Par-ty! That’s what we did for three days straight and it was so much fun to be with the King’s Children and Graduates.
The King’s Children participated in two parties, one on Friday with their classmates from school (funded separately) and another private one just for them on Sunday after a beautiful church service, held in the conference room of King’s Hospital.
On Saturday we had a separate party for the Graduates, young adults who have aged out of the Garden. They entertained us via singing songs and a brief presentation by one about how his life has recently been altered by God; we had a beautifully prepared lunch of salad, rice and beans, pasta and cheese casserole, and chicken and of course a bottle of soda. Later Dr. Morquette came and gave them an inspirational Christmas message that held the Graduates captivated. Then it was time for a little soccer playing; cutting and enjoying two cakes (one vanilla and the other chocolate); opening gifts; and finally fond farewells. The Graduates loved their new shoes, which all fit, and the other gifts that they received. The young men received a pair of sunglasses and the young ladies a lotion and a bracelet. Jim videotaped a few of the Graduates and their stories were so touching; they are so thankful to God for their sponsors and very much aware of how different life would be without that precious support. We were so humbled by the Graduates desire and prayers for God to bless their sponsors.
As mentioned above, the private party for the King’s children was held on Sunday after church. One of the older girls read the Christmas story from the Creole Jesus storybook and then we attempted a craft of creating the manger scene from popsicle sticks; it was a little more difficult than anticipated but they enjoyed putting Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the manger! We played Christmas music on the boom box and danced. When it was time for lunch, we all chowed down as it was again another beautiful meal replete with rice and beans and chicken. Afterwards, we played various games with hula hoops, duck duck goose, and big fish little fish. Finally, it was time to open presents. The children all received two pairs of brand new shoes – a sandal and a gym shoe and then age appropriate gifts. The young boys receiving a lego toy, coloring book, and crayons or markers and the young girls received a tiara, coloring book and crayons or markers. The older girls received lotion, markers and stationery and the older boys received sunglasses and markers. All of them received a snack bag of Pringles and cookies, a balloon, punching ball and a glider. The younger children loved chasing and batting the balloons and the older children relished the punching balls; all of them enjoyed the gliders. Finally it was time to call it a day but they were so preoccupied with their toys that there were no tears (thank goodness), plus they knew that we would return in the morning for a couple hours.
Monday, our day of departure, we returned to the Garden for more fun with balloons and gliders. It was so great to see them enjoying their gifts and to just hang out. This time with the children was such a joy!
We praise God for a great trip and everything coming together so well, that the gifts made it there without being broken or stolen (especially after one customs official took an interest in our shoes). Most of all we are so thankful for the time spent with the King’s Children and Graduates who are so thankful for how they have been blessed and especially for their sponsors, who make it all possible. Their gratitude is overwhelming!