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Pictures from Mike and Anita James

Mike and Anita James

Reaching Children – Training Leaders

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Jan '14

Christmas in the Same Room

The way that our mission organization works, we are in America 1 out of every 5 years.  It’s not always ideal, but we’ve gotten used to it. Because it’s pretty expensive to fly from The Netherlands to America very often – especially for three people – we normally fly once in the four years away.  It’s expensive, but it’s worth it to see family.

In the year that we are here, we are very busy because of traveling and fundraising.  Because we do that on the weekend and Grace is in school, going to see my family doesn’t happen all that often.  So, we really cherish it when we can all be together.  Such was the case with Christmas.  Well, almost everyone was there.  It gets harder when the grandchildren get older and have jobs.  One of my nephews couldn’t be there.  nevertheless, it was wonderful being in the same room with everyone.  Let me explain how Christmas usually works for us:

Christmas morning: wake up and have homemade cinnamon rolls, open presents, chill out at home and finally, go have dinner with friends.

Some time in the Christmas holiday : Skype/Facetime with family.  We send presents to them, and they send some to us.  With today’s technology, we are able to watch each other open the gifts.  It’s not the same as being in the same room, but it’s the closest we can get.  For my family, they set up an iPad in the middle of the room on a table.  When it’s their turn to open a gift, they come to the middle of the room and face the iPad while they open it.  I joked that we should sit in the middle of the room and they should all bow before us to open their gifts.  For some reason, they didn’t agree.  When we are finished, we close our computer/iPad and go about our business.  We usually talk with a few people, but after an hour or so, we are finished with our family time.

Christmas with Mike's family last year

Christmas with Mike’s family last year – It’s good but not quite the same as really being with them.

For our year here with family, one of my greatest gifts was being in the same room with them.  It sounds strange, I’m sure, but in the same room, you can hug and kiss them.  You can have a conversation with one or more people and hear them without any internet delay or something/someone loud in the background drowning out what you are saying.  You can help cook the meals and help clean up.  You can play games and joke around.   What gifts we received!

Grace playing games with some of her cousins - one of the things you can only do in the same room.

Grace playing games with some of her cousins – one of the things you can only do in the same room.

When we talk about The Netherlands, we are often asked about the weather.  We say that it rains a lot, which it definitely does – especially compared to here.  When people look at us like it must be awful, we explain that it makes you appreciate the sun when it’s out so much more and you walk outside to be in the sunshine.  I view our family time – especially at Christmas – much the same way.  We get it once every five years, so I appreciate it so much more.  Family – what a gift indeed!

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