Every year, members of our family dutifully write up a detailed list of gift hints designed to make Christmas shopping productive, easy and usually amusing… it’s a sort of grown up version of writing a letter to Santa, except for family members. All of whom usually comply, except me.
My husband and grown children are good at making detailed lists; some even include helpful links on where to purchase said item. Personally, I have never been very good at this task. My typical responses are, “Everything I want cannot be bought at a mall” and “I want something made from your hands or your heart”, or the ever popular “Do a good deed.”
This year, as our Family Christmas List began circulating, family members inquired about my lack of a list, and kindly pressured me to put something on it. Otherwise, they reminded me, I would probably be getting a lot of soap again. However, I was too busy to make a list! I had set a goal during Advent, to find sponsors for the remaining 56 kids at Shpola Orphanage without one.
My wonderful pastor decided to highlight our Orphan Sponsorship program at church during the 4 weeks of Advent, and asked several sponsors to tell what it means to them to sponsor a child. This encouraged me to embark on a social media campaign to reach folks outside of my church family. People started signing up, and I hurried to feature as many kids as possible. I even booked a speaking engagement during our holiday travels to get the word out. So, when my daughter asked me again, to please fill out my Christmas list – I just blurted out, “You know what I want for Christmas? To find sponsors for 56 orphans!”
“I can help you with that”, Zoë said. And she did. She typed up an email and sent it to all of her friends. In fact, God used many people during Advent to find sponsors. Church members spoke about how unique our Orphan Sponsorship program is and how wonderful it is to get personal letters and photos from Ukraine. Facebook friends shared my posts, and created more buzz and awareness than ever before. And the event I attended over the holidays, allowed me to engage with a group of folks with a heart for Ukraine orphans!
The results? Praise God that 32 kids at Shpola Orphanage got a sponsor for Christmas! That means there are only 24 orphans left on the list. And the Christmas season isn’t over yet in Ukraine, where they follow the Julian calendar. Christmas season goes all the way until Epiphany on January 19th! So, there is still time to make an orphan’s Christmas wish come true!
All of those new sponsors have written warm introductory letters to their sponsored child. These have been translated and packaged up with a personalized welcome gift. These gifts are vehicles to spread God’s word. Our Ukrainian teams are in place and ready to deliver these precious Christmas presents in the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on our Hope Now Ministries Facebook page for photos (don’t forget to Like the page!) and see what it looks like when an orphan in Ukraine gets what he wants for Christmas.
To go even deeper, consider sponsoring 1 of the 24 remaining kids at Shpola Orphanage who want a sponsor. You can have a personal connection, and make a positive impact on a lonely child growing up in an orphanage in Ukraine. Just go to our web site and sign up! Click the Donate button, and then Orphan Sponsorship to complete your monthly $25 recurring donation. You’ll receive a photo and a profile of your sponsored child, selected especially for you. Do it today! Thanks for helping to get all these kids sponsored by January 19th!
I wonder what I’ll put on my Christmas list next year!
Today, this simple verb is treated with a degree of tension that is often quite palpable. We live in an age of self-identification where knowledge of your personal story and self-awareness are perceived as strong character traits. Modern themes about being your own self, saving for retirement and looking after Number 1 resonate throughout social media as though our ancestors never really knew what was important.
Hidden within the disturbing meme is the emerging truth of who we are becoming as humans while the fabric of society wears thin.