Christmas Day… a month ago…

Christmas day was finally here. It was a Sunday this year, so I knew that I would be going to church as usual, but I was not prepared for what lay ahead of me.  In the United States, Christmas is probably the most relaxing holiday of the entire year for my family.  We take the day slow, open presents whenever everyone arrives, and eat tons of food throughout the whole day. I was able to speak with my family on Christmas day, and it was difficult not to miss home a lot when I could picture what was happening as I sat in the midst of a hot summer day in southern Africa.

I was replaying what would be happening in the States throughout the entire day.  I had gone to bed the night before around 11 pm, so I slept in until 7 am.  I was staying at August’s home not far from the mission because the Basson family had left to visit family.  Staying in their home was a good reminder of life in the States because they have many of the comforts that I would have in the States. I ate some breakfast, made some tea, and spent the rest of the morning before church reading and glancing through books that August owned.  I went to church at 11 am, only to find out from Kendelle that we were going to have baby christenings, confirmation, and communion.  The church service did not start until noon because it seemed as if everyone was doing all of the planning for each part of the service just before the actual service was to take place, so we sat and waited for an hour as people filled the church.  Similar to life in the states, Christmas appeared to be one of the most attended church days that I had seen in Maphutseng.  I was still tired in spite of the adequate amount of rest that I had gotten the night before.  I spent the rest of the 4.5 hours of church head-bobbing trying to stay awake as I understood little of what was being said because the entire experience is in Sesotho.  I have trouble staying awake when I go to church in the states, so I can’t blame too much of my head-bobbing on the actual church environment.

After church, I moved a lot of my stuff from the mission to my house because I had stayed at the mission for the previous week. My host mom went to her home village in Qacha’s Nek and my host brother had been staying in August’s house until he went to visit family in Qacha’s Nek on Christmas Eve, so I had moved to the mission because I was working there all week anyway. After getting everything moved, I went back to the mission where I skyped with my family, which was fantastic. Then I went to Kendelle’s host family’s house because they had invited me for Christmas dinner. Kendelle prepared a fantastic meal, which she purposefully made traditionally North American, which was wonderful because it filled some of my missing home sickness. It’s amazing how missing home ebbs and flows because in certain moments, I miss home greatly and then moments later, I’m happy to be here.

After dinner, we sang Christmas carols at the table. Few of the Basotho at the table knew any of the songs, but they did try to sing along. I had brought my computer and guitar along, so I got another taste of what Christmas would have been like in the states while I am away. Every year, my family goes Christmas caroling to many of the older people in our community. It was something that I missed greatly, but singing at the Christmas table in Lesotho was a good substitute. One of the Christmas carols that they did know, though, was Silent Night because they have a Sesotho version of the song, so there was one song that we could all enjoy together.

After dinner, Kendelle and I did the dishes, and I went home to sleep. Christmas day was not what I was used to, but I’m continuing to grasp how different life in Lesotho is compared to North America.


~ by randallkoehler on January 31, 2012.

2 Responses to “Christmas Day… a month ago…”

  1. Randall, it was good to read your post. I am praying for you everyday! I am trusting that God is using you to make a difference in peoples lives. I am trusting that God is growing you everyday! Love you! Aunt Jill

  2. I’m really glad you had a good Christmas. It’s great that you were able to have some experiences that reminded you of home, but it is also fantastic that you were able to have new ones. I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

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