Time flies quickly. It’s almost Christmas time. Stores here in Costa Rica began their displays weeks ago. In one month, we will begin celebrating Christmas in 6 different communities and serving over 800 children. No, it’s not the shoebox campaign but something our local leaders initiated several years ago. It is exhausting. But your exhaustion evaporates as you see most of the kids receive their only gift since last Christmas when we last hosted a fiesta. The smiles are life giving.
Recently we completed our first leadership training with “Village Savings and Loans”. We were able to train 15 leaders from 5 different organizations including four of our own local community leaders. Village Savings and Loans training allows individuals from poor communities to invest $0.25 to $1/week into a saving group. Through interest earned, this enable individuals to receive loans for life events like funeral, food and kid’s school supplies. Things that many in North America have learned to take for granted. This program works at the individual level of enabling issues of self-respect and self dignity to be addressed. We plan to expand this program across this region of the world.
On a personal note, we are proud to announce the engagement of Briana to Paul from Calgary. We are excited as we welcome him into our family. It is difficult to be a parent from long distance. Many life markers pass us by. But we are so grateful how God has bless our kids and gone before them. I am also extremely grateful for my Dad and how he has progressed from his major heartache that occurred last June.
In conclusion, I want to leave you with an email from a co-worker who I hope will inspire you in your thoughts.
I arrived home from the airport to a house that was buzzing with activity. In my absence, my sister and family had moved out of their house and can’t get into their new place for another week, and had moved in. I am very thankful to have space to share, but I have to admit it caught me off guard to come into the house and feel almost like a visitor in my own home. I was also very thankful that they were covering the preparation of dinner since I had been awake since 1:30am, but it felt odd to have someone else running my kitchen.
The next morning in my quiet time, I was asking God to help me make our home a welcome and inviting place and also help me sort out the strange feelings from the previous evening. He said to me, “this is good for you to see and understand. How often do my children come into my house and just take over. You enter, you run through, you ask for things, but when do you take time to notice me or ask about my day or let me show you the things I am working on? Remember me, when you come in to my house and remember it’s my house.”
This was a good rebuke and reminder. This morning I read Col. 1:9,10 “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
Linda and I continue to feel blessed by many of you with your notes, prayer and financial support. When you give to GAF (Global Advance Fund), or to the Justice and Compassion Gift Catalogue, you allow us to continue as we invest into lives.