Have you taken a look at Bethania’s gift catalog? What an awesome opportunity to give to others at a time when we are reminded of the blessings in our lives – family near, good food on our tables, gifts under the tree, and a God who gave Himself to restore a relationship with us. During this season especially, I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness in my life and am all the more eager to use the resources He’s given me to be an extension of His love to those in need.
As I look through the gift catalog, I see a variety of gifts – from a $5 backpack to the sponsorship of a children’s home for $25,000. How I wish I could choose the latter! But along with the pictures, a short description, and a suggested donation, I am flooded with memories of my own visits to Bethania.
When I see the pair of $5 shoes, I think of the piles of dusty shoes sitting outside the chapel in Kannivadi as the children worshipped inside. The option to feed a children’s home for one day reminds me of the delicious meals I enjoyed with the kids. As I sat with them at long tables, they happily devoured their hot rice and curry, idli and coconut chutney, and fruit – each of them able to eat until they were satisfied. I’m amazed that all 40 kids can be fed three meals for only $25. School supplies for $15? I wish I could adequately share with you the immense joy and pride on the kids’ faces showed me their school work. Small notebooks were flipped open to reveal straight lines of writing and math equations, carefully penned in blue ink. The kids were so eager to share with me the things they were learning – happy for the opportunity to learn and hopeful for their dreams of a future job. And that future career has become a reality for many Bethania students, as the ministry funds a college education for them – another item in the gift catalog.
It’s so simple to scroll through the catalog, pick an item that looks good, enter the payment information, and submit the donation. But do you realize what an impact that simple act of generosity makes? Each kid that I met at Kannivadi who had a pair of shoes, enjoyed three meals a day, attended school with the needed supplies, and slept with a roof over their heads each night did so because of such simple acts – most likely done by people they may never meet face to face. Generosity and love, though simple, are completely changing the lives of so many children in need. What an immense privilege to be able to give such gifts!