New Year’s Eve was one of those really good days. The days where on my walk home, I can’t believe how wonderful, blessed and full my life here is.
It started like any of the other days of holiday, except all the kids were back. I took the morning to myself, and made it to Jireh Home for some tasty lunch, always one of my daily goals. After lunch we played some cards, napped for a really long time, and then had minum petang. For minum petang we had some really tasty sugar rolls that were donated. And then somehow, I ended up playing soccer with one of our youngest boys. Fizlee is now nine and is a scrapper. He is tough and wants to be one of the older boys so badly. So he wanted me to try to score a goal on him. Our one-on-one football game turned into five-on-five, with some of the older boys joining in. And I scored multiple goals on some of the best goalkeepers at Jireh Home. Granted we were playing with only one goald in our tiny front yard. But still.
I was pretty disgusting after football, so I hurried home to shower. I got back to Jireh Home just in time for dinner, which we all ate together as the start of our New Year’s Eve celebration. As the night progressed we sang and danced to some of the kids favorite camp type songs (in Malay of course) and played so many games. I discovered how difficult it is to explain camp games to the students. So we played modified versions of Stuck in the Mud, Sharks and Minnows, and a few others. The biggest hit was definitely Duck, Duck, Goose.
After the games and worship, it was maybe around 10:30, way past my usual bedtime here. But the staff brought out many two liters of soda, 3 pitchers of coffee, and a couple pitchers of milo. Then they brought out special biscuits and candy. I couldn’t help but laugh at the familiarity – so many snacks and drinks – just like in the States. After we feasted and the kids regained some energy, it was almost 11:30 and Pastor still wanted to go over the rules. So we quickly read the rules for Jireh Home behavior – study hard, no dating, especially no dating other students at Jireh Home, no handphones, listen to the staff, etc… The kids were losing steam quickly, until the fireworks started going off. Just after midnight, we grabbed hands and prayed in the New Year. It was the strangest yet the best thing, to be praying in English completely connected to my huge, quirky family praying in Malay, while fireworks exploded in the sky. As I finished I opened my eyes to see many of the younger students gazing up in awe at the displays. We closed with the Lord’s Prayer. Then the fun began.
Somehow Pastor Repieh found a box of fireworks. She decided I should be in charge of them. But the instructions on the box were written in very poor/sketchy English and I am not much of a pyro. So I gave them one by one to Abang Jovline, and he lit them quickly and threw them to the front yard where they exploded with a flash of light and a bang. After the fireworks, there was still a lot of coffee left. So the kids played rock, paper, scissors to decide who had to drink a cup of coffee. As the pitchers emptied, two of the older boys had a race to see who could drink the remaining four or five glasses the quickest. Meanwhile, Fizlee, our little scrapper, threw his coffee up in the gutter. At around 1 am, when the caffeine buzz hit the kids, Pastor and I headed home to sleep. We walked under a bright, almost full moon and a clear, star filled sky down the little dirt road to our house, climbing through the gate and into bed.