Ever since I was a little girl my family has always expressed the importance of being generous during the holiday season. I can still remember going with my mom & my brother to Walmart to collect a cart full of toys, clothes, hygiene products, school supples, & food to drop off to an adopted family in our local town. One year I can even remember riding with my parents as they quietly knocked on the door of a family in need and watching as my parents took the presents to the door. Later on during my high school years I remember helping with canned food drives at school and then gathering at our local church to sort the food into boxes for each of the families who had signed up for assistance. Needless to say my parents have always taught me how much better it is to give than to receive and while participating in these activities I am most certainly always reminded at how blessed I am!
When Hubby & I got married the idea of generosity certainly remained. For the past 2 years we have participated in Operation Christmas Child in conjunction with our church. We have thoroughly enjoyed creating the shoeboxes for small children around the world who otherwise might not have a Christmas gift to open.
This year our church chose to focus on a ministry and a group of children who are much closer to home...local foster kids. Our church partnered with the local Baptist Children's Home & pledged to purchase 1 gift for each child in their foster care program. Local agencies help to place children in homes to take away some of the burden on the state system & there are about 120 kids ranging from newborn to 17 that are managed by this particular organization. So...the challenge was this: Provide a $10-$15 gift for each child that will be distributed to the foster parents. That's 120 gifts from our congregation of about 175 give or take a few.
The kickoff for this giving project was 2 Sundays ago...November 7 with the hopes that the gifts will be brought back to the church & prayed over at our church Christmas party on December 6. The paster expressed his heart for these children and how important it was that we show our love and compassion during the holiday season. At the time he also discussed how he understood this was a huge undertaking for our fairly young church but that God just kept speaking to church leadership that we need to support all the children.
Hubby & I had decided that morning on a specific number of children to sponsor so I went and picked those out early in the service. Each child had a piece of paper with a name, age, & a list of 3 wish-list items. As our pastor discussed the project Hubby & I decided we could handle a couple more kids so he planned to go pick those out after the service was over. Unforunately but fortunately in a little less than 10 minutes after the service all 120 kids had been taken care of and sponsored. Praise the Lord!
Last Sunday, for those who were unable to participate, a list of additional gifts was available for kids who will come in to the foster system too late to be involved in the specific giving project. I am always in such awe at how God brings his people forward in times of need.
Hubby & I have yet to go pick out the gifts for our kids, but I'm super excited to go shopping for Transformers, Spiderman, ballet flats, & High School Musical movies. I know those kids will have such joy when they are able to open presents on Christmas morning & I just pray that God fills each gift with such love!
As Thanksgiving approaches & Christmas is right around the corner, don't forget how blessed you are & just how much better it is to give than to receive!
1 year ago