The Making Of A REAL Christmas....

December 19, 2011

Today was a cold was a windy day.
The crew of cousins are all out of school and enjoying each minute they have together.
The begin making plans early in the day...what time they will get together...what they will do....
and sometimes it isn't what they are doing that is all that exciting...but that they are together.
They are an extra special bunch of cousins!
Last week we were on another road trip...this time Cousin Loly came along for the ride...
at some point in the trip she announced that she "loved" cousins...that having 26 cousins was like
having 26 siblings...and they should just call us the Duggars!
I love that these cousins love each other so very much!
In the last couple of days we have been carefully planning our upcoming "phone call"
from our Missionary Boy...when I told Cousin Loly that she should come to our house so she could
talk to the Missionary Boy...her eyes filled up with tears..and she said..."I think I could cry,
just thinking that I can talk to him."  Isn't that the best???!!!
So back to today....
A few weeks ago the local division of Social Service in our area...selected 7 families that they
felt had the greatest need in our area, and 7 groups of women from our ward began planning
"Christmas" for each of these families.  We were given a paper describing the needs of the family as
well as a picture of the family.  Our family was made up of a set of grandparents, (the grandpa
in a wheelchair because of a stroke and many other health problems) and 6 children,
whose Mother had abandoned them...from the ages of 6 to 15.  They live on a small pension,
and money that was earned from the 13 and 15 year old, picking chile.
The women in our group were generous...and many items were gathered so that this little family
could enjoy a bit of Christmas.  Today was the day we were ready to deliver the items.
Today was the day I called on the cousins to share in a very special act of service.
When basic needs are being met in the country of Mexico, we are talking about...
A load of wood to heat your house with...
A large sack of beans that you can eat for a very long time....
Coats...personal hygiene items...
Canned food items...
and....two simple gifts for each person in the family.
We also took a very small Christmas tree with a few simple ornaments.
We loaded the truck with gifts, supplies...and cousins...and off we went to find our family.
What we found was a little more than we had bargained for...we knew it was going to be very
difficult circumstances...but I am not sure the cousins were prepared for what they saw.
When we arrived...The Farmer knocked at their door...and instead of glass in the windows, small pieces of plastic had been taped in an effort to keep the cold out.  There was no tile...just very
rough cement running bathroom...and in the corner of a very, very,
humble kitchen...was a very rustic wood burning stove, by which the grandfather sat in his wheelchair,
trying to stay warm.  The Farmer explained our purpose in coming to their home...the little children
ran and put their arms around my legs and hugged and hugged me, and the grandfather began to cry,
almost with relief that help had arrived.  When The Farmer asked the grandmother how they had been
heating their small home...she replied that they had been burning anything they could find...sticks..rags..anything. The cousins began making trip after trip..their arms full of wood, 
carefully stacking the wood...that will most likely heat their home for the rest of the Winter months. was an especially cold day...there couldn't have been a better time for a load of wood to arrive to a family in such dire circumstances.
What was so noticeable was the joy in the faces of the children as they too took armfuls of wood
and stacked it...I am sure they knew what it have a load of means warm nights
instead of very cold nights.  They worked along side the cousins...and they were happy!
Once the wood was unloaded and stacked...the unloading of the food and gifts began.
By this time the cousins were really getting into the experience...they were now
smiling...feeling really good about themselves that they had chosen to serve their fellow man when
they really wanted to stay home and play Xbox.  I know this is really hard to believe...but when I first
told them I needed their help...they weren't all that excited about the adventure..
...I know...very hard to believe;)
They didn't complain about the cold...or that they were getting dirty...they didn't complain at all.
They were actually very quiet...very sober....very grateful.
This young cousin threw a 100 pound bag of beans on his shoulder and carried it into the humble home...(the family is in the background)
When everything was unloaded...and many thank you's had been said...The Farmer made only one
request of this sweet family.  He explained that we were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints...and if one day two Elders came and knocked on their door...that they would please
remember this moment, and listen to the message that those missionaries would share.  They all agreed.
The grandmother offered a blessing of protection on us as we started to leave...and left on the top of
one of the six beds that filled the very small living room was a stack of Books of Mormon tied carefully with a lovely silver ribbon.  It was the last thing I noticed as we left the home.
We climbed into the was very quiet as we drove away....after a few minutes The Farmer,
made the best of a great teaching moment...assuring the cousins that they were some pretty lucky
and very blessed young people.  They agreed.
Then as promised...we headed to the best burrito stand in town....
With now full hearts....we filled the stomachs of these special cousins.
It was a day that will not soon be forgotten...and I think that these cousins will talk about this experience they shared together...when they are old married people one day.
And after a yummy lunch, we returned them to their homes...and as they unloaded from the truck...
the were quick to say thank you...for a wonderful experience of service that they
shared in this Christmas week.
I have always been grateful that my children are growing up in a place where life isn't perfect.
It doesn't look can't pretend it is perfect.  They are surrounded by need.
They know what it looks like to have only a pot of beans for dinner...they have visited those homes.
They know that in many takes very little to make a person happy...not fancy brand name clothing, not certain types of cars...not large homes.  It just takes a load of wood...a few simple gifts,
and a large sack of beans.  These people have not learned to depend upon "things" for their happiness.
They have learned to trust in God...that He will provide for them.
This was a REAL Christmas experience...what the season is really all about.


Matt Skinner said...

What an awesome experience! I wish my kids could have been there to participate too. Kim and I need to create more of these teaching oportunities for them here in our area. Thanks for your good example and for not only reminding me of what is really important, but what is really imporant to teach my kids.

Love you!

Merry Christmas

Pedaling said...

What a wonderful opportunity.
I love the years when you really feel the meaning of giving.

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