What's your Christmas story?

Christmas in the blazing heat

Posted by Charlene Thornberry on September 2 2016 at 11:36

In 1983 myself and my husband were ministering in Namibia which is a country north of South Africa so therefore the temperature in December is very high. There are many many poverty stricken families. All trying to exist on nothing. Usually at Christmas various churches would make up parcels to be distributed by the municipally funded case workers in the locations. These parcels were not by any standards very lavish in fact they were very basic. However the recipients reacted as if they had won a lottery ticket.
Word had got out that most of the donations were not getting to the right people - the municipal employees were pocketing the gifts themselves. Not wanting to allow this to happen again we as a team of the Methodist church decided to do the distributing on Christmas day after the service.
To say it was a humbling experience is not sufficiently adequate. We found most the very aged in dire situations. One man was sleeping in a rusty old car along with various chickens. Another very old woman was lying on top of her bundle of wood - the wood being her only means to a few pennies when sold. We came upon a mother who had just given birth and had nothing absolutely nothing for the baby.
The distribution did not take long - as we did not have to look for these folk - they were everywhere. Yes it was a very humbling experience and one that will stay in our minds for ever. For the team we were not doing this to make ourselves look good. We were doing this because we wanted to care for others especially at Christmas.
There were tears - lots of tears and not only from the recipients of the parcels but also from the team.
We learnt that day that Christmas is not about baubles, turkey and carols - it is about giving to others as the Christ child received from the shepherds and the kings.

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