I can’t believe this is Christmas number three that I’ll celebrate with the orphans! The most excited thing about this year is that it’s more than a handful of children that will be blessed….we’ll get to minister to and bless almost 400 kids, a handful of elderly folks who are living in extremely rough conditions, and dozens of impoverished families.I’ve once again partnered with Launch International to make giving easy and tax deductible!
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What’s Happening This Year:
Sometimes we can be trigger happy with giving (not saying that’s a problem necessarily) because there are so many things to give to constantly flooding our laptop, tablet and phone screens. I want to make sure that everyone understands EXACTLY what is happening and why giving to this matters.
1. STEP BY STEP
Each year we do an outreach for the kids that involves blessing them with gifts and shoes and clothing…but the reality is that we are walking with these kids and families throughout the year. Each event, each group that visits, each visit to a home reading the Word of God is a step in discipleship. We are doing handouts to children with sad faces. We are sharing love of family. We (myself and local churches/pastors in the different regions) walk with these people consistently- some region a few times a week (like in the orphanage) and some a few times a month. We’ve walked with these precious kids and families through good times and hard times….through deaths and births. This Christmas event is part of the process and makes for a huge launch forward in demonstration of love and commitment in these communities.
2. TOYS, SHOES, CLOTHES, FOOD
We’ll be buying and giving out a lot of stuff. I want to make sure to point out the environment in which we live here in Lima. Lima is in the desert. There is dirt and dust everywhere. The climate is extremely humid. Most clothes will be washed by hand. The simple truth is that clothes and shoes just do not last as long here. I’m sure you know from experience buying for your kids or seeing a family member’s children, kids are active and wear things out quickly.
3. FAMILY PACKS
Jicamarca is a community of extreme poverty. The people are absolutely incredible and would gladly give you their last piece of bread. We’ve been visiting this community consistently since May. We’ve walked with families through incredible difficult times. We’ve also gotten to share a lot of hope! This Christmas, partnering with a local church, we’ll visit houses with a family gift pack. This pack will have some essentials like rice, beans, fruit, laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, socks, etc. We’ll also include a new Bible for those that can read. For those that can’t we’ll figure out how to get them the Word anyway whether it be an audio version or children’s illustrated Bible and their kids can read to them. I expect these family visits and gift deliveries will be extremely powerful. One mother reminds us each time we are there saying, “I am always surprised that you are here. NO ONE comes up here.” We’re happy to be there; it is such a privilege to serve this community.
We’ll also be able to delivery family packs to a handful of elderly folks in Pachacutec who are living on their own in conditions that you couldn’t imagine. Each visit with these folks is extremely special. They are some of the most interesting and most grateful people I’ve ever met.
Not in one of these places will we simply drop off a load of gifts. I don’t believe in Santa, nor being Santa.
“I came that they may have life and life to the fullest.” Jesus came to give us all abundant, true life. We’re all just agents of his mercy. When we open our homes, when we open our mouths to encourage, when we give..we are sharing true life. In my experience and in my opinion, a message of love packs a huge punch when it’s paired with a demonstration of love. The people we’re ministering to and loving on live in such extreme conditions. Many times, it’s hard to know where food for the week will come from. Buying extras like toys or shirts (even though the current ones are dirty and would be thrown out by others) is out of the question.
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothes and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things they needed for the body, what good is that?” James 2:15
Each gift will be accompanied by a presentation of the Gospel of Jesus. He is the only way to Heaven, the only way to have true, lasting Life. Whether in a personal one on one setting in a home or a show in front of 100 kids, each recipient will know that God is the one who has done this for them and that He adores them.
5. Four Locations
- Jicamarca– an impoverished community just outside of Lima. We’ve been walking with this precious community since May and have seen God do so many things. I can’t wait to bless them with toys, clothes, and shoes for the kids as well as family packs for each home!
- Pachacutec– This was the site of our very first Christmas in Peru. We’ll return in partnership with El Refugio to share gifts and hope with a handful of orphans as well as needy children and their families. We’ll also get to deliver a few packs to some elderly folks.
- Rebano de Jesus– this is the orphanage in Callao. I’m with these kids every week and want to make sure they have the best Christmas possible. It will be an awesome reminder for them of how God loves them and has not forgotten about them.
- Downtown Lima: In recent months we’ve been visiting these kids classroom by classroom with presentations of the hope we have in God as well as giving them food! This will be a first for the region to have a Christmas celebration like this- especially one that comes with the gift of Life—hope in Jesus Christ!