“Giving is the source of joy!” shouted one of the widows who is caring for a child sponsored through Arrows + Hope. This was followed by singing and shouts of agreement by the other women, all gathered together just outside the church in rural Omalera.
We couldn’t stop what happened next – even though deep in our hearts we wanted to. All the widowed mothers, grandmothers, and caregivers of the children of Omalera center formed a line in front of us, where they each proceeded to give us a gift to show their gratitude for what Arrows + Hope has done for their family, home, and community.
Eggs, chickens, coins equivalent to 10¢ in the US, bags of oranges, and whatever they had grown in their garden were handed to us from women and children whose faces were full of joy and hope. These are women who often struggle to be able to feed their families three meals a day. Women who labor in someone else’s fields, making a dollar or two per day to help with the basic needs of their families.
It never fails. Each and every time we go to visit, encourage, and bless them, we return as the ones blessed. Their sacrifice, courage, and love show us Jesus each and every time. In a season where receiving is often the focus, and even a source of disappointment, these women discovered where true joy lies. It is not in the receiving, but in the giving. The reason we celebrate this season encompasses this very truth.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
– John 3:16
God gave. He gave the greatest gift, his one and only son, who came to this earth as a sacrificial lamb for you, me, and for those we serve in Uganda. Jesus’s life on earth exemplified the heart of His father. Jesus loved those who were in need and pointed them to truth and everlasting hope.
Nelson read us this very passage just weeks ago during a visit to his home. He ran to get his Bible from his hut with a smile on his face, and proceeded to read us this powerful truth. Two years ago, we sat in this same place on torn sacks which also served as their beds. We were there to let Nelson and his brother know they were now sponsored, and to give him the Bible he now, two years later, held and read to us from.”
This Christmas, we want to say thank you for giving. Thank you for giving of your time through prayer and volunteering. Thank you for giving financial support. Your giving is making a very real difference in the lives of over 100 children, their caregivers, and communities!
We pray you will experience the JOY that comes from giving this Christmas season as we celebrate the greatest gift of all… Jesus!