Friday, December 10, 2010

Peruvian Christmas Gifts

In my science class this semester, we've spent at least three lab periods watching awareness documentaries on global environmental problems. Sure, some days the professor feeds us popcorn or nutella and oranges but let's be honest: bor-ing.

On Monday the video we watched showed a shanty town in Peru. A mother and her three children, all wearing white, walked away from the camera and towards the town.

They didn’t carry water. They weren’t hauling belongings. They were just walking. The four of them strolled together as a family.

The youngest, a toddler, held her mother’s hand. A daughter a year older walked in front of them. A five year old ran around the slowly moving trio. He grabbed his youngest sister’s hand; she hesitated. Like a good mother, the woman noticed the change in speed. She looked down at her children and missed a step.

As she recovered her balance, I lost mine. It was as if God whispered, “Katie, they’re no different than you are.” They live in a shanty town with no water. They speak I language I don’t understand. But they are no different than us.

They are a mother, doing the best she can to provide for her children. They are children with big dreams just like mine. They are cherished by God just like I am.

Take them out of their Peruvian shanty town and one wouldn’t know they were poor. Except they are. That’s the difference between them and me.

I worry about whether or not I’ll have time to run to the grocery store to buy more gallons of water or if I’ll have to drink the metallic tap water. They worry about whether or not they’ll have any water. I worry about whether or not I’ll have to go to the TYME machine this week rather than whether or not money will cover what I need. I worry about whether or not the Christmas gifts I ordered will come on time. Not whether or not Christmas will be any different than any other day of the year.

My heart went out to this Peruvian family, and immediately I thought of Compassion and the impact they have had on these kinds of families worldwide.

My family sponsors a little girl in Columbia, Maria Jose.  With our help she has access to education, medication, and the gospel.

If you can’t sponsor a child year round, maybe you can buy a Christmas gift for a child like my Peruvian children from the video. It’s a one-time gift that’s a lot more feasible for students on a tight budget.

Have $10 to buy a mosquito netting so a child does not have to worry about getting malaria?

Have $13 to spend on a soccer ball to child? Let me tell you, the kids I met in Guatemala were passionate about their futbol.

Have $16 to buy a chicken? Really, how often do you get to buy chickens?

Let some impoverished kids make Christmas cookies with baking supplies for $20.

Or $25 for vaccinations… you know, the ones that made us all scream as babies?

Educational supplies… I like books… only $30.

The list goes on and on.  Prices range from $10 to $5,000... just in case you have that kind of money laying around, you know.  Check out the catalogue!

Really everything helps. Every gift is cherished. Every life is touched. In the name of Jesus.

I can pray for the Peruvian family I saw in the documentary. I can thank God for them. And I can make a difference in the lives of similar families. Maybe I’ll even choose to believe my vaccines are keeping those children alive. My baking supplies are giving them family bonding time. My soccer ball is keeping that boy on the field playing rather than in the streets playing with drugs. Maybe my simple sacrifice will make more difference than I can even comprehend. With God’s hand, it does.

<>< Katie


Caitlin Nicole Munro said...

Wow! Katie, this was just the reminder I needed today! It was absolutely beautiful and it definitely challenged me today and reminded I'm overdue in sending a letter to my Compassion Child!

Love you!!

StorytellERdoc said...

a well-written, beautifully worded, timely piece this holiday season, katie. I love how you tie in a learning experience with the experiences of your own life.

I hope this finds you well.