Our family chooses to celebrate the holidays by raising money to help an orphan each year. Instead of buying gifts for one another, we find creative ways to earn money to help a child in need. This is a time we look forward to with great anticipation.
Last year, Lydia (along with her big brother and sister) raised nearly $30,000.00. The majority of that money was used to bring Darya home from the Ukraine to live with her new family (the Fick family) in Florida, and the remainder is being used to bring Evangeline home from a Russian orphanage to live with her new family in TN (the Hook family). Both Darya and Evangeline have Down Syndrome, and both are treasured by their forever families.
This year, we will once again set up bake sales, offer babysitting services, and rake leaves to raise money for the little angel girl we have chosen this year: her name is Carlene, she too has Down Syndrome, and she is living in a Russian orphanage. Unlike other orphans, an orphan with Down Syndrome is routinely placed in a mental institution, tied to a bed, and left to die following his/her fifth birthday. Carlene is five.
I have put together a book to help raise money for Carlene, and it can be viewed by clicking her adorable picture on the sidebar. Every cent of profit earned from the sale of the book will go to Carlene's adoption fund. If you purchase this book, or if you go straight to the http://www.reecesrainbow.org/ website and make a direct donation to Carlene, you are literally paying a ransom for her. Without our help, she will likely die very soon. Overwhelming statistical data shows orphan children placed in mental institutions only last a few months before going home to be with Jesus. Tied to a bed and never held or touched again, their death is a tortuous one. Carlene deserves a chance at life, don't you think?
The book is full of photos of orphans who are available right now on the Reece's Rainbow site. I have introduced the book as a ten day project for families to enjoy together over the holidays. Full of yummy recipes, the idea is that a meal will be cooked each day in honor of the child that is listed on the recipe page. Gathered together around a table, an empty chair will be used to symbolize the child who has never known the joy of eating a family meal. Prayers are said for the child and orphan awareness enters the minds of all those gathered around. It is so easy to be thankful for what we have when we become mindful of what others are lacking.
In scripture, Jesus fed the multitudes while He taught them about His way. It is my hope that families will hear from the Lord as they make this ten day project a priority during the season we are entering....the time of year when our Savior came to earth and adopted us, orphans as we once were. He wiped away the sin from our lives....never noticed our disabilities and failures.... He then took us by the hand and asked: "Won't you be mine?" I praise the Lord for His invitation to all who will come to Him!