I am a Mennonite. I was raised in the Mennonite Brethern church. I was baptized there. My great-grandparents homesteaded the Western Canadian soil with their bare hands. They buried children there. Many. Their lives were hard. They spoke no English. They simply lived their lives in a foreign land, freely, because their homeland abandoned them. Cursed. Broken. Persecuted. My people were the needy immigrants we sometimes look down upon. If I were alive then, I would hope that I , and others, could help them. But I am alive now and I must give to those who have nothing, have been abandoned by their countries, have been persecuted. These are Menno Simmon’s words and they are brave, deeply emotional and profound words that we must all hear and act upon:
True evangelical faith is of such a nature it cannot lie dormant, but spreads itself out in all kinds of righteousness and fruits of love;
it dies to flesh and blood ;
it destroys all lusts and forbidden desires ;
it seeks, serves and fears God in its inmost soul ;
it clothes the naked ;
it feeds the hungry ;
it comforts the sorrowful ;
it shelters the destitute ;
it aids and consoles the sad ;
it does good to those who do it harm ;
it serves those that harm it ;
it prays for those who persecute it ;
it teaches, admonishes and judges us with the Word of the Lord ;
it seeks those who are lost ;
it binds up what is wounded ;
it heals the sick;
it saves what is strong (sound) ;
it becomes all things to all people .
The persecution, suffering and anguish that come to it for the sake of the Lord’s truth have become a glorious joy and comfort to it.”
Is this not the very essence of what it means to be a Christian? Is this not what Redeeming our faith and our Christmas is all about??
Have you ever participated in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child campaign?
If you haven’t, do it this year. Just do it. Don’t wait. Don’t ponder. Don’t wonder. Just do it.
Samaritan’s Purse goes into the tragedy riddled nations of this planet and saves, helps, hopes, feeds and gives.
And then came Operation Christmas Child…
Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on project of Samaritan’s Purse that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus Christ – God’s greatest gift.
Operation Christmas Child was started in 1990 by Dave Cooke, a Welshman who felt moved to deliver gifts to Romanian orphans after seeing their living circumstances on television. In 1993, Operation Christmas Child grew and was adopted by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization run by Franklin Graham.
To date, Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed over 94 million shoe box gifts worldwide. Each shoe box gift is filled with hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and candy, is given to children regardless of gender, race, religion, or age. When culturally appropriate, copies of a book entitled The Greatest Gift of All, which has been translated into 130 different languages, are offered to children after the shoe box has already been distributed.
National Collection Week is November 19-25
Visit the website, find a church near you with the boxes to fill. In our family we try to do a shoe box for each member of our family. It is a lot. But we have a lot. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
My suggestions: don’t cheap out on dollar store toys. T-shirts, face cloths, rubber bouncing balls, sunglasses, calculators, hair accessories and stuffed toys are some of the very best things to include. The entire list of suggested items is here.