The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Last Christmas, my kids got it right. They had heard me complaining for years about the over-commercialization of Christmas and the unnecessary giving of obligatory gifts that we don’t really need. So, they went in together and bought me the best Christmas present I’ve ever received.

They sponsored a child, on my behalf, in the Medika Mamba program, a nutrition program in Haiti that basically takes a child from the brink of starvation to good health within a year. Instead of some sweater or tie or book or CD that would end up in a yard sale in a few years, my “gift” was the preservation of the life of a child, created in the image of God. That was both humbling and exciting, and more than a little perspective-shaping. To borrow from Cousin Eddie in Christmas Vacation, it was “the gift that keeps on giving.”
This past week, I had the opportunity to sit in the Mamba clinic at the Canaan Christian Community in Montrouis, Haiti and watch dozens of children come in to get their weekly check-up, along with their supply of the Mamba diet, which is a medicated peanut butter paste that provides nourishment and puts meat on the bones of those little children. It was like Christmas all over again, for me and for them.
That was only a small part of our week in Haiti, visiting Canaan and spending time with our daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Jordan Holsombeck, who serve as missionaries there. There are so many good ministries going on at Canaan, from the orphanage that houses about 60-70 children, to the school where Sarah teaches, to the medical clinic where Jordan is the administrator, to the Mamba clinic next door. And, in the middle of it all, there’s a church, where God is worshiped with beautiful music and His word is proclaimed. I had the privilege of preaching there last Sunday.
I will say, the ministry that Sarah and Jordan and the others are a part of at Canaan is very hard. The reality is, there not many more difficult places on the planet to serve than Haiti, and I am very proud of both of them for their selfless service to the Lord. What they are doing “for the least of these” is truly Christ-honoring even if, like Jesus’ parable of the soils and seeds, the ground there–both literally and figuratively–is rocky and hard, and the fruit often slow in coming. Yet, God is at work there, and we were excited to see the return on our Kingdom investment through our partnership in the gospel with this ministry.
I was reminded, too, how every day there are lives being touched, and souls being saved, through the faitfhul ministries like Canaan that our church supports around the world. And every time we have the opportunity to give to the Lord through our church we are helping to preserve lives, reach children and adults with the gospel, disciple them in God’s word, and ultimately to change the world they live in. Truly, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Nan and I are so very grateful for the opportunity you provided us to go to Haiti this past week. Thanks for your prayers for us–along with your prayers for Sarah and Jordan and the other ministries our church partners with all over the world–and for your generosity in making the trip happen.
It’s sure good to be home! We missed you, and we do look forward to seeing each of you this Sunday at Shelby Crossings.
–Pastor Ken