For the past several weeks, we have all eagerly awaited the day when we would go to pass out the Christmas Boxes we received.
This is the 3rd year we have done this and while each year has been a blessing, this year was very special.
We only received about a fifth of the amount of boxes we received the previous years. We know that there are many who desired to give, but were financially unable to. Living internationally, we have come to very much understand the costs involved in shipping, and we know it has been a hard year for many. We considered not doing it this year, but felt the Lord wanted us to and we wanted to give this opportunity to give to those who were able.
We had originally planned to go to a new area where Daniel has been wanting to begin preaching. We were going to take the boxes along with some tracts and New Testaments and go house to house covering that area.
But with fewer boxes, we didn't want to go and only give some of the children a gift and not the others.
So we began to pray about where we should go...43 boxes sent and while we knew they would be gladly received by any boy or girl, we felt the Lord would lead.
As many of you know, Daniel has gone out to preach each week in the village of Jesus Maria and its surrounding areas for over a year now. It is a very hard area and after a year of preaching, only a few have listened, many have rejected the message, and not one has come to Christ. Daniel has been met with resistance we've never seen before.
Daniel's uncle, who pastors a church in our hometown area and has a deep burden and heart for missions, encouraged Daniel to seek ways to help the people there...show them that we love and care for them.
Daniel was first allowed to preach there because the door was opened by us giving them clothing. Daniel recently worked for hours fixing a couple of guitars for a man who lives there.
There are not many children who live there; it's strangely quiet and lonely especially during the week as the few children who do live there are sent to and board at a school in town.
Knowing that schools were out on vacation and
seeking ways to reach out to these people, we felt the Lord would have us give boxes to the children there. We certainly had enough to give to them!
I had to be very careful about taking pictures. While a couple of the homes have always allowed Daniel to enter, many of them have not. He told me that he wasn't sure if we would even be allowed to give a box away a some of these homes as they have been less than friendly to him often yelling at him or hiding when they see him coming. But we determined to make an attempt at each house where we knew there was a child.
We are so glad we went! Daniel was able to see and talk with people who he hasn't seen in months; they allowed us to give their children a gift and were truly grateful. One home in particular who has completely ignored Daniel for months smiled and waved at us as we left. Daniel was shocked. It's the first friendly gesture the have ever shown towards him.
There was only one home where they would not accept the gift; another lady from the village went with Josiah and I to try to give the boy there a box, but the lady of the house yelled at us to get away. Even the lady who went with me was surprised at the anger.
It is Christ that they continue to reject. Please, please pray for them. Daniel is anxious to go back to preach this coming week.
With the boxes that remained after covering the village, we went to the homes of some of our most faithful church children. Sunday, I found it it was the only gift they any of them received this year as times here are hard too. How very happy they were and what a joy it was just to see their faces.
Thank you so much for giving and for praying.