A Christmas list from Kenya

Lt. Colonels Kenneth and Jolene Hodder currently serve in Nairobi, Kenya as chief secretary and secretary for Women’s Ministries, respectively. In one of her letters home, Lt. Colonel Jolene Hodder expresses some of her Christmas wishes…

There are 65 orphans living just a few yards away from our home. Many will never know the close bond of a parent; they may never have someone to help them make hair ribbons or assist them with school projects. So we have a dream, which is to purchase each child a toy for Christmas. We want to wrap each gift and place a child’s name on the tag, identifying that gift as one item they will receive as their very own. We have determined, after searching the area for a toy store, that we can get a small gift for each child for about $14.

We have another dream, which is to do something for our Kabete compound guards, who spend their days and nights working from a tiny stone closet, furnished with one dilapidated chair, an exposed light bulb, a broken end table, and a jagged piece of mirror. They do their best to keep warm by lining the little room with cardboard, and they store their earthly possessions in plastic bags in an attempt to keep the contents clean and dry. Whenever we take them a treat of biscuits or sweets, we vow to do something about their workspace. Now is the time for action, so we have decided that we are going to surprise them this Christmas with a new chair, a small end table, a mirror, a heater, and anything else we can find to make them feel more comfortable and appreciated. These men risk their own lives to protect all of us who live on the compound, and they work long hours to put food on their family’s tables. One of them, Kennedy, is the guard who has taken it upon himself to make sure Jessica, our daughter, gets to the bus safely every morning. We will forever be grateful to this caring man and his associates.

Commissioner Anzeze has asked me to organize a Christmas party for the THQ officers, their children, and employees. Last year they did not have a party due to the lack of money; the year before they had the party at a time when only a few could attend. So the day I posted a notice announcing a “let it snow” Christmas party, the THQ personnel were in a buzz. When I told the women that I would teach them how to make snowflakes out of paper, they asked, “Are we really going to have decorations?”

Thanks to my parents, the officers and employees will each receive an Army teaspoon; the children, Hallmark stickers. I hope to find enough small trinkets to make a little Christmas stocking for each officer’s child, knowing that this may be the only Christmas gift some of them will receive. It promises to be quite a party, with paper snowball fights, spin the nose on the (paper) snowman games, and paper snowflake-making contests.

To help make Lt. Colonel Hodder’s Christmas wishes a reality, please send donations to The Salvation Army, World Missions, 11th Floor, P.O. Box 22646, Long Beach, CA 90802-5646 and designate the funds for Kenya—Lt. Colonel Hodder.
Please see page 8 for a list of other Western Territorial personnel serving overseas.

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