Hello from the Kneppers! Although our season greetings come very late we hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! These past few weeks for us have been pretty busy and now we wanted to let you know about how everything went!
In the past my family’s Christmas usually consisted of staying in our pajamas all day and enjoying our time at home with one another. We’d give gifts, eat goodies, watch movies, play board games, and of course we would have with a lovely Christmas dinner.
As a family we enjoyed Christmas day together on the 22nd. It was great to be able to share my first Christmas with the Quarles family! We had yummy waffles, watched a bad cheesy movie (which was hilarious) and ate plenty of sweets and delicious food. We really enjoyed our time together and it was great to have a day of rest before we started all the preparations for our Christmas programs.
In Ciorani we had a Christmas eve program and and on Christmas we had one in Valeni. Before each of the programs we took a group of kids out and we went caroling to various houses in the area. After singing a few songs we would hand the family a plate of home-made cookies and invite them along to our Christmas program which involved a play of Jesus’ birth that the kids were a part of. It was busy preparing for it all; getting decorations up, costumes ready, and cookies all baked and wrapped. In the end Ruth and I had made around 4-500 cookies (the most cookies I’ve ever made) and that was only a small part in all the cookies we handed out to families in the area. Both meetings were really special and the kids did a marvelous job with the plays (Alice and Ruth did a great job with the organizing!). In Ciorani I even got to be a part of the play! I was the inn-keeper and my house was a puppet stage that I had to crawl out of to show Mary and Joseph to my stables (it was a part intended for a much shorter inn keeper and therefore quite hilarious).
Before we started all our preparations I wasn’t really looking forward to all the busyness that was coming, but after it was all said and done I can say that I really enjoyed it all. I loved getting to visit so many families and sing of Jesus’ birth and to give them a plate of cookies that so many people had worked so hard to make.
A precious moment that I want to share happened while we were caroling in Ciorani. While we were passing a home I saw a little girl run out and start waving and calling Ruth and I. To my surprise it was one of the girls that was part of our class during the Summer VBS outreaches! As we came and sang songs to her Mom and sisters this girl just held my hand and jumped up and down with the biggest smile on her face. It was so good to see her again and to see some of the fruit of this past summer! Pray for the children here!
New years was really cold. Ruth and I went down to Ciorani to be apart of the church get together there. We as a church had lovely food, watched a slide show of past photos (quite hilarious), we had a puppet show, sang songs, and before twelve o’clock we all went to the centre (of Ciorani) to watch fireworks. Man it was cold, (around -18 to -20 degrees Celsius or 0 to -4 F) the very air you breathed would freeze in your nostrils (the coldest weather I think I’ve been in since I was a kid in Ohio). Despite the cold the fireworks were really pretty good! You would think that for a place like Ciorani their idea of fireworks would be almost embarrassing but I was delightfully surprised!
In other news
We’re excited for this new year. I’ve asked a few of the young guys here if they wanted to start meeting up on a regular basis and simply going through the Bible as a type of discipleship together. We’ll read around 7 Chapters a week and then meet up to talk about it and pray together. I’m excited to have this type of opportunity as I’ve always loved meeting up with brothers in Christ and being built up by the Word.
God continues to bless our time with our neighbors. Just recently they decided that they wanted to read and talk about the Bible together. So we’ve started in Matthew and we’ve already read to chapter 14! It is so great to read and talk about the different things Jesus said and did. It was such a blessing and we’re excited to continue on reading God’s word together! Pray that God would continue to bless our time together.
We are also looking forward to the Spring and Summer; as a team here we are already praying and planning about possible programs this Summer. There’s talk of a couple different teams coming out to help and so that opens up more opportunities. We ask for your prayer in all our planning! May we be empowered and led by God’s Spirit in all that we plan and do.
Also in the first week of February we are planning to have a youth night in Ciorani while the teenagers have a week off school. Do keep this in your prayers! We’ll bring the group from Valeni down to Ciorani for a night or two and it should be a really good time. Pray that the Lord would be working on the hearts of the youth here and that He would give them a hunger for Him and a desire to do His will.
We love you all and thank you for your prayers and support. Often times we think about you all and I know my heart often longs to be with you all in person. May God bless you and keep you in the work that He has set before you!
Aden and Ruth Knepper