Monday, November 23, 2015

Advent: Week 1

Light 1st purple candle, candle of Hope

Day 1: God's Promise: Hope of a Child from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Isaiah 9:6-7
* Discuss: Meanings of Jesus' names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
* Song: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
* Activity: Names of Jesus ornaments (page 1)

Day 2: Angel's Announcement: A Visit to Mary from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Luke 1:26-38
* Discuss: What was the angel's announcement? Who is Jesus' Father?
* Song: What Child Is This?
* Activity: Look through baby books and/or baby photos

Day 3: Fulfillment of God's Plan: Jesus Came in the Fullness of Time from Prepare Him Room
* Reading: Galatians 4:1-7
* Discuss: Why did Jesus come? To adopt us into His family! Talk about adoption.
* Song: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
* Activity: Talk about adoption and/or read books about adoption


Region of Focus: Africa

I am including resources for each country where Compassion works and am trying to link to Compassion blog posts, share videos and photos of Christmas celebrations, share recipes, give prayer requests and whatever else I come across that is pertinent. I tried to give some helpful resources so that you will be able to adapt the learning to your child's age.

We will be focusing on Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, one country a day for six days, since those are the countries where we sponsor and/or correspond with a kid or kids! My plan is to find each country on a map, talk about our kid(s) who live there, pray for the kid(s) and the country, and to look at photos or watch a video. We might try to make a dish too, if there is a Christmas (or celebratory) dish from the country that doesn't sound too complicated.

Burkina Faso: "Some prepare a special Christmas Day meal of chicken or mutton, decorate their homes with Christmas trees and attend church. On Dec. 23, Pere Noel (Father Christmas) comes into town to give out presents."

Prayer Requests:
1) That the gospel will be heard more and that God will turn many hearts to Him.
2) For good school performance for the children.
3) For our registered children, who sometimes face bad influences in their neighborhoods.
4) For political stability and peace over the next few years leading to the referendum and presidential elections.
5) For God’s protection against malaria and from epidemics, including polio, meningitis, tuberculosis and cholera.

Resources: Compassion Blog: Christmas in Burkina Faso, Compassion's Burkina Faso page, Compassion's Burkina Faso Flickr Album

Ethiopia: "Christmas in Ethiopia is primarily a religious observance."

Prayer Requests:
1) That the church-based Compassion centers will make a difference in the way children and youths perceive themselves.
2) That children and youths will have hope for the future and be inspired to strive for the best.
3) For God’s protection over children who live in homes that pose a risk to their safety.
4) For children who are at exceptional risk, that Compassion partner churches can rescue them and stabilize their lives.
5) That parents will be positive role models for their children and will have the wisdom to protect them from negative influences.

Resources: Christmas in Ethiopia, Christmas Traditions in Ethiopia, Compassion's Ethiopia page, Compassion's Ethiopia Flickr Album

Ghana: "Children travel from house to house, singing songs that use imagery from local folklore."

Prayer Requests:
1) For caregivers to take advantage of all the trainings that are organized by the churches and Compassion Ghana to make their lives better.
2) For more Complementary Interventions proposals to be funded.
3) Against flooding in densely populated areas in the cities of Ghana.
4) For safer homes for rural-to-urban migrants.
5) For more job opportunities in cities.

Resources: Compassion Blog: Christmas in Ghana, Christmas in Ghana, Compassion's Ghana page, Compassion's Ghana Flickr Album

Kenya: "Christmas in Kenya is a time for families to get together. Many Kenyans travel great distances to be together. Kenyans celebrate with food, caroling, exchanging gifts and attending church services."

Prayer Requests:
1) For families in rural areas who are exposed to adverse weather conditions such as flooding and drought. School attendance and performance is greatly hindered by flooded rivers and subsequent crop failure.
2) For children in conflict zones. Families risk being displaced during tribal clashes and incidences of cattle rustling.
3) For children in urban slums who are exposed to insecurity, hazardous living conditions, and rising cases of child abuse and abduction.
4) For a drop in the high unemployment rate (more than 40 percent) so that families can take better care of themselves and especially their children.

Resources: Christmas in Kenya, Compassion's Kenya page, Compassion's Kenya Flickr Album

Rwanda: "Christians usually attend church and enjoy a special family meal."

Prayer Requests:
1) That God provides for the siblings of registered children as well, so that they, too, will have the opportunity to succeed in life.
2) That God breaks the cycle of poverty among the families of assisted children.
3) That children will stay focused on their education and resist the temptation to drop out.
4) For children’s protection from the many illnesses and safety hazards in the city slums.
5) That marriages and families will be strengthened and withstand pressures to break apart.

Resources: Compassion's Rwanda page, Compassion's Rwanda Flickr Album, Gift of Forgiveness in Rwanda (this doesn't share traditions, but it shares the story of a young man who received a Christmas shoebox from Operation Christmas Child!)

Tanzania: "A day usually spent with family and friends; most Christians attend church services also."

Prayer Requests:
1) That children who face challenges to their education because of traditional practices will be able to resist these practices and embrace education for a better future.
2) That communities will abandon the practice of early and family-arranged marriages to give girls the opportunity to pursue their education.
3) That families will have the economic means to support their children’s needs
4) That caregivers in the urban slums can find good, steady jobs so that they can adequately provide for their children.
5) For children’s safety in the hazardous environment of the city slums, especially those who are left unattended by their caregivers during the day.

Resources: Compassion Blog: Memories of Christmas in Tanzania, Compassion's Tanzania page, Compassion's Tanzania Flickr Album

Togo: Christmas Day is celebrated December 25.

Prayer Requests:
1) That children will stay in school, excel in their studies and reach their full potential.
2) That parents will find steady employment that will enable them to adequately care for their children’s needs.
3) Against malnutrition and hunger among children.
4) For an end to child trafficking and child abuse.
5) That children and families will be protected from the flooding that often occurs in some areas between June and September.

Resources: Compassion's Togo page, Compassion's Togo Flickr Album, Christmas "unique in West Africa" (and for older kids, click here to read a post about how Christmas traditions in Togo are typically mixed in with voodoo…what a good reminder to pray for Togo)

Uganda: "The Christmas season is the most important holiday of the year in Uganda and is very festive. Shopping is popular and usually begins the first week of December. Gifts, clothes and Christmas cards are purchased. Caroling is also popular."

Prayer Requests:
1) That God will protect children from negative influences that may lead them into harmful practices, such as drug abuse, petty theft and premarital sex.
2) That children’s caregivers will be there for them, to love them, be good role models and complement Compassion’s work in their lives.
3) That girls will have the opportunity to complete their education and not have to leave school for forced marriages.
4) That cultural practices that discriminate against women and children will be abandoned.
5) For children’s protection against illness and domestic violence.

Resources: Compassion's Uganda page, Compassion's Uganda Flickr Album, A Ugandan Christmas

All information about Christmas celebrations and prayer requests are taken from Compassion's website.

About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
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