Too often in my life I have felt very comfortable. Insulated. Unmindful of the trials and sufferings of those who don’t live in my world.
After fifteen minutes of walking around the exhibits at the Third Annual Family Mission Day, I began to see, and even feel, the pain of those traumatized by extreme poverty, sex trafficking and disabilities that leave them shunned by their villages. I also talked to people who shared wonderful stories about adults and children who have so little materially responding with exuberant joy when receiving a box of crayons or a pretty yellow dress.
I stopped first at Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan Purse, where an array of articles from
soap to crayons to scissors, bracelets and toy cars were displayed. Judy Volz, who heads Operation Christmas Child for Sovereign Grace, shared the story of the little girl who had prayed for a dress for Christmas only to open her Christmas box and find a pretty yellow dress. Imagine her smile. Imagine her joy at knowing God heard her prayer and answered. That story had me wiping away a tear. You could fill your box right there with items being sold for only $.50. Judy told me stories of the enthusiasm for the Lord generated by the tracts contained in each box.
Lorri Bond, who represented Women of Hope in Sierra Leone, Africa, explained that this ministry was created to bring about the transformation of disabled women, who all too often are viewed as outcasts in their communities. Another station invited attendees to take a minute to write a note to persecuted Christians in North Korea.
Amy DiMarcangelo and Scott Faris had two primary goals when they initiated Family Mission Day:
Give people of all ages a hands-on opportunity to serve and give to poor, oppressed people here and around the world.
Increase awareness about various forms of suffering experienced by all too many people.
Scott Faris said, “Our partnership with organizations such as the ones you’ll see at Mission Day is part of a greater ethic of helping, supporting and advancing the Gospel in churches around the world.” Amy added, “We don’t want this to be a one-day event. Rather, we want people to be inspired to stay inspired, continue giving, stay involved and always pray for the global mission.”
Inspired is the perfect word. When I was at the shopping station looking at the beautiful hand-made items (I bought lots of Christmas gifts), I was moved and inspired by the strength of the women overcoming unbelievable obstacles to create these gifts. Many of the items had the story of the woman who designed it attached to it. I am leaving their stories on each gift so my children and grandchildren can become aware of others who are hurting, but recognize how help, support and prayer can change their lives.
As I looked around, the children seemed to be having a great time. They were decorating gift bags, filling the Operation Christmas Child boxes with gifts bought with money they have saved, enjoying the snacks being sold and just having fun. Based on what I saw that day, Amy and Scott, and the whole REACH team succeeded in their goals!
“Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” - Proverbs 14:31