Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Baskets

A few weeks ago, I received an email from our missions pastor asking if our family would like to put together a Thanksgiving basket for local refugee families.  I asked Isaac, and the look on his face basically told me I shouldn't have even bothered asking him if we should participate.  Of course we were!  Noted, Honey.  We will help refugees in our city.  Got it. 

Our instructions were simple.  We were to purchase a laundry basket (a very useful item!), and fill it with black-eyed peas, rice, cans of green beans and sweet corn, apples, a Thanksgiving themed card with a greeting of welcome, and a gift card to a grocery store.  Once we delivered the basket to church, a copy of the Jesus film was added to it.  Easy!

Man Cub enjoyed going shopping with Isaac and me for the items.  He made sure I had sealed the gift card into the greeting card nice and tight so it wouldn't get lost.  He liked counting the items, too!  Man Cub might be just shy of 16 months, but he's not too small to learn to go shopping for others, to write notes to others, and to pray for others.  Our little family gathered around that basked and asked some big things for the family who will receive it.  We fully trust that our God is mighty enough to answer every single one of those prayers!

I kept thinking of other things I wanted to add to our basket, like warm fleece blankets, various sizes of socks, oranges, and basic school supplies.  It would have been so easy, but since our church was asked to make numerous baskets that would be delivered at once, they needed to be uniform.  I get it, but my imagination was running wild with possibilities. 

Yesterday after church, several folks took the baskets to the various apartments complexes where the families live.  Our friends met families from Burma, Bangladesh, Iraq, Somalia, DRC, and other countries.  We debated long and hard about whether or not to help deliver.  We finally decided that a cranky 1 year old in need of lunch and a nap would detract from our visit more than add to it, so we stayed home this time.  We learned that lesson the hard way in Zambia this summer.  It wasn't an easy decision to make though.  I'm hoping for more opportunities to reach out so we can continue to instill in our little guy the attitude of Jesus.  

It's not to late to do something similar where you live!  If you have a missions pastor at your church, start there.  Or, contact your local Interfaith Caring Ministry, NAMB, or other local ministry that you know.  If you don't live in an area that is helping refugees, call up your nearest homeless shelter, and ask how your Sunday School class or Bible study could minister to their clients.  Perhaps a backpack with toiletries would be a more appropriate option in that situation.  Most of all, be aware of everyone residing in your community.  Love them.  Be Jesus to them, and thank God for all of His children this Thanksgiving.  It takes a village, and we are the village.

*I always hesitate to write posts like this.  I know Jesus doesn't want us to brag or show off our good deeds.  The glory is never to come to us, but to be put on Him.  When I do choose to write these kinds of posts, it's meant to encourage and share ideas about how to love and serve, not to say, "Look at us!".  I hope that translates well and that God uses our experiences for His glory alone.  


Living out of Wedlock said...

This is such a good idea! I do not see this as bragging, it is really encouraging and makes me want to do something like this myself!

The Lady Okie said...

Yes! ^^^ what she said :) thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

I love to hear about things like this happening in the USA! Where we live, the Rohingya people are the refugees closest to our homes and hearts. I appreciate your postscript too. I usually opt to keep a low profile on the ministries closest to my heart, in large part because we don't live in the free USA, but these people are so important and it's encouraging to see and hear about all the others who get involved in helping!

Jaimee Granberry said...

I really, really love this. :)

Diana said...

Your intent is clear! No worries there. Great ideas on how to bless others this holiday season.

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