Rich Beyond Belief

We just celebrated an amazing Christmas...Robbie and I agreed that it's been one of the best ever. Even though we did not get to spend it with our families in the States, it was a sweet, special time with our own little family. I think what made this year so wonderful were the great opportunities we had to give. Honestly, I feel that some years it's easy for Christmas to veer out of control. Claire is the only grandchild on both sides of the family, and if we are not careful, the focus can easily become piles of gifts from our dear relatives who rarely see her. But this year we were able to be a part of quite a few projects that helped us stress to her the joy of giving.

I helped the ladies of Iglesia Bautista El Faro organize bags for needy new mothers who give birth at the public hospital. Hospitals here (even the private one where I had Claire) do not give out "freebies" like the ones in the States. You have to bring your own supplies: diapers, wipes, acetominophen, feminine products, etc. Patients at the public hospital even have to purchase their own IV bags from the pharmacy downtown. So we church ladies organized bags of supplies for the new mothers who arrive with no money to purchase what their newborn needs. It was a great privilege to present 84 bags to the maternity ward, along with a letter of encouragement from our church.

Our church people, young and old, gave toward a "Christmas Gifts for Christ" project that focused on two areas. First, they gave offerings to help build a fundamental church in El Salvador. Then, each age group was assigned a food item to bring to church for the offering. The little girls and boys brought dried rice and beans. The teens brought white and corn flour. The adults brought shortening and dried pasta. We put together fifteen large food baskets to take to needy families in our community on a special visitation, where we surprised them by singing Christmas carols outside their houses. Caroling is not a tradition in Honduras, but our people loved their first caroling experience! And Claire went right along with us, singing loudly at each house and shouting, "Feliz Navidad!" as we left.

Claire and I baked Christmas cookies into the wee hours of the morning to take to the families of our church on Christmas Eve.
We also told her she could choose one little girl in her class to buy a present for this year. She chose a sweet little girl whose mother had abandoned her when she was an infant. We took Claire to the store where she chose a beautiful baby doll dressed as a princess. I was gearing myself up for the "I want to keep her" comments, but they never came. She was truly excited about seeing Allison get her new doll. She wrapped it and placed it under the tree. When family members from the States asked Claire on the telephone how many presents she would have for Christmas, she always said, "One, the doll for Allison," thinking only of what she would be giving. I was so proud to see her little heart grow with love for others. I knew Claire would be opening her own presents, but thank the Lord, the joy of giving was taking predominance. When Claire took the doll to Allison on Christmas Eve, the little girl accepted the present then ran inside to place it under the Christmas tree; it was the only gift there. We were able to show Claire the joy of giving to someone who truly appreciated it.

Claire also chose gifts for me and Robbie. She was beside herself as I opened up a very colorful candle she had picked out--it looks like a big roll of lifesavers, but I love it because she selected it just for me. She also chose a red and white striped shirt with large, poofy sleeves because, "I want you to dress like a candy cane, Mommy!" I will wear it with pride.

I know some Christians adamantly shun gift-giving at Christmas, citing materialism and greed. But I believe gift-giving done in the right way can be a sweet, special experience; we just have to find balance.

Here on the mission field, we are surrounded by poverty and suffering. But we are also surrounded by stories of supernatural sacrifice, as new Christians who have nearly nothing scrape together what they can to buy a bag of dried beans to bring to church. One man whose flocks had grown this year tithed a sheep. No matter who we are or what we have, being a recipient of salvation necessitates sacrificial giving on our part. Our hearts compel us to give, and especially as we medidate in Christ's incarnation. I pray that the Lord will always help us to strike a balance in our family of giving. We've been blessed so much, it will be hard to keep up; but we are sure going to try!

Merry Christmas to all my Real Missions, Real Life readers and followers!
2 Responses
  1. Kathy Says:

    Awwwwww. Looks like you got me back. Claire's precious heart to give, brings me to tears too! So proud of you all. Your blog is a fountain of blessing and challenge!

  2. Ricky Says:

    God's greatest gift is Jesus Christ and we all know that. I hope that Claire will soon come to learn that for herself. What a Savior! What a great and giving God we serve. He alone is worthy.


    Mom and Dad

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