Last year for Christmas, one of our pastors in the Philippines gave a new towel to the sponsored young people he cares for. That was all most of them received for Christmas and they were very happy. Most of the sponsored children in his group are young teens. I don’t know it to be a fact, but I suspect it was the first “new” towel most, if not all, of them had ever received.
I will never forget the day my friend Petie Newsome and I went with one of the pastors to a squatter area on the poorest island of the Philippines. One of us had a bag of candy to give away to the children and one of us had new toothbrushes and toothpaste. It amazed me when the kids swarmed around the person giving out the toothbrushes and toothpaste. That was their first choice. They did not go for the candy until all the toothbrushes were gone. I commented to the pastor’s wife of my surprise. She told me they value the new toothbrushes much more than the candy. Most of them had never owned a brand new, unused toothbrush and toothpaste was a rare luxury.
Another memory is of the time we received a big bag of spinning tops, a gift from Sonic Drive-ins. They were discontinued toys leftover from kid’s meals. We gave them to children who lived in a garbage dumpsite. The kids were accustomed to old broken toys they dug out of someone else’s trash. The squeals of delight and joy brought tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts.Last Christmas, because of the financial recession and a considerable drop in ministry income, we were unable to give gifts and parties to the kids for Christmas. This year, we have stepped out in faith. Our plans for Christmas are to provide a party with gifts and food, not just for the almost 500 sponsored children, but for all the family. As we talked and prayed about what to do this year, our thoughts went to the brothers and sisters of the sponsored children watching as only the “sponsored ones” received gifts while they received nothing. It broke our hearts. So this year we want to bless the families of our sponsored children. We are excited, the pastors are excited and the kids are really excited.
The pastor who gave the new towels last year told us he wants to give new shoes this year to all the kids, another pastor is planning a big Christmas feast with gifts of “food” the families can take home. This is special since most of the families do not have enough food.
The joy of simple things – a new towel, a new pair of shoes, a new toothbrush and toothpaste, a plastic spinning top, a bag of rice, a can of sardines. It takes so little to put a smile on the face of a child who has so little.
Want to help give our kids and their families a Christmas to remember? Fullness in Christ Ministries is an IRS approved 501(c)(3) organization and your donations are fully tax exempt. If you wish to help give Christmas to the children and families, you can give online through our secure shopping cart. Go to “Christmas for Children.”