Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Big Present

Christmas is fast approaching and that means family, food and gifts! Our family (mainly my mother) has always been big on presents. She kinda goes nutts, to say the least. My theory is she doesn't realize how much she has bought until Christmas Eve when she finally finishes up her wrapping and puts everything under the tree. I'm certain she steps back and looks at the enormous display of gifts and Brittney Spears's "Oopps I did it again" song starts playing in her head. It's true. I get my love of gift giving honestly from my mother. I LOVE giving gifts, not only at Christmas, but year round. I guess you could say, it is my love language.

conner in front of the tree

This year our family has decided to do something a little different. We have decided to pull our resources (in this case, our FINANCIAL resources) and purchase one big gift from a family (ies) in need. I remember doing this exact same thing when I was little. My parents made sure to teach us the importance of giving by tithing year round but also by giving to those less fortunate. Each year we would buy Christmas presents for a family in town and wrapped them all up and brought them to their front door and left them annonymously (whoops I guess it's not annonymous if you blog about it years later... hmmm..) Anyway, my point is, my parents did well by teaching the importance of giving. I still enjoy picking a name or two off the angel tree and going to buy presents for a child who may not get anything otherwise.

So last year, we told mom she was out of control and the gift giving needed to stop. haha. Who would have ever thought children would tell their parents to stop giving them presents!? My brothers and I (along with our spouses) had discussed the fact that we are literally searching for things for our parents to buy for us just so they could wrap it up and put it under the tree. Ridiculous if you ask me when their are so many people who don't even have one single Christmas gift.
my brothers & my husband, overwhelmed with way too many presents!

My mom proposed the idea of giving to this organization in Nicaragua that my home church supports. My mom goes to Nicaragua every year, sometimes twice a year, to hand out gifts, food and other resources to the people in this village. It is incredible to hear the stories of these orphans who literally live in a dump and survive off other people's trash. Think about THAT next time you throw things away! In the past few years, I haven't been healthy enough to travel to Nicaragua with my mother but this coming year I hope to go with her to see first hand how these families and espcially how these children live.
these children actually live at this dump. here my mom is handing out toys, clothes, food, etc. They live off other people giving to them!

These children are in line to receive toys, clothes, etc. Notice the housing in the background. Just pitiful.

So what is our present this year? We are buying a house in Nicaragua. What? Yes. It may sound strange but for Christmas this year our family is pooling our money and are putting it toward the construction of a home for a family without a home in Nicaragua. For about $1800, the mission team from my home church can construct a basic one room house complete with a concrete slab and a metal roof. That might not sound like much of a house to you but that is more house than most of these people have ever seen before. It might just be the best $1800 that our family has ever spent.

this is what a typical home looks like in their villiage.

Here is a family standing in front of a newly constructed home that my home church built.

See how different the homes are. You can clearly see how the one on the right is more solid and sturdy. It actually is made out of concrete and is on a solid concrete foundation, unlike their homes constructed out of scraps of metal they find in the dump.

Why am I telling you this? Not to gain any sort of recognition or to sound super holy, but to challenge you to do the same. Do you find yourself thinking WAY to hard to come up with a decent Christmas list from your parents or in-laws? Or perhaps you LOVE making out your Christmas list - you may already have made one out but it is full of things you don't *really* NEED. Think twice about the money you spend this Christmas and spend it on someone in NEED. Just give up ONE Christmas gift on your list and ask for a donation instead to your favorite charity. There are countless way to give this Christmas, I challenge you to give from your heart.

I love this picture of my mother. She is happiest when she is giving to someone in need. Love you, mom! Can't wait to go to Nicaragua with you!


Katherine Grant said...

Wow, this is awesome! The pictures of your mom are so sweet. What a great challenge for everyone! Thanks for sharing.

Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies said...

Ah, amazing! Christmas time is hard for me, especially since the plight of the poor has been brought into the forefront of my mind. We hope to give more to our Compassion kids and do less gift giving here at home. My husband's Mom goes overboard with gifts, and we don't want to anything. So many others in this world are teetering on the brink of survival.
I loved this post!!