By Suzy Hemming
For the past few years I’ve been putting together Christmas gift boxes for orphans in Peru. It’s a shoebox that I would fill with pens, markers, notebook, hair bows (for the girls), games, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. But probably the most important thing in the box was a letter to the child and a picture of me. We were told that the letter with a picture helps the children realize that these gifts are coming from ‘real’ people. I really didn’t think much about it but I did what they recommended.
Then I was presented with the opportunity to be part of the team to deliver these boxes to the children – and I jumped at the chance. We went in early December, right before Christmas.
Meeting the children was incredible. We received a hug and kiss from every child – hundreds of them throughout the week. At each orphanage we played games, told a story, did crafts and of course, gave them their Christmas gift box. We had a lot of fun.
During our last day in Lima, we visited a girls’ home called Santa Rosa. As we were getting ready to leave, a young girl came running up to me. She was waving a picture and a piece of paper. When I looked at the picture I realized it was a picture of me – but not the one I put in the gift boxes this year. It took me several seconds to realize that was the picture from my box LAST YEAR. She kept the picture and my letter from a year ago – and she had written notes on them. We were both so excited, that we couldn’t stop hugging and smiling at each other. Her name is Today and she’s just a beautiful young lady.
It was at this point that I realized how important it is for us to continue to deliver the love of Jesus Christ to hurting children. We may think it doesn’t have an impact – but I now know that it does. These children want to be loved and want to know there are people out there that do love them.
Luke 9:3 from “The Message” really says it all. Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the news of God's kingdom and heal the sick. He said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment.”
You are the equipment! It’s awesome to realize my arms, smiles, words, and love make the difference. We can’t stop loving on these children – they are God’s children.
Suzy Hemming traveled with Buckner International on the Christmas mission trip to Peru in December 2008. Suzy’s church, Christ Church in Plano, Texas, has been putting together Christmas boxes for the last three years.
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