Christmas in Togo

Josh and Beth Paulick on January 3, 2021

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:3-9 (emphasis mine).  
    It is so interesting how much when God wants you to learn something how he shows you in so many different areas.  We have been doing an advent book with the kids at dinner and one of the weeks we talked about joy.  We talked about how joy is different than happiness because it doesn’t change, even with circumstances, joy can still be present, and joy comes from within.  We can have this joy through Jesus Christ.  I have been also doing a Bible study on 1 Peter with some of the other ladies here and this section was one that really stuck out to me as well, which was also a passage of scripture that was used during our church’s Christmas program (Washington Heights Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio).  We are so thankful we can have this joy, even when circumstances are hard.  
    Although this was not our first Christmas overseas, it was our first in Togo, and it did not feel like Christmas as far as the weather goes.  We had a wonderful Christmas, with a Christmas Eve service, and for Christmas we had all the other missionary kids over for a gift exchange while the parents had their white elephant gift exchange.

ChristmasEve2020 Christmas Eve Service

      The kids had a Christmas program for the team, and had so much fun doing it.  We had a lot of fun watching it too.  Elijah was a shepherd named “Jesse,” and Avery was “Mary.”  The play was “Sheep in Heavenly Peace.”  They were also able to go and sing to the people in the cuisine before the Jesus film was played.  The cuisine is where people who have been “discharged” from the hospital but need to stay local for treatments, or for the family members of the patients in the hospital.  We were also so blessed to have the kids teacher spend Christmas with us as well.  The kids loved having her here and we enjoyed it as well!

christmasplay2020 Missionary Kids after the Christmas Program

    We know this Christmas has looked so different this year for so many people.  I was reading an article recently about being caught in the “middle” and it feels so much more evident this year.  We are truly blessed that COVID hasn’t affected us more and we pray that it continues like this.  We do still follow the government guidelines and had to be mindful of them, but we were still able to meet, and get together with other people.  We were blessed in that, but we know that it isn’t like that everywhere.  We are still praying for so many people who have been affected by this.  Our kids still pray almost every night at dinner that no one else would get “the virus.”  
    We miss you all and pray that you had a merry Christmas and were able to find joy even through circumstances that are hard!  

Praises and Prayer…
1.). Pray that we can share this “joy that is inexpressible” with those around us, and we would be understood!  (Language learning is still challenging!)
2.). Praise for a Christmas that was really so much a blessing to us!
3.). Pray that we can still find a balance with ministry and family life.
4.). Our kids said, “a Praise that they got to go sing at the cuisine, have “Aunt” Amanda over for Christmas, and that Jesus came as a baby to save us all.”  What better way is there to sum up our praises this month? :)