June 27, 2013

Wasn't That a Party!?!

Like most 10-year-old girls, Marissa spent several months before her 11th birthday planning her party. Who would she invite? What would her theme be? What games would they play?

One evening, as I was tucking her into bed, I noticed her eyes scanning her room, looking at the many books on her bookshelf, craft supplies and knick knacks on her desk and dressers, and dozens of stuffed animals sitting, well, everywhere. She said to me, “Mom, I’m looking forward to my birthday party but I really don’t need any more things. Why don’t I ask my friends to bring money to donate instead of a gift and we can give the money to a good cause?”

I was touched by her suggestion, but also wondered if I shouldn’t get too excited about it in case she changed her mind before her birthday actually rolled around. But no, in the weeks leading up to the big day, she continued to ask me for suggestions on what charity she could donate to. We decided we would pray and ask God to direct us to the right cause.

One day, Marissa was talking to her Opa and he reminded her that he was preparing to go on a short-term missions trip to a small town in Brazil. He asked if she wanted to send the money  raised along with him, and he would look for a project that she and her friends could support. Marissa was so excited about that!  And she decided that since the money was being sent halfway around the world, the theme of her party would be “All Around the World” and she would ask her friends to dress up in costumes from anywhere they chose.

When the day of the party finally arrived, 10 girls showed up wearing all sorts of beautiful cultural garments. You see, God answers prayers creatively and gives us more than what we could ask or imagine. When I looked around the table as we ate lunch, I was overwhelmed by how many cultures and languages were represented---English, Punjabi, Thai, German, Portuguese, Spanish & Swahili! And although not everyone there came from a Christian home, each girl donated generously to the missions trip! Marissa was so overwhelmed!  

A week later, Opa left for Brazil with an envelope holding the money from Marissa and her friends. It wasn’t long before we got an e-mail letting us know about the project they could support. The ministry team in Picarras bought beds for four year old twin girls Aissa & Laissa.  They had been sleeping on a foam on the floor since the day they were born.  This piece of foam was very dirty and damp. The girls were both fighting a fever and one had a cough that wasn't going away.  This gift truly made a difference to these two little girls and would hopefully improve their health!

This experience was a lesson to our family that when we put our trust in God, He can and will multiply our gifts and use it to bless others!  


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