A thousand square feet used to feel like a lot of space. A ton of space. Then the Lord added 5 kids in just under 6 years (2 boys then 3 girls) and the walls appear to be closing in fast! However, the Lord has blessed us immensely with the opportunity to build a new home, a larger home, a dream-come-true country home! Join us as we embark on this crazy DIY adventure as we literally build our next house and home, giving all glory to God our Father!
Every year around this time we start talking about boxes. Shoe boxes, to be exact. And rather than talking about which shoes we wish were in those boxes, we talk about how we can fill them with toys and pencils and washcloths and soap. This is that time of year that Operation Christmas Child is in full swing encouraging us to pack a shoe box full of toys for some deserving child in another part of the world. This has been an annual event for our family for a number of years and I thought I would share why we find this so important to us.
We believe that what Jesus teaches us in the Bible is the way we should live our lives. One thing very clearly stated in the Bible is the need to care for the orphan. Another is to be a cheerful giver. As parents these are not only things we aspire to, these are mandates we try to teach to our children. We have so very much here in our house. We have everything we could possibly need and a whole bunch of the wants, too. However, if we follow the teachings of Jesus, we need to look outside of our home to see how we can minister to those around. And we do that as frequently as we can here in our neighbourhood. But if we want to make a difference outside of this town, we need to think a bit differently. We cannot invite an orphan from Haiti to our house for supper. But we can give them school supplies and some basic toiletries and maybe a shirt and socks and the opportunity to hear about the wonderful news that Jesus is head-over-heels in love with them and died to prove it! A shoebox is not only a box filled with possibly the first and only gift a child may receive, it is the chance to hear about the greatest gift ever given, that of Jesus Christ. And we believe everyone should have the chance to hear that. So, each year, we take the time to make up some boxes to send to some children in another part of the world who don't get the things they want and probably lack much of the things they need. It is such a small thing on our part to make up some boxes of crayons and pencils and candy but the rewards for those children may be eternal.
It is such a fun event to take our family of 5 kids and let each of them pick out the treasures they want to send to another child. Admittedly for the younger ones, they think they are picking out their own presents and often tears fall when we tell them it is not for them. However, as we have done this for a number of years, the desire to give grows in the kid's hearts until it comes out and overwhelms you with their generosity. This past week my eldest son, 8 years old, bugged me for a number of days to bake cookies with him. His plan was to sell the cookies at the end of the driveway to raise money for Operation Christmas Child and the shoe boxes his Sunday School class will make (not only do we have the opportunity to make the boxes here at our house, the Sunday School at our church uses the kid's morning offerings to make shoe boxes - rather than mom and dad paying for the boxes as happens here at home, all the money they bring to Sunday School comes directly from the kids' "Give" jar!). You must remember that it is the last week of October here in the prairies of Manitoba and the weather is nippy. I wasn't so sure anyone would be stopping by or that he would sit out there longer than 15 minutes before deciding it was too cold. But he wouldn't relent. So, this past Thursday we baked Peanut Butter cookies together, he and I. His brother made up some iced tea. He set up a table, wrote up a sign and sat out at the end of the driveway for 2 hours, first in shorts then in pants (eventually all the kids joined him so who could resist 5 cute kids selling cookies)! And God proved faithful to his giving heart - he raised $15 by selling 30 cookies at $0.25 each (and a couple glasses of iced tea). He was so excited and cannot wait to bring that money to Sunday School tomorrow. And in the next week or two, we will take the kids on a shopping date and pick out some great gifts we know will bless some wonderful little kids in another country, kids that God has already chosen to receive the boxes we will make. I will be sure to tell you how the shopping goes!