Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sharing the Shelter #8 and Giveaway

Christmas is a necessity. There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we're here for something else besides ourselves.  
~Eric Sevareid

My Daughters -- who love to shelter!
Years ago when we ministered in Bedford, a mother called our church office. She explained that her husband was out of work and their three young children wouldn't have gifts for Christmas. I don't remember everything she said, but I do remember her sharing that they didn't even have money for laundry soap.

I barely finished repeating the call when I heard our senior pastor, say, "Do it. Whatever you need to get, buy it." Our church families gave and the rest came out of the church treasury as we prepared a wondrous Christmas for this family -- clothes for the kids and parents, toys, cleaning supplies and food.  

It was such fun delivering the gifts. What wasn't fun was the next phone call. The lady's sister was on the line to tell us her sister called every church in Bedford; consequently the children would have a bigger Christmas than any child in town -- and we found out it was true.

I can remember the devastation I felt. Our church families were sacrificial in their giving and I felt like I had wasted their money. I remember what Rev. Sankey told me, "We are required to answer the call, what happens with that is not our responsibility."  

I think we sometimes get calloused by the poverty we see around us. There's always someone to blame -- the parents don't handle their money like they should, the kids don't take care of what they have.  But when we see the need, it's up to us to answer the call. 

That's what some of those who worship with me are doing.  One man donated hats -- nice hats -- for 40 Good News Club children, led by a member from our church works with these precious children on Sunday afternoons and throughout the week. Others have given money so we can stuff the hats with the Wordless Book items, fun socks, pens, candy, etc.  (This after the members sent 70 shoeboxes full of gifts to the children on Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.)

Some of these children need clothes.  I wish all of you had a Carisa in your congregation. She has a heart to help and the organizational skills to make it happen.  She's a busy mother of three involved in a million and one projects. But she is answering the call -- not only is she donating her own money to make it happen, she's finding others willing to help.  

Our congregation is not large, yet we are endeavoring to answer the call -- realizing we are here for something larger than ourselves.  Let's find someone to shelter this Christmas -- there are  needy people all around us. It's a good way to say, "Happy Birthday, Jesus!"

Speaking of hats -- Have you read Max Lucado's A Hat for Ivan? It would make a lovely Christmas gift.

Sharing the Shelter 

Do you have a recipe, craft or sewing project, a blog post sure to encourage us, or other sheltering idea you’d like to share? Link up and enjoy the ideas. I like keeping the rules simple:
  • Grab my button or leave a text link-back 
  • Visit the two blogs before yours 
  • Shelter someone!

Sharing the Shelter Giveaway

The giveaway is open to all my readers -- just leave a comment.

Patty from My Mountain Blessings won last week's giveaway.  Patty is a pastor's wife, director of a homeless shelter, mother of three and Nana to five. Yet she still makes time to remind us to take time for Joy this season.  

This weeks giveaway is two hats for you to give to a needy child. Involve your children or grandchildren in the giving--a great teaching experience.

Leave a comment or link-up here.  Linking and commenting will give you two entries.  Edited to add: I'll try to find hats as close as possible to these--unfortunately these are already sold out.


BelovedBomber said...

What a great post! We can only be reponsible for our actions. Our family is looking in to going to a childrens hospital...

Shannon Wallace said...

I teared up as I read this post. It would be so joyful to give to those in need! But oh how I am sure it hurt to be lied to. I love what the pastor said--answer the call and don't worry about what happens after you help that family/individual. I needed that! Thank you!

Kelly said...

Great post Pamela! You're right. It's easy to get calloused once you've been taken advantage of, but I love your pastor's response so much! Doing the right thing is rarely easy. I also love the idea for your giveaway! Giving away hats to give away to kids who need them! (Oh, and they're really cute, too.)


Such lovely generosity.


Nicole said...

So true.....the reason Christ wants us to give is because he desire fruit from us...sweet fruit, not bitter fruit.

Dolly @Soulstops said...

yes, we can only answer the call, and give as God leads ...Sorry to hear that happened to your church, but glad to know your pastor didn't harbor bad feelings...linked up behind you at The Wellspring.

Elizabethd said...

That's a sad story, but how wonderful to be able to forgive.
We all find ways of helping I think. We have a big food bank in our town, and try to add something from our grocery shopping every week.

Denise said...

I believe that one of the best gifts God has given us is the privilege to give, and to take advantage of the energy that flows through our life and relationships by sharing. It's discouraging when we react to this gift He has placed in our hearts to share with those who are not authentic, however it can't replace the feeling of when when we share with someone who is really lonely or unhappy; this is when we can feel the presence of God flow through us with love and compassion!!

Loved this story Pamela! Blessings to all of your loving and giving hearts!

Esther Asbury said...

I couldn't help but feel a bit of your disappointment when I read how your sacrificial gifts where just "one of the number" received. I love Bro. Sankey reply, "We are required to answer the call, what happens with that is not our responsibility."
Love your ideas for "sharing the shelter" this Christmas!
BTW - Beautiful giving daughters....you must be "so proud."

Laura said...

Those are the cutest hats! It sounds like your church has a big heart and that is always the best way. Our church sponsors several children (about 100) through the DHHR who are foster kids. Families pick a child and shop for them from their wish list. Then we have a big Christmas party for they and their families. It's the most special time! We are so blessed in the giving.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Pamela! May we be aware of and answer the needs of those around us. Thanks for the lovely post & giveaway & for hosting, & God bless!

Ana Sullivan from The Lost Apron said...

Thank you for hosting. It was fun to visit with your other guests. This is a sad story but we never really know what God is trying to teach us. I'm glad you had a forgiving heart. Read about cheerful giving:

Susy said...

Hi Pamela ~ I haven't stopped in for a while, and found this post very inspiring. I'm going to find someone to shelter. We have been giving and doing, but most of it at arms length. Thanks for the nudge. Blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for visiting ~ so nice to hear from you!:-)

This story is a familiar one, as we had a lady come to our church, come forward after a sermon, and tell of her great need. We all gave to help her out, only to find out later that she had been to many of the churches in the area with the same story ~ quite a story too. You are so right though, we are required to respond and help where we can. Our SS class is reaching out to some in our area that are in real need. That's what it's all about ~ just as God gave us the greatest gift of His Son ~ giving and loving.

Blessings to you,

P.S. The project is a scarf for one of my daughters. I've done some little capes, a sweater, and a blanket for the grands. :-)

Susie Swanson said...

Very heartwarming post.. Thanks for sharing.

Courtney said...

I hear stories like this more and more often it seems, but you are so right - the answer is, give. We must continue to give and see Jesus in every child. What a great quote from Mother Teresa.

Linda P said...

'It's more blessed to give than to receive'. It's heart-warming when we get together and give as we are led and as individuals we can make a difference too. I like the story of the lady who makes time in this way even though she's a busy homemaker.

Just Be Real said...

Wonderful Pam. Thanks.

Denise said...

Blessings and love sweety.

MaryAnne said...

I like your message that it is our job to give, not to police what is done with what we give.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story and the words of your pastor. I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas, Pamela. Mildred