I experienced thirteen Christmas Eves in Africa,
but one in particular remains the most powerful
memory in my mind.
The afternoon was hot and dry, my flip flop clad
feet coated in powdery red dust as I tromped
across our missionary compound. Once again
I was out searching for adventure. The
Bible School where my dad worked and taught was
about a mile away, but I had friends there and
it was worth the walk. I was 11 years old.
I remember the sun was beginning its decent in
the sky throwing deep musky hues of oranges and
reds across the sky. As I neared the
buildings where students of the Bible schools
families lived, I could see my mother through
the thick bases of the mango trees.
A young girl lay motionless through the open
doorway of a room, the only door being a small
curtain hung in front. I watched as they
pulled a white sheet over the head of my
friends’ older sister, and it was then that I
realized the girl was dead.
Africa Travel Story - the Night Continues...
It was a strange and surreal evening. We
were accustomed to certaindark
place as sickness was common in the area.
I walked home. The sun was almost set as I
came in the house. Mom didn’t really tell
me much about the girl death. I believe
she had a long term illness of some sort.
Nothing more was said about it.
We had a wire Christmas tree hanging in our
living room. For 13 years we drug the
dusty branches out of our large shipping
container behind the house. The shipping
container was the size of a semi-truck and had
large locks built in. It was in this that
we stored years’ worth of clothing and basic
My brother and I were chilling out on the living
room floor watching the movie To Catch a Thief.
Mom was cooking dinner and I could smell the
fudge she made for Christmas morning festivity.
I never knew what a rock my mother had been
throughout those years there. Looking back
now I can see the heavy burden she many times
held of maintaining our happiness under very
difficult circumstances. She was a rock.
The night wasn't over...there was more to our
Christmas Eve to be encountered than I was