Sometimes the Gift that is Needed Most is the Hardest Gift to Give

Thank you for walking through the Give Back Giveaway with me.

It has brought me much joy to highlight these ministries for your support, to see the hope and healing being brought into lives around the world, and to give away lovely and delicious gifts to you from these ministries. I do hope you will seriously consider supporting them as you give this Christmas.

But I will confess that reading and writing about the brokenness and need in the many precious lives served through these programs has grieved me. The hiddenness and magnitude of the problems threaten to overwhelm this tender heart.

Can we be honest?

There is never enough that we can do. Because the hurt is so huge.

But we must do something. Our love for Jesus, because of His love for us, simply must overflow and embrace those who hurt.

In the end, we truly are never enough. But He is enough. He is enough for us, He is enough for all who suffer. He is the only hope we have.

We can be His hands and feet, His eyes and ears, pouring ourselves out in love and service right here and right now.

This may sound funny, given that I have spent a month sharing various ministries with you, but I believe this firmly...

If you have a choice to send money somewhere, or to reach out and touch a hurting person right near you, turn to that hurting person.

Yes, money matters, it does make a difference and people and ministries REALLY need it. So many are struggling financially.

But you have neighbors who don't have a group ministering to them. So you be the ministry, you minister to their needs. You are equipped for this in Him!

I look around me now, here in the middle of a burned out forest, and I see an incredible amount of real and present need. When 1600+ homes and businesses are completely destroyed in a rural community, the list of needs is overwhelming.

Sometimes the way to meet a need does require money. But creative lovers of Christ can serve, no matter the circumstance.

The balm for all wounds, ultimately, is love, and love doesn't require money.

If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that love may be the more costly of the two, as it requires giving of our very selves.

This is what is required of us, I believe. And I fail abysmally most of the time. But I long to live love and pour out my life as an offering.

Will you try with me?

Open your heart to the need right next door, and give yourself away this Christmas.

photo by JoyLove7

The Give Back Giveaway ~ Women at Risk International AND Christian Freedom International

Okey doke, dear ones, time for the final Give Back Giveaway!

First off, allow me to introduce you to Women at Risk International. These folks work in countries around the world serving women in danger and crisis.  They do quite a bit of outreach in the United States as well.

A bulk of the focus is on human trafficking. It is hard to wrap my mind around the reality that in New York City alone there are 3500+ children being trafficked. WAR, Int'l has multiple approaches... prevention, education, raids, job training, safe houses, and more. From their website:

Women At Risk, International (WAR, Int’l) is a nonprofit organization established to place circles of protection around women at risk. The purpose and passion of this organization is to wrap arms of love around women and children, whispering the message that they were created for purpose and dignity. Creating safe places for women and children rescued from many abuses including human trafficking/sexual slavery, WAR, Int’l desires to give voice to their silenced cries.

Take some time to read their website. It's a very rich site with lots of hidden treasures, much like the women they serve.

They sell items to raise funds for the various projects.  90% of the proceeds from the item sold goes back to the project from which it originated.  As I perused their offerings my attention was caught by this:

It is an alabaster candle holder. I knew what it was made of right away because earlier this year I wrote about the woman with the alabaster jar, and I searched high and low for a picture of one. Alabaster was valuable in Jesus' days, and the contents of that alabaster jar was the woman's most prized possession.

Well, of course I knew that that was what I just had to give away here. What a lovely reminder of the treasure that we have in Christ, that all we have is His, that really we are His greatest treasure!

And a candle holder needs candles, yes?

Enter Christian Freedom International!

CFI ministers to the needs of the persecuted church around the world.  From their website:

CFI has relationships with indigenous believers and churches including underground house church networks and Christian cell groups in countries where they are persecuted for their faith.
These courageous Christians share our passion for assisting the part of the Body that is suffering. They work with us to provide medicine, safe-houses, aid, Bibles, education, microenterprise, documentation, and advocacy to Christians and their families who are on the front lines of persecution.

And in their fundraising shop? Candles!

Don't you think these bamboo candles will go nicely with the alabaster candle holder?

In this giveaway:

  • one alabaster candle holder from Egypt, via WAR, Int'l
  • three bamboo candles from Thailand, via CFI

There are four ways to enter this giveaway from Women at Risk International and Christian Freedom International (please leave a separate comment for each... one comment = one chance to win).

Please include a way to contact you (via email, twitter or facebook) in one of your comments.
  1. Are you a candle lover? Dinner? Bathtime? When do you like to light candles? Leave a comment.
  2. Browse the WAR Chest Boutique and share one item you might want to give as a gift.
  3. Browse the CFI Store and share one item you might want to give as a gift. 
  4. Share the WAR/CFI Give Back Giveaway with your friends by tweeting or facebooking about it (then leave a comment here). Feel free to use this: "Bamboo candle and alabaster candle holder giveaway at Joyful Mama.... #GiveBackGiveaway"

The alabaster candle holder and bamboo candle giveaway will end on Saturday Dec. 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm CST. Winner will be chosen using

UPDATE: This giveaway has ended. Congratulations His Jules!

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with Women At Risk International or Christian Freedom International. The giveaway items will be purchased for the purpose of this giveaway, with all funds going to WAR Int'l and CFI.
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