by Joy Casey

Our adult family members draw names at Christmas.  This year I asked each one to give a list of 5-10 “wish list” items with their name.  You should have seen the blank stares I got!  Granted, girls are better at this than men, but even my daughters and I were left pondering.  I guess I need my car detailed.  Could use a new purse. Or how about just a Visa gift card to spend on whatever I fancy when I am out and about?

Not everyone is as indecisive as me, but I imagine there are a number of you who feel the tension of “what to give” and “what to ask for” when basically most of us have everything we need and most of what we want.

Then I read about a family in one of the Muslim villages where we work and my whole paradigm of gift-giving flipped.

Tibeso and his wife had a good life by village standards.  He was a hard-working father and his wife, too, was industrious making sure their 18 children were fed and attended school.  They had oxen to plow their fields and cattle to fatten and sell at the market.  Without warning, tragedy struck.  Tibeso took a tumble from his bicycle and severely broke his leg.  He was in the hospital for two weeks and for two years he was bed-ridden.  In order to pay for the necessary medical treatment, the family sold everything they owned… their beds, their plow, their oxen, their cows.  They had very little to eat because they could not cultivate their land.  Their good life turned bitter.

Tibeso’s youngest boy started pre-school in our Mana Gammachuu kindergarten this fall.  The pastoral team from the church visited Tibeso and his wife and gained a deeper understanding of their dire circumstances. They prayed for Tibeso and left a bible with this Muslim man at his request.  Just recently the doctor took the hardware out of Tibeso’s leg and he has begun to slowly walk again, but he is very weak.  More than anything, he needs nutritious food to help him regain his health.

This is a family that has real needs!  And there are others in this same village teetering on the brink of destitution.  Let’s give a hand-up to families like Tibeso’s this Christmas through a tangible gift reflecting God’s heart for the poor:

Giving a gift that someone actually needs is a different way to think about gift giving this holiday season.  It will make our Christmas rich and unforgettable.

Let’s do this!