Christmas in Kenya
Dreams become a reality at Christmas.
Lt. Colonel Jolene Hodder reports that—thanks to the generous giving of Salvationist friends worldwide—the Hodders’ three Christmas wishes came true.
The first “Christmas miracle” was the Let it Snow Christmas party for THQ employees, officers and officers’ children. Using old Salvation Army stationary along with snowman and snowflake stamps shipped from the US, women officers and employees created snowflake decorations and gift-wrap.
Hodder writes: “The highlight of the party for me was when Baba, our ‘father’ (Commissioner Anzeze), handed out your Christmas gifts to every adult and child…babies received squeaky toys; young children were given bubbles, and the teens received trendy Salvation Army bags. The guards and grounds men were given Army ties; the men officers and employees, Christian tapes, and the women, Army spoons. Because you made the party possible, I wish you could have seen the grin on Baba’s face as he gave each of his children a beautifully wrapped gift and a warm, personal greeting, such as only a loving father can give.”
Plans are already underway for next year’s celebration—a red and white Candy Wonderland party.
The second Christmas miracle was the renovation of the Army compound’s guardhouse. Previously, the floor had been pitted with deep holes and window frames had no glass. Each time it rained, the meager furnishings were soaked. Hodder stated that the Christmas card to the guards indicated that “the gift is from Santa and his elves—in another word, you. Now these men, who take such good care of us, will know that they are loved, respected and appreciated.”
The third miracle—again thanks to generous giving—will be a Christmas party for the orphans at Kabete Children’s Home. This is planned for January, because during December the administration tries to send the children to their family homes to spend the holidays with their extended families. Hodder explains: “It is vital that they stay connected to their tribes and local communities because, once they leave our care as young adults, they must have somewhere to go where there are family roots.”
The “Back to Christmas” party will surprise the kids when they return in January.
Western officers Lt. Colonels Kenneth and Jolene Hodder serve in Kenya as Chief Secretary and Secretary for Women’s Ministries.