Christmas Chocolatadas

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In Peru, a Christmas party for children means two treats: hot chocolate and a slice of panettone, that wonderful sweet Italian bread with bits of dried fruit. (Yes, it is hot chocolate that is served during the summertime holiday!) This year like others, our churches all around Peru hosted these “chocolatadas” to bless children in the congregations and also to reach out to children in the surrounding neighborhoods.

As an added blessing, nearly 350 children received Christmas shoeboxes. Students at one of the girls schools in Lima prepared colorfully wrapped shoeboxes jam packed with small presents personalized to a particular child.

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Padre Juan Carlos Marcés, a priest at Good Shepherd Cathedral in Lima, loading up some of the Christmas shoeboxes.

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U.K. missionary Anna Sims helps sort out the hundreds of Christmas shoeboxes before they make their way to the churches.

Some of these precious packages traveled on the four-hour bus ride from Lima to Ica, along with a small team from the Good Shepherd Cathedral that included Padre Juan Carlos and missionaries Anna Sims and Kathy Decker.

The Lima team met up with Father Misael Varillas and his wife Claudia, who minister in Ica, and some of their family. They’d helped coordinate the party for more than 135 children in an outlying area called Tierra Prometida (the “Promised Land”).

Homes dot the sandhills of Tierra Prometida.

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In Tierre Prometida, families have erected primitive homes to lay claim to plots of the sandy terrain. In many of the “invasion”  communities in Peru, people have relocated to government-owned land with the hope that their possession will one day translate into ownership.

The chocolatada was held on an outdoor sports court, with children and mothers filling two long bleachers.

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Padre Misael bringing in the boxes of Christmas shoeboxes.

To start things off, the musical Padres led the groups in praise songs.  Then the children were told the Nativity Story to go along with a coloring book they would be receiving in their Christmas shoebox.

To start things off, the musical Padres led the groups in praise songs. Then the children were told the Nativity Story to go along with a coloring book they would be receiving in their Christmas shoeboxes.

After singing a song of thanks (the round between the two benches being only partially successful!), the children enjoyed their hot chocolate and panettone.IMG_2672

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U.S. missionary Kathy Decker helps hand out the panettone.

And then it was time for presents! Above all the clamor, the children heard their names called out, one by one, and knew it was their turn to receive their gifts!

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As you can imagine, this chocolatada brought many blessings to the children of this community: traditional food and drink, songs that praised God, hearing the story of the birth of their Savior, and the special feeling of receiving a gift given in the spirit of love and generosity.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Christmas Chocolatadas

  1. Shepherd Zevallos

    Que el Seor “De La Mies”, siga canalizando recursos a travez del Rvdo. Juan Carlos Marces y siga utilizando al Rev. Misael Varillas y su esposa en Ica. Muchas Bendiciones y Feliz Aos 2014

    Pastor Zevallos pazevallos@gmail.com

    2014/1/2 Amigos del Peru

    > Kathy Decker, SAMS Missionary to Peru posted: ” In Peru, a Christmas > party for children means two treats: hot chocolate and a slice of > panettone, that wonderful sweet Italian bread with bits of dried fruit. > (Yes, it is hot chocolate that is served during the summertime holiday!) > This year like others”

  2. Barb Williams

    Wonderful photos! God bless you!! Please change our email to williamspeterandbarb@bell.net

    Kathy Decker, SAMS Missionary to Peru posted: ” In Peru, a Christmas party for children means two treats: hot chocolate and a slice of panettone, that wonderful sweet Italian bread with bits of dried fruit. (Yes, it is hot chocolate that is served during the summertime holiday!) This year like others”

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