Giving more than gifts this Christmas

By November 10, 2016

Russia (MNN) — With Christmas coming, many people are looking for ways to make a spiritual impact in the spirit of the grace we’ve found in Christ. One of the best ways to do that is by partnering with ministries who are already working alongside people in need.

Every year, SOAR International invites you to participate in their “Stuff a Stocking” project. Like the name suggests, every sponsored stocking is filled with toys, necessities, and even a Bible. In addition, the sponsor of the stocking has the opportunity to write a letter to the child who will receive their stocking.

You can write a letter with the stocking you sponsor (photo courtesy of SOAR International)

You can write a letter with the stocking you sponsor! (Photo courtesy of SOAR International)

Greg Mangione of SOAR International says they work with and support the local Church through this program to better meet actual needs.

“In most cases, they’re distributed to orphanages or needy families that the Church either is building, wants to build, or has built a relationship with so there’s continued outreach and not just a one time or twice a year gift.”

This is what makes “Stuff a Stocking” unique. The Church is already actively involved and intentional in their ministry to these children, and they know what the needs are. They help SOAR purchase items like hats and gloves, and shoes, along with candy and toys.

In addition, this project allows the Church to bring a tangible gift to these children that they normally couldn’t do on their own. This is one of the reasons Mangione loves this project.

“One of the big encouragements is just seeing the encouragement it is to the pastors to the churches we work with. A lot of them, maybe a good portion of the year, kind of feel like they’re just plodding away on their own.”

It’s a team effort to reach out to the community. But, it’s about more than presents.

“Giving gifts of needed and fun things is great, but that doesn’t necessarily have a lasting impact. We want these gifts to have a lasting impact. We want the children to see they are loved and there’s a God that loves them. We also want to see the churches that are involved with them to be able to continue reaching out and ministering to them.”

That’s why Mangione encourages the first action for people to take with “Stuff a Stocking” is pray for hearts to be softened and for opportunities to share the Gospel.

It’s $35 to sponsor the main portion of the gift, and $5 to sponsor a Bible. And if you’re wondering what to write about in a letter to your child, and what to pray about after, Mangione gives us an idea.

(Photo courtesy of SOAR International).

(Photo courtesy of SOAR International)

“For the most part,” he says, “These kids are going to feel largely forgotten and largely alone.”

Many of them are social orphans, meaning their parents have lost custody of the children, but are still alive. For them, they face a feeling of rejection and abandonment. And children who come from poverty struggle with a similar thing: their value and the purpose of their life.

In your letter, you can remind them that they aren’t alone and they are not forgotten, not only because you are praying for them, but because Jesus loves them.

To sponsor a stocking, click here and you’ll find the details.

Another way you can be praying for SOAR is that projects like these will go on without a hitch despite the new anti-terrorism law.

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