Christians hand out love in a box this Thanksgiving

By November 19, 2007

USA (MNN) — Here's Life Inner City has
spent two decades sharing the celebration and gratitude of God's bounty with the
poor in the United States. 

Here's Life's Ted Gandy says their teams
assembled thousands of boxes of donated food, across 15 cities. "A 'Box of Love,' of course, is intended
to go to a family of six, where they can celebrate Thanksgiving in the sanctity
of their home. It'll have everything they need for that meal as well as the
Book of Hope. It's a wonderful piece
that communicates the Gospel very, very well." 

Volunteers do everything from collecting
the food and packing it, to delivering it door-to-door.  It's the first touch point. Churches in the area have identified families
who are in need, and that personal encounter often becomes a heart-to-heart
exchange between a Christian care-giver and a needy family. 

That first exchange forms the beginning
of a friendship, then a spiritual connection, and maybe a life-long
relationship.

This year, the Boxes of Love includes a
Book of Hope, the pictorial harmony of the Gospel.  Gandy says the love of Christ is
transformational. "That's what the
'Box of Love' campaign is all about: to connect with people who have real needs
and say to them, 'We're here to help you break the cycle of poverty, to connect
with you beyond Thanksgiving to the rest of the year where we can provide some
things and help you grow spiritually.'"

Gandy shared this story of a man named Issa. Pastor Isaac, from north of
Minneapolis, was surprised when he offered a Box of Love to Issa, a man who had
recently moved to his neighborhood.

Issa was at first suspicious, then vehement: "I don't want to receive food
from you. You must leave!" Pastor Isaac left the home, but he left the Box of
Love outside the door, knowing Issa needed the food.

Issa's idea of Christianity was distorted, but he later admitted that the
huge amount of food really impressed him. This generosity began to expand his
view of Christianity.

Ahmed, a relative of Issa and a believer, began to talk with him about
faith. Over time their conversations deepened; Issa also reconnected with
Pastor Isaac. Ahmed invited Issa to join him at church, but he resisted.

Finally he agreed, though he promised he wouldn't respond to the
message. "I might even leave early," he added. Yet by the end
of the service, Issa had opened his heart to Christ. He is now an active member of his church and
eager to share his joy with others. One box, one touch, one heart.

Even though Americans are getting ready
to celebrate Thanksgiving in just a few days, there's still time to get
involved. This year, HLIC wants to
minister to a minimum of 16,925 families, in addition to Boxes of Love given
through other initiatives. It costs
just $36.71 to provide a Box of Love. Click here to find out how.

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