Boats and nets make great gifts this Christmas

By December 23, 2008

India (MNN) — Four years have passed since a devastating tsumani struck the Indian Ocean, killing thousands and destroying the lives of millions in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. Even four years later, many necessities still are lacking, such as fishing boats, nets, homes.

Many Christians in the west are buying Christmas gifts for those who have everything. But India Partners encourages the purchase of a boat or similar gift this Christmas for someone who lost everything in the tsunami of 2004. Brent Hample with India Partners says, "More than 450 billion dollars will be spent at Christmas time, a lot of it on gifts that end up in the closet, under the bed or simply not used. We're offering a great way to show the love of Christ where Jesus isn't very well known."

Hample says the tsunami destroyed fishing boats — a way of life for many in this area. $490 purchases a boat, or $49 buys a share of one. He says it provides opportunities for ministry in an area antagonistic to the Gospel. "People ask, 'Who paid for your boat? We know you can't afford it.' Well, I got this from…' and they mention the name of the local Christian agency that we work with. It opens the door to share the Gospel."

Hample says over the last four years, these gifts have softened the hearts of those who had been antagonistic to Christians. "Love can show many forms," says Hample. "Tangible ways (in this part of India) include boats, nets, huts. Helping people with their families and the things they need to survive is just a reflection of the spiritual love that Jesus commanded us to have, especially for people in need."

The program is called Gifts Worth Giving and India Partners is providing a wide assortment of ways to help. Go to IndiaPartners.org to purchase a gift that could make an eternal difference.

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