A Different Kind of Gift

Today I want to highlight just a few giving opportunities that are a little departure from the norm, but are all things close to my heart. Back in late July I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Ethiopia with my brother's wife to meet their new daughter, Liya. Aaron was deployed at the time so I went with Laura to assist. Erik and I have been planning and praying about adoption ever since we got married, so it was an amazing chance to see the process first-hand.


We now have a few dear friends in the adoption process, and here are two great opportunities to support some of them:

First, the Snow family. The story of this family and their adoption process is so beautiful. The Lord has graciously provided them with three Ethiopian daughters, whom they just met a few weeks ago. As they await the chance to go back to Ethiopia and bring their daughters home they are attempting to raise the final several thousand dollars they need. God has already provided in amazing ways and there are so many stories they will be able to tell their daughters one day. But now, until noon CST tomorrow (Tuesday) you can participate in an online auction. There are some great things up for grabs, and 100% of the proceeds go to the adoption fund.

The next family are our sweet neighbors, the McGehees. Their three adorable kids are friends with our two and we are so excited to see how God grows their family through international adoption. Right now they are at the beginning stages of fundraising and are working hard to see this happen, trusting that God will do amazing things as He has put this on their heart and they are walking in obedience to Him. If you are local, there is a great opportunity to buy Rebekah's fresh milled whole wheat bread and bread flour here (scroll down). And if you aren't local, or if you are and you just love coffee, you can buy from their Just Love coffee store.

Finally, I want to tell you about a special opportunity to partner with a ministry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that is involved in orphan prevention. One of the most difficult things about my trip to Ethiopia was seeing birth moms saying their final goodbyes to their children at the transition home. Whatever the circumstances (lack of finances, HIV, divorce), many of these children are given up for adoption because of things out of the mother's control. I came home with a conviction that we needed to help some of these women, which is where Embracing Hope Ethiopia comes in. This is a ministry run by believers who have a passion for orphan prevention. You can partner with them by sponsoring one of the families they are helping. The program works like this: they do monthly sponsorships of each mom and child that cover Free Day Care, Early Childhood Education, Education and After School care for older children, Hygiene Supplies, Free Health Care for Mom and Child, 2 Nutritious Meals per day plus Snack, Extra Nutritional Support for 80% of the children, Clothing, One on one social worker attention, Life Skills Training for Moms, Micro-Grants, Special Supports for Special Cases including HIV, and Literacy Development.

Sponsorships start at $34/month. My sister-in-law was able to visit the facility and see their work first-hand, and she was really encouraged by their heart for the gospel and the work they are doing. This could be a great project as a family--an alternative to traditional Christmas giving, but a great way to love these families who desperately want to stay together.

What are some other alternative Christmas giving ideas?