Everyday Gifts That Touch Everyday Life

Now that the Christmas season is officially “wrapping up” for 2019, our ministry partners in East Africa are hard at work planning wonderful celebrations! They invite all the kids in the Sponsorship Program and their families to come enjoy worship, music, food, games, performances, and the distribution of all the gifts. It is a dream of mine to be present for at least one of these Christmas celebrations, and see the kids receive their gifts, one by one. But until that dream is fulfilled, I will say that traveling to East Africa and seeing the gifts being put to good use in the kids’ homes is a pretty close second.

I was in Tanzania with the Lahash Media Team this past October, and had the honor of meeting sponsored kids where they live, greeting their families, and praying with them. On one particular day, we visited five different sponsored children, and each one had lost one or both of their parents. Some had no furniture at all. Some families were struggling to secure even one meal a day. One family was in the midst of trying to move across town before their home was demolished due to road construction. Even in the midst of these hardships, we were welcomed warmly at each stop, and the family expressed their sincere gratitude for Lahash and the Sponsorship Program.

Visiting the homes of sponsored kids (including my own!) was a big highlight of my time in Tanzania.

As our translator assisted us in conversing with families we met across Tanzania, we often asked if the child had received a Christmas gift from their sponsor. “Oh yes, it was a bed and mattress. Can I show it to you?” “It was this solar lamp, here.” “We received kitchenware for cooking.” “Yes! The gift was metal roofing sheets to fix the roof!” Lahash always receives lots of photos from our ministry partners of the kids receiving their Christmas gifts, but what a joy it was to see those gifts in the kids’ homes and see what a difference they make!

Michael sits proudly on the only piece of furniture in his room, the bed and mattress he received for Christmas!

All the gifts are exceedingly practical and helpful, but the families simply don’t have the means to acquire these items on their own. Children sleep on the floor until they receive a bed. They get behind on their homework until they receive a solar lamp. Roofs leak, meals are made in broken dishes, and clothes are worn even when they’re outgrown and tattered. Each gift meets a need in a child’s life, and eases the burden on a vulnerable family.

Bahati’s solar lamp charges in the sun each day, and provides him the extra light he needs to keep up with his studies.

One year, my family had the opportunity to purchase a bed and mattress for Anjelina, the girl we sponsor in Tanzania. We didn’t know much about her family’s situation, but we knew we didn’t want her to sleep on the ground. When I met her in person two years ago and visited her home, I realized that the bed we gave not only kept her from sleeping on the ground, but her siblings as well. Four kids shared that bed, and the parents went without.

I just saw Anjelina again on this last trip, and that is still their only bed. (We’re sitting on it in the top picture!) I know that every gift we have given her over the years has been received with gratitude and used well. I also know that Anjelina keeps all our letters and photos, so she can see us and pray for us often. This leaves no doubt in my mind that our connection to this precious girl and her family helps them feel less alone in the world. And that might just be the best gift of all.

If you’re a sponsorclick here to give your gifts to your sponsored child today!

If you’re not a sponsor… you can help provide Christmas gifts for kids who are still waiting to be matched with a sponsor! Visit lahash.org/christmas to see the options.

Jen Johnson