With the Christmas season here, I have to admit that my mind wandered the other day to the gifts that I am expected to give to my family and friends. The next thing that came into my mind was, “Do they really actually need any of these things?” It seems to me that the holiday gift tradition has become more about “wanting” and not actually about “needing”. So, I thought, “How great would it be if people can come together and buy items for the hurting/needy people around the world?” What better way to share the message of God’s love during the holidays! And so, I began to research….and I came across some great ideas from several different organizations.
As I read through the different gift options available, I imagined the looks and reactions of the people who would receive these gifts. Though they will never meet the actual people who donate the money for the gifts, they will know for certain that there was someone in this world that cared enough to help them and to ultimately share the Word of God with them.
I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this season than to take the focus off of ourselves and onto Jesus and what He would want us to do – reach out and show love to others in His name. The following is a list of some of the best gifts that I believe can be purchased – helping those in need in tangible ways and showing them the love of Christ at the same time. Can you imagine a greater gift than that?
Sharing The Good News
Many children here in America will be overwhelmed with gifts come Christmas morning, but for the children in Cairo’s “Garbage City”, a much different scene is presented before them every morning. Thousands of impoverished children reside in this slum area on the outskirts of town. A daily reality for them is no water, electricity or proper sanitation. Many in this area are Coptic Christians trying to survive and grow in their walk with God. In a country where Christianity is a minority as far as religious beliefs go, what greater way to share the love and Word of Christ than to send out illustrated bibles to children in their own language. You can share the good News with ten children for the small price of $35 and larger packages are available as well. Is there a $35 gift on your list that could be crossed off? If so, you can use the opportunity to give the gift of Jesus and eternal life to ten children. Available through www.americanbible.org.
Reaching out to the Orphans and Windows
Sponsoring a gift through World Vision’s Orphans and Widows Fund, you can help World Vision workers attend to the needs of children, orphans and widows who have been affected by AIDS. Through your donations, shelter, food, education, counseling and job training will be available to those struggling in this situation. Donations for the Orphans and Widows Fund start at just $50 and can be given through www.Worldvision.org.
Help to Rescue a Child From Exploitation
Thousands of children around the world are forced into a life of sex slavery, soldiers and laborers through the hideous world of human trafficking. Partnering up with other Christian organizations, Samaritan’s Purse works to protect children who are vulnerable of being led into this type of lifestyle and they help to rehabilitate victims that have already been exploited. A safe place to live, clothing, job training, counseling, basic necessities and the opportunity to experience God’s freedom is all available for just $75. This package and many more can be found through their gift catalog at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Chickens, Camels, Goats, Cows, Pigs, Rabbits, Lambs and Water Buffalo – Chances are, no one on your list asked for any the above, but receiving one of the animals mentioned could mean the world to an Asian family who is struggling to provide food and income for their family. These animals provide a steady diet for the family, some reproduce offspring very quickly, which can be a means of income, and others, like the Lamb provide milk, meat and also wool. You can show the love of Jesus through providing a Stable gift and change an entire family’s life. Prices range from $11 for a pair or chickens or rabbits, to $460 for a water buffalo. Available through Gospel for Asia, www.gfa.org.
Quenching a Village’s Thirst
How blessed are we that anytime we feel the urge, we can walk into our kitchen, turn on the faucet and get clean, life-sustaining water. Through Food for the Poor, your gift of a water pump will deliver fresh water and help prevent disease and death to poor villagers. This lifesaving gift can be given for only
$205 and is available at www.foodforthepoor.org.
Save Someone From Malaria
Through Compassion International’s mosquito net program, you can help families and children assisted by Compassion to receive the resources they need to fight malaria, such as prevention education, mosquito nets to prevent bites and medical treatment for those who become infected. This treatable and preventable disease kills over 1 million people per year, many of those are children. Mosquito nets start at just $30 and are available through www.compassion.com.
Show the Word of God to the Visually Impaired
Imagine being visually impaired and so desperately wanting to read the Word of God and experience His peace, mercy and joy. Through donations of large-print and Braille Bibles, God’s Word is now available to the visually impaired throughout China and Brazil. If you were blessed with the gift of sight, and you have the ability to pick up God’s Word anytime you wish, consider giving this Christmas gift to someone who has not had the same luxury as you. These gifts start at just $22 and are available through www.AmericanBible.org.
You + Coffee = Justice
If you log onto dailyaudiobible.com you can read about their partnership with Mission Coffee Roasters – the two came together to create the Windfarm Blend. In addition to buying delicious coffee, sales of the coffee truly create a win-win situation for everyone. 100% of the proceeds from every bag are used to combat human trafficking. (Approximately $5 per bag) To learn more about dailyaudiobible or Mission Coffee Roasters, visit: www.dailyaudiobible.com.
Helping Urgent Needs Right Here in America
With the help of the American Red Cross, your donation can help a needy family or child in America that is facing a crisis. Numerous gifts are found under their “Urgent Needs in the U.S.” area of their Holiday Gift Catalog online. Different options to choose from include; Infant Care Kits, that help provide a baby’s necessities when staying in an emergency shelter, including baby food, wipes, diapers, etc; Shelter and Food Gifts, which will help feed and shelter an entire family after they lose their home in an unexpected tragedy, such as a fire; and Clean Up Kits, for families who have become victims of flooding or a hurricane. These kits contain items such as gloves, trash bags, bleach, disinfectants, mop, broom, dust masks, etc. Additional gifts to help people across America can be found by going to www.american.redcross.org and clicking on the “Urgent Needs in the U.S.” button.
Please share with us your thougth and if you purchased any of these gifts for someone.