I remember as a child how much fun we had when the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived in the mail. My sister and I would take turns pouring over the book, reading the descriptions of all the toys, dreaming of which ones we might like to receive for Christmas, and then circling our favorites. Nowadays we do everything online, but I miss the joy of the catalog.
If you’re the same way, have I got exciting news for you. This year I was blessed with an opportunity to review a new type of catalog. It’s a Christmas catalog with a twist. It’s put out by Advancing Native Missions, an organization that supports local ministries around the world. Rather than sending missionaries to foreign lands, they’re helping support the local pastors and workers who are native to the area and already serving the people. Their gift catalog is a way for people to help those native ministries in very specific ways. I’ve never seen anything quite like this, but this is something really special that they’re doing, and I’m honored to help spread the word.
So how does it work? Each page introduces us to a specific need. For example, In Israel, one out of five babies are aborted. Doctors tell mothers that children are too much of a burden. On the Israel page, we learn about Liah, a new mother and the Newborn Care Package that helps mothers like Liah. If you give a gift of $150, a mother will receive baby clothes, essential baby gear such as a stroller, diapers and formula if needed, and regular counseling. Imagine being able to help get one young mother off to such a great start!
But maybe you can’t afford to spend that much money. No worries, for $15 you can give a pair of shoes for a child. For $10 you can provide sports equipment for them to enjoy playtime with friends. For $5 you can give a Bible.
Maybe you’re feeling very extravagant this year. God has blessed you financially and you’d like to share with others. In that case, you can give $2,000 for a motorcycle so a church planter or pastor can get around to remote areas to share the gospel where it’s never been heard before.
My favorite options are the micro-business and community opportunities. For $150 you can give a beekeeping kit that will help Christian workers earn extra income to support their families. Isn’t that a great side businesses? Or you can give $120 for a sewing machine to help a family start a sewing business. Give $40 for a goat so a family had an economical supply of milk. For $3 you can give a chicken!
Imagine sharing this catalog with your children and letting them save money and help support a family. For the price of a kids meal, they can give a family a chicken. For the price of a cheap toy, they can give a chicken and a Bible. How special will that be?
I encourage you to head over to the Advancing Native Missions website and add shopping the catalog to your list of Christmas traditions. You’ll be glad you did!