by Joy Casey

It is heartwarming to give a gift that was wished and hoped for but the recipient never dreamed they could have.  Maybe it is something they could never afford or something they thought they didn’t deserve.  If you received a no-strings-attached gift completely out of the realm of your capabilities, how would you react?

I have been around people in Ethiopia who have received “unheard of” gifts, and their smiles couldn’t be bigger or their hugs stronger.  The fun part of giving a gift to someone in Ethiopia is it blesses the entire village!  Neighbors unreservedly express their thanks and joy for their friends’ good fortune – it is a communal godsend.  Listen to what a dad of a kindergarten student said when he was gifted a set of oxen (he is a Mus!im man):

“Really, I am so excited by the gifts of two oxen in the time of urgent need for my family. We feel limitless happiness. I, my wife Amina, my children as well as my other wives are very happy. My neighbors, my relatives and my society are also experienced great joy because of these oxen. More than this, we admired the love our donor has for us. Also, the faithfulness of Mana Gammachuu (what NewLife is called in Ethiopia) surprised us. The case workers used the full money without deducting any coin from it. Amazing! Now we got solution. I will not beg others to lend me their oxen. My farm will be cultivated on due time without delay. I will think more about salvation in Christ to decide on receiving Jesus. I have no words to thank Mana Gammachuu and my donor who gave us this big gift and lets my son attend the most wonderful school.” 

Many of you want to do something more for the missionary or child you support monthly — something affirming and life-giving.  Others see the vast gulf between us (the haves) and those in Ethiopia they read about (the have-nots) and want to lessen their struggles.  Our online gift catalog is just the place to go, or maybe you received a NewLife gift catalog last Christmas that you can peruse.

A need mentioned over and over is for sheets, blankets and mattresses (most families sleep on a dirt floor).

The recipients are truly incredulous that a Christ-follower in America would care for them so abundantly!

In just the past six months –

5 houses were built for families whose traditional huts were disintegrating

2 farmers received a set of oxen to plow their fields and then they rent them out, generating income

1 family was gifted a donkey and cart to haul goods and people, generating income

5 goats were bought for a missionary so he could start a business with animal husbandry

A church sent a gift to the missionary they support so he could buy much-needed clothes for his 4 children

The heart of gratitude comes through loud and clear in a note sent from the mother of a kindergarten student who was given a new house.  She has six children and is desperately poor.

“I am extremely happy by this new house. God changed my small, old hut by totally new materials. Now we are transferred to our new house before our old hut falls upon us. Now we are protected from cold, wind and rain. This house gave us special pleasure and rest to me and to my children. All of us, our neighbors, relatives – our whole village — are very happy. We got this privilege because my child goes to the kindergarten. Many of our village have wished to join their children in this school. We are lucky he can go. We are grateful to our kindhearted donors. We have no words to thank them. We are grateful to them.”

We at NewLife Ethiopia are equally ecstatic and grateful!   Thank you, THANK YOU to friends who are incredibly generous.  “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will reward them for what they have done.”  (Proverbs 19:17)