Monday, November 26, 2007

The End of the Project

Our church has a great project every year where we get to share with our brothers and sisters on the Navajo reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. This project has been going on for many years, and it's gerat fun and a lot of work.

We are assigned by our district a certain number of gifts to buy, based on the size of our church. We are told which church, and how many men, women, teens, toddlers, infants, etc. to buy for.

Every year, as chair of our mission program, I try to find a new way to advertise and raise interest. This was what I did this year:


Everyone who wanted to participate took one of the little gift boxes with a sticker telling them who to buy for. There was a list of gift ideas, but many buy something they would like to receive, with a limit of $10-$12. We had 35 to buy for this year.

As couple of weeks ago, after church on Sunday night, we had "Christmas in November." We brought Christmas goodies, I had decorated the gym, we had music and hot spiced cider, and brought our gifts. It gives everyone a head start on "getting into the mood" for Christmas, and we get our project completed before the Christmas shopping rush.

We also gather used clothing, and this year people really went all out cleaning out their closets and drawers. We also have a trucker in our church who was given hundreds of brand new, never worn men's sweaters. They were going to be thrown away, and he rescued them and gave them to the guys on the reservation. Thirteen Boxes!

The pastor's on sabbatical leave, so we took over his space for storage until the next step in the process:

We sorted them into piles, according to church, gender, and age:
We boxed up the gifts and the clothing, labeling them and getting them ready to go on the next lap of the journey. They'll be taken to a church about 50 miles south where all of the northern part of the state will gather their packages. The good soul in our church who offered to take them decided it would take his pick-up AND his trailer when he saw the bounty.
The next lap will take all of the northern gifts to the southern half of the state, where they'll be transported in this truck. The truck will be full to overflowing. The driver is a member of a church in the eastern part of the state, who considers this his ministry. He loves this project.

The teacher of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in our church (including my grandson) is taking them on this trip. They've been holding fund raisers and are getting very excited. They will be in on unloading and distributing the gifts, and will be involved with meeting the recipients. They will never be the same.

One year, while I was still on the district missions council, the folks down there wanted to show just a bit of their appreciation and love and sent back hand-made gifts for each of us on the council. That was such a blessing to us - a tangible show of reciprocation with what they could do. It isn't all one-sided!

I haven't had a chance to go on this trip yet, but I hope to before many more years!

I just read an e-mail, asking for help from World Vision for help feeding children in drought-ridden areas of Africa. I trust World Vision. We can feed 12 children for a gift of $25.00. You can do it on line with a credit card. And the bonus - you receive a Josh Groban Christmas album. It's a win/win situation all the way around. I apologize for the long link, but here it is:

(Thanks, Kristen, for my festive new look!)


Michelle-ozark crafter said...

That is so wonderful!

Diane J. said...

Love your new Christmas template! Courtesy of Kristen, I'm sure. Good job, Kristen! ;o)

Having participated in missions first hand myself, I whole heartedly agree with you that those kids and everyone involved in this ministry will never be the same after helping with this. It changes something deep inside you to be a part of giving to those who truly need and appreciate your help.

Could be that God will call some of those children to minister in missions through your church's efforts, and it certainly does put you in the Christmas Spirit, doesn't it? My church has some missions projects in the making as well.

Have a great Tuesday, Dawn. ;o)

Love and hugs,


Judith said...

This is so good, what your church is doing to share the heart of Christmas with these people. Something about seeing those you're reaching out to just gives more meanting to the all of it.
God bless you for helping so much with it.

Becky said...

Wow! What a great project.

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Dawn,
This is just so wonderful what your Church is doing. It is a great Ministry indeed. It will changer a person seeing the recipients getting those gifts. I remember one year I went with our Church group to deliver toys and it was just so touching. It touches a place in your heart that you didn't know you had. We didn't stay to watch them open the gifts, but seeing them receiving them does touch you. Does your Church do food baskets also? Our Lions Club does food baskets here at Christmas. Well, take care my friend and have a great Tuesday. May God Bless You and Yours.

Karen H.
P.S. I love your new Christmas Header. It is just beautiful.

Penless Thoughts said...

This is so great!! Love the way you advertised it :o)

Robin said...

What a great project! And so much work involved - you should feel good about yourself! I love seeing a whole church involved like that - it just seems so right!
I trust World Vision too - thanks for the link - I'll get right on it!
And your new Christmas look is just beautiful!

Linds said...

I love the Christmassy look! What a wonderful way for your church to share the message of love at Christmas, Dawn. I can imagine that all those young ones going ojn the trip will be changed foreevr by the experience. It is all about giving, isn't it?

I have not even begun to think about Christmas decorations or presents, and so help me, I will be in a wild panic soon. I still have to wrap and post my daughter's stuff, and time seems to be running away from me at the moment. Maybe I need to re-order my priorities again. I can hear Max's voice there in the distance....

Barb @ A Chelsea Morning said...

I remember you mentioning this last year but the photos of this year's project make it all so much easier to understand what a truly great thing this is.

I held that very CD in my hand this past weekend and put it back because I can't seem to spend money on myself this time of year. But let me tell you, it was really hard to put it back! What a bonus that for helping feed those poor children, you can receive this CD. I can tell you, there are some wonderful songs on it.

groovyoldlady said...

The photos just brought it all to life!

Folks can also help the hungry for FREE by going to

You play a challenging word game and for every word you correctly identify, they donate 10 grains of rice.

Naturally I CHEATED and "gave" almost 2,000 grains of rice.

However, World Vision also presents the Gospel and that's of paramount importance.

Nancy said...

What a great ministry and blessing for you and others! You really worked so hard and now you can look forward to your trip. Kristen did a great job decorating your blog.

nancygrayce said...

I love the little presents with the tags attached! You are super creative, and obviously spend your time serving God and others. Your blog looks great.....No creative, computer savvy daughter do I have.

Susie said...

Sounds like a very worthwhile project :) Love your new festive template!

Myrna said...

What a great ministry your church has! You must have put hours into the organization of that. I believe you are the lady for that job!

Nadine said...

Great photos. What a wonderful thing to do. I'm sure you'll get to go.

I love the new look for Christmas - very cheery.

As far as "Heroes" goes - you can always rent the 1st season and watch the 2nd one on line if you wanted to catch up or you can email me. :)

Karen H. said...

Good Morning Dawn,
Hope you are doing good this morning. I just wanted to let you know when you had time to stop by. I have something waiting for you. You will have to scroll down to the second post as blogger wasn't being nice to me. Take care my friend and have a great Wednesday. May God Bless You and Yours.

Karen H.

PEA said...

Hello dear Dawn:-)

Love your new's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! This post just warmed my heart...helping those in need is truly what the Christmas spirit is all about, isn't it. People just don't realize all the work involved in getting these packages to their recipients...bless you my friend for having such a caring heart. xoxo

Sherry said...

I always loved this project. Looks like you put a lot of work into this year again-but seems like it turned out wonderfully. That would be the neatest trip to go on. Love the look-nice work Kristen!!

Anonymous said...

What a great ministry! A few of my son's friends from the school for the blind are from the reservations up there. I chose a name of the gift giving tree our Salvation Army has put up today. I chose a little girl and thought of getting one for a boy also; but decided to think about it. This evening I got a request from the kids dad to purchase a gift for a 3 year old boy. A co-worker of his was in a devestating accident and the company is doing Christmas for them. I see it as another of God's plans. He wanted me to be able to help this particular little boy and I am so excited!