12 Ways of Christmas
From our hearts this Christmas, we offer these 12 praises for the ways we have witnessed God’s goodness in the flesh…
1. We commissioned the 1st Graduate from The Mission TEC Care Center’s Homework Club (pictured here with missionary and first Care Center Director, Juan Pablo). Since age 6, this young lady faithfully participated in Homework Club and Care Center programs. She is the first of many more graduates to come. Mark spoke at the graduation ceremony about the life of the branch that abides in Jesus, with the fruit that it produces for others to glorify the Father. In Jesus’ words, we commissioned her to “go and bear fruit – fruit that lasts” (John 15:16).
2. The senior class of Lancaster County Christian School served with us during the 2nd week of November (Mark’s brother, Timothy, was the faculty leader for the class). This group of students learned about true greatness in the kingdom through “fishbowl faithfulness” (find this series of teachings on our blog). In a moving time of commissioning before returning to Pennsylvania, the students committed themselves to living as a “sacrifice of praise” (Psalm 50).
3. With improving language ability, and a smaller group to focus on, Kristin shared a meaningful year with a group of 3 children in the AWANA Club. At the end-of-year Christmas celebration, 185 children from the club received Christmas gifts made possible by a partner church in California.
4. Jesus declares in John 4:35: “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” We as a ministry in Kids Alive Pucallpa have opened our eyes in a particular way to see opportunities beyond our current ministry field. Through our Care Center, we have reached out to a community more remote than ours, called Panaillo de Esperanza. Our director at The Orchard Children’s Home has formed very good relationships with the public orphanage and another small private children’s home. They have come to us for encouragement and wisdom, and we have shared the heart of our ministry with them. They also came for two outreach events which we held at The Orchard. Like the picture above of corn being harvested, the harvest requires time and work. It might look different in different places, but all the harvest is for Him.
5. 5 decades after its television debut, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” came to the stage at South American Mission Academy’s Christmas Program, starring Jacob as “Charlie Brown,” and Rachel as “Marcie.” The elementary students dedicated themselves to learning their lines and giving an outstanding performance, which resulted in a special gift for all the families, relatives, and friends in attendance.
6. On December 6th, we hosted KAI Pucallpa’s first Pastors’ Day event. After a delicious meal, fourteen pastors and their wives learned about this ministry to abandoned and at-risk children. Each couple also received a Spanish edition of Oswald Chamber’s classic devotional, “My Utmost for His Highest.” This event marked an important step in strengthening relationships with local churches and cultivating the side-by-side vision for co-laboring together in God’s mission. One church, whose leaders took a tour with Mark a couple months prior, arrived at this event with a generous donation, which they intend to do annually. They also invited our Children’s Home Director, Monica, to talk about The Orchard in their church, so we accompanied her to visit the church the following Sunday.
7. At 7 years of age, Rachel decided to be baptized on Thanksgiving Day. Our prayer for her has been that she would have a meek spirit, which manifests its strength in gratitude. The occasion of this day reflected her heart’s commitment to “listen and obey God…to follow Jesus.” In the Old Testament, the character Rachel was a shepherdess. Our Regional Director’s sister, Heather Thomas, was present at our Thanksgiving gathering; as part of the pastoral team of her church in Utah, we were so grateful that she prayed a blessing over Rachel following her baptism. She prayed to the Father that Rachel “would be full of grace and meekness, know joy and obedience, faithfulness and sacrifice; and know what it means to be intimately acquainted with You. And that she would have a deep sensitivity to Your Spirit.” Amen!
8. Thank you to all who have made contributions this month toward the initial operational costs needed for receiving 8 new children into the next house at The Orchard Children’s Home. $16,805 has been received so far. We are also thankful that for Kids Alive International around the world, the $500,000 matching funds were met before the end of December. Kids Alive Peru will receive their portion of these matching funds in proportion to the giving for projects in Peru. In addition, we have received notice from Kids Alive that all seven children in the first house are now fully sponsored (12 sponsors per child). Thank you for all of you who sponsor these kids. Their lives are changing as God’s salvation brings restoration and wholeness and hope. We are presently waiting on the 8th child for the current house. We trust that God will open this door for a new child to enter this redemptive family.
9. In an outing that truly reveals the Christmas message, we accompanied The Orchard Children’s Home during their visit to a local hospital. The Orchard children prayed for the sick children before leaving on the outreach, and once in the hospital, they presented gifts and prayed for 9 children staying in the children’s wing. After this, they also visited a few children in the recovery and emergency sections of the hospital. Our hearts were full over this experience.
10. The next director for The Mission TEC Care Center, Miguel, began his training on 10/3/16. It has been a pleasure to work closely with him as he learned and participated in the ministry for these past three months. It has also been a joy to work with Juan Pablo, the current director, as he transitions to an expanded missionary role with special responsibility for our ministry’s outreach (detailed further in #4). We have concluded this transition period by beginning a strategic planning process for the Care Center, and Miguel and Juan Pablo are now positioned to lead the ministry forward in their respective areas.
11. At 11 years of age, Caleb entered middle school at SAM Academy this year. His class incudes students in grades 6-8, so it has been an adjustment for him. Halfway through the year, he has made great strides and grown in his confidence, and we are grateful. At SAM Academy’s Christmas program, the middle school shared a video that they made with their teacher in technology class. This video captures the unique and special experience of middle school at SAM Academy. The video features several locations around the area: SAM Academy, Mission TEC (where we live), Grandpa John’s ranch, the Pioneers mission base, Cashibo Lake/SAM Air, a pool at another missionary family’s home, The Swiss Mission, and a local mall in town.
SAM MS Video from Mark Cote on Vimeo.
12. The 12th month of the year is filled with celebration of the birth of our King. In addition to the AWANA celebration (pictured in #3), here are some pictures of our church’s special Christmas-themed service, a breakfast for the young moms’ group, and an evening of carols and special music that we hosted in our home. We also enjoyed an all-staff appreciation event and a missionary family dinner and gift exchange on subsequent days. Our Peruvian staff and team of missionaries serve diligently throughout the year, and it is a privilege to serve alongside them and encourage them in various ways, even as they greatly encourage us. One gift for us all has been the presence of a teacher from Lima over the past year, Paola (pictured below in the blue shirt with The Orchard children standing around her). After her term of influential service here, she has returned to Lima carrying the heart of this ministry with her.
May we all live out the heart of Christmas in all His ways!
Mark, Kristin, Caleb, Jacob, and Rachel Coté
Missionaries of Discipleship and Development based in Pucallpa, Peru
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