Christmas Missions 4

There is no end to the mission efforts that can be highlighted. By bringing these few to your attention it is my hope that you will look around and find one or two or more that you can commit to, and help make them happen. As highlighted in the first article, Americans are spending millions and millions of dollars on Christmas.

Not that I’m a Grinch! Everyone loves to have a gift. But how many gifts will we open on Christmas Day? A dozen? A couple of dozen? I can’t judge for any family or individual where that magical line is…the one where we cross over from Christmas cheer into crass commercialism. That is for you to decide.

But what I do want you to see is that it doesn’t take a fortune to make a difference in the world. We can all make a difference by committing to a mission.

Kiva. Kiva is not a Christian organization per se. But it does let you do a very godly thing. People in other countries who need some help with their home or business, often just need a loan. Kiva specializes in micro loans. A few years ago I put $100 in a Kiva account. I have loaned and re-loaned and re-loaned that amount to many people around the world. It’s a blessing to look through the applications, find someone you want to help, then help fund a loan to get them on their way. I always enjoy getting the email from Kiva that says the loan has been repaid… would you like to loan to someone else? World Vision also has a microloaning program.

Not all mission efforts are off in a foreign culture. There are needs right here in the United States. Most communities have food banks, local soup kitchens and rescue missions, and local branches of national organizations (such as Salvation Army).

One organization that has my attention is THE ONE, INC, a relief organization in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can follow the originator, Aaron Reddin,  on Facebook and Twitter. Aaron is passionate about his mission of mercy to the homeless. Armed with a relentless spirit, THE VAN, a storage unit, and an arsenal of friends and supporters ready to help him reach the ones that everyone else has left behind. His philosophy is that we need to take relief supplies to the homeless where they live, instead of trying to get them to come to us. Now my friend Seth Simmons has a van in White County, Arkansas. I would like to see us have a van in Ouachita Parish, LA sometime. Maybe 2012 is the year! Aaron’s current aim is to collect and distribute coats for children in the Little Rock area.

Mike Baumgartner also has a van. Well, a motor home. In the back of that motor home is four convection ovens, a freezer, and a hotbox – all the equipment needed to serve hot meals. He is passionate about helping those who are in trouble. His heart is with those suffering through natural disasters. After the tornado destroyed a section of Tuscaloosa, I went to work with Mike for a week. We stayed busy making meals for those who had lost their homes, and the volunteers who served them. I was impressed with his ability to do this singlehandedly. He also served as a resource helping churches organize workers. Currently Mike is raising funds and making reports. But he has spent many weeks recently in Bastrop, Texas serving people who lost their homes in wildfires. You can follow Mike on Facebook HERE.

These are only three examples of the many that we can see if we will extend our Christmas spirit to the lost and hurting world around us.  There are many more than we can list here. But it is my hope that you will pick one or two and give yourself to helping and blessing them.

John

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