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Christmas
Burton Family Christmas Photo
When we lived stateside, we visited family at Christmas, shopped for gifts til we dropped, and baked more than any family could eat. We also tried our best to make sure our kids understood that while those things were fun additions to our holiday, Christmas is really about the gift of Jesus.

I never realized how much the traditions and some of those “trappings” meant to me until I no longer had them. Relatives are too far to visit. Shopping and baking here are challenging. In a way, that has been a gift. We are more grateful than ever before for things we used to take for granted.

As I celebrate and thank God for the gift of his Son, I’m also thankful for the many people who pray and support our ministry with MAF so that my family can be the “hands and feet of Jesus” to the people of Congo. I thank God daily for our ministry partners and pray for them, but the week before Christmas something happened that added another dimension to my gratitude.

I had spent a longer than usual day volunteering at a local ministry and left for home late and tired, wondering how I would find the energy to feed and nurture my family. When I reached home my son had done his school work. My husband had folded the clean laundry, washed the dishes, and helped my son with his math homework. God reminded me in that moment that my husband and children are also partners with me in ministry. God called all of us and has a plan for each one of us here. We all sacrifice and help make it possible for each other to do what God has called us to do here.

At Christmas, and throughout the year, I thank God for sending his Son to fulfill the angel’s proclamation to Mary that He would save his people from their sins. I also thank Him for planting me here and for all of my ministry partners, including the ones right here with me.

“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers.” —Philemon 1:4

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