Monday, December 21, 2015
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ― Mother Teresa
Several years ago, Karen, John, and I decided not to give each other Christmas presents but to pool our money and help a poor family. We gave a pair of breeding goats (the female goat was pregnant) to a recent widow with young children. The goats give the family income, food, and a future. It allows their children to go to school, pay fees, buy uniforms, and eat decent meals. Since that Christmas years ago, we have continued the practice but have not isolated it just to Christmas and have been giving goats several times a year. I belong to a watch forum on the internet as I am a collector of inexpensive watches (most are gifts) and posted a picture of Karen giving a goat one day. Much to our surprise, amazement, and excitement, a member of the forum from the United States sent us enough money to buy goats every month at the goat market and give them year round for at least two years. So, what to do this Christmas? As it turns out, my good friend, Pete O’Neal who has his own orphanage in Arusha has a real problem with the teeth of all twenty-two of his orphans (he never uses that word, he calls them Leaders of Tomorrow, and they will be). Anyway, chemicals in the water they have been drinking have ruined their teeth and left them feeling like they need to keep their mouths closed all the time and never, ever smile. Pete found a dentist that could correct the problem but the cost was $75 per child—far too much for him to pay for all the kids as he, like us, just scrapes along. Someone paid for the first two and he sent me pictures of them smiling. We scraped together enough money for two more about five months ago, but it is just too expensive for us to do much more. Well, this Christmas, our family Christmas money will be smiles on the faces of two little boys who live with Pete. I can’t think of a better Christmas gift or show of love than to give smiles and self-worth to two young orphans who have a bright future thanks to Pete’s educational program for them and his love. I can’t show pictures of them for confidential reasons, but the picture of the boy at the right is of a friend who had the same treatment. We are proud to be able to help in this small way. There are still many more kids who need treatment, and, if you want to put smiles on orphans’ faces, you can send money to us ($75 per child) and we will get it to Pete. There can be no greater gift than to give love, hope, and a shot at a bright future to a child who would never have had it without the help and love of caring others. We also have a turkey to eat on Christmas day, so as Tiny Tim wanted us all to be blessed on Christmas day, so will we be. We pray that you, too, are blessed this Christmas—not by what you get, but by what you give.