Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Christmas Morning

I've got to admit that when it comes to Christmas, I love tradition. This morning my whole family - the Gulicks - were together. Mom set the table with the Christmas china, poured fresh squeezed orange juice, pulled the coffee cake out of the oven and grated cheese onto the scrambled eggs. We lit the advent candle and, before opening the pile of gifts under the tree, my brother-in-law Dan (bottom left) read the Christmas story to us.

I hope you also experienced something this Christmas that filled your heart... or - if nothing else - your stomach :-)

Just Add Postage

Sweet little Jesus boy
They made you be born in a manger
Sweet little holy child
We didn't know who you were
Didn't know you'd come to save us Lord
To take our sins away
Our eyes were blind, we could not see
We didn't know who you were.

This has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs; soulful and haunting, it notices what makes this holiday so endearing—a newborn baby—but keeps unwrapping the gift, revealing our sin and our blindness and the startling antidote. We hope that this Christmas you have been reminded of who He is and what He came to do for you.

We also wish we could have put something under your tree…instead here’s a virtual gift bag where we’ll share how you can order what we would have given you. Sounds really cheap, but we promise…if you like coffee, you’ll thank us.

Your virtual gift bag starts with the perfect coffee beans. We order them green from Coffee Bean Corral. Our favorite this year is Guatemala Antigua “La Flor del Café.” (If we were moving to Guatemala you could very well suspect that it was for the coffee. We’re not, but it would almost be worth it.)

Roasting your coffee beans (click for biggie size

If you don’t know how to roast your own coffee you can order it already roasted from one of the nicest guys on earth, Eric Umenhoffer at our favorite store, Colorado Coffee Merchants (the Idle Truck line is particularly tasty)

The gift bag also contains a bottle of Argentine “dulce de leche” - rich, milky, natural toffee caramel. You can find it at many Latin grocery stores or order it online or even, we’ve been told, make it yourself by cooking a can of sweetened condensed milk in the can over low heat.

Finally, peruse Tim’s guide to Brewing_The_Perfect_Cup_of_Coffee.pdf

Years ago a friend of ours predicted, “With so much information available, what people are going to value is knowing what is worth their time.” If that’s a gift, then all of this is a good one.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
What we've seen of Guatemala so far

Since we flew in on Sunday we've spent nearly all of our time in meetings - but they're more exciting than you might think since the plans for the youth ministry institutes are really starting to take shape. The first classes won't be held till 2009 but there is a staggering amount of work our small team has to do before then. This week we've worked together well and have made significant progess in the some key areas.

One of the meetings was with a seminary president, who told us that our team's plan is an answer to prayer because his school knows that there needs to be formal training for youth leaders but they don't have the experience or the qualified staff to provide it. Our team has both.

So even though we haven't, and won't, see much of the beauty of this country (we fly home Thursday) we will return home more deeply joined to its people and their future than we were this time last week.

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