Tuesday, 20 December 2016

It's Christmas ...say "THANK YOU!"

It's that time of year when we reflect a little on what has happened and what has / has not been accomplished. For our house over the last 24 hours this has coincided with reviewing some video footage from this year's trips to Odessa and our wonderful friends out there. There are many great scenes...
  • a building looking considerably more finished at the end of the year,
  • a full store room of 7 bathroom suites waiting to be fitted, because of your generous giving
  • a raft of smiling loving people who welcome us into their home... so that we can spend all day using sds drills,lump hammers and  generally create a sandstorm of dust in what is their haven of peace.
However... the stand out scene of all is from a Friday night not so long ago when children walk into a room of Christmas festivity. A sparkling tree, a cuddly Santa, the smell of some fresh Christmas fruit, all set the scene but did not prepare me for what happened...
 A torrent of "thank you(s)" from grateful young friends who left us in no doubt how much they appreciated a small act of kindness. On that Friday night we finished by thanking God that he is the giver of all GOOD gifts (James 1:27) God has been and is unswervingly and unreservedly good to you and me.

These words of the children's gratitude still ring loud in my ears this time of year. I have often returned from Odessa aware that I have received much more than I have given. This year, so much more so. The bible says that out of the mouths of Children, profound truths are learned (Matthew 21:16). The children have been teaching me to be more grateful for the immense kindness of God.
  •  Do you know that if you live in the UK you are one of the top 3-5% richest people in the world.
  • Do you have running water this Christmas ?  say "Thank you" to GOD
  • Do you have petrol/ diesel in your car this Christmas?  say "Thank you" to GOD
  • Do you have a family today ? say a Huge "Thank you" to GOD.
  • Do you have a warm bed to sleep in tonight ? Thank God.
  • Do you have a roof over your head tonight ? Don't forget to say "Thank you" to God.
  • Do you have those who love you and care about you ? Maybe you need to see others who don't... in order to remind you how much you should humbly say "Thank you" to God.

When we consider that the God who has given everything we materially need and much more besides, also came into a messed up world which had rejected him and would despise him, (ultimately kill him), our gratitudeometer should go through the roof. We don't deserve God's goodness, let alone what we discover in the perfection of a baby born who became to become our perfect man and substitute to die in our place. Whatever you and I think this Christmas... it cannot ever be that we are hard done by. GOD IS GOOD, he has always been good and will always be good. Lord teach me to have the attitude of gratitude this Christmas. When people demand grace, remind me of your patience with me. When life is less than perfect, remind me that you give your perfection in my place. When I feel I'm missing out, remind me of the tsunami of grace you have showered on my life in Christ JESUS.

Thank you all project supporters for your kindness this year, it has been extraordinary and at times incomprehensible and just overwhelming. Practically speaking this generosity is the reason we near completion in 2017. May God bless you in your giving. May he give you overflowing Joy in him this Christmas, and an attitude of gratitude as you consider his goodness to you.
This year Odessa trips have taught me 2 home truths which I humbly pass on ... in case they might be of help to you as you reflect this Christmas.
  • 1) It is always the appropriate moment to show an act of unexpected kindness to someone. 
  • What is stopping you from doing this today?
  • 2) When you consider your life and count your blessings, you will never be stuck for something to thank God for.
  •  What are you thanking him for today?

With gratefulness to God, and love to you and yours this Christmas.
With appreciation and love. We thank you for your support and love,
Paul (on behalf of the team).