We have nothing under our Christmas tree as we are moving...and having "things" seems inappropriate and unrealistic...and yet...I don't need anything to fill that space under the tree as today fulfilled that spot...
An awesome church, led by Pastor Ed at Grace Christian Fellowship PCA, and their congregation have sent us Christmas bags every year we have been here! It has been an AWESOME opportunity to give to the kiddos in Armenia Bonito a few gifts and love from the body of Christ that they would NEVER have otherwise received! This church has faithfully given, and we have obediently handed out gifts to the children every year for Christmas. In the past we have given them to kiddos during Kids Club...but as I am no longer running Kids Club, they still wanted to send them, so we took this opportunity to say goodbye, and hand out Christmas bags to the children in the community. To see the faces of the sweet children, and the delight as they opened their gift bags and beheld the wonder that was there, was incredible! I always go and serve to bless others...but almost without question...God blesses me back! I was grinning from ear to ear as each child received their bag, I wished them Merry Christmas, and asked for God's blessings upon them, and they gave me a smile back and a huge GRACIAS...my heart was full!!!
|A family with 12 children, receiving a food basket|
|Oneida, the mute child that captured my heart from the first day I entered Armenia|
|Mike giving a basket to the sweetest of families|
|1 of 60 gift bags we gave out...|
In addition, the physical needs of the community are HUGE!!! Single moms are the majority of the community, and being able to put food on the table is sometimes more than they are able to do. At my clinic I've always had food baskets for the most needy, and have given out dozens of food baskets over the year that my sweet father has provided the funds to make happen. My dad had come to visit, and I had gone to the grocery store and had two separate shopping carts. He finally asked me what in the world I was doing. I explained to him that one basket was for me, but the other was for a food basket I was putting together for a needy family in Armenia. That tore at his heart...and from that day on he pledged monthly funds to purchase a food basket for a family in Armenia. As we are no longer an integral part of Armenia, I am no longer there to hand out food baskets, but I wanted to make sure that four families would not go hungry for Christmas...so I purchased enough food to help a family out for a month...it included flour, salt, sugar, flour, corn flour, powdered milk, dish soap, chlorine, laundry soap, sponge, rice, beans, cookies, a Snickers bar, 2 dozen eggs, tooth paste, and toilet paper. I put all of this inside of a large plastic container that will serve as a laundry or dish cleaning container.
We then entered the community and handed out the gift bags from the church, and visited four houses that I knew were in dire need. I left the community for the last time feeling sad, elated, loved, prayed for, and knowing that I had done my best. I had followed where God had called me, and had tried to be an obedient servant. Truly...in all I do...I do it for the glory of God, and long to hear that maybe one day, when I've run my race, and I am done, that I hear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."