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My desk is the catch-all in this house. Mail we don’t know what to do with? Throw it on Mom’s desk! Empty envelope we are too lazy to throw away? Stack another pile on Mom’s desk! I can’t stand clutter and disarray, so I am not a happy camper when I sit down to clear off my desk.
This morning we have our homeschool assistance teacher coming over. She is the homeschool liaison from the public school and she drops by about once a month just to see how we are doing and if we would like to switch any books out. She is a very sweet lady, and I assume she has seen some really messy houses, but mine will NOT be one of them. We have been rushing around doing some last-minute tidying, and excavating the papers on my desk was my project.
As I sorted “keep, throw, what-the-heck-is-this” I came across two catalogs that we got in the mail last week. One was the Compassion Christmas Catalog, and the other was the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Catalog. I have been involved with Compassion for many years, and Samaritan’s Purse is the shoebox charity! Every year we fill shoeboxes with little toys and supplies to send around the world to kids in need.
The Christmas catalogs present a variety of giving options, from the $10 range, all the way into the thousands. These are typically gifted in someone’s name, or as a nice thing for a family to do at the holidays. I had tossed them in the pile thinking I would either toss them or look through them later. This morning I was prompted to flip through the pages.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I took in the gifts that are available. Safe playgrounds, safe drinking water, mosquito nets … Ugh. Here I was feeling inconvenienced by all the blessings that have been showered on me.
Several years ago we decided to scale back the gift giving for our children and to devote more of our holiday spending to charity. As our kids get older and develop a deeper understanding, I would like to see that shift more and more. My 13-year-old daughter has an extremely compassionate heart and GLADLY foregoes big presents to donate more money. But, the 6-year-old-boys still enjoy ripping open presents a bit too much to completely get rid of the tradition.
I would encourage you to incorporate one or both of these charities into your holiday. I am a local advocate with Compassion and we currently sponsor 3 children; Rueben from Bolivia, Gilberto from Indonesia, and Collins from Ghana. Child sponsorship is $38 per month and provides children in need with education, medical care, food (if needed), and most importantly the message of Jesus Christ. You may not be able to change the entire world, but you can certainly change the life of a child for the cost of a candy bar every day.
If a monthly commitment isn’t your speed, check out the Compassion Gift Catalog online. There are gifts in all different price ranges, like $13 for an emergency feeding, $79 for a Water For Life system, all the way up to $1,045 for emergency relocation from a dangerous situation. This was one of my favorites:
Imagine, lifting someone out of poverty and giving them the skills to support their family! Compassion has been given awards for they fiscal responsibility, so know that when you donate your money is going where it is supposed to!
Samaritan’s Purse is mostly know for their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but they do amazing missionary work all over the world. Remember Dr. Keith Brantly who contracted ebola while ministering in Liberia? He is a Samaritan’s Purse worker! He is also featured in their Christmas Catalog under the entry “Support A Missionary Doctor.” The cost may not be in everyone’s budget at $4,200, but there is also the option to share the cost for only $7. A quote from Dr. Brantly in the catalog is chilling, “Following God often leads us to unexpected places. My focus remains the same – to follow God.”
The Samaritan’s Purse catalog also has a wide variety of gifts that will fit into any budget, from $25 for shoes and clothing, to $45 for fruit trees, to $35,000 to build a mission hospital. This one tugged at my heart:
You can give by calling 1-800-353-5957 or online at samaritanspurse.org.
If you do not already incorporate something like this into your holiday giving, I would really encourage you to start. Both of these organizations have not only helped us to instill compassion in our kids, but they have really changed the way my husband and I think about charitable donation.
I truly believe that the more we give, the more we are blessed. Maybe not in a monetary sense, but there is a fulfillment that comes from giving that money can’t buy. How are you giving back this holiday season?
This is day 17 in the series 31 Days Of Learning To Be Positive. Click here to check out the entire series.