Thursday, December 19, 2013

“Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.” ~ Eric Sevareid

The woman in the picture at the right has no reason to be smiling.  She is poor, her husband died of malaria leaving her with small children and no money and no job, but it’s Christmas, and someone is bringing her the gift of a pair of breeding goats.  This picture was taken a couple of years ago and the family is still together and the older children are in school—all because of a couple of goats.  The goats provided food, income, jobs for the children, and because they produced other goats, it allowed the widow to give the same gift of life she received to another widow in the same condition two years later.  Several years ago, Karen, John, and I decided that instead of spending money on each other, we would buy goats and give them away to families without husbands who needed help to survive.  A pair of breeding goats is only about $100, but that is over three months pay for someone who is working.  For a recent widow, it is an astronomical amount.  I mentioned this in a blog and to one of my cousins in Texas.  The cousin’s grandchildren loved the idea and sent us enough money to buy ten pair of goats to give away, so I wrote about that in the blog.  Now, other people from Germany, to England, to Australia, and to Arkansas have given money for goats as well.  We will be buying about thirty goats at the next goat market a few days after Christmas.  Then, Shaban and Karen, will spend the next several days delivering goats to the families we have already selected.  If anyone has any ideas on how to get “goat smell” out of a car, I would love to hear them.  Remember, it has to be something we can get here.  Fifteen widows and their young children will have the greatest gift of all this year—hope.  A future.  Food for the family and school for the children.  That’s why that woman is smiling, and it’s why we don’t decorate for Christmas when it doesn’t take much money to make a huge difference in the lives of the children of God.  Oh, and we also got mosquito nets to give away with the goats and to participants in Karen’s seminar in late January, thanks to some wonderful former missionaries from this area.  Giving is such a treat—at least here where we don’t charge anything to credit cards or go into debt for Christmas.   The three wise men didn’t do much, but they did give to a poor child born in a manger—and they have never been forgotten.  May your giving bless you this year.
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