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By now, you’ve probably already begun thinking about what presents you want to buy. In the process, though, you know — and friends will even tell you — that Christmas is about much more than buying gifts. But the truth is that deep in our heart each of us receives an incredible amount of joy in giving; even the angels sang for joy on that first Christmas as God gave the gift of his Son!
“If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones . . . , I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
Dear Mr. Doe,
Each year many of us spend countless hours shopping for that perfect gift to give to those special people in our lives. We search in shopping malls, catalogs, even through online websites. We think about those who will receive the gifts on Christmas morning. We wonder if they will really like the gift we have worked so hard to find. By now, you’ve probably already begun thinking about what presents you want to buy. In the process, though, you know — and friends will even tell you — that Christmas is about much more than buying gifts. But the truth is that deep in our heart each of us receives an incredible amount of joy in giving; even the angels sang for joy on that first Christmas as God gave the gift of his Son!
The truth is that each of us loves to give gifts! And in our giving, we want our gifts to matter — to make a difference in someone’s life. We don’t want someone to simply look at what we’ve given them and then set it aside. This same message is reflected in God’s gift of his Son to humanity — and it’s true in the “perfect gifts” we search for throughout the holidays.
I don’t know if you’ve decided on what you’re giving to whom this Christmas, but what if I told you that I know of children who are dying for a gift from you! What if I told you that your gift to them could change their lives forever? They wouldn’t just set your gift aside and forget about it; it would save their lives! Just recently, I received a letter from Fr. Michael Olofinlade — a missionary working in the Ire-Ekiti community of Nigeria in West Africa. In his letter, Fr. Michael describes the incredible harshness of life in his mission where, he explains, “nearly 50,000 people lack basic living necessities — including not having access to an adequate supply of water.”
“Since they have no clean water,” Fr. Michael writes, “the people are left to search for and carry water from sources that are possibly polluted such as creeks, and dried up river beds. Those most affected are women and children. They are at great risk of water borne diseases like cholera, typhoid fever and other diseases.” “We have a piece of land set aside, “ he concludes, “where we could drill a borehole well to access enough clean drinking water to provide for the needs of thousands of people! This well will touch the lives and bodies of thousands of women and children! They will be forever grateful!”
My friend, imagine giving the gift of water this Christmas! Imagine the joy and gratitude poor families in Fr. Michael’s mission will feel . . . how you will be helping to change their lives forever!
Along with his letter, Fr. Michael included an itemized list of the costs associated with the water project: drilling the borehole; installing pipes, valves and pipe fittings. To be honest, the total cost of the project is more than many of the people in the mission will earn in their lifetime. But together, you and I could help them get the water they desperately need — turning the dream of a well into reality!
There are several things we can do. First, we can begin to teach others what a gift water truly is! Doing things such as repairing leaking faucets, taking showers instead of baths, limiting the frequency with which we run dishwashers — will not only save precious water but teach others what a GIFT it is! We can also reach out to those in need — especially the people of Ire-Ekiti, Nigeria.
My prayer this Christmas is that we can raise at least $42,000 for a well in Fr. Michael’s mission and for the water needs of other missions throughout West Africa. What an incredible gift we will be giving to those who are dying for a cup of water! I truly do not know how much you can send to give the gift of water to a woman or child who is dying of thirst. But whether you give $25, $250, or $2500 — I want you to know how much I truly appreciate all that you have done and continue to do for the poor. Now, I am praying that you will help those in need again — and perhaps even send an extra special gift during this most holy season. Thank you and may God bless you!