that a Christmas Eve Present is one present you get to open on Christmas Eve. He also reminded her that Grammy opened one present on Christmas Eve when she was a little girl, and Mommy and her sisters each opened one present on Christmas Eve when they were little, too.
            “Oh, Sophie,” I added. “You choose a present you get to open on Christmas Eve that someone else put under the tree for you.  You don’t buy one for yourself to open.”
            “No, Grammy! I am going to buy Christmas Eve Presents for Ben and Will (her cousins) and Jessie. I want to give THEM a Christmas Eve Present!!”

            I think we have succeeded and getting the message about sharing over to her this Christmas. She may even have a few lessons to teach us all. We took her shopping to buy Christmas Eve Presents and she selected presents for everyone! 

Wishing you and yours all the joys of this blessed season.

Ernice Bookout

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November Memories

During our furlough in the USA I will be posting photos each month of the various things we are doing during this special time.  We hope you enjoy seeing some of the memories we made in November!

Just a few days after we arrived we visited my grandma Bookout's grave, as it was the two year anniversary of her heaven-going.

We are staying at my parent's house in Rock Hill, SC, and Sophia is SO enjoying cooking with her Grammy.

Jessie has been enjoying dominating Grandpa's big chair in the living room! 

In downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Fun times with Sophia during a special Mommy-Daughter-Grammy-Auntie date!

Cousin Fun!

Doing yard work in the fall! Felipe's first time blowing leaves.

The girls loved playing in the leaves! 

On Thanksgiving day (after we ate tons) we took a walk on the Bookout farm land which used to belong to my Grandma Bookout, but now belongs to my dad.

We also explored areas of the field by pick-up truck.

My sister's beautiful cat, who also came to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with us.

Another trip to the Bookout land to chop down a Christmas tree.

Sophia picked out the perfect tree!

Another first for Felipe - cutting down a Christmas tree.

The tree is up!

Decorating the tree with Grammy! 

We ended the month sharing about our missions work in Brazil and teaching Sunday School to a great bunch of kids at Bethesda Presbyterian.

Advent has begun!  It is so special for me to be in the USA during this special season of celebrating Christ's coming. I am extremely thankful!