International (MNN) — We’ve all seen those lists: “what to buy for the person who has everything”. Instead of gifting another kitchen gadget that will get lost in a drawer or another tie that will join the ties-of-Christmas-past, how about buying a gift in that person’s honor for someone in need? Operation Mobilization has their Christmas Catalog out with some great giving opportunities.
If your grandpa is most at-home on his farm, give a goat to a needy family in his honor. If your aunt is a teacher or is passionate about education, you can give in her name to send a child to school for a year.
Operation Mobilization’s Chris Fedelem says, “There’s a wide variety of items. It could be everything from winter relief packs for Syrian refugees, to sending a child to school in Malawi, to providing native language Bibles to Muslim-background believers in the Middle East, or even providing a water buffalo to a family in India.”
Ultimately, each present has a deeper spiritual impact, giving OM’s ministry partners an opportunity to talk about Jesus as they pass along the gift.
“The gift itself of course goes to an individual living in largely impoverished conditions, but meeting these urgent physical needs, that really allows us the opportunity to connect with individuals and gives us a platform to meet the much greater spiritual poverty need by sharing the Gospel.”
As for a notable gift that caught Fedelem’s attention, he says, “We’ve gotten tremendous feedback on our refugee relief. Because OM works in 118 countries, one of the areas we work is with refugees escaping from Syria and Iraq, which of course continues to be a very serious problem, and there are millions spending Christmas stranded in crowded refugee camps. So our workers are able to provide food packs for these families and also winter relief packs that have blankets and heaters and fuel and things they will need to survive the winter.”
The items listed in Operation Mobilization’s Christmas Catalog are obviously initiatives that can be supported year-round. But Christmastime presents a unique season to give in Christ’s name.
“Christmas is a time that we celebrate the birth of our Savior, and this is a time that it’s often on people’s minds. By making a gift through OM, they have an opportunity to make Jesus known around the world, to give a gift on another person’s behalf, and then ultimately present that person here who might be on your gift list with a certificate that lets them know a gift has been made [with a] great impact in another part of the world, and that they’re helping not just to meet physical needs, but to also share the Gospel and spread the Good News of the Season to folks who have never heard of it before.”
Another way to give of yourself as an expression of Christ’s love? Praying for the OM missionaries and those they minister to.
Fedelem explains, “This time of year and throughout the year, people can pray for OM and its 6,900 missionaries working around the world in 118 countries. Our missionaries, if they could ask you themselves, they would ask for obviously prayer for things like their personal needs, their personal safety — but most of all, they would ask that their efforts and the efforts God is doing through them, that they are fruitful and that they see many believers come to know Jesus through their efforts.”
To learn more about Operation Mobilization’s Christmas Catalog, just go to wwww.OMusa.org/christmas.
Ultimately, giving a gift through Operation Mobilization this Christmas is more than just participation in materialistic holiday fervor. It goes straight to the heart of why we give gifts at Christmas in the first place: because salvation through Jesus Christ was God’s greatest gift to us, and we are now mandated to share that Good News with every tribe, tongue, and nation.
“People report back to us that the generosity they show to OM is just paid back to them again and again, not necessarily in a material way, but in connecting with a mission and seeing how their children or their family members get involved or become more aware, not just of the needs of people, but of the spiritual needs of the 2.8 billion unreached people in the world,” explains Fedelem.
“So it’s an opportunity not just for you to give and do something good, and it’s not just an opportunity to feel good, but it really is an opportunity for spiritual growth for you and your family.”