Thank-you so much for your donations so far. When I told my MIL how much had come in she was only half joking when she said, "At this rate they're going to be able to move out of the slum." It will be a huge blessing to this sweet family when they receive what you have given.
ps. Our version of a Thanksgiving tree is really simple, and good for the last minute people like me. Stick a branch in a pot and anchor it with dirt or pebbles. Cut out paper into leaf shapes. This year we are using scrap book paper so it looks really cute and patchwork quilt like. Leave a few leaves on everyone's plate at the Thanksgiving table with a ribbon or piece of yarn attached. Every writes a few things they are thankful for and ties their leaves onto the tree before the meal starts.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Sometimes I'm just really happy that this is the family I got when I married Aaron.
This was in my inbox last week from my MIL.
We've all heard and some of us have seen, that even if we have to check under the couch cushions for gas money, we are still better off than the rest of the world. We have MUCH to be thankful for. This year we are taking the opportunity to spread our thanks to the other side of the world.
There is a family I know who live in one of the slums of Visak in India. One of their daughters has been blessed to live and study at Grace Life kid's hostels. Her name is Usha and she is a beautiful teenage lover of Jesus. The last time I was there, her family asked if I would come to their home and walk through the slum to their relative's home to pray for their nephew who lay paralyzed from the chest down from falling off a 3rd story roof. I did and I hope I never forget the honor it was being invited into such a situation.
Usha's parents and young siblings are literal, glowing lights in the darkness of the demonic and Hindu slum they live in. Their hut seems to shine at the end of a long, dark tunnel, but it's some kind of spiritual optical illusion. The path, under the open sky and a few overhanging branches is in full light of day, while their hut is so dark they have to guide me in. A filtered light falls from the smoke hole in the back room they've designated as the 'kitchen'. Their beds are a piece of dirty fabric on the concrete slab they are so happy to have under part of their plank and metal sheeting home. A fan hangs from the ceiling of the little room where everyone sleeps. It's wires threaten to strangle me. The blade hits my head even though I'm already stooping. But this family sparkles with joy.
Usha's little sister was born prematurely and suffers from seizures and is "different". Her mother hip holds her 4 year old frame and asks me to pray for her, but before I can open my mouth, the little girl reaches out and touches my chest and then my head, while looking steadily, lovingly into my eyes, and speaks words that might be Hindi or Telegu or some construction of her own and I receive the purest, straight from Jesus, blessing ever. Not because it was sweet having a little kid 'bless' me, but because it was the purest, straight from Jesus, blessing ever. She did it to me twice and I was nearly undone by the deep joy that filled me. And then there was outright laughing when I asked what her name was and they said it was Blessy.
It is very easy to see the Kingdom of God in this slum. The Light is life radiating out of and around this family. The path that leads to their little home is a gauntlet of dark, heavy, empty eyed families spilling out of their huts. There is no light in the eyes that stare back at me. Not even a glimmer.
Jesus said it is more blessed to give than receive. I want us to thank Him for that dynamic this Bring it on Thanksgiving and I will send it to Kell Frandsen of Grace Life Ministries to deliver to Usha's family.and get in on that blessing by collecting our extras for Usha's family as they love and follow Jesus in this visibly dark and demonic place. I want them to know that the family of God is proud of them and 'with' them and willing to share what they have with them. I'm not asking for a lot, just the extras that can be collected during this month leading up to Thanksgiving. The pennies and dimes you see on the street. The change you find under the cushions. The coins that fill up the little compartments in your dash, on your dresser, in the bottom of your purse.
To be honest. I haven't got very much spare change at all this month. Several weeks without paying work tends to do that to a family. Sometimes I like to think I'm exempt from these things because of all the work and sacrifice we already do to help people. But the truth is that I still have way more, that I don't really need, when I'm honest with myself. I can afford to give something.
For people who live on less than a dollar a day even $5 is a huge gift.
I've set up a donate button for Usha's family. It occurred to me that some of you might like the chance to pitch in your pocket change as well. So I asked her if I could post her letter here. I have learned to see an opportunity to give as a gift in itself, that I need to give to people. Some of you taught me that, when you wrote to thank me for giving you a chance to help in a meaningful way when we started The Charis Project. So here you go.