Continuing from yesterday my mom Frieda is sharing her memories of Christmas when she was a child in Dallas and on the mission field in Central America. You’re in for a treat! Her words below:
When I was ten our family moved to Honduras to be missionaries. The first year after the big move, there was no money for presents. My one present was a pink bag to store hankies in. My mother had made it from scraps of cloth and embroidered flowers on it. We thought now that we were missionaries there would never be money for presents, but we caught our parents’ enthusiasm about the privilege of serving God in a foreign country and did not mind.
My dad had loved Hispanic people since he was a little boy and a Mexican family worked on his father’s farm. Daddy says he hung out at their house eating hot flour tortillas and learning some Spanish. He took Spanish in college and always wanted to be a missionary, but the Great Depression and World War II got in way. After that mission boards told him he was too old. He was thirty-five. But a missionary was needed to build a hospital in Honduras, and my dad had experience as a carpenter and he could speak Spanish. My parents were so thrilled to be able to go that their enthusiasm was catching. And we kids did not feel we were just missionaries’ kids—we were part of a missionary family.
My parents drove a truck belonging to the mission board through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and arrived in our village in Honduras in October. We three kids had flown to Guatemala with a teacher from the boarding school we entered in June. School finished there in November, and we flew to Honduras right after Thanksgiving. There was a small evangelical church in the town which was having problems and on the verge of splitting. Daddy was so enthused about getting to know the people and trying to help the situation that he didn’t think twice about inviting some of the main men of the church for Christmas dinner. He had been preaching in Spanish for some time, but Mother did not understand a lot, and we children didn’t understand much of anything at that point. (By the end of the vacation when we went back to boarding school, we were playing with the neighborhood kids and using Spanish quite comfortably.) Over the years my mother was willing to go anywhere, do anything, or go without anything in order to help in the ministry, but she was not happy about having those guests for that particular meal. I don’t think having strangers for Christmas dinner was a big deal for us kids, but the main thing I remember is that this time Mother was definitely unhappy, though she didn’t show it while our company was there.
My mother was a wonderful cook, and she could come up with special meals even when she had very little money to spend, or as in this case, many things were not available. She baked a big hen with cornbread stuffing in the old fashioned wood cook stove. There was no pumpkin, but she made lemon meringue pies, for which she was famous, and they were Daddy’s favorite dessert. Citrus fruits of all kinds abounded in Honduras. Well, I’ll take that back—there were no yellow American lemons, but plenty of key limes, which I think are even better. The guests probably didn’t even appreciate our Christmas food. Years later I overheard a young man who had been invited to our house for Christmas tell his friends, “They had this naked bird baked whole with no spices, and it was filled with something disgusting like masa (tortilla dough).”
To continue reading click the link here>>> Our Family Christmases Part 3