Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One Man's Trash Is Another Man's...

Currently we are busy preparing for Christmas.  However, it's not what you think.

We are making preparations to make December 25th a blessed day for many here in country.  People in the US have been collecting gifts to share with the needy here.  Friends and family have been collecting some very nice things to send over and give to people here.  People at home have been thinking of the deprived people here in Ghana as they have been making their own Christmas plans.  They have chosen to give to the people here with their giving.  Thank you!!  We are so excited!!  (Thank you Tate Family, Hannah Rader, Thursday Connection Kids, Laura Lamb, Janet Franklin, Pleasant Hill Church and Ladies Bible Study, and, of course, Oleary family!  Nothing would happen here without each of you!  Thank you!)

This Christmas will be very different for us.  We will not even be at home Christmas Day.  We will have the honor of giving our lives away to the people here.  Our Christmas season will consist of delivering food for FTO sponsored families, making some needed repairs to homes, visiting orphanages to love on the fatherless, hosting an event for boys (most of whom are fatherless) and helping with an MLI Outreach for four days in a local deprived fishing community of 2000 people.

Believe it or not, there are many preparations for things like this - planning, shopping, communicating, etc...  (You should know that the shopping for most of this isn't done in a grocery store or a mall, but in an outdoor market.)  Today we began the daunting task of sorting though clothing for the outreach.  It is our hope that each person will receive one new piece of clothing.   The clothes we sorted today were donated a while back, and have been saved for this need.  We are hoping to bless 2000 people, so we are sorting through a LOT of clothing!!

Today I posted this on Facebook.

I've been asking Ghanaians about their favorite Christmas gift. What is your favorite Christmas gift you've ever received and why? Most people tell me they have never received a gift for Christmas. NEVER. RECEIVED. A. GIFT. FOR. CHRISTMAS. The ones who do remember a gift tell me they were so excited to receive a new outfit and a new pair of slippers (flip-flops). Rejoicing over - ONE. NEW. OU
TFIT. ONE GIFT EACH YEAR - not numerous gifts. ONE. The Ghanian's favorite memories are gathering with their family for a special large meal - chicken or goat and rice. (I love that!) They love the day full of dancing, singing, and being with their family. (I love that too!) Today, we sorted through clothing to give out at a four day outreach culminating Christmas morning, December 25th. Hopefully, each person will receive one piece of clothing to take home in this fishing community of 2000 people. This will be their only Christmas gift this year, and probably the only one they have ever received in their lifetime.

Sadly, about 25% of the clothes we went through today were discarded because of stains, tears, etc... They were horrible. I am so very thankful we were able to go through them before handing them over to someone as a blessing. BUT these were clothes sent here FOR the people here. It makes me so sad, but I guess someone thought a Ghanaian would be thankful for a piece of clothing that says, "YOU are worth this! This was my trash, but now you can have it." Stained. Torn. Discard worthy. We even had an entire enormous pile of socks...nearly all without matches. (I was saddened by this too because how many people do you know that would wear one sock without one the matches it? Really? One sock. Come on!!) However, all of the socks were kept because the children will use them for games...most will be turned into a ball to play soccer. Mismatched sock soccer balls. Discard-worthy clothes sent here as a "blessing." My world is being rocked. Is this really the how the people are valued here? Lord, please give us your eyes and your heart for your children.

Please know we are grateful for the generous donations so many give that truly do bless here. Today was simply a hard day that revealed a "leftover" mentality of some for donations for the people here.

"Lord, you know the hope of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the oppressed and the orphans, so mere people can no longer terrify them." Psalm 10:17-18

End of Post...

When we attended training last year, this poem was read to us, and today I saw it come to be true.

The Foxes Have Holes (And So Do We!)

By:  Mrs. Don Mathis

We're sending you a box of stuff, 

For us it is not good enuff.

But being missionaries, kind;

A use for it we're sure you'll find.

So when you pay the postage due, 

A happy s'prise awaiteth you.

Within this poorly wrapped up box, 

Are three odd garters, holey socks.

A corset, large without the stays, 

A record that no longer plays.

Some buttons for the three odd shoes, 

A box of string too short to use.

A can of ointment for your boils,

Electric toaster, minus coils.

We've scoured our homes from stem to stern

To send you things for which you yearn.

But glad we are to send our gift

To give your spirits upward lift.

Good deeds for us this should suffice
'Til next year's yearly sacrifice.

Today taught me that sometimes people can get caught up in sending "something."  Almost anything as the poem indicates.  Seeing the clothing that some chose to send here saddened me greatly.  The donations shouted a mentality to send things no one could use here...or even want.  (The clothing was so bad that it was to be burned in a fire this afternoon.  This is protocol for getting rid of garbage here.)

What I learned today is that one man's trash is another man's trash too... at least when it comes to stained, tattered clothing.  After filtering through many clothes that never should have been sent, I'm so thankful for those who send their best.  Many of you do!  Thank you!  I'm so thankful for those who think about the people here and realize they live with so much more.  I'm thankful for those who give to be a blessing to others.  WOW!  What a difference your giving makes!  You have no idea!  

Please know we do appreciate the generous donations of clothing, toys, books, etc... so many have sent us.  Nearly all of what we receive truly is a blessing for people here.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you. 

It's been a while since I've let you know a way you could help financially.  Since it's Christmas time, I thought you might like to know how you could bless those in need here.   Our two ministry partners are dedicated to making Christmas one FULL OF BLESSING here.  All done in the name of Jesus.   

Here are two giving options our family will be involved with this Christmas season.  We encourage you to consider helping in any way you are able!

You can donate to the MLI Christmas Outreach.  This four day event will go from December 22 and culminate on Christmas Day, December 25th.  Door-to-door evangelism, film show outreaches with the Jesus Film, games for children, and a Christmas party on December 25th will end the event.  On December 25th, everyone will be fed a warm meal, given at least one piece of clothing, and small gifts will be shared with the children such as balloons and whistles.  You can donate any amount toward this event in Maamie, Ghana hoping to reach 2000+ people.  Please email me if you give to this cause because there is not currently a way to designate your online giving. 


You could sponsor a child for Christmas through Feeding the Orphans.  For $20, you will provide a very special meal, and a new outfit for an orphan here in country.   Christmas is a time when children long for family and belonging.  These celebrations FTO hosts provide joy and hope for children.  Please consider making this Christmas one that the fatherless children will remember for years to come!

People worshipped Jesus upon His birth.  Be in worship of our incredible Savior this season.  
Worship. Awe.  Gratitude.  Praise.  WORSHIP HIM.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. – Luke 2:12
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11

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