Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Gift of Life

There are 50 days left until we celebrate another Christmas. Normally I am fully engaged in the holiday shopping by this time of the year but circumstances being what they may I have not put much thought into this year's upcoming celebration. The last few years I have chosen to give a different kind of gift to those in our family that I just do not know what to give. It all started out when an Aunt and Uncle gave us a sweet card one year that said they had donated money in our name to a local pregnancy center. We were honored and the gift got me thinking...wouldn't it be awesome to have a Christmas where all the gifts given were helping out a ministry? I mean, really, we have everything we could possibly need in life. There is a world out there that needs practical help and the Gospel.
So, as I was thinking about this year's gift list I thought I might share with you some organizations that are worthy of our time and money. All of them are either well known to me or to someone I know. All of them touch a particular place in my heart - helping the poor, the orphaned, and the unreached with the Gospel.
Each picture is linked to that particular website. Many take donations while others have you purchase items. Please take a look and help out these worthy causes.

Above is Partner's International. This ministry is new to me but after reading through their website and checking out their donation area I was impressed. Partners, along with Gospel for Asia (listed below), believe that the most useful way to reach people with the Good News is through the indigenous people. Their Harvest of Hope catalog has a long list of needs and even gift certificates that can be given.

Samaritan's Purse is everywhere! This organization has created one of the easiest ways to get involved in a child's life who happens to live on the other side of the planet from you. Operation Christmas Child is really an ideal way for families to contribute a gift that really does not have to cost much but has a huge impact. And, to make it even easier, there is a drop off spot for those shoes boxes in just about every city!
Samaritan's Purse also has a catalog that you can order from....check it out!

Shhhhh...don't tell anyone...this is what most of my family and friends are getting from our family for Christmas! Tom Davis, author of Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds, helped found this coffee company. They use only fair trade coffee beans and 1/3 of the proceeds go to help orphans in the Swaziland region of Africa. Tom is a new friend whom I met through this blog. His heart for the African orphan beats as heartily as mine. You can check him out here.

You might have seen this logo on my sidebar. I have always been passionate about this issue. Abort73.com not only has tshirts, mugs, bags, and pens to buy but it is truly the most informative site on the issue. Someone you know struggling with the morality of abortion? Send them to this site. The video is compelling.

Next Step is another new organization that I have recently been introduced to. Next Step is a network which brings those who are working to improve the lives of others together with those who have the finances to support the work. What drew me to this organization was an African Palm Oil project that they are starting in Columbia. Palm oil is an incredibly nutritious oil that is making a come back...helping these people develop a skill to farm will last for generations. This organization has also been working in Slovenia and closer to home, in the Silicon Valley.

Compassion International

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a closed room with a mosquito" Malaria kills thousands of people every year with children being the most affected. Brown Sugar almost died of Malaria which makes this subject a tender one for me. If you buy this t-shirt from Compassion $10 of the purchase price will go to purchasing mosquito netting. That is all it takes to help many, many people.
Compassion is also very well known for its Sponser a Child program. My dear friend Lisa has a sponser child for each of her children (she has eight!)...she specifically asked for the same birthday and sex for each of her children. They have written letters and sent packages and now her older children are seeing the fruits of these long distant relationships.

Gospel for Asia

One of my high school friends has been involved with this ministry for the past couple of years. Her husband is an IT guy for Gospel for Asia and we have the privilege of supporting them in their effort to bring the Gospel to India and most of Asia through indigenous missionaries. Through GFA you can buy chickens, bikes, sewing machines, lanterns, Bibles, etc. You can rest assure that absolutely every penny that you donate goes directly to the missionary.

Here are a few more that I thought of at the last minute:
Blood: Water missions - We heard about this ministry through Jars of Clay (a family favorite). Their goal is to raise enough money to dig 1,000 wells.
Field and Hearth ministries - This family is dear to us. I have known Colleen for just about fifteen years now and Todd and Eric were very close. This is the family that Goose went to visit this past April. Even though we don't see them very often our times together are sweet. This family has chosen to live on a very spiritually barren island above Prince Edward Island in French speaking Canada. They live by faith as they minister to a very dark community during the winter months and then travel throughout the US during the summer months counseling families in need.

As I write this list out I am even more convicted to rethink my Christmas list and give a gift that doesn't need dusting or upkeep. It is truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Happy shopping!


Valerie said...


I know there are a ton of wonderful ministries out there but I also want to mention the Jewels of Hope. It is jewelry made by AIDs orphans in the country of Lesotho (land locked inside of South Africa). The ministry is lead by dear friends of ours who are missionaries with MAF in that country and my parents have been there to see this in action. The kids come to a church and learn how to make a specific piece of jewelry, are fed and attend a Sunday school so are fed spiritually. 100% of the proceeds goes into an account for these children many who have lost both parents and are heads of households. Thus they can feed their siblings without selling their bodies on the streets.

I have a new batch of jewelry. They are very reasonably priced and attached to each piece is a picture and description of the child that made it. Contact me at mccallfamily@sbcglobal.net if you are interested in checking the jewelry out. They make great gifs!

Valerie McCall

Lazy D Ranch said...

Thanks Valerie,
I didn't forget about Jewels of Hope...I was just listing those organizations that have websites that you can buy from.
I have a few pieces and always love wearing them.

godlover said...

These are all great ideas!! Changes the whole meaning of gift-giving!