Here in Africa, the New Year is a bigger celebration than Christmas. Our observance began on December 30, with a family meeting for each person to share his evaluation of the past year and goals for the coming year. On the evening of December 31, we walked to the nearby church for an all-night service — a local tradition which I had resolved to experience for the first time, until getting tired enough to walk back home to bed. The preaching and singing encouraged me, and especially the midnight prayer as we joined hands to thank God for His blessings in the past year and for ushering us safely into 2020. This was followed by joyous dancing and singing, after which I took my leave. I returned the next day, January 1, to share the lunch feast with the happy group who had been there since the previous evening. As Estefânia commented at home that evening, we were abundantly blessed at this turn of the year.

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