Monday, December 18, 2006

Gifts that really give

Last year, some church friends gave a goat as a gift. But the Christmas gift recipient didn't get the goat, someone else did.

Most of us wouldn't know exactly what to do with a goat, but the African recipients knew exactly what to do and were greatly blessed by it. The goat not only gives milk, but also kids, and kids can be sold or used to increase the herd. The continent wide AIDS epidemic in Africa has further impoverished millions, and the goat our friends gave will help to succor families hard hit by this epidemic.

Here's how this works: our friends called a Christian organization that is working with African (and other) partners to bring relief and help in many parts of the world. Our friends gave their credit card for a specific gift (the goat) and the organization sent the goat to the Africans and a card describing the gift to the American relative who was the gift "recipient".

Everyone was happy: our friends were pleased because they have given a triple duty gift, their relatives here in America were pleased to be part of this (and probably pleased to NOT have ONE MORE THING laying around the house that they don't use) and the Africans were pleased (probably ecstatic is closer).

So, we have done that this year. I called Global Action, a Colorado Springs-based ministry that works with worldwide partners (one of which is a good friend from Sweden) and we ordered some Bibles for Russian Jews (they have the Star of David on the cover), and a beehive to provide honey that can be sold to provide educational funds for AIDS orphans in Africa.

This is a new idea in our family, so we'll see what kind of reaction we get. But I think I can predict, knowing something about my family. They're going to be dazzled and happy!

There are other organizations doing some of the same. Two that I know about are Samaritan's Purse, run by Billy Graham's son, Franklin; and Oxfam, a UK charity.

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