Mickeal and Sharon Quillman • Zambia
With the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to take the time to wish each one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We know this time of year is very busy, and we don’t want to get lost in the chaos. This will be our first holiday season away from our children, but we are planning to attend their celebrations “virtually.” With an 8 and 10-hour time difference between us and our kids, that means we will be calling late in the evening to be present for their festivities.
Things are ramping up for Christmas here. The stores are all decorated with trees and ornaments. Even the music in the grocery store has changed to Christmas. Unlike our daughter, who decorates for Christmas on Nov. 1, we always waited until after Thanksgiving, but this year we started looking for a tree to decorate earlier, just so it feels like home.
On our drive to our house each day, we pass a family that has six or seven children. This family is living in a mud brick house with no roof, windows or doors. Each time we pass, the kids are happily playing in the front yard and love waving at the “Makua” (white person in Tonga). Occasionally, we stop and give all the kids suckers. This is why we say there are six or seven kids because sometimes we give six and sometimes seven. One of the children may be a neighbor. This sparked a conversation between the two of us about the things we are thankful for this year and some things we miss from back home.
For Christmas, our tradition was to wake up and go to a nearby town where we put together meals and fed people in need of a hand up. Sharon and I always knew it was one of our favorite things to do, but one year we decided to skip the meal so we could spend more time with our kids as they were getting older and would soon be moving out. The disappointment when we mentioned this to our children was evident. So, guess where we ended up spending Christmas day — at the center feeding people in need and making memories our children still talk about. Even if there isn’t an opportunity like that near you already, it doesn’t mean you can’t make one.
We found a live turkey we could purchase in Makunka village, but for Thanksgiving this year we didn’t have a big feast. We decided to have a small meal of chicken, dressing, potatoes and rolls — oh, and of course gravy! Instead of spending the extra money on food for us, we provided a meal for a family God laid on our hearts. For them, it’s not going to be a turkey or mashed potatoes. It will be a bag of Mealie (ground corn), greens, tomatoes and a chicken. We encourage you to take the time driving home from work to pray and ask God if there is a family you could adopt. As much as they will be blessed, you will be blessed all the more.
Thank you so much for being a part of our journey, and we pray you have a wonderful and safe holiday season!