A Christmas Message from Yota and Vasili...
Today , Wednesday, December 22nd, we went to a small village that is North and inland from us with Papa Noel aka Vasili and his elves. This village is called Gaule and has a special place in Alfonso's heart and also for us. It is where he was born and where he spent some of his childhood. His father was killed when he fell off the top of the church here in Manglaralto while helping construct it. Alfonso was just a young boy.
When we told him we wanted to give to the children in Gaule he was so happy! In communicating with a lady in the village to help us organize, get names and ages of all the children, babies to 12 she told us that Papa Noel had never visited Gaule before. So, that made it even more special.
When we arrived everyone was gathered in the Church yard, a small bamboo church with a cross above the door. The children and adults as well were so surprised and happy to see Papa Noel! The children started sitting on Papa Noel's lap even before the names got called for gifts. Each child received a new outfit, a toy, and a bag of candy. There were 45 children ages baby to 12 and the smiles were amazing! After all children received their presents the food kits were handed out to each family, a total of 40.
Alfonso and Mary's daughters Mabelin and Anahi came to help us with food kits, to wrap gifts, and portion candy in bags. While we were busy at it they started talking about their childhood and how Papa Noel came to them on Christmas eve about every other year but not more often.
Alfonso and Mary would tell them that possibly he was going too fast and couldn’t stop or he was running late and had no time, or maybe he was needed more elsewhere and every year they were ok with it and hoped that maybe, just maybe next year he’d visit them. They smiled the entire time they talked about it, I’m guessing because now that they’re grown up they realize how hard it was for their parents.
We all need to remember what this season is truly about, it is a special time to celebrate our Lord's birth, which we should do everyday of our lives. It is a time to be thankful for our blessings and to try in some way no matter how small we might think it is to help others that are less fortunate and in need.
Thank you all so very much for making this a very special day for these children and their families. You brought them all much joy!
Vasili and Yota
You can donate to Panaghia's Pantry HERE.
More photos from Papa Noel's visit can be viewed by clicking below.