If you read my post here, you know Adam & I focused a little more on giving to other people, rather than receiving ourselves. That's not to say that we weren't blessed with many other things, but we were able to ask for the blessing of gifting to others in need.
A couple organizations we had received from this year were Samaritan's Purse & Heifer International. Samaritan's Purse (the same people who do Operation Christmas Child) is near & dear to us because in addition to the donations & helping others with food, water, animals, etc...they also are 'helping in Jesus name'.
Here is a little ditty from their website:
The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) gives a clear picture of God's desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we find them. For 35 years, Samaritan's Purse has followed Christ's command by aiding the world's poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the globe with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, earns us a hearing for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
We had never heard of Heifer International until this year, but it's pretty much the same without being Christ-centered, is my understanding at least. We are thankful for each & every gift of a donation we received because it will be a blessing to others. I have been praying over these gifts that the Lord multiplies them like the fish & bread.
We went over to our pastor & his wife's home a month or so ago. We had the opportunity to fellowship with them until late & it was a blast. Sarah, our pastor's wife, had said they were receiving a goat donation in their family's name from her mother. One thing that she said as we were chatting, is that, she would much rather have her kiddos see that they are getting a gift like that that will help other people in the name of Jesus, than getting countless other plastic things that will break. That doesn't meant the other things aren't appreciated, but Adam & I feel the same way. I thought that was so wise. Your kiddos will see that & learn a servant's/giving heart young. There is even a catalog to look through, so you can pick something out for someone else!
I'll admit, selfishly, I like getting things on my list. But I felt my heart being pulled in this direction. To give to others. It wasn't easy at first, but I could just cry when I think about the blessing this will be to others. It can seriously change lives. It can produce jobs, money, nourishment, and the list goes on & on to our brothers & sisters in Christ.
Anyways, I just wanted to share this from my heart. Again, it's not that we're against gifts -- we're not! They're so fun! And can be a blessing, a relationship-builder, so thoughtful, etc... But in addition to them, we were overwhelmed with the joy this has brought us & will bring to others & we wanted to share!
In Christ's Love,