Well, we DID have the Long December listening party (huge success) for those who were wondering and then, well, it came true. Long December indeed. Beautiful, stressful, sad, joyful, change-filled long December. I don't even know where to begin... we pulled off a Christmas party for 140 of our friends who live on the streets and then another one for about 25 of our friends (& their children) who have moved off the streets, we delivered christmas baskets to 20 homes, said goodbye to the amazing Servant Team (tears were invovled-- i miss you guys), my family came to spend the holidays, we went to Pisco, we went to the beach, we enjoyed the novelty of Christmas in the summertime (seasons are reversed here), and walked with the youth through what can often be the hardest time of the year when people emphasize being with family and the abliliy to give and recieve-- for our friends this is often not a part of their reality. Its wild to feel such joy (being with my family and community) and such deep pain (being with our friends as they struggle) all mixed together and sometimes in the same moments.
Okay... but the biggest news of all? Ohhhh baby. That's right, I'm an aunt! Okay, not like a related-by-blood-aunt but pretty dang close. After 9 months of papers and meetings and visits and prayers Brian & Rachel (and Isa) were approved for the adoption of a precious 7 month old peruvian baby! I am very pleased to introduce to you Natalia Marie Langley!
We were all overjoyed to spend Christmas with Natalia-- Isabel especially was bouncing off the walls ready to start getting to know her new baby sister. Natalia is such an answer to prayer with her smiles and her easygoing personality. Thanks be to God, He has blessed us so richly.
As for me, well, I couldn't be more thankful for the sacrifice my family made to come get to know Lima and spend Christmas here with us. I know it wasn't a usual Christmas and I know it wasn't exactly comfortable but they were amazing and flexible and spread joy everywhere they went, just like usual :). I am so thankful for the grace they gave as I clumsily tried to play hostess. In addition to getting to know the city and tidbits of daily Lima life we took a family trip to Pisco where we saw tropical penguins. PENGUINS. in PERU. My friends might ask me to stop talking about it. But who knew there were penguins in Peru? There are. More importantly we had a great time relaxing together, swimming, laughing, talking, watching cartoons in Spanish and reading fairytales every night before bed. We returned to Lima and spent New Years observing a few Peruvian traditions (more on New Years at (Linsey Higgins' blog). After saying goodbye to Marcia & Mark (tear), my parents & I hit up the beach with the friends and it was great. Woke up the morning of my birthday to the sound of the ocean and a birthday breakfast overlooking the water. Those who know of my love of the ocean know that I was a very happy 25 year old :).
So that's a quick (or not so quick?) overview. I'll get some more pics up soon.
If I don't say it often enough, I'll say it again. I am so thankful for all of you, my friends & family who have been such an incredible support. Can you believe its been a year in Lima? Friday is the official one year anniversary of Lima life. Could never have made it without you all. So much love to the people.