In a tiny community outside Burkina Faso's capital, families excitedly make their way to the special event at the church. Pastor Barthelemy greets guests with a beaming smile. The Compassion centre's Christmas celebration is one of the most anticipated events of the year. It extends far beyond the families in the Child Sponsorship Programme—the entire community is invited to attend.  

You can hear the singing, clapping, and laughter of the children and adults from a distance. Inside, a group busily prepares lunch for hundreds of guests to enjoy after the celebration. After a prayer, the event gets underway. Children perform the Christmas story and recite Bible verses.  

Pastor Barthelemy is thrilled as he watches from the crowd. “I feel happy that the children can recite Bible verses, sing Christmas songs and perform a drama. It is the best way to teach them the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and lead them to salvation.” 


body1.jpgA group of children laying hands to bless and pray for Pastor Barthelemy Ouedraogo at the Christmas celebration.

For the church, the celebration is an opportunity to bless the community and share the gospel message. With a Bible in one hand and a microphone in the other, Pastor Barthelemy shares the meaning of Christmas. “Jesus was born to save us from sin and bring people close to God”, he tells the crowd.

“Jesus is the reason for the season, and I won’t miss the opportunity provided by the Christmas celebration at the project to tell the story of the miraculous birth of Jesus,” he says.  
 
“Every year when I share the gospel, at least 10 people commit their lives to Jesus Christ. The church has grown since the partnership with Compassion in 2012. New people are accepting Jesus and I am happy that many children and their families now attend the church.” 
 
After the ceremony, came the joyous moment when every child in Compassion's programme received their gift. This year, it's new clothes: a shirt and pants for the boys and a beautiful dress for the girls. Pastor Barthelemy also hands out special treats to the thrilled children: packages of popcorn, biscuits, candy, and juice.  
 
“Children truly love the Christmas celebration because they receive gifts that most caregivers cannot afford to buy for them," says Project Director Pauline. 
 
"The parents are thankful that the project purchased gifts for their kids and, most importantly, lead them to meet Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.” 


body2-(1).jpgPastor Barthelemy Ouedraogo is standing outside at the project.

After the gifts, hundreds of people enjoyed the special lunch with foods many families would not be able to afford. 

Pastor Barthelemy is grateful to Compassion's sponsors and donors for their amazing support in providing gifts and a special celebration for children living in poverty. 

“The church served lunch to more than 700 people in the community, including non-registered children and adults," he says. "We shared the love of God and Jesus’ story and the celebration was truly awesome. 

Would you like to join us in spreading joy around the world this Christmas? Call 0800 777 777.

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