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DAy 4

Well, the temperature is still hovering in the negative digits; we’ll all celebrate when we pass zero degrees!  We’re wearing coats to breakfast.  But the kids give us enough hugs to keep us warm.

Today is Christmas in Russia, and is a special day in the orphanage.  The highlight of the day is a Christmas celebration, which we felt honored to participate in.  There was a performance by the children which featured the arrival of Father Frost with his granddaughter, a circle dance around the Christmas tree, and much singing and reciting of poems.  The Russian culture is rich in music, literature and storytelling.  Our contribution was to sing Christmas carols.  Some government officials gave speeches, and the Orthodox priest told a story illustrating that we serve Jesus when we serve those in need.  All the children received boxes of candy; Russian chocolates are the best!

We went around to the family groups and had prayer and hug time.  It’s very touching to stand in a circle and pray for and with the children.  They then go around the circle for hugs from each of us; some of the kids show up several times in one night.  You can never get too many hugs.  We were especially honored to be invited by one of the caregivers to join her for an evening tea party.  We all went to bed pleasantly full with cakes, cookies, fruits and tea.

It is a blessing to be here and to see the children beginning to connect with us.  It is a special experience to feel we are the arms of Jesus every day to hurting kids.