Eggnog and tinsel are nice… but how about making an eternal impact this Christmas? Give a refugee the gift of hearing the Christmas story – maybe even for the very first time.
Here’s a note from Helping Hands’ director Nikos Stefanidis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
You may think that it is too early to think about Christmas, but I must tell you that it is not early for us at Helping Hands. Each year, we spend months preparing for the 3-4 special Christmas parties for about 500 of our refugee friends. We strongly believe that Christmas is a unique opportunity for the Muslims to understand all about Jesus and the reason He came to earth. We have seen the Holy Spirit cultivating this message in their hearts and bringing forth the fruit of salvation. Every year we are blessed with some unique experiences. Our teammate Myrna wrote about one of the last year:
“Today in the kids’ room we talked about the Christmas story and how baby Jesus grew up to die on the cross and take away our sin. …The kids were asked if anyone knew what sin was. A little boy of about 5 or 6, who is kind of a wiggle worm, raised his hand and He said: “Sin is like a big heavy chain around our neck and we can’t get rid of it but God can take it away.” I was amazed! Here in the midst of semi-chaos two weeks ago, this little child actually listened to the message, remembered it and applied it … Sometimes you feel like maybe your words are just going out into thin air, but the Holy Spirit is at work and God’s word does not return void. At the end of class we asked if someone wanted to pray. This little boy raised his hand again and prayed in Farsi and said: “I love you, Jesus. You are my best friend. I’m glad you are in my heart.” What a gift in this special season! Please pray for this child and his family. Pray also that the Holy Spirit will prepare many hearts to receive Jesus this coming Christmas.
Looking at how God has provided for the extra cost of the Christmas programs in the past, we are encouraged to start the preparations for this year. Each program will include a Christmas message, followed by a special meal of salad, chicken, persian rice, pita bread and dessert. At the end of the evening, each person will get a special gift. We are so thankful to God for the “MATEL” company who donated many brand new toys for the kids. Also, we are very thankful for the Greek local churches that have helped us and cooked in our Christmas programs for the last years and we pray that they will come again this year. In spite of this precious help, we estimate that the minimum cost for hosting about 500 refugees for the Christmas parties will be 10 Euros (about $15) per person.
Can you please join us in prayer that the Lord will provide everything we need? Knowing that financially the times are difficult for all, I can only say that the Lord can move mountains and rain blessings! So please pray. And if the Lord leads you to contribute to our Christmas programs and you would like to send any gift by check, make it out to International Teams and designate to “Helping Hands Christmas”:
International Teams – USA; 411 W. River Rd. Elgin IL 60123-1570 USA
International Teams – Canada; 1 Union Street; Elmira, Ontario N3B 3J9 CANADA
Thank you so much for investing in the lives of refugees.
On behalf of the whole team of Helping Hands,
Nikos Stefanidis, Director